More than 75% of people with COPD report trouble sleeping, according to the Sleep Foundation. Often, coughing, wheezing, and trouble breathing keeps those who suffer from COPD or other lung diseases awake late into the night. When we are not well-rested, it can increase stress and anxiety, and worsen our overall well-being. In fact, a lack of proper sleep can actually worsen the symptoms of COPD.
Read on to learn some tricks for getting better sleep with COPD.
Avoid Daytime Napping
Getting a better night’s sleep starts during the day. Prolonged daytime napping can interrupt your body’s natural sleep cycle and can actually increase your level of fatigue during the day. If you absolutely need to take a nap, try to keep it under 30 minutes.
Adjust Your Sleep Position
The worst sleep positions for people with COPD are those where you are completely flat (causing increased pressure on your lungs), such as lying flat on your back or on your stomach.
In order to take some pressure off your lungs and improve breath quality while you sleep, it may be helpful to sleep on your side with your head slightly elevated with a pillow. By laying on your side, you are keeping your airways more open. Elevating your head slightly can also decrease your likelihood to suffer from acid reflux or GERD, which are often reported by COPD patients.
Be Active During the Day
Exercise is an important step in managing your COPD symptoms, and it can also wear you out enough to help you sleep better at night. You can learn more about exercising with COPD here.
UnplugBy giving yourself a half-hour to hour window before bed without the stimulation of your screens (phones, tablets computers, television) you are both helping your brain to calm down and avoiding blue light. Blue light can inhibit your body’s production of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps you to fall asleep.
Ask Your Doctor About Oxygen Therapy
If you have COPD, you are likely losing blood oxygen while you sleep. By using supplemental oxygen at night, you may allow yourself to get a better night’s sleep. Be sure to consult your doctor before beginning any oxygen therapy.
PEP Buddy: Better Breathing, Backed by Science
PEP Buddy is a simple, portable, clinically proven medical device that reduces breathlessness so you can increase your activity level. PEP Buddy can also help to prevent significant declines in blood oxygen levels during activity.
This blog is for educational purposes only; talk to your provider to understand recommendations specific to you.