Tips for Sleeping for someone with Apnea and acute congestion?

Canada
December 30, 2006 4:21am CST
Hey myLot, I need some help. Hopefully there are some other people out there who suffer from sleep apnea that can help me. I suffer from sleep apnea, obviously... but I also suffer from frequent colds/sinusitis - presumably because I'm still not getting a lot of sleep, and due to that a lack of a strong immune system. These "congestive" problems often cause me to have insomnia or just a rough night in general. Like tonight, I laid down and tried to sleep, but no matter how I laid down, I couldn't breathe. So I tried taking my CPAP mask off, but I've gotten so used to having it on, that I don't feel like I'm breathing properly without it, so I still can't sleep! Anyone else have similar problems with congestion and CPAP masks/machines? Got any tips to help me clear up the congestion so I can sleep with my mask? Thanks in advance!
7 people like this
20 responses
• United States
31 Dec 06
I was diagnosed with sleep apnea about 6 years ago. When I first started using my CPAP it was a nightmare. I couldn't leave the mask on because I felt like I was sufficating, couldn't get enough air. I finally discovered that my sinuses were not completely open and since you have to breath strickly through you nose I was, infact, not getting enough air. My doctor put me on 1 Claritin D 24 Hour a day and a spray of Afrin in each nostril before bedtime. It worked and boy that first night of getting a true full nights sleep was awesome, I felt giddy and wasn't nodding off the next day. Since finally clearing my sinus problem and using my CPAP the past 6 years I developed a new problem. The Claritin D is a vaso-constrictor and my blood pressure shot up from 120/80 to 150/100. I started searching for alternatives to the Claritin D and Afrin and have found one so far. I have replaced the Claritin D with the herb Red Clover and it works great. I couldn't believe the very day I started using Red Clover I stopped the Claritin D and couldn't tell any difference and the best part is my blood pressure is back down to 120/80. The brands I have tried so far are NOW and Nature's Way and both seem to work equally well. They are available at most health food stores for about $9 per 100 capsules. Best Wishes and Happy New Year!
• Canada
31 Dec 06
Wow, thanks. I might just stop by a health food store and try to find this Red Clover. I too have many problems with my sinuses, going to a specialist in March. Hopefully this'll help! Happy New Year as well!
@mari61960 (4895)
• United States
30 Dec 06
I also suffer from sleep apnea and use a cpap machine. There are alot of variables.. First of all I would get a 12 hr. nasal spray and try that 5 min before putting on your mask. That should clear your passages. Now for me that would take me through the night. But also your setting could be to low..unless you have the new model that adjusts itself to your needs. I know what you mean though it's like your drowning or something. I used to have the same problem but I haven't for some time now. If that doesn't help then maybe your doctor can offer something for the congestion. Do you have a humidifier in your machine, that would help. Or if you don't you can run a humidifier in your bedroom and that will help also. It won't clear the congestion but helps after your clear. Good Luck, I hope you find a solution quickly.
• Canada
30 Dec 06
Thank you very much for your tips and concern. I've tried those things too! :) My machine has a humidifier but it doesn't help with the congestion, just the dryness... and unfortunately when you're congested, you're not dry!! It may also help to know I've had a corrected deviated septum which may not have been fixed totally or at all, or it's reverted or whatever. I'm going back to see a specialist in March, the one who did my previous operation. We'll see what she says! I finally got to sleep at 6 am this morning... slept until 11 am. :(
2 people like this
@mari61960 (4895)
• United States
1 Jan 07
I am glad to see that you were able to get some sleep. Wish I could be more helpful as I no how miserable it is when you can't use your machine. And when you are able to get some sleep it's not quality sleep so sometimes you feel worse. You may find some help at The Sleep Apnea Support Forum here is the link www.apneasupport.org I hope this helps. Good luck.
1 person likes this
@onlyme123 (124)
• United States
31 Dec 06
Hi- Have you tried flushing your sinuses with saline? 1/3 to 1/2 tsp of salt to 8oz of warm water. Tilt your head back, use an eyedropper to drip the the saline into your nose, inhale carefully, than blow your nose and spit out anything that runs down your throat. I use that on my daughter instead of the OTC nasal meds because if you use too much of the OTC stuff, it can backfire on you. You can use a weaker saline solution if you're sensitive. Saline that's too strong can burn! Good Luck!
