Turns out I have mild to moderate sleep apnoea. I wake up an average of 14.5 times per hour (22.7 during REM sleep) because I am not getting enough air. Every four minutes. Actually, the report said that the study didn't have any time with me lying on my back (I think I was lying very still most of the time, aware of all the equipment strapped to me) and that's when most occurrences of sleep apnoea occur, so if I lie on my back sometimes on other nights my incidence of stopping breathing might be higher. Looking at the chart was really interesting, when I am awake my breathing is smooth waves of in and out, once I am asleep they are low jagged rocks and sometimes almost flat lines.
We discussed options and I decided to try the CPAP machine, I get to hire it for five weeks to see how it goes before I buy one. When the technician was programming it for me she asked how long it takes me to fall asleep and I said about an hour. She seemed very surprised that it took so long but I have been that way all my life and my ten year old daughter is the same. We checked the sleep study and it said 63 minutes on that night. I consider an hour pretty good, there have been times in my life when it has been much worse than that. I just don't know how to go to sleep. I don't understand how my husband can get into bed an go to sleep straight away. How do you do that?
So I tried the CPAP last night. It is super-quiet, quite comfortable with soft little bubbles of plastic sitting just inside my nostrils (I was expecting a whole face mask but it only goes over my nose, with a strap around the back of my head) and the pressure of air up my nose wasn't too bad at all.
What was bad was if I opened my mouth. The air is going up my nose constantly (when I breathe out through my nose that air is diverted out away from the air tube) so when I open my mouth the air rushes down the back of my throat and out my mouth which feels very odd. But much worse is if I go to breathe in through my mouth, that has competition from the air trying to flow out my mouth from my nose. And it feels like I can't get a breath at all. It causes a moment of suffocation panic. I can still breathe but it feels like I can't and it is horrible. I have to remember not to keep gasping for air, but to close my mouth and breathe steadily through my nose.
I went to sleep fairly easily but at 2am I woke to go to the toilet and decided not to put the CPAP back on. The sleep doctor had suggested taking a few nights to get used to it, and I wanted a break and to able to move around more easily. And my mouth was really dry which I blamed on the CPAP but now I think it wasn't that because I had the dry mouth all night without the CPAP. A few hours later, after little sleep and a nasty headache, I tried to put it back on but it was tricky to get right in the dark and my dopey state so I gave up. So I am very tired again today. The technician did tell me not to take it off when I went to the toilet, she said to unplug the mask from the machine and take it with me, but I thought that was silly as it seemed so easy to take on and off. Silly me. Actually the tubing is probably long enough that I could get into the ensuite without even unplugging it!
So there you go. First night partial success. I was a bit overly optimistic about how quickly it would change my life. It will take a bit of getting used to.
I am feeling very motivated to lose some weight so I don't have to wear it forever. About 85% of people are helped by losing weight, apparently.
The last few days my eating has been atrocious. Fat, salt, lots of everything. Partly influenced by PMS, but also a kind of procrastinating optimism - I won't be so tired soon and it will be so much easier to be motivated after I get my magic CPAP machine ...
My weight is up to 83.8 this morning. Awful. Probably lots of water retention with the bucketloads of salt plus PMS. Concentrating today on drinking lots of water to flush it out, and eating fresh fruit and vegetables.