Waking up throughout the night can be one of the first warning signs that people with undiagnosed sleep apnea experience. However, once you start CPAP therapy, it can be hard to adjust to sleeping with a mask, and you may find that you are still waking up at night. If you feel uncomfortable, you may be tempted to take off your mask, but this is something that you should never do. Not only is this dangerous, but it’s important to push through the adjustment period so you get used to your new routine.
Here are three techniques to try if you wake up and struggle to fall back asleep.
The 4-7-8 breathing method
Doing a few rounds of this breathing pattern when you’re lying awake in bed can help to calm the nervous system and send you back off to sleep.
– Position the tip of your tongue behind your top front teeth. Exhale completely through your mouth.
– With your mouth closed, inhale through your nose to the count of four.
– Hold your breath and mentally count to seven.
– Open your mouth and exhale slowly to the count of eight.
– Repeat, doing at least three full rounds.
Get up and change your focus
It might sound counterintuitive, but one method for getting back to sleep is to get up. This is because our minds tend to spiral out of control when we are lying awake at night, making the situation worse as we worry about not being able to fall asleep. Get up and do something relaxing until you feel tired again, then go back to bed. For example, try some bedtime yoga asanas or sit on your sofa and listen to a recorded sleep meditation. You could also make a cup of chamomile tea and drink it slowly, as you read a book. Never watch TV or do anything that involves looking at a screen, as this could keep you awake for longer.
Try a sleep-inducing snack
If you wake up at night and you feel hungry, it could be a result of hypoglycemia. Try eating something light and rich in the amino acid tryptophan, such as a glass of warm milk or a banana. Or try a small bowl of warm oatmeal (without added sugar). Oats are a source of melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. While you are preparing your snack and eating it, try to keep the lights dimmed and your phone on sleep or aeroplane mode.
To find out more about sleep apnea or CPAP therapy, contact us at ApneaSeal today.