Woman lying on a bed of flowers

Disturbed Sleep

Have you noticed any change in your sleep pattern and how you get comfortable? I have noticed a lot of change. No longer do I sleep on my back, and if I do end up in that position, I wake up unable to breathe properly. I always used to sleep that way.


I went from not being able to sleep on my back to sleeping on either my left or right side. It took some time to adjust to this but I have now gotten used to it. From there I had to increase my pillows (non-feathered) from two to three.

Support and position

I sort of ignored the changes, whether I was in denial or didn't think anything of them (pretty sure for me it was denial). A few more years on and I've had to get back support for the bed to keep the pillows up (like they use in the hospitals). As my COPD journey continues, my sleep continues to be affected. Now I can no longer sleep tidy on my left side so I sleep on my right side propped up a bit with the back support and pillows. At the moment I don't sleep sitting up or in a recliner chair. Luckily I am doing alright so far, but if I could get some good sleep I would happily sleep in a recliner.

The impact of sleep

I do notice that I suffer from a lack of sleep when I'm taking oral steroids. I actually can go a few days without any sleep and tend to become very snappy. If I do get some sleep while on them I have awful nightmares.

It's strange that when you get a diagnosis of COPD, the consultants only talk about the lungs - never anything else that comes with the diagnosis. Sleep is so important for everyone, and living with COPD it makes more important to get good sleep. I get tired a lot quicker and need a tidy sleep. It's still a work in progress, though it is getting better.

Bedtime routine

I have cut out caffeine and stopped eating in the evenings. The internet is not used after 8 pm and I try to get in a relaxed mood with a good book. The TV is switched off an hour before. A little meditation helps so much.

Sharing learnings

These changes I have made have helped me sleep better, but the quality is still not how I would like it to be. Maybe I need to accept that my sleep is how it is, which is ok as I am functioning pretty well during the day. I've learned to listen to my body, and if it says rest, I rest until I feel ready to carry on. We all learn different ways on how we live best with COPD and if it works, we share the learnings with others hoping it will help. Remember, sleep is important. As we sleep, we rest our bodies and heal our minds.

Do you have any good sleeping tips to share? How about sleep questions to ask? Check out our forums section by clicking the button below to continue the conversation!

Editor's Note: We are heartbroken to share that Debz passed away in October of 2021. She is deeply missed but her positivity and resilience live on through her articles. Thank you for everything, Debz.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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