• Canada
31 Dec 06
Interesting... I have never tried this. Don't know if I'd want to... sounds like I might gag! I know what you mean about that OTC stuff backfiring... I've had that happen... just made the problem worse after a couple days. Otravin sucks!
1 person likes this
@SplitZip (1490)
• Portugal
30 Dec 06
I hope you choke in your sleep! :( J/K. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea years back when I did an EEG. But they never prescribed anything to me or told me to wear any masks or anything. Sometimes I do wake up in the middle of the night like I'm out of breath. Should I be worried? Sorry, I have no advice.
2 people like this
• Canada
31 Dec 06
I think you only need the machine if you progress to the moderate to severe range like me and others. I'm not sure, so I might ask again, just to be sure. Having sleep apnea can be damaging in a lot of ways that most people don't realize. Even with the machine you're still susceptible to illness (lack of sleep leads to lack of immune system), and if you don't get it treated it can cause heart attacks, stroke and of course, choking in your sleep!
2 people like this
• United States
31 Dec 06
omg! that was a SICK joke! yes, you should be worried....you can die of sleep apnea
2 people like this
@SplitZip (1490)
• Portugal
31 Dec 06
I see, thanks. I'd rather not use anything, to tell you the truth. I remember the doctor said I shouldn't worry about it because I was young, but it's been over 10 years now since then... Maybe I should get a consultation again. I haven't done any medical exams in ages because I haven't been seriously ill, but that isn't a very smart move, I keep putting it off (lack of time, lack of patience and other lame excuses). Think I just found my new year's resolution! (And yes, that was a mean joke ;)
1 person likes this
@Goranimal (315)
• United States
6 Jan 07
I've had the same for years and a simple solution worked for me, i use breath right strips every night and i know longer jump out of bed in the middle of the night gasping for air.
2 people like this
• Canada
14 Jan 07
I just started using the Breathe Right strips in conjunction with my CPAP machine and it seems to be helping a bit. It's good that you are no longer gasping yourself awake. The funny thing is that if I hadn't have said anything to my doctor about not being able to sleep, I would have never known I had aponea. I never woke up gasping for air, never kicked my legs whilst asleep to wak me up, etc. All the trademark sleep aponea giveaways. It was when I talked with my sleep doctor the week after my first sleep study that she said I only reached deep sleep twice during the night, but only briefly. I stopped breathing roughly 11 times throughout the night. Scary stuff!
1 person likes this
@goldjay (465)
• United States
31 Dec 06
I don't know too much about sleep apnea but my first thought is that you should talk to your doctor. My second thought is, have you tried the Breath Right strips that you stick on your nose. It may help the conjestion. I used them when I was pregnant and could not take any other meds for congestion associated with allergies. Also, can you take any meds for the congestion? Good luck.
• Canada
31 Dec 06
I've been on so many decongestant sprays it ain't funny anymore... everything from Otravin to Nasonex to Flonase to another prescription one I can't remember. Nothing works. Breath Right strips don't work either ;) I'm tellin you guys, I've tried literally EVERYTHING I can think of...
1 person likes this
@tictac714 (976)
• United States
30 Dec 06
Well, I don't have apnea. But I have a couple thoughts for you. As you found out sleeping without the mask is not the answer. If you're having congestion, perhaps try something like sudafed, or another decongestant to help clear you out temporarily. If you feel like your immune system is low and you're getting sick all the time, maybe you should begin taking a multivitamin or some extra vitamin c or zinc, if you aren't already. Also for the long tern, apnea is sometimes (not always) related to size, so if necessary, take measures to get in better shape and maybe alleviate the apnea somewhat. Good luck!
2 people like this
• Canada
31 Dec 06
Thanks! I am overweight, but it's a common misconception that this causes sleep apnea. It doesn't help at all and it contributes to it being worse than it would be if I were my healthy weight, but I'd still have it due to the physiology of my throat. I started taking a multivitamin about a month ago, but it's been a rough month of health problems. I'm looking forward to getting through this, getting healthy and going on my vacation!!
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (114297)
• United States
30 Dec 06
For a temporary measure, while you are congested, if you have a recliner and can sleep more upright it may help. Sometimes if you are taking an OTC cold remedy you get rebound effects when it wears off. Try a simple decongestant (ask the pharmacist) and possibly guafenesin (like mucinex, but you can get generic cheaper) It is an expectorant, and thins the mucus so that it is easier to get out. Good luck, but if this does not clear up soon you definitely need more medical advice.
