What They Didn’t Tell Me About Using a CPAP Machine

Today marks two months of using my CPAP machine to treat obstructive sleep apnea.

When I got my machine, I read some of the info and tutorials on the website. They listed some of the benefits people might experience:

If you have a good mask seal and have been using your therapy equipment consistently, you should be feeling the benefits. By starting and sticking with therapy for your sleep apnea, you could be on the way to better sleep and better relationships. You may also find you feel more energized, which can help with motivation to start exercising……….

Other benefits of sleep apnea therapy can include reducing morning headaches, forgetfulness, poor concentration and tiredness.

I noticed some differences right away, and continued to see improvements over the next couple months. Here is what they didn’t tell me – how all these improvements would impact my life.

They didn’t tell me how treating my sleep apnea would help my family, too.

You know that feeling you get when you have chores to do, and it is late at night and you are tired, so you tell yourself “fuck it; I’ll leave it for tomorrow / leave it for my spouse?”

Well, I used to feel like that all the time, it turns out. Now that I no longer feel like that all the time, I am noticing just how much I used to feel like that, and didn’t realize it wasn’t normal. I always noticed that other people seemed to be more productive than I was, and I thought I was just inherently lazy or unmotivated.

Now, it turns out that I am feeling like that less than I used to. I’m getting more done, which takes some of the pressure off my husband and makes our house feel more calm.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect. If I stay up binge watching shows on Netflix, I do feel it the next day. But I feel it FAR less severely than I used to.

They didn’t tell me that treating my sleep apnea would improve my focus, stamina and productivity at work.

I’m now able to focus for longer periods of time again. Before I started treatment, I did have poor concentration at work, but I thought it was only because I had a small child at home. Now, I notice more focus, even at the end of the day, and more motivation to cross more items off my to-do list instead of leaving them for the next day. Just like at home, there is less of a sense of “fuck it, I’ll just leave it for tomorrow.”

They didn’t tell me that treating my sleep apnea would make me a better parent.

I have more stamina and mental energy to engage with my kid. I can get through the day without feeling like I need a nap, which is great, because my kid has pretty much dropped his.

I used to need to sit on the couch and rest more often during the day. Now, it is less often. Recently my mom came to visit, and commented on how I did a LOT more in a day than when she used to come visit before.

They didn’t tell me that it would improve my recovery from exercise.

Isn’t it interesting how they say, “you may also find you feel more energized, which can help with motivation to START exercising?” I find it to be an interesting assumption that the typical sleep apnea patient is not yet exercising. It may be true; I’m not sure. In my own case though, I had already been doing movement that I really enjoy….I just didn’t seem to be able to tolerate much intensity or load. It took my muscles a LONG time to recover.

Now, I am still exercising, and my muscles recover a lot more quickly, which leaves me with energy to do other things, too. Now, exercise doesn’t have to push other things out of my life.  I don’t have to choose between exercising and getting everything else done.

They didn’t tell me how different I would look.

I know that looks don’t affect function, but I sure am enjoying when people tell me how rested and refreshed I look.

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Here I am after doing two loads of dishes and some laundry this morning!

Happy two month-iversary to me and Sam, my CPAP machine!

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2 thoughts on “What They Didn’t Tell Me About Using a CPAP Machine

  1. Loving your blog. After 10 years on the CPAP, I read that it is associated with weight gain, which speaks to unknown effects. I also worry about atrophy of inhalation breathing muscles. However, I can’t sleep at all without it and have not found alternatives. I do function better, there just is no question, but I would like to understand these mysterious effects better.

    On Sun, Apr 17, 2016 at 12:15 PM, Power, Peace, and the Porch Gym wrote:

    > Bethany posted: “Today marks two months of using my CPAP machine to treat > obstructive sleep apnea. When I got my machine, I read some of the info and > tutorials on the website. They listed some of the benefits people might > experience: If you have a good mask seal and h” >

    Like

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