a person asleep in their bed which is slightly illuminated from the tv and their CPAP sits on their nightstand while their phone alarm is going off to wake them up

Nighttime Routines

If you are like me, you are someone who enjoys routines. Before my sleep apnea diagnosis, I was someone who always watched TV in bed before I fell asleep. Most nights, I would fall asleep with the TV on. Sometimes the TV would wake me in the middle of the night. Other times I would wake up in the morning with it still on.

Routine, interrupted

Once I committed myself to using CPAP every night, it interrupted my routine of watching TV until I fell asleep. Wearing a CPAP mask and trying to watch TV is frustrating.

First, the air blowing up your nose makes it difficult to hear the TV at a lower volume. This isn't an issue if you live alone. However, if you share a residence and someone is trying to sleep in the next room, it can present an issue. Unfortunately, most masks will block some of your view, especially if you are lying down.

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My old routine was causing me to lose CPAP benefits

When I started out, I would watch TV until I felt tired. However, this plan doesn't always work out. There were times I would fall asleep before I felt like I was falling asleep. If I were lucky, I'd wake up after a few hours, grab my mask, and start my CPAP. 

Unfortunately, there were nights when I didn't wake up until my alarm went off in the morning. For those of us who are accustomed to the benefits of CPAP, we all know that feeling of missing out on a night of sleep without apneas. For me, it was horrible. I would lie in bed and get mad at myself for not wearing my CPAP mask.

Then I had a great idea

Then I came up with an idea. There was a way to watch TV and make sure I didn't fall asleep without my CPAP mask. Set an alarm. I would set an alarm for 11:30 PM. If I fell asleep before then, I would be awoken by my alarm so that I could shut the TV off and make sure I had my CPAP on. If the feeling of sleep happened before 11:30, I would turn off my alarm after getting my CPAP on. This scenario worked for me for many years.

Don't let a change in routine lead to giving up on CPAP

For those starting out on CPAP therapy, that change alone can be difficult. Giving up your nighttime routines can make you want to give up on using CPAP. This is never a good thing. Never give up. Trust me on this – once you get used to it, you will never look back.

Trying to use CPAP when you are not feeling tired can cause some frustration. So try my method if you are someone who enjoys watching TV or even reading. Start setting yourself a nighttime alarm to wake you up before you miss a whole night's sleep without CPAP.

Adapting my routine over the years

Over the years, I have adjusted my nighttime routine. Watching TV until I fall asleep is no longer my norm. I started doing some meditation at night for about 10 or 15 minutes. After that, it's mask on and I am usually asleep within minutes. I have found that I sleep better if I don't watch TV or stare at my phone for an hour before I want to go to sleep.

I'll be curious to hear about your nighttime routines that have helped you sleep better.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The SleepApnea.Sleep-Disorders.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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