It’s Halloween weekend and there’s a sense of foreboding in the air…. However, there is one thing that shouldn’t give you shivers… using your CPAP machine!
Uh oh, I’m afraid I don’t even know what CPAP means?
That’s ok, we’re here to explain! Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is the leading treatment of sleep apnea. CPAP machines use mild air pressure to keep users’ airways open while they sleep, preventing frequent interruptions in sleep due to a lack of oxygen (these interruptions are the ‘apneas’ of sleep apnea). Since CPAP generally requires that users wear a mask while they sleep, it can be scary for beginners. However, most patients adjust to their CPAP machines quite easily and the benefits it provides are often life changing and far outweigh any initial concerns they might have had.
I’m afraid it’s going to be so big and bulky though?
Although you may have seen ‘scary’ images of CPAPs or heard ‘horror’ stories in the media… they are actually in no way as bad as you have been led to believe.
Granted, older versions of CPAP were deemed to be quite bulky, or ‘too big’ and clunky. Many people were embarrassed of wearing these or just assumed that the size of the mask would make it too difficult to sleep. These were all valid concerns… BACK THEN.
What’s changed? … EVERYTHING!
CPAP machines now literally come in all shapes and sizes, are way more compact, and are designed to fit in much more easily with your lifestyle.
I’m afraid I will feel claustrophobic!
Relaxation exercises, such as progressive muscle relaxation, may help reduce anxiety related to CPAP use. If you’re still feeling claustrophobic when you wear it you can talk to your sleep specialist about switching to a different style or design, such as one that uses nasal pillows.
I’m afraid of starting something new 🙁
Like most things you try for the first time, it can take a bit of getting used to wearing a CPAP machine at night. It might feel a bit weird and/or uncomfortable, but the benefits of wearing your CPAP to treat sleep apnea should far outweigh the difficulties you face by getting used to it. We promise!
Here is something you can try which may help you get more used to it:
Instead of putting the mask on right before you try to sleep, start by wearing it as much as you can before bedtime. If you’re sitting around the house relaxing during the day, wear it. Or even just try wearing it for an hour or so before you get into bed every night.
Just like breaking in a new pair of shoes… except at least with CPAP you can still run away easily if any real horrors appear this Halloween!
I’m afraid my mouth and nose will get really dry!
Aha! One of the more common complaints we see from CPAP users. If this happens to you, then you should use a CPAP humidifier to keep your airways moistened. Humidity is essential for success with CPAP, and while room humidifiers are good, modern CPAP machines now come with their own heated humidifiers and tubing to keep you comfortably breathing all night.
I’m afraid CPAP is not right for me!
Don’t be scared if it takes a little while to adjust to your machine. While some people begin to see results after their first night of using CPAP, the amount of time it takes to adjust to the therapy varies on an individual basis. A study conducted by the National Library of Medicine found that most CPAP users experienced better results the longer they used the machine.
CPAP machines allow sleep apnea patients to sleep through the night without waking up due to closing of the throat muscles. In addition to providing users with better rest, they improve their daytime functioning and help prevent a multitude of dangerous health risks caused by sleep apnea. According to the American Academy of Sleep Education, CPAP treatment reduces users’ risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, while improving daytime alertness, concentration, and emotional stability.
I’m afraid to tell my partner about my CPAP machine!
Having a CPAP machine in the bedroom may not exactly set the mood for a romantic rendezvous, but then again, neither does a nightly symphony of snores or the unsettling sound of choking during slumber. Let’s face it – it’s not the sexiest bedroom accessory. But, consider this: untreated sleep apnea is no fun either. It’s not just about those disruptive moments; it’s a significant risk factor for more serious health issues like heart attacks and strokes.
Your sleep apnea may not only affect your libido and sexual performance, but it can affect that of your partner as well. Your sleep disturbances may cause your partner to have a poorer quality of sleep, and when your partner is “irritable, tired and unhappy with the relationship, it can be difficult for you both to enjoy an active sex life.”
It is now easier than ever to get CPAP treatment. With platforms like Ognomy, you can get tested for sleep apnea and have it treated from the comfort of your own home.
If you’re interested in learning more, you can book a video visit with one of our sleep specialists as early as next week. They can talk to you about your concerns, test you for any sleep issues you may be experiencing, and start you on your path to better sleep, in only a matter of weeks.
That doesn’t sound too scary after all, eh?
Book an appointment with an Ognomy sleep specialist today to get started on your journey to better sleep, or download the app in App Store or Google Play.