When was the last time you woke up and felt rested? energized? restored?
For me, it’s been so long that I honestly could not tell you. All I can say for certain is that it has been several years. I sleep at night because it is necessary not because I expect that it will help me feel refreshed to tackle the next day. Even worse than not waking up refreshed is waking up exhausted and with terrible headaches.
There is not a day when I don’t battle the fatigue and sleepiness that has resulted from my lack of truly restful sleep. The sleepiness has gotten so bad that I relished commuting to school/work, 45 minutes each way because it meant built in rest into my day (even if it wouldn’t help me feel better). On the weekends, I awake only to find myself nodding off again within an hour then by 2 pm the overwhelming need for a nap hits me again.
Don’t be fooled, though. I do not mean to say that I feel drained in the early mornings and then again in the afternoon. I am fighting the sleepiness every moment I am awake. There are just times when that sleepiness is so profound that I am unable to resist it.
At these moments, my head and body often feel heavy as if I’m dragging extra weight. Keeping my eyes open is a battle because it can be painful to keep them open.
Sleep disturbances are commonly observed with fibromyalgia, and there is plenty of evidence to show that poor sleep increases pain levels. Although I had gotten a sleep study done a few years back which the doctor’s said showed no explanation, I have felt determined to tackle this issue.
This time, I started with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist since I know, from my husband’s numerous testimonies, that I snore very loudly. After the (always too short) examination, the doctor thought that using a nasal spray for a few weeks would help open up my airway and lessen the snoring. That was an experiment, however, was a complete bust.
The doctor was curious to see if I could potentially have sleep apnea, so she had also ordered a sleep study. I was a little leery of getting a sleep study again since the previous one showed nothing. Let’s face it, the fact that almost every test they’ve ever thrown at me shows nothing out of the ordinary makes me never want to get any tests. However, I relented and figured it was worth a shot.
A few weeks ago I went to the sleep clinic for my study. It was just as annoying as I remember the previous one being. You get hooked up to a million wires that are meant to record eye movement, leg movement, pulse, oxygen, brain waves, etc.
I’m not entirely sure how but I managed to get some sleep during the night. However, much like every other night, it wasn’t restful. All the technician would tell me is that I definitely snored but I would have to wait for the results to get further analysis.
In the meantime, I got myself a referral to a local sleep specialist. My hope was that if the ENT was a dead end then maybe this specialist could help with some sleep hygiene practices. Without seeing my sleep study results, the specialist couldn’t be 100% sure but he was willing to bet money that my study would show sleep apnea.
Two days ago, I got a call from my sleep specialist and he was happy to report that my results did show moderate sleep apnea. It may seem strange to say this is a happy thing but I’ve already discussed why I’ve come to appreciate abnormal test results.
What does mean moving forward? Well, I need to go back to the sleep clinic to get fitted for a CPAP machine. The machine will help keep my airway open and allow me to get deeper sleep. After my fitting, I will need to use the machine for about a month then go back for the sleep specialist to see if it is indeed working properly.
I’m not sure how long it will take for the excessive daytime sleepiness to fade after starting the CPAP but I’m hopeful that it will get better with time. Fingers crossed, it may even go away completely. Wish me luck!