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Near-permanent low energy and unhappy/angry

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  • Near-permanent low energy and unhappy/angry

    Hi all !

    I've been using a ResMed S9 auto (and a Philips DreamStation before that) for the last 3 years. Although I've been diagnosed with "mild" sleep apnea, I would class the effect it previously had on my general mood as severe.

    Before my apnea properly kicked in about 8 years back, I was a happy, super-chilled out person, but gradually progressed into somebody so confused that I couldn't make decisions between two simple choices, became introvert as I didn't want to talk to people, and was so irritable and angry that I frequently punched walls and shouted at people. While I was constantly knackered and wanting to sit or lie down, I was never so drowsy that I fell asleep any other time than my normal bedtime. Using a CPAP instantly put an end to all of this and I mostly got my life back, but there's still an issue.

    While using the CPAP up until now, I'd been fine 6 out of 7 days, while approximately 1 day per week I was ratty and irrational with a constant cloudy, semi-confused feeling. Basically for one day a week, I had reverted back to my non-CPAP state, but to a lesser degree. Unfortunately, this is progressing and has taken a downturn in the last month, with me now feeling this way about 5 out of 7 days.

    During my quest to find a cause for this, I've discovered that my body temperature at night was hugely affecting my daytime moods. As a result, I switched our gel mattress for a pure cotton version, have been using a 1.0 tog duvet and have had a 2.5kW wall mounted air-conditioning unit installed in our bedroom which is able to heat or cool the temperature to keep it at a fixed 21 degrees C all night. All of these things helped a lot and my good/happy moods became more consistent, but have since nosedived.

    The one observation I've noticed is that since my condition has suddenly got worse again, I'm waking up with aches in my lower back. I've also noticed that I'm sometimes falling asleep and/or waking up lying on my front, rather than my back as normal. When I do so, my machine has ramped up the pressure to 12 ish, whereas normally it'd be 6 to 8 or less still. If I wake up on my back or side, the pressure is much lower. My AHI is still 1.5 or less, even when I wake up to a high pressure.

    Interestingly, my father-in-law has sleep apnea and recently found that his normal AHI of 5 or above dropped to 1.0 the night he started using thin strips of surgical dressing tape to stick is lips together at night, forcing himself to breathe through his nose. On his recommendation, I did the same thing a couple of weeks ago and woke up, after 8 hours uninterrupted sleep, busting for the loo (a sign I've had a bad night's sleep) and so tired that I was falling asleep while getting ready for work. I ended up calling in sick and going back to sleep til 1pm, which I've never done before. It seems that the airflow through my nose alone must be insufficient, so maybe this is a clue.

    The NHS refuse to help me as I have a CPAP which is consistently registering an AHI of 1.2 to 1.5. My GP says there's no further help available and that the NHS does not have such a thing as a specialist sleep clinic that can go any further than resolving the initial respiratory issue.

    At present, I'm starting to fall out with my partner of over 8 years, who I have a 4 year old boy with. She knows full well my sleep influences my mood, but says I'm becoming difficult to manage. I also feel this illness has robbed me of my happiness. I've been through 6 - 12 month bouts of depression in the past, so I recognise the symptoms and can confirm I'm not currently in one. Weds and Thurs this week, I was in a great mood, of which on Wednesday I was so incredibly chilled out and happy with life - I felt amazing and so significantly different to today and the Tuesday before.

    I have no doubt that I'm missing something sleep related, but I can't figure it out.

    Does anybody know of a sleep clinic with a bonafide specialist in sleep sciences (professor, PHD Dr, etc.) which I can speak to for an assessment. Alternatively, does anybody know of a device I can buy or hire that I can use to monitor various signals during sleep (while on the CPAP) over the course of a week or two? I have no problem researching and learning the science behind each instrument, so not a problem for me to do this myself if that's the best method. I do need to gather data over at least 7 days, as sods law says if I do it for a day or two, they'll both be good days for me and I'll get nothing useful.

    Any help or pointers would be hugely appreciated, as I really want my life back.



  • #2
    Hi Andy,

    Thank you for your post.

    We would suggest having a look at the following sleep clinic to see if either of them would be suitable for you.

    1. The London Sleep Centre -
    2. ENT 150 -

    Please let us know how you get on.