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Why do I fall asleep, uncontrollably and my hands/arms go numb!

Sep 23, 2008 - 3 comments



Sleep disorders


Can't stay awake

I was diagnosed with Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea about a year and a half ago.  I was falling asleep driving to work in the morning, even after a full 8 or 9 hours of sleep.  I went to a sleep lab, and in the first four hours of the test I had 187 obstructive apnea's....they put me on a cpap for the remaining 4 hours of the test, and I immediately fell into REM sleep.  Back at that time, I was prescribed a cpap machine (nose mask) and immediately felt better.  I was able to continue working and had energy levels similiar to those prior to the apnea.  Now a year and a half later, I found that I was falling asleep in the afternoon while working at home.  I'm a computer programmer with a home office.  Mid afternoon I would have to fight to stay awake, and eventually the sleep would win...I'd fall asleep for 1/2 hour to 1 hour or so....sitting upright in my office chair with arms at my sides.   When I awake, my arms and hands are completely numb and they have fallen asleep too.....I went back to the doctor, and the sleep lab sent me home with a cpap that would adjust its pressure based upon my need, and record the events for 3 nights.  After this test they increased my cpap pressure from an 8 to 13.  I was also prescribed Provigil to help with my energy level.  This worked fine for awhile but I am still finding that once or twice a week, I have the 'sleep issue' during an afternoon.  It is so frustrating as I have absolutely no control over it at all.  And it is so odd, because just an hour or so before it happens, I will be fine with no indication that the 'uncontrollable nap' is about to occur.    
I require focus and alertness to perform my job - complex computer code and coordination of changes....I am also a mother of 3 very, very active teens (20, 17 and 15), a wife, home maker....I assist as a care giver to my mom that is in mid stage alzheimers, care giver to our pets.....and am always seeking time to paint, animate or be creative is some way -

I NEED TO BOOST MY ENERGY!  Eliminate this sleeping issue, and ensure that I don't have any medical problems (besides apnea) that may be causing these symptoms......Worried about cardiac issues, or other neurological issues.....

Advice is appreciated....I will be going back to the doctor asap....but just wanted to see if anyone out there has had a similiar experience and may be able to suggest a treatment, or dietary supplement that can improve my health.

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Avatar universal
by sleepfrog, Dec 21, 2009
Maybe you breathe through your mouth.  Then you the nose mask doesn't do you as much good...try switching to a nose/mouth mask.   I have extreme sleep apnea 156 events per hour--and breathe through my mouth at night.  I had new-found energy after the first night on the CPAP (I'm at 14)  and continue to have more than I did pre-CPAP.

I have the numbness/stiffness in arms and legs at night or early morning...I have an appointment on the 29th and will inquire about that.

Avatar universal
by SOURKREME, May 22, 2010
I have had sleep apnea for years, I had a big trouble of being tired, yawning in the afternoonsand even at a stoplight or sign. I went to the VA hospital and had leads attached everywhere and cameras watching the whole time. They would test pressures and see what was best for me. After wearing the mask and the wind blowing into my eyes I told them they can have this machine back because I wasn't going to be using it. They changed me over to nasal pillows and it is much better. When your partner starts hearing you snore the machine needs to be changed ( the calibration ) of the pressure entering you. After a few sleep studies over the years they changed me from a cpap to a bipap. They said that the bipap would do a better job. If I lay dowm for a 10 minute nap I always have my machine on. Sleep apnea is a dangerous thing to have. It can cause major harm to the body if not attended to. I really can't open my mouth unless I really try to because of the force. I am like 25 in and 16 out. I just can't remember right now.

Avatar universal
by shannon770, Nov 20, 2010
Hi, I too have had sleep apnea for years. Cpap machine set at 12. I too found after a couple years that I am going back to the old routine of nodding off at red lights or stop signs. Around 1pm everyday i start nodding off whether I have eaten or not, or I am sitting, standing, driving. My eyelids start to droop, I try putting cold on my face, I even slap my own face, walk around, drink cold water, blast the sterio and nothing seems to stop it. I have found the only way I can stay awake is if I nibble on food. Believe me, I even tried chewing gum and it does not work. The only thing that works for me is eating. Choose non fattening foods of course and I have not gained any access weight but when driving it sure comes in handy for me to eat until I get from point A to point B. My Cpap works fine, I have had it calibrated a few times and replaced the mask, altered the elevation and moisture levels; it just doesn't work as well anymore. I don't know how to fix it but I am right there with you on the frustration level. I too have two kids, three dogs, a husband. Up until last April I also ran my own business but sold it and am now a housemom/wife. It is getting just too hard to stay and feel healthy. I have been to multiple sleep studies, in multiple fender benders, had to sleep in the car on the shoulder of the road. My family has learned to keep looking at me while I drive to make sure the eyelids are staying where they should. It is a dibilitating condition for sure. What makes it that much harder is when people just don't seem to understand. My husband(wonderful man) just does not have a clue. He gets frustrated because I nod off while watching tv, or even while he is talking with me and no matter how I try to explain that I just can't help it, he just doesn't get it. I wish I had answers for you but unfortunately I too have not figured it out yet. I just wanted you to know you are not alone.

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