Consider for a moment the Four Big P's: Pain, Personal, Physical, and Pills.
- Pain, including very mild discomfort, is a common issue in getting a good night's sleep. Sleeping on a good mattress in a properly ventilated temperature-controlled room while keeping feet warm can make a huge difference for some, whenever that is possible. Using earplugs and an eye mask can keep the room feeling comfortably quiet and dark even when it really isn't. Of course, the effects of major pain may not be as easy to solve as such slight discomforts, but knowing that the tweaking of pressures may not be the key factor to cleaning up the home sleep report can at least save some frustration chasing the, uh, wind, when wind isn't the real issue--assuming that obstruction is being prevented in a way that does not cause other problems during sleep.
- Personal relationship problems, especially when our feelings have been hurt, seem to have even more of an effect on sleep than, for example, financial worries or anxieties about our health or the health of our loved ones. We can't solve all issues of personal conflict, but we can still do all we can so that we can try to find contentment in what we have done to put it behind us. Replaying the past can get us caught in a loop, if we aren't careful. Keeping our conscience clear about what we personally have done to fix things, or at least not to make them worse, may not solve everything, but doing our part is still worth it in the pursuit of good sleep, among other things.
- Physical activity, especially early in the morning and outdoors, can do wonders for sleep that night. Getting sweaty and winded for an hour or so, if safe to do so, can pay off in multiple ways. Perhaps that wasn't possible when our OSA was severe. Could it be possible now? Having to get up early to walk to the barn to milk the cows may have been more of a blessing than a curse of the old days. And people today who go for a morning run may not be doing it just because they find it fun and invigorating--they may just enjoy how much better life works when they do it, considering how much better their sleep gets over time. Walking at a good pace can do as much good as running. Try it for a few weeks, if you haven't already.
- Pills are, for many of us, a part of life now. But which pills and when they are taken can make a big difference in our sleep. Is your doctor aware how some of the pills you take may be affecting your sleep? Is he or she willing to work with you on tweaking which med you take and when, to see if that improves things for you? Switching to a different med or taking a med at a different time may accomplish a lot. Even common substances, such as caffeine and alcohol, can wreak havoc on sleep for those particularly sensitive to them. Might it be worth it to try coming completely off them for a few weeks to see how much that improves your sleep? Only you know the answer. If there is no improvement, they will still be available, right?
What tweaks to your life beyond optimizing PAP pressures have had the most effects on your sleep? What did I get wrong above? Feel free to comment below. Anything should be on-topic for this!
Sleep well, friends.