What to do if you just can’t sleep due to sleep apnea

Sleepless nights are a common symptom of sleep apnea, particularly if you are newly diagnosed and getting used to a treatment regime. If you find yourself wide awake in the early hours of the morning, you may start to feel stressed and frustrated, counting down the hours until you have to face the day.

Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can try to drift back to sleep and make the coming day much more bearable. These include:

1. Focus on your breath

Breathing deeply whilst thinking about something meditative such as a calm beach will help to mitigate your feelings of stress. Remember to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth to bring your heart rate down and to relax your muscles.

2. Take any necessary medication for ailments other than sleep apnea

If you’ve been woken up by some kind of physical ailment such as heartburn or a headache, don’t be afraid to get up and remedy the situation. Popping an antacid or painkiller should resolve the situation and make sleep much more manageable.

3. Read a book

When you just can’t sleep, you may start to worry about how much time you are whiling away in bed doing absolutely nothing. Picking up a book for a few minutes should help to remedy these feelings and will help to increase feelings of sleepiness. Just make sure you don’t start reading anything too riveting as you may not want to put the book down!

4. Avoid looking at the time

Time-checking is one of the worst things you can do during a sleepless night as it will only remind you of how little time you have left to sleep. This will increase feelings of stress and diminish your chances of drifting off.

5. Remind yourself that you will be able to cope tomorrow

Most people are able to function on a night of little to no sleep. You may find the day a little more difficult and will be desperate for an early night, but you should be able to get stuff done. Reminding yourself of this fact is a great way to relieve worry during the night and could actually increase your chances of experiencing quality sleep! Of course, when your sleeplessness is chronic, your functionality is likely to be impacted and you will need to seek medical intervention.

Photo: 16:03 by marksdk licensed under Creative commons 5