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Quality of sleep rather than quantity?

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  • Quality of sleep rather than quantity?

    Whether it's due to stress, too much light in my sleep environment, or some other factor, for years now I have never really been able to get more than six, sometimes seven hours of sleep a night. I have always needed about nine to feel rested.

    I have had diagnosed--and treated--sleep apnea for about four and a half years. I tend to think that, though my CPAP machine keeps my airway open at night, it somehow contributes to disrupted sleep by interfering with my body's innate breathing patterns.

    In addition, I am about five years and nine months into being post-menopausal. I understand that can contribute to disordered sleep. My doctor (a woman) has not promoted hormone replacement at all and the pros and cons are so confusing to me that I have not pursued that.

    At any rate, I am not getting enough sleep. Seriously, if I sit still anywhere and close my eyes for a few minutes, I start to fall asleep. It's not narcolepsy. If I keep my eyes open, I don't fall asleep.

    I have tried darkening my room and covering lights, going to bed early, sleeping late, taking melatonin and vitamins, listening to music, isochronic tones . . .

    Even if all conditions are optimal, these days I get six hours of sleep, more or less, no matter what I do. Last night, I went to bed at 10:30 and set my alarm for 6:30. This morning, my eyes popped open at 4:30.

    Assuming that, for now, that's all I can get, is it possible to make those six hours somehow very good hours of sleep so that I can have SOME relief?


    P.S. Can anyone recommend a sleep mask that is not flimsy and actually blocks light?
    Last edited by entwyf; 07-11-2011, 03:00 AM.

  • #2
    This is the kind of mask I use: Dream Zone- Earth Therapeutics Sleep Mask, 1ct: Beauty
    I also usually wear earplugs.

    Have you tried going back to sleep after you wake up for the first time? A year or so ago, I started waking up EVERY night after about 4-5 hours of sleep, but I usually went back to sleep within 20 minutes (now it's closer to 5 or less). This worried me a good bit at first, but then I read this blog post: What is Biphasic Sleep? | Mark's Daily Apple

    Worrying about waking in the night drained some of my energy and made me think that I wasn't getting enough restful sleep when I really was (most nights).


    • #3
      It could be hormones, or the CPAP setting.

      I've had a CPAP about 15 years. About a year ago, I was waking up at 4:30/5:30 every night too. I started going to bed early, but it just shifted the time to wake up early too. By the end of a week of this, I would be waking at 1 or 2.

      I told my thyroid/hormone doc about it and he said to try taking progesterone at night before bed, in addition to melatonin. I'm a guy, but guys need a small amount too. My doc said he got this tip from a Dutch colleague.

      This totally worked, and now I have to be careful to not oversleep.

      The progesterone says HMG-Progesterone on the bottle. It's a pill form from a dispensary, 50 mg.

      I also had a sleep study done in Feb and got a new machine with less pressure. My apnea got better since the first time, but it didnt go away. This didn't change the length of sleep.