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Why you’re still tired with CPAP – part 1 of 5

cpap sleep Mar 25, 2023
Your sleep/wake rhythms are out of sync

Getting the diagnosis of sleep apnea can be a relief– FINALLY, there is an explanation for why you are so tired during the day!  So you get treated with CPAP. 

Now that you’re using your CPAP machine, it’s time for reassessment.  Is your sleep fixed?  Are you awake?  Alert?  Energized?  If the answer is no . . . you are probably wondering if CPAP is worth it.  

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat across from someone like you in my clinic.  And when you say “I’m using CPAP but I’m still tired” I know you are feeling discouraged.  

But I’m not.  My mind is busy with all the possibilities.  What discourages me is that solving “tired” is often too much to review in a short medical appointment.  I feel so passionate about helping people feel better that I created an online course to share all the things I consider when tiredness is a problem.  Imagine NOT feeling tired during the day.  Whoa.

In the meantime, let’s review the first of five most common reasons I have seen for residual tiredness with CPAP.  

Reason #1 you’re still tired with CPAP.  Your sleep/wake rhythms are out of sync.  You have internal rhythms that function like instruments in a band.  If your band is playing good music, it means you are sleeping well at night and feeling good in the daytime.  In order to make music that sounds good, these instruments have to be trained to play on time and at the right volume.  And your band should be playing a peppy, feel-good song during the day and a lullaby during the night.  

You’ve probably heard of the circadian rhythm, which is an alertness instrument, to continue with the band analogy.  You can support your circadian rhythm or work against it.  And there are other sleep/wake instruments with different rhythms that you need to know about.  You may be unwittingly working against them and your music sounds . . . awful.  Knowing more about these rhythms means you can take action.  You can do what it takes to get your sleep and wake on track.  For a start, make your wake-up time consistent every day.  This is the beginning of the song.  It may be just the anchor point your brain needs to feel better. 

In my experience, persistent tiredness is due to more than one thing.  It takes persistence to identify and unwind the underlying causes of your tiredness.  Be patient with yourself.  And know that I can help you.  



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