Why Am I So Tired In The Morning

I do not want to work out this morning. Period. End of Story. I want to pull the covers back over my head, reset my alarm clock for one more hour of precious sleep. Within 30 seconds I can come up with 14 excuses as to why I don’t need to, why I shouldn’t, and why I am better off staying in bed. For a second, I think I may have missed my calling as a trial lawyer. Why am I so tired? Is it the cooler weather? Shorter daylight hours? Am I just getting old? Oh, I’ve got it. I haven’t used that CPAP machine in a week and even though I am “sleeping” for 8 hours, I haven’t slept for 8 hours.

Daytime Sleepiness and Fatigue

Undiagnosed people have a great excuse; they’re undiagnosed. But, for those of us who know we need to use CPAP to maintain a healthy night’s sleep there is no excuse. The “Do as I say; not as I do” does not ring true here. It is a fact that discontinued use or sporadic use of CPAP will result in the return of symptoms that lead you to have the test done in the first place. National compliance puts CPAP users around 50-55% adherent to therapy, meaning around half the people that are diagnosed and given a CPAP are successfully using it. Guess what happens if it shows you’re not using it enough in the first 3 months and you used your insurance to pay for it?? The company that set you up on the device can take it back and label you NON COMPLIANT. Besides saving you a ton of money on the CPAP machine, masks, and supplies, shopping at 1800CPAP.com means you control the timeline in which you can adapt to using CPAP.

Anyways, that’s a topic for another day; let’s get this back on track.

Adjust Your Attitude or Your CPAP Pressure

Have you ever had an interaction with a person who claimed they just weren’t a morning person? I hear people say that all the time and somehow we just excuse whatever foul up, blunder, mistake, rudeness or utter lack of focus and attention to just “Oh well, he’s just not a morning person”. I’m done letting people get off that easy. Wake up people, figuratively and literally, just wake up. There is a reason for this morning lethargy and sleep apnea just may be that dirty culprit behind it all.

I and my fellow sleep technicians have spent many years graciously smiling and being sympathetic to cranky and tired people that we met in the sleep lab all because we know that these people are moody, irritable, sleep deprived , and probably haven’t had a good night’s sleep in years as a result of undiagnosed sleep apnea. I would put the odds at 4 to 1 that they are only there because of:

  • 1.) My wife made me do it.
  • 2.) My doctor made me do it.
  • 3.) My job made me do it.
  • 4.) My husband did it. Loves his CPAP. Now says my snoring is keeping him awake.
  • 5.) Camping or travel buddies make them get their own hotel room or tent because no one can stand to hear them snore.

I Use My CPAP Every Night but I Still Wake Up Tired

We hear this one all the time so let me just list some possible reasons and see if you fall into this category.

  • 1.) You haven’t had a sleep study reevaluation in a number of years and you are using a fixed pressure CPAP machine (a standard CPAP that only blow out 1 pressure setting after it has ramped up). Odds are you need a pressure change, most likely an increase. Weight changes and aging play a role in the need for more CPAP pressure.
  • 2.) You are only wearing your machine a portion of time you are sleeping. Let’s do the math. If your sleep study said you quit breathing 400 times during your 8 hour sleep study and you are using your CPAP for only 4 hours per night then you are still having 200 apneas during the night. If you broke both arms, you wouldn’t only get a cast for one of them. Use the CPAP whenever you sleep.
  • 3.) Your mouth breathing. All of the air that is going from your CPAP machine to your mask and into your nasal passage is escaping through your mouth and not providing the splint in your airway to eliminate your apnea. Get a Full Face CPAP mask or a CPAP mask chin strap if you continue to use a nasal or nasal pillow mask.
  • 4.) Your CPAP mask is leaking. The silicone cushion for the CPAP mask is meant to be cleaned daily to remove facial oil build up and it is recommended to replace it every 3-6 months. If too much air is leaking, you are not getting the intended delivered pressure to keep the airway open.
  • 5.) Your machine needs repaired or recalibrated to blow out the intended pressure. CPAP machines do need serviced and it is recommended to make sure it is blowing out the correct pressures over time.
  • 6.) There may be another underlying sleep disorder. You may not be getting the fully amount of required sleep your body needs (7.5-8.5 hours).

Tune in next week when we address the ugly ramifications of the local DME company that wants to take your CPAP machine away if you’re not using it enough.