Hey everyone, it’s Medicine Mondays again. Today, I’m going to talk about “The Sleep Apnea Learning Curve“.
The Sleep Apnea Learning Curve
So I’ve been using my APAP Machine for the last few weeks. The first few nights were difficult, but after switching to the full face mask, I’ve been able to settle into somewhat of a “normalish” sleep schedule. However, it took a good week or so just to get to that level, but can take up to a month.
It really takes an adaptation period and I can imagine people becoming frustrated in the first week and giving up. This is compounded by the fact that your sleep that first week will be significantly worse. That said, if you stick with it, your body will adapt and you’ll get used to sleeping with a mask. Wearing the mask when doing regular tasks like watching TV to get used to it also helps. Committing to giving it at least a week is important. At that level you should be getting some degree of more restful sleep.
The only problem now is that using the APAP Machine and full face mask requires me to sleep on my back. Normally, I sleep on my right side. Unfortunately for me, if I do this now