• Canada
31 Dec 06
Indeed, thanks a lot. I've tried sleeping in a reclined position, but it's so alien to me tha I can't sleep. I think I might just try to fall asleep in front of the TV tonight if I can't sleep!
@jen20619 (1302)
• Ireland
30 Dec 06
I think first you should be taking very good victims to strenghten your immune system.I suggest seven seas extra strenght and also a good tonic.To help clear up your congestion I suggest an anitbotic from your local G.P
2 people like this
• Canada
30 Dec 06
victims? lol I think you mean vitamins, and yes I'm taking one that gives me everything I need, but I've only been on it for about a month and I've also undergone some other rather horrible health problems in the last couple months, so they were probably all adding to my body stress therefore weakened immune system, hence my current sickness. I'm relying on Tylenol Cold 'n' Flu liquid right now... if it doesn't get better by Monday, here I come doctor!
1 person likes this
@pendragon (3352)
• United States
30 Dec 06
I take Flonase before bed,it's a perscription nasal spray.I make a lot of noise and this helps out, my gf loves it,lol.
2 people like this
@FiredUp (270)
• United States
30 Dec 06
Do you have a warmer on your CPAP. When I was having trouble with colds, they gave me a heater for the water. It helps you breathe wasier when you have a cold. I use it a lot in the wintertime, but I usually disconnect it in the summer.
@limosonia1 (1559)
• United States
30 Dec 06
You can try taking a hot bath with a vicks vapor in it. That way it relaxes you opens up the air ways and also clears up congestion. You should also try to boost your immune system with supplements and eat healthy to try and keep the infections away. Hope you get some sleep. Good luck
1 person likes this
• Canada
31 Dec 06
Thanks as well! I will have a vapour bath tonight! I should have thought of that, but well... I'm not exactly thinking clearly today!
• United States
6 Jan 07
Whenever I am congested, I will try some of the following things, I don't have apnea, but the following may help some.. -chicken soup or really any soup that's seasoned with plenty onions, capsicum, chopped garlic.[preferrably select as many organically grown or raised items as possible] -avoid dairy products. -drink plenty water,organic green tea,limeade[hot or cold]. -a few drop of eucalyptus oil on your pillow case. -oh, and let's not forget the vitamin 'C' Try all of these, I hope they help...SS
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Dec 06
do you take a decongestant? You might want to talk to your reg doctor, or your sleep doctor. You might need an xray of your sinuses. I'm an asthmatic with sinus involvement, and sinuses can be a huge problem for some people. My hubby has a cpap machine. I swear he sleeps better without it, and sometimes he does sleep without it. I hope you feel better soon, and get this taken care of.
@pondlife (468)
30 Dec 06
Are these problems symptoms of something else? Sometimes sleep apnea is caused by weight problems and stuff isn't it? Must be terrible to live with. I'm a real grumpy so-and-so if I don't get enough sleep. My thoughts go out to you. www.AddAnImage.com
@riyasam (16571)
• India
30 Dec 06
i tryb giving turmeric milk to my child
1 person likes this
@weemam (13377)
5 Feb 07
Thank you for asking this question , A very dear friend of mine suffers from this and I can now tell her the tips and hints you get from others xx
@kelly60 (4548)
• United States
27 Jan 07
I don't have my C-pap yet but was hoping that it would help with some of the other sinus problems at night since it has the built in humidifer. It doesn't sound like that is the case.
@caribe (2465)
• United States
22 Jan 07
I also have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine. It has helped me tremendously. I understand what you mean about the congestion. When I am congested it is impossible to use the machine because I can't breathe through my nose so I try my best to never let it happen or at least, as little as possible. I usually use sudafed or something similar when I am congested. If I am having a lot of problems with congestion I try to sleep in my recliner. Sleeping in the recliner for me is quite difficult. I just can't seem to sleep if I am not in the bed. I have moved to a climate that is warm year round and that helps me somewhat with the problems of congestion, but I still occasionally have it. I have read all of your responses trying to get clues of anything more that I can do as well. Thank you for bringing up this subject for discussion.
• Philippines
30 Dec 06
What is acute congestion?