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What are Sleep Apnea and Fibromyalgia? (A Poem and Information)

Updated on October 20, 2016
Jodah profile image

John has been writing poetry since his school days. He was awarded "Poet of the Year 2014" Hubby Awards and has had two poems become songs.


My Own Experience

My wife found out about five years ago that she had the conditions of both sleep apnea and fibromyalgia. (chronic fatigue).They can occur separately or one as a symptom or sleep apnea as one of the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

These conditions make life rather challenging to say the least but they can be managed and sleep apnea, especially, controlled with proper diagnosis and the use of a CPAP machine.

Managing your diet can often also relieve the severity as it is often related to obesity, which can cause the airways to be blocked when lying down at night, resulting in loss of airflow and causing the sufferer to stop breathing.Tests found that my wife stops breathing almost every minute (about 60 times per hour). Snoring is usually one of the first signs that you may have sleep apnea.

Fibromyalgia is a much more complicated condition and leads to constant tiredness, lack of energy, sore joints and back pain, weight gain etc etc. Many fibromyalgia sufferers therefore have sleep apnea as one of the many symptoms.

Please see a list of all possible symptoms of both conditions later in this article.


Sleep is My Nemesis

Darkness descends

smothering the day.

My breath comes in gasps,

the thin night air

Forces my lungs to contract.

A raspy dry cough

escapes my lips,

racking my chest

in pain.

I try to relax,

slow my breathing.

Stay calm, don't stress.

I await sleep fearfully,

relieving but dangerous.

Without my mask

I am haunted by nightmares,

my breath stops often,

I may not wake.

Sleep apnea afflicts me.

Sleep is my nemesis.

Sleep Apnea

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) involves repeated episodes of airway obstruction during sleep, due to relaxation of the tongue and airway-muscles. It is commonly associated with snoring

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of OSA are wide and varied. Most sufferers do not exhibit all of the symptoms, however they will usually experience one or more of the following:

  • Snoring
  • Episodes of gasping, snorting or choking during sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue or lethargy
  • Lack of energy and endurance
  • Falling asleep or needing to have a nap during the day
  • Disturbed or restless sleep (sometimes resulting in insomnia)
  • Irritability, depression, anxiety, mood and behaviour changes (including ADHD in children)
  • Increased frequency of urination during the night
  • Rapid weight gain or difficulty in losing weight
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Morning headaches
  • Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking

Do you or anyone else you know suffer from sleep apnea or fibromyalgia?

See results

CPAP Machines

My wife has to use a CPAP machine every night in order to sleep soundly. They are essential for anyone suffering sleep apnea.


  • Fibromyalgia is a medical condition that causes widespread pain and stiffness in the muscles and joints as well as sleep problems and chronic daytime fatigue.

Sygns and Symptoms:

Fibromyalgia usually includes a broad range of symptoms including some combination of the following:

  • widespread pain
  • sleep disturbances
  • chronic daytime fatigue
  • morning stiffness in the joints and muscles
  • migraine headaches
  • temperature sensitivity
  • dizziness and balance problems
  • cognitive and memory problems
  • mood disturbance such as depression and anxiety
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • painful menstrual periods
  • hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism
  • numbness or tingling of the extremities
  • restless legs syndrome

(sources: Better Health Channel; SNORE Australia)



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    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      5 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you Reynold. Sorry to hear about your wife's condition. I hope it has been diagnosed so it can at least be controlled to some extent.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 

      5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Liked this article... I have a wife not doing well and does a lot of sleeping. I wish you well, Jodah.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      6 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you for such a kind comment Margaret. I understand how scary it can be for you if your husband stops breathing. We couldn't afford a CPAP machine for about two years and had to rent one for about $90 per month. Eventually saved enough to buy one. I think they are much cheaper in the USA than here in Australia though and you can even buy them on Amazon. They do give you much more peace of mind though so I hope your husband can get one soon. Thanks again for your lovely words. All the best.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Jodah, my husband has a mild-to-moderate case of sleep apnea and we're trying to save up money for a CPAP machine in the expectation that he may have need of it in the future. It's better since we made a concerted effort to remove as many allergens as possible from our bedroom and since he started using a mouth guard and nasal strips at night, but whenever he's asleep and I'm awake I'm constantly tuned into his breathing so I can wake him if he stops. It's incredibly scary when that happens. My sister-in-law has fibromyalgia, and I know how debilitating that is. You are a truly gifted poet as well as a lovely person and you've captured the terror of your poor wife's nightly struggles with extraordinary vividness. My best wishes to both of you.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Yes Michael it is a condition that can be helped by a machine but difficult to overcome. There are certain things to do that can make it more manageable. Thank you for your kind comment.

