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Sleep apnea and attention deficit

I have been having trouble with attention deficit symptoms that have progressively worsened over the past 2-3 years. I was talking with a friend who said that he used to have similar problems and that he was finally diagnosed with sleep apnea. Once he started using a CPAP machine, his apnea was much better, his wife would not have to sleep on the couch, and his cognitive functioning was markedly improved. The research on sleep apnea that I have been reading indicates that sleep apnea can cause attention deficit troubles.

I am pretty sure I'm a good candidate for sleep apnea, as I reflect two of the three common risk factors: overweight, middle-aged, male. I'm 25, so I'll let you guess which two I fit. I'm 5'10 1/2" and weigh in at around 230. The most basic treatment for sleep apnea is to lose weight. After that, tests and such have to be run that would be a strain on my student budget. I have health insurance, but $300 for a test that I wasn't planning for is a little steep.

So, all that being said, anyone here have experience with sleep apnea? Did you experience attention deficit troubles as a result? How much did correcting your sleep apnea help your attention deficit symptoms? What treatments helped you? Did simply losing weight help or do you use a CPAP? I don't think I am a candidate for SA surgery, but if anyone has any experience with that, I would like to hear about that as well. I have contemplated taking medication for the attention deficit symptoms, but I would much rather fix the problem than treat the symptoms.

Thanks in advance.

geomantic8's picture


Not sleep apnea, but related...

I've been struggling for years with ADD but only recently learned what it was and how I am affected by it. I suspect many ADD'ers might be drawn to this forum, since we have so many issues with time mgt, prioritization, and getting organized, etc. As a middle-aged adult, I've learned (the hard way) some tricks for coping and compensating for those competencies I naturally lack. I'm interested in sharing experiences with others here.

First, exercise does indeed help both in terms of keeping the middle-aged paunch at bay, but also by providing structure to the day. And yes, earlier is better. I drag myself to the gym in the pre-dawn hours and hew pretty closely to a 30-min routine on the eliptical trainer. I also practice 20-min of yoga in the evenings after work, when I'm at my stupidest. Sure, there are days when I hate it. But I know I feel better and benefit from the structure.

Those of you that have posted about the need for sleep are spot-on. I fall asleep easily but have trouble staying asleep. Caffeine after 3PM is a culprit, but so is alcohol. My rule of thumb (which I usually violate on the weekend) is no alcohol after 8PM. No doubt about it, sleep is a big help in maintaining focus and limiting distractions.

In spite of the progress I've made in building a little balance in to my life, I still have horrible procrastination/time management problems. On the one hand, when I'm excited about a task, I can lose myself in it. On the other, there are days that I wonder: what am I doing? It all seems so meaningless. Why bother? When I fall in to that, NOTHING seems to get me started, even though I have plenty on my to-do list. And I just can't seem to find and stick with an organizational tool (Palm, pocketMod, GTD, etc.) that works.

I'm sure there are others that have issues like this. What methods do you use? What tricks do you use to focus, get on task, or bludgeon your way through those unpleasant tasks?




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