Using Oxygen While You Sleep

Everyone breathes differently when they are asleep. When you're sleeping, your body slows down, your breathing becomes more shallow, and you take in less air in each breath. This can be dangerous for people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or other lung conditions. Many people with breathing problems prop themselves up with pillows while they sleep to avoid having trouble breathing, but propping yourself up with pillows won't help this problem.

It's easy for your doctor to tell if you need oxygen therapy while you sleep. If your blood oxygen level is above 94% while you're awake, you might not need oxygen therapy during the day. If your blood oxygen level is below 94% during the day, you may need oxygen therapy for a while during the day, as well as all night long while you sleep. If he or she suspects that your blood oxygen level is dropping below the normal zone during the night, they may have you monitored overnight to get a reading.

Educate yourself with our Free Oxygen Therapy Guide

How to tell if you're not getting enough oxygen at night:

There are a few signs to watch out for to see if you're not getting enough oxygen while you're sleeping. If you are experiencing any of these signs by themselves or in combination, don't ignore them. Not getting enough oxygen while you sleep for any length of time is dangerous.

You get plenty of sleep at night, the eight hours or so that you need each night (give or take a few hours, depending on the individual), but you still feel exhausted in the morning or throughout the day. Having a lack of oxygen in your blood stream puts a strain on your heart and your brain, and the rest of your body has to work harder to make up for the lack of oxygen.

Aside from feeling more tired during the day, you will notice you can't think as clearly. Simple tasks can seem extremely hard and complicated to someone whose brain isn't receiving adequate oxygen. You can also experience regular headaches and become very irritable and moody for any small reason. You would also experience memory loss and the ability to concentrate that could be mistaken for the onset of Alzheimers.

Is it sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is different because it is caused by either the throat muscles closing during sleep (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) or from a more rare condition of your lungs not taking a breath periodically (Central Sleep Apnea). A lack of oxygen in the blood due to COPD is from the lack of properly functioning air sacks in the lungs. When we sleep, some of theses air sacks, known as alveoli, shut down, making it even harder to absorb enough oxygen into the blood stream. This is when using oxygen therapy during the night becomes necessary.

35 thoughts on “Using Oxygen While You Sleep”

  • Annika Larson

    As I've gotten older, I have noticed that it is harder to breathe at night. I am wondering if this would constitute the need of getting an oxygen concentrator. Like you said, not getting enough oxygen at night can cause you to not be able to think as clearly. I will have to talk to my doctor about getting an oxygen concentrator.

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason
      Danielle Jason August 7, 2017 at 1:37 am

      Thank you for your comment, Annika. If you are experience any breathing difficulties it is important to discuss them with your doctor as soon as you are able.

      Reply
  • Desandra

    Does the oxygen makes you take like a hard deep breath

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your comment, Desandra. Using oxygen therapy will not change the rate or depth of your natural breathing. You should be able to breathe and sleep normally if you are using the correct devices and settings for your individual therapy.

      Reply
  • Priscilla Tautuhi
    Priscilla Tautuhi November 30, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    Thank you so much for your blog. Speaking to my new Dr today about my getting tired regularly every day even after having 4-6 hours sleep she suggested that perhaps I need a machine to help. This is probably what she was referring to. As I suffer with COPD, even walking long distances makes it difficult for me to inhale oxygen and worse still is the humidity in a room I find it difficult to breathe. Thank you once again for you very informative blog.

    Reply
  • susan nabigon

    i just started to use oxygen at night and this is the 4th night and i can't sleep most of the night is this common...

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your comment, Susan. What would you say is preventing you from sleep? Is it physical discomfort? If so, what specifically is hindering you or making you uncomfortable? Is it the length of cannula, the air pressure, dryness, sound of the machine, etc.? Try to be as specific as possible. We also recommend speaking to your physician regarding your inquiry; any changes in your physical condition or daily routine should be discussed immediately with your doctor.

      Reply
    • Colleen Johnson

      Like the comment above from Susan, I also developed insomnia while using oxygen. It is not the noise, position ,feeling uncomfortable at all. Can oxygen keep you awake at night? I am using 2 L

      Reply
      • Danielle Jason

        Thank you for your comment, Colleen. This question is best discussed with your doctor as how your body reacts to oxygen therapy will differ from others mainly due to your individual medical condition and medical history. You're also welcome to download our comprehensive Oxygen Therapy Guide here: https://www.oxygenconcentratorstore.com/oxygen-therapy-guide/ in which you can learn about how increased oxygen will help the various functions of your body.

        Reply
    • Penni

      I have been on oxygen for 4 nights now and I wake up even more tired then I was before and I am sleeping more. I thought things were going to get better to have any answers for me??

      Reply
      • Danielle Jason

        Without knowing your past and present medical history, location, elevation, current medications, allergies, etc. we can not offer any medical advice. Have you already inquired with your physician regarding your excess exhaustion?

