How to sleep while waiting?
May 29, 2013 11:15 AM   Subscribe

I got my sleep study results today. Yippee! My doctor can't see me for over two weeks, how am I supposed to get anything done until then?

Sleep study results: ~26 apneas/hour, when using CPAP (the loaner for the home study) that's reduced to ~4/hour.

I had no problem sleeping with the device while I had it.

At the moment, I'm a mess - constantly fatigued, horrible ER-visit-inducing asthma, trouble concentrating, irritable, etc.

I want that machine, and I want it now. Unfortunately, the doctor's office is adamant that even with the results, he can't write the script for the machine until he sees me in over two weeks.

Any advice for how to function until I can get my own CPAP?
posted by colin_l to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've also had a very long wait for treatment. For now, I find that there's a few particular positions I can sleep in that result in me almost always waking up refreshed.

In particular, sleeping flat on my stomach, with my head kind of pointing upwards on a very thin pillow or blanket. Sometimes having a thin pillow under my chest feels helpful as well.

Side sleeping can work, but it requires more pillows/setup and I find that I often stir into a position that is less good.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 11:34 AM on May 29, 2013

Ugh that sucks. First, call your doctor's office and get on a cancellation list for appointments (so they'll call you if someone cancels and a spot opens up). Or if they don't do that, call every morning and ask if there have been any cancellations.

And then unfortunately, you'll just have to do what you've been doing, which is suffer with shitty sleep. 2 weeks isn't long enough to like find a new doctor or make any sea changes to what's been going on, but I'm sure other people will come in with small changes you can make (on preview -- yup there's one), and know that relief will come soon, hooray!
posted by brainmouse at 11:36 AM on May 29, 2013

Currently going through something similar (still waiting on my sleep study though). Sleeping on my side has helped some, though I naturally flop onto my back while sleeping.

A friend swears by wearing shorts to bed and putting a golf ball in each of the back pockets to prevent from rolling onto my back, but I can't vouch firsthand for the effectiveness of this.
posted by duffell at 11:41 AM on May 29, 2013

Best answer: I feel your pain - I had to wait two weeks from study to CPAP as well. I have severe sleep apnea and the CPAP has made a world of difference. And knowing what good sleep was like (when I was titrated in the lab) it was worse suffering through poor sleep while waiting.

What helped me somewhat:

- Wearing a Breathe Right strip to bed

- Making sure my nasal passages were clear (Flonase, neti pot, etc.)

- Putting an air purifier in my bedroom

Basically, you want to keep your room as allergen-free and your nasal passages as clear as possible.

You can try sleeping on your side or stomach and see if that helps. I can't sleep on my stomach and still have apnea on my side, but YMMV - slde or stomach sleeping does help some people.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:12 PM on May 29, 2013

I'd camp out in his office and wait until he can see you. Someone will cancel sooner than 2 weeks.
posted by 3491again at 12:15 PM on May 29, 2013

I am not sure whether these are still on the market, but you may be able to find an over-the-counter dental device at a pharmacy which tries to keep your chin/jaw pulled forward compared to its normal position. This is thought to reduce the likelihood of airway collapse during sleep apnea.

I think there may have been some question as to whether this is a good idea to use long-term, but it seems like it might be a good option for two weeks.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 12:26 PM on May 29, 2013

Best answer: I have been in the same situation -- the awkward gap between learning that you have sleep apnea (and, thus, can be treated) and getting said treatment.

I bought a "wedge pillow" (look on Amazon or at a local health supplies store) to keep my head more elevated compared to the rest of my body. I just put my regular pillow on top of it. I still use it, even with my CPAP. As a bonus, I have had far less heartburn since then, as wedge pillows are also good for acid reflux.
posted by dhens at 1:10 PM on May 29, 2013

You can also raise the head of your bed by putting two or three large books underneath your mattress. Textbooks are ideal for this but any book will do as long as it's at least ~1.5" thick. It may not help much but it definitely makes a difference and it's a quick fix.
posted by fox problems at 1:53 PM on May 29, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks all. Sleeping more prone has definitely seemed to help.
posted by colin_l at 6:57 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

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