What Is Modafinil Used For?
Why Is Modafinil Used for Shift Work Sleep Disorder?
Most people work a typical "nine to five" shift or something similar. However, for many jobs and professions, night shift work is a necessity. Sometimes, the body has a hard time adjusting to night shift work. It is difficult to sleep during the day (due to sunlight, noise, and other problems), and staying awake at night is also difficult. While many night shift workers will eventually adjust to their new schedule, not everyone does. This is especially a problem for people who switch back and forth between night shifts and day shifts. The body may never get a chance to adjust in these situations.
Modafinil helps night shift workers stay awake at work. This, in turn, can help them sleep during the day. The need for the drug may be temporary, as symptoms improve on their own as the body adjusts to the new schedule.
Why Is Modafinil Used for Sleep Apnea?
Although there are different types of sleep apnea, this phrase usually refers to obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS), often just called obstructive sleep apnea. This is the most common type of sleep apnea. During sleep, not enough air is able to flow into your lungs through your mouth and nose, even though you try to breathe. When this happens, the amount of oxygen in your blood may drop. Normal breaths then start again with a loud snort or choking sound.
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by relaxation of soft tissue in the back of the throat that blocks the passage of air (see Causes of Sleep Apnea). While the most obvious effects of sleep apnea usually involve daytime sleepiness, it can cause serious health problems, such as high blood pressure (hypertension) or depression. Sleep apnea treatment usually involves continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which uses a mask that blows air to cause pressure that keeps the throat open during sleep.
Modafinil can be used to help people with obstructive sleep apnea stay awake and alert during the day. However, it does not cure the condition or decrease the chance of dangerous effects. For this reason, modafinil should always be used along with appropriate sleep apnea treatment (usually CPAP). In fact, the drug should not be started unless sleep apnea has been appropriately treated for a little while, since daytime sleepiness will usually improve with CPAP or other treatment.