    • Michael-Milec profile image


      7 years ago

      Hello Jodah.

      Must be surmountable. Most of conditions are. Wish to give you assistance.

      Interesting , dramatically expressed.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for your kind comment Theresa. Yes, it sure takes some getting used to. I only need about five hours sleep per night thankfully, but my wife often sleeps for up to twelve hours a day due to the sleep apnea and fibromyalgia. Makes life interesting.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Jodah - Very desriptive and well-written. My breathing slowed and shallowed while I was reading it. I am sorry for your wife. I have a sister-in-law who sleeps nightly with a C-PAP and wouldn't give it up and a son who had one and could never get used to it and returned it.

      Those of us who sleep reasonably well most of the time are incredibly blessed. I can't imagine trying to sleep through the night only to wake up exhausted and ragged feeling. Blessings. Theresa

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I guess you use whatever tools you have available Frank. Poetry is the one I am most comfortable using. Thanks bro.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      7 years ago from Shelton

      you use poetry for everything and it works... bless you bro :)

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you Ann, glad you enjoyed this. I never thought about the rhythm matching the breathing but glad it did. Take care.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      7 years ago from SW England

      The rhythm matches the breathing and we're there with you falling into a sleep that's far from restful and far from safe. Brilliant poem! Ann

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you for reading Cheeluarv, exercise and walking before hand can help but with sleep apnea there isn't a problem with going to sleep. The problem is that sufferers actually stop breathing during sleep. I am glad you enjoyed this poem.

    • cheeluarv profile image


      7 years ago from INDIA

      A beautiful poem on a disease with striking words. Sleep which is a blessing for many become a curse it is hard to cope with.Very sorry to know that your wife and you have to face this everyday.In my experience,(disturbed sleep) regular exercise or a short walk before sleep helps a lot.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks Blossom. it was difficult at first, but you manage to cope.

    • ologsinquito profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      It's a nice poem and the intro photo is very eyecatching.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      7 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Thanks for sharing about this problem. It must be so difficult to live with, both for the sufferer and the partner.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you for reading Audrey, and for your kind comment.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is sleep apnea well described. You can put so many feelings and realism into your poetry. I am sorry your wife has sleep apnea. So many people have this issue today. Thanks for sharing. Blessings Audrey.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Sorry to hear your husband has it faith, and you should get tested if it is suspected. I know the CPAP machines sound intrusive but they are worth it if they improve your sleep and prevent you from stopping breathing in your sleep. There are many different masks as well, so you can find one that best suits you. Thanks for the vote, pin, and share.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      7 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, Jodah, this truly captures sleep apnea as my husband has it! Now , he is telling me he thinks I have it too. I just do not know if I could wear that machine with that wind blowing down my throat but it can save one's life for you if you stop breathing during the night. Plus could prevent one's heartburn enlarging. Up and more, pinning and sharing.!

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for your kind comment Nell, also the vote up and share. It was scary to find out how often my wife's breathing stopped during the night.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for the advice Jackie. We do try a few different things, and some improve things a little. Yes, we actually grow sweet potato and eat it quite often. Thanks for the prayer too.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      7 years ago from the beautiful south

      I have to come across with if I were youcause that is who I am, sorry. Now that being said I am so very sorry and the first thing I would do is look for foods and herbs that help sleep apnea. Just type in a search and you will get a lot of info and I am not talking about replacing what she is doing but maybe help in another way; you never know. I use sweet potato which is good for lungs but also has an added benefit for women in particular.

      I know it must be a real nightmare and I will certainly say a prayer for her right now.


    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      Great poem jodah, I noticed your comment that says your wife suffers with the problem, that must be a really scary condition, and the expense too is just ridiculous, great way to bring it to peoples attention, voted up and shared! nell

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Suzanne, maybe you should book into a sleep clinic and get diagnosed just in case. My wife found she actually stops breathing 64 times per hour. We don't normally get to sleep until 2 or 3am and then she sleeps until around 11 or 12. It doesn't matter what time I go to bed, I always wake by 7am so I am probably lacking sleep. May explain while I doze off watching Thanks for the vote up.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Dana, sleep apnea is becoming a very common condition. I know at least five other people who suffer and have CPAP machines, but I am also surprised that there are others who are not aware or know very little about it. Some people have had it for years and never realised. Sometimes I think it may be over diagnosed in this country at least because the equipment is so expensive and there is a lot of money to be made. Glad you found this hub informative.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for your comment Shauna. It isn't a fun condition to have believe me. Poetry is the best way for me to get my message out there.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank yo Jo, I appreciate your comment as you work in an area where you have first hand knowledge of the condition and what sufferers go through. So glad you liked the Poe. All the best.

