a woman napping on a couch

CPAP and Naps

Last updated: May 2023

I am now 3 months in to using my CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine every night and I still wake up tired – not groggy, but just tired. If I’m sitting out on the couch it is super easy for me to fall asleep. My assumption was that this tired feeling would pass with continual use of my machine. My doctor has looked at other factors with my anemia. We’ve scheduled IV iron set up. However, I’m still struggling with being tired all the time, and needed a balance with my CPAP and naps.

CPAP and naps

In my head, a nap is quick and it didn’t make sense to walk all the way up the stairs and put my mask on for a few minutes for even an hour-long nap. It was wrong for me. However, I was able to feel the difference after continual use of my CPAP and realized that I need my CPAP for naps.
Somedays a nap is not avoidable and sometimes I fall asleep in the car, on the couch; or anywhere I’m sitting for longer than 20 minutes, I fall asleep before I know it.

However, I’ve noticed that after a nap I feel worse than when I laid down. I have pain and numbness in my face and feel overall worse that I did before. I figured a nap wouldn’t hurt for a few minutes here or there, but I could feel the effects on my body.

After talking to my doctor, he stressed the importance of no matter how short or long the nap is, that I need to use my machine. After weighing out my options I figured that overall naps weren’t helping and causing me harm, so I had to find way to avoid naps whenever possible.

Tips for CPAP and naps

While looking at my health map, I noticed that my insomnia was worse on days that I napped. I started also noticing that a lot of my headaches and migraines were tied to my naps as well. With a few minutes of sleep, I was 33% more likely to wake up with a migraine from a nap.

Exercising to avoid naps

So, knowing that the best option was to use my CPAP or not nap, I started to find ways to keep myself up when I felt tired. When I would feel myself start to get sleepy, I would get up and walk around, or use my pedal bike for 2-3 minutes. This would get my heart pumping and the urge for a nap would decrease.

Caffeine to avoid naps

Another thing that helps me avoid naps is Raspberry Passion Perfect Energy tea. It has caffeine and has been a good alternative as I stop drinking soda to help with daytime sleepiness.

Balancing daytime activities with nighttime CPAP

Naps can be good and energizing for some but overall, naps without my CPAP were causing more harm than good. This led to me attempting to cut out naps in general. It feels like daytime sleepiness and fatigue feels like it comes hand and hand with sleep apnea. Working on my iron and fibromyalgia, eliminating naps, and treating daytime sleepiness and fatigue have been the best course of action for me.

Have you ever struggled with daytime sleepiness? If so, what tips and tricks can you share that have helped you?

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