I’ve slept with a CPAP for nearly a third of my life. From the beginning, my CPAP has improved my sleep. I sleep with less disturbance and awaken refreshed. I adapted to it easily, largely, because I never needed a full face mask. The design of a nasal-pillow mask is such that I can still read in bed before going to sleep and I can lie on either side without discomfort. Head congestion; however, is an unpleasant additional challenge. The positive air pressure helps but has clear limits. As I suffocate, my body tries to compensate. I either open my mouth to take a breath or I suddenly wake up gasping. Neither is pleasant.
Being awakened by suffocation is disturbing. And it is an entirely different disturbance being awakened by pressure-driven air from the nose to the throat and out through the mouth.
There is a state of mind that exists between sleep and being fully conscious where one wants to wake up and remain asleep. During this twilight of awareness, I often simultaneously cling to and flee from my dreamworld.
Suffocation distorts dreams and creates strange narrative landscapes. It is difficult to describe.
Often, there is an internal argument where I am of more-than-one mind. One of me wants to stay asleep, and another wants (needs?) to wake. I am avoiding the suggestion of duality because I also recognize an observer to the debate among selves.
Who are the voices? Who are the observers? Which among them is self? Or should I be comfortable with we (plural) of selves: that we are instead of I am?