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 

      7 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      You are probably wishing for a great night's sleep about now! Interesting poem and I can relate to not sleeping correctly as I'm a heavy smoker and don't get enough oxygen, so I wake up feeling tired all the time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts - voted interesting!

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      7 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      Jodah: Sorry about the plight of your wife. I never knew much about this condition thank you for bringing this to light. This was a very well-written and informative hub.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      It must be awful to have sleep apnea. You chose a very creative way to illustrate the effects and what goes on in the mind of those who suffer.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 

      7 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      Jodah, I loved it!! We use CPAP a lot at work, it is not a pleasant experience for the patients, I've had a few punches aimed at me while persuading patients to wear the mask or hood. Very creative poem, bang on. :)

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks Devika, yes my wife being a sufferer, I live with this every day, so I think I am qualified to write and inform about this condition in the best way I know how. Glad you liked the photos.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Bill, thanks for the read, and compliments are always is constructive criticism). I used to have trouble thinking of things to write about, but the more I write the easier it seems to be to find subjects. Glad you found this interesting and beautiful.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      7 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Wow! Such beautiful photos a sleeping problem that affects many I am sure you have thought of this one so carefully and written directly.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      John, you are so creative. You can take daily occurrences and make them sound interesting and beautiful. Another excellent job my friend.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks Jamie, but it is my wife who suffers from it and yes she has to wear a mask when she sleeps. Thanks for reading.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for a great comment Nadine. My wife's fibro is a result of having glandular fever at some stage. It can be caused by many things. Yes dairy products may be one thing that aggravates it as well as bread and wheat products. Glad you liked this poem, and yes I have had that image for a while. Thought it was appropriate.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 

      7 years ago from Reno NV

      I am sorry about your apnea, my mom has had this disorder for most of her life and she has learned to sleep in one of those masks that look uncomfortable for so many years. Thank you for sharing. Jamie

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 

      7 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Lovely poem on sleep apnea John, I will link it in my hub on dreams - nightmares when Ive finished it for hubpages. Someone in South Africa said that any milk product seem to aggravate the symptoms of fibromyalgia? I've seen the first image you used before. I think I have it onto my Pinterest boards. Great start to your Sleep is My Nemesis.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Ruby, thanks for the kind comment. Yes it is hard to deal with because sleep apnea can be associated with so many other conditions. My wife also has fibromyalgia.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I simply love your collage, beautiful. I had a family member who had sleep apnea and wore a mask. Must be terrible. Loved your poetry.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you Sally. Yes my approach, through poetry, is a little different.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      7 years ago from Norfolk

      This is an unusual way to highlight this medical condition. Well done Jodah.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you for reading Harishprasad, and for your kind comment. Yes yoga may help my wife. She has got some yoga dvd's but hasn't tried it yet. The CPAP machine and mask are a great help and even stop most bad dreams from which she was suffering also. Snoring is a symptom, yes, but sometimes this can be cured with just a special mouthguard.

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 

      7 years ago from New Delhi , India

      So apt description of the effects of sleep apnea on an individual and the tittle of the well-written poem also speaks it all. It saddened me to know about the illness of your wife. John, by reading your hub, I got to know about the safeguards to be adopted like wearing masks etc. A regular practice of some yogic exercises like "anulom vilom" are said to be helpful to clear the blockages in the air passageway. Snoring is my problem but it is not so acute, however it is also one of the symptoms of sleep apnea.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Oh, I don't suffer from sleep problems Flourish, but my wife does. She has a CPAP machine and mask, so this is poem is really about her. The machines are so expensive here, over $2000. We hired one for six months but that was $190 per month plus we had to buy the mask which isn't cheap. Eventually we decided to purchase our own machine. There a a number of different types of masks, maybe your mother should have tried a different type.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      I'm sorry about your sleep problems, John. My mother has sleep apnea, too, and tried the mask but took it back to the rental company within the first two weeks or so. She said she felt like someone had their hand over her face all night breathing up her nose. She gives up real easy and makes up her mind real fast. I like Melatonin and ZzzzQuil to give me a little push into slumberland when needed.


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