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Sleep Position - The Inevitable Nightmare...

Sleep Position  

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Hi everyone,

I just wanted to put this out there to find out how much sleep position affects your symptoms, if at all. My symptoms are greatly affected by the position I am in.

I have one position that really works for me (bed elevated / right side) and I'm wondering if I am alone in this. Does anyone else experience these issues?

Left side sleeping causes me to have chest discomfort.

Back sleeping tends to lead to episodes of apnea (??). I have not been diagnosed with apnea as sleep studies are not available where I live. When I find myself on my back though, I inevitably wake up with a "choke". I'm not sure exactly if it's my heart or my lungs causing the issue, but I know it's not good. I woke with that last night and am pretty weak and exhausted today.

Belly sleeping tends to lead to adrenaline rushes and tachy, which a few times has ended up with my heart in a "spasm". My doc said he isn't sure if it might be A-fib or V-tach or possibly something else (??) based on my description, so he's ordered a 14 day monitor, but I wont get it for another three weeks...argh!

Are these things still in the range of POTS?? I would love to have access to a doc that knows even the slightest thing about POTS. I feel like my local doc has no interest at all in taking this on.

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I sleep on my left side with bed flat. I have Mitral Valve Prolapse, and Sleep Apnea. More people have apnea on their backs from what I was told at the sleep clinic. I would wake up gasping, as well. Sounds like you should consider a sleep study. My Cpap machine has saved my life!! :) I actually sleep now; I was awake all the time without it. :( Sleeping on your left side is better for your stomach, and I read it is good for those of us with MVP. I was already doing this before being diagnosed!! :rolleyes: I can't lie on my stomach; my neck is too stiff, and I feel like I am suffocating :blink:

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i have to large pillows under my head, without them i would feel awful in the morning. i have woken up laying on one and felt so ill, it took the morning to feel better.

i go to sleep laying on my side, either side, because if i lay out on my back with my legs straight i get restless legs, so i tend to curl up on my side.

yet i always wake up on my back. sometimes with my mouth wide open! nice sight!.

i cant lay on my stomach anymore, my head spins within a few minutes of doing so.

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I am the queen of pillows!!!

I am most comfortable with 8 pillows, yup that's right 8. Anything less and I'm miserable.

Unfortunately since my surgery last year in June I have been unable to go back to my bed. Even with all those pillows I'm miserable and I have the softest pillows and softest latex mattress available.

The 2 medical trips we have made since then have been misery on my joints and bones and POTS symptoms at the hotels.

I now sleep either in my recliner, which doesn't offer much room or support. Or on my wide loveseat, again though the only way I have found comfort is this..........

On my loveseat, legs elevated with 2 pillows. Head elevated with 3 pillows. Pillow on side behind my back. Pillow against my belly in case I roll over.

It's pitiful. Then add that this "V" position added more pressure on my hips so I added a memory foal pillow under my hips/butt.

I'm usually on my back in this upright "V" position in the morning feeling ill and have to roll to my left side for awhile before I can get up and around.

But the only way I can fall asleep without my chest pounding out of my chest is to curl up on my left side with pillow pressure directly to my heart area.

Any way you look at it though I never get more than a few hours sleep at a time. If I'm on my back to long or roll to my right side I wake up feeling violently ill.

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I also sleep mostly upright with lots of pillows on my back....oddly enough when I am in the throes of a really bad tachy/adrenaline episode lying on my stomach is the only thing that helps. I wonder if it could be causing some type of compression that in turn calms my heart? very strange........


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  • 2 years later...

Hi Corrina,

Rolling over causes me tachy too. And then I'm wide awake.

Hi Charmedlinz,

I thought I was the 'queen of pillows' but I only need 4 at the moment. Never got to eight.

Many nights I find it easier to try and get some sleep on my couch. One arm of the couch sits against a corner wall so I can pile up my pillows and they tend to stay in place. And the narrowness of the couch stops me rolling over and keeps me on my side.


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  • 5 weeks later...

I retrained my sleep position from strictly back to side and stomach. Took 6 months. Now i revert there naturally.

When i go on back, i get reflux problems. Doesnt affect DA, however can make apnea worse, although im on bipap which prevents problems.

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I'm lucky enough to have been able to get an adjustable bed frame to go with my Tempurpedic bed. I generally use the "zero-gravity" position. Had it about a year now, and it definitely helps with both aches and reflux. I've found it easier to fall asleep, too.

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