        Reply
  • Pamela K Ables

    I wear oxygen at night cause my # drop to 79 . My ? Is when I take a nap during the day do I need to put it on

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your question, Pamela. Generally speaking, when a patient requires oxygen for sleep they will also need to use it during other forms of sleep including napping. That being said, we urge you to speak to your individual physician directly as they will be able to best advise you how and when to receive your oxygen related therapy based on your individual condition and needs.

      Reply
  • Charles

    Dialysis / cancer survivor patient , recently diagnosed with A-fib , and now I can no longer get a good nights sleep....unless i use the Oxygen during Dialysis that day..then I seem to have a few hours of sleep...but the next day/night ..nothing ...their pushing for c-pap....but I know Oxygen helps and would rather try that first ..hopw can i go about trying it out ..wilst on medicare....TY sincerely Charles

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your question, Charles. This would be a question to ask your doctor as your doctor will be able to offer you the professional medical advice based on your individual medical history and needs. Sleep is a very important part of the bodies recovery system, be sure to bring up each of your concerns and especially any changes to your daily routine with your doctor.

      Reply
  • Jerry blount

    I was wondering how much oxygen is too much? I have been seeing something to the effect of dropping below 90 is bad. How about going above 98 for example? How much is too much? Thanks Jerry

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your comment, Jerry. The maximum amount of oxygen available to consume would be 100%; that additional 2% increase is extremely difficult, if not currently impossible to achieve with a concentrator as there will always be other trace elements in the air we breathe. If you are concerned you are not getting enough oxygen, we suggest speaking to your doctor.

      Reply
      • Ethan

        Do you just always say speak to your doctor? You know it's terribly expensive to do that. It's why people are asking for general advise on a forum so they don't have to ask their over-priced physician.

        Reply
        • Danielle Jason

          We are not legally allowed to provide any medical advice. Additionally, without knowing past medical history, allergies, location, current medications, etc. it is not safe for us to make any assumptions or suggestions. This is why we suggest speaking with your personal doctor.

          Reply
  • Stephanie

    My Dad, has Bronciesxit has recently been put on a breathing machine while he sleeps, wondering can he travel with this machine or go on a holiday? What would we need to do to help him travel on plane and on holidays?

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your comment, Stephanie. What is the name of the machine your father has been put on? Is it an Oxygen Concentrator? Feel free to peruse our list of FAA approved concentrators here:https://www.oxygenconcentratorstore.com/reference-material/faa-regulations/.

      Reply
  • i learned a lot
    i learned a lot February 2, 2018 at 8:35 am

    you"re more than my personal dr thanks for all the comments and advices.

    Reply
  • Luisa

    I am someone with very complicated sleep issues. I am desperate and use an oxygen concentrator at levels below 2 L per minute every night. It helps a little. But it’s an important help. Now I am being scared by learning about oxygen radicals from using oxygen every day. Can I be giving myself cancer by using oxygen?

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your comment, Luisa. Oxygen concentrators work by taking in the ambient air around you, removing some elements, and concentrating the oxygen for delivery. The concentrator itself is not creating or adding any new oxygen that isn't already in the air around you and everyone else; making it as cancer-free as your location's surrounding air. If you have further concerns, we always suggest speaking to your doctor.

      Reply
  • Adriana

    I’m 22 and I am having trouble breathing properly at night I feel like there is a weight on my stomach that comes and goes. I wondering what your thoughts are

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your inquiry, Adriana. We suggest consulting your doctor regarding any changes to your breathing patterns.

      Reply
  • Lupe

    Does oxygen therapy make you sleepy?

    Reply
    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman March 12, 2018 at 8:56 am

      Oxygen in general usually helps you feel more alert. If you, however, are struggling with being sleepy I would suggest that you consult with your doctor to make sure your needs are covered.

      Reply
  • John Gross

    Is lung surgery used to increase oxygen by breathing

    Reply
    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman March 20, 2018 at 3:40 am

      There are many reasons for one to have lung surgery. I would speak to your doctor regarding what the right treatment is for you.

      Reply
  • Suzanne Webster
    Suzanne Webster March 30, 2018 at 7:32 am

    I use oxegan at night and I feel much better during the day. Lots of energy.

    Reply
  • Joanie

    Can using oxygen make your breathing worse after using it? I breathe better if I don't use it.

    Reply
    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman April 10, 2018 at 3:29 am

      Every person and every case is different. If you feel that you do better without oxygen I would recommend having a conversation with your doctor to see if your needs have changed.

      Reply
  • Shirley

    My concentrator quit working while I was asleep, and the alarm failed. I don't know number of hours without oxygen, but when I awoke I had a bad taste and smell in my mouth, and stats were 64 on oxygen. I have been unable to get my oxygen back to normal, and it is almost 2 weeks since it happened. Now am on oxygen 25/7, and did use only at night set on 2. Will I I prove?

    Reply
  • Margaret Goodman
    Margaret Goodman May 16, 2018 at 3:57 am

    Every person and their situation is different. This is something that we recommend you talk to your doctor about as we are not a medical office and do not know your specific situation.

    Reply

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