CPAP 101: Expert Tips For Getting Started with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machines

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adjustments rather than the workings of the equipment itself.

What should I do if I am still tired or sleepy despite using my CPAP nightly?

The short answer here is that it is important to make an appointment to see your sleep doctor and go over the possible explanations. Persistent sleepiness may occur in a small percentage of patients with sleep apnea despite nightly use of the device for at least 7 hours. If sleepiness has not resolved after you have been fully adapted to the device for 4 to 6 weeks, then there are several possible explanations:

  • You may need more pressure. Speak to your healthcare professional about this. If changing the pressure is not helpful and other causes are ruled out, then a return to the sleep lab to confirm that your equipment is adequately managing the apnea is sometimes necessary.
  • If you have had longstanding severe sleep apnea , especially when there have been significant episodes of low oxygen levels at night, you may have a subtle injury to the brain’s alerting pathways that may take a much longer time to improve. The use of a wake-promoting agent to enhance daytime alertness may be indicated. These symptoms should be discussed with your sleep specialist. Daytime Multiple Sleep Latency Testing (MSLT) can be obtained to assess the extent of sleepiness and the need for intervention with medication.
  • You just might not be allocating enough time for sleep. CPAP will not make you feel great in the morning if you are getting less than the necessary 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night! CPAP does not substitute for adequate sleep.
  • Some individuals with obstructive sleep apnea may also have other underlying medical conditions. If an increase in CPAP pressure has not been helpful then further workup with a daytime Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) to assess the severity of your sleepiness may be helpful.
  • Other medical conditions may be present, such as thyroid dysfunction, thus a good check up with your primary care doctor is always helpful.
  • Depression can be a fairly common problem in patients with obstructive