Howdy folks,

I’ve known I had sleep apnea for like… awhile. It took me years to convince any doctors (shout outs to the doctor who told me I can’t have sleep apnea because “you’re not fat!”), and then it took another two years on a wait list for a sleep study. Finally diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea. Now I finally have an APAP machine and I’ve been finding it impossible to sleep with it on. Even when I do fall asleep, I wake up in the morning with either the mask having fallen off, or I guess me waking up and taking it off in the middle of the night and not remembering.

I do perceive that using it this little bit has helped, and my doctor confirmed that while I’m using it my AHI is at a much lower/healthy level.

I’ve had it for about two months and it hasn’t been getting any easier. So far I’ve woken up exactly once in the morning with the mask still on, and I felt great. I’ve been using it during the day as my doctor advised to “get used to it” and also taking sleep medications before bed. Now my compliance is so low that my insurance is going to stop paying for it soon. So what do I do?

I have a sensory disorder as well. The noise and vibration of the machine when I’m exhaling is a huge thing that keeps me awake (I already have a white noise machine going anyway, but the bass sounds of the APAP cut through, and I can feel the vibrations in my bed even though it’s on my nightstand). Also, I can’t wear my sleep mask and the apnea mask at the same time, so any lights at all disturb me; including when sometimes the machine randomly lights up in the middle of the night, or the sun coming up, even though I have thick curtains; really ANY LIGHT AT ALL is enough to wake me up (I even unplug my laptop when I sleep because the green charge LED is too bright).

I also have a lot of chronic insomnia anyway. However, before I got the APAP machine I had really dialed in all of my issues and was getting a solid 8 every night. I was also hoping that treating the sleep apnea would help with insomnia, but I’ve basically been finding that using the APAP machine has been causing me to feel like I’m suffocating, which causes a ton of anxiety, and then makes it impossible for me to sleep. I’ve been doing this every day for awhile now, I switched to a different mask, and it’s not getting any more pleasant. Incidentally, my formerly great sleep schedule being massively interrupted by this during the whole pandemic situation has been extremely frustrating, and is I guess another reason I’m having trouble sleeping.

Oh, this is kind of a side-issue, but also my insurance won’t pay for me to replace the filters frequently enough to be sanitary (and as someone with OCD this ALSO causes a lot of anxiety), but if I pay for them out of pocket I will lose my insurance, so I’m not totally sure what to do there. The people at the sleep center just kind of blinked at me and changed the subject when I asked for advice.

I used to have trouble sleeping because I knew I had sleep apnea and I thought I was killing myself by not treating it. Now I have trouble sleeping because I feel like the only treatment for sleep apnea isn’t going to work, and all of the years of struggling with doctors were for nothing, and I’m just always going to have this condition anyway and probably die young because of it.

So yeah, anyone out there dealt with similar issues? What should I do? The folks at the sleep center who rented me the APAP machine were uhhh. Super not helpful. As in basically gave up and asked me if I wanted to return the machine on my one week follow up appointment. My apnea doctor was like “here I can prescribe you some trazodone” and I was like “my dude I already take trazodone every night.”

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