My CHF makes sleeping difficult. What can I do?

Chardonnay15 asked...

I have Congestive Heart Failure and less than half of my heart working. Sometimes my shortness of breath gets bad at night. What can I do to make it stop if I have already taken my medications and rested?

Expert Answer

Carolyn Strimike, N.P. and Margie Latrella, N.P. are cardiac nurse practitioners specializing in the prevention of heart disease and stroke. They have over 40 years of nursing experience in Cardiology between them. The main goal of their work is to counsel, motivate and empower women to adopt healthy lifestyle choices.

We are sorry to hear about your difficulty getting good sleep and rest with your congestive heart failure (CHF). Many people with CHF have trouble lying flat and seem to have the most trouble breathing while lying in bed. In many cases, we find people propping themselves up with pillows or sleeping in recliners to help alleviate the difficulty breathing.

You should really let your cardiologist or healthcare provider know that you are having trouble with your breathing at night. This may be an indicator that it is time to make some adjustments to your CHF medications. It is more effective to treat the cause of the symptoms, which is the CHF, than try to temporarily alleviate the symptoms by propping yourself up at night.

We hope you will be getting some good sleep soon!