Sleep Apnoea and what a pain in the a%$ it is

Hi All,

I have posted on here before but I think it was the old site as I cant find my previous posts anymore so apologies if this all seems a bit random and long.

To give a little bit of a back story, for years and years I have always had the idea of becoming a cyclist, my problem has always been my constant battle with my weight and also my body in getting out there and becoming one.

Basically I felt unable to do it, my body was so tired all the time, I had headaches, just felt generally rubbish, struggled for motivation and could never stick at anything, my partner was getting fed up of me saying I will do something to sort it out and never doing so but I have been very lucky and she has stuck with me through it all.

Anyway I had a phone call with my doctor following some blood tests I had as I had been on blood pressure tablets so I have a six month check up to make sure all is ok, which it was, but I mentioned to her how I felt so tired all the time and I struggled with motivating myself, how my body just felt like it couldn't do the simplest of tasks as it didn't have the energy or strength to do it and she asked if I had ever been checked for sleep apnoea and proceeded to go through a set of questions with me that ended up in me being referred for a home sleep test and the results of these confirmed I did have severe sleep apnoea.

Sleep Apnoea means basically I stop breathing in my sleep for periods of time, so I was starving my body of oxygen and in turn that gave me the headaches and made my body feel like it was impossible to move and do anything as I simply had no energy at all.

A few weeks later I had to go to the clinic for my sleep mask which at the time absolutely horrified me, thinking I will have to sleep with this mask forever and this was pretty much me heading down the "things going wrong with me" route for the rest of my life, but since bringing it home and using it every night I have got such a new lease of life its unbelievable! I am full of energy now, I am now longer feeling down and I find myself just doing things rather than procrastinating over them and putting them off until tomorrow, but tomorrow never came.

I am still getting to grips with this new me and I will be honest and say sometimes my eating has been as it was before I got the mask, but the person at the clinic explained to me that it can take some time to adjust but today something very weird happened.

I was driving to work and I saw a cyclist on his own but he looked like he was off out for the day and I just had this feeling of wanting to be him and be able to do that and I have now decided that is what I am going to do, I have a very long road ahead of me to get fit enough to do any decent distances but I have to start somewhere and any distance is more than I was doing before when I was just sat on the couch dreaming about it.

So apologies for this long post, I think its probably more for my benefit than anyone else's but I just thought I would bore you all, hopefully I haven't sent any of you to sleep with it!

Thanks for reading.



  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,039

    A one mile cycle is far more beneficial than a 100 mile dreamt of cycle both physically and mentally.

    Keep at it. I'd start with short distances on cycle paths and build from there.

    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
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  • oxoman
    oxoman Posts: 195

    As PB says, start small and build from there. Good luck on improving your condition. Just remember to listen to the quacks and your body.

    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • N0bodyOfTheGoat
    N0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 5,882
    edited May 13

    I went for a general check-up at the doctors last summer, approx eight months after I had covid that became and still is long covid (fatigue; brain fog; poor stamina; poor sleep; raised anxiety; tinnitus being worst symptoms these days). My blood pressure had gone borderline high and my I'd put on ~10Kg to ~90Kg by then.

    I was limited to 30mins gentle exercise per day from May to September last year by the covid clinic, being allowed to increase duration/intensity since. As someone who used to often cycle ~10hrs+ per week including max effort hill climbs on top of being a postie (from which I took ill health retirement last autumn), most of my limited cycling became "boring" slow local loops outdoors or on the turbo trainer.

    Over the winter, my weight increased further to ~97Kg max while I had some sort of lurgy in March and early April, but my blood pressure dropped to ~115/80 from ~135/90.

    At times it has been very tiring, but since mid April I've been able to typically go for two very gentle rides of 2-3 hours most weeks and do 20-45mins on most other days, so thankfully my weight has dropped a bit to 95Kg. It's allowed me to climb some of the hills and lanes I couldn't get near since October '22, but despite going slowly it's been a helpful pychological boost.

    Follow professional advice and build slowly.

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  • MidlandsGrimpeur2
    MidlandsGrimpeur2 Posts: 1,441

    From a purely cycling perspective, just get on your bike, ride when you feel like it, and enjoy it to begin with. When I started cycling some 20 odd years ago, I was doing 20-30mins at first. Slowly built up the hours and miles over months and years. There is no right amount of cycling, it is whatever works for you.

  • Anthony76
    Anthony76 Posts: 4

    Thanks for the comments, there's a 5 mile route near my house along some railway lines which has a bit of a climb coming back from and it will be 5 miles more than I was doing before so as you say just got to start slow and build up, also signed up for Zwift if I ever have those days where I cant get out at least I can do something for the odd 20 minutes etc

  • joeyhalloran
    joeyhalloran Posts: 1,079

    Breath by James Nestor is a good read on this sort of subject.

  • Wheelspinner
    Wheelspinner Posts: 6,583

    Those odd 20 minutes you do here and there are - IMHO - the key to making your exercise efforts a habit. Stick with them, they really do help keep you interested in whatever your exercise goals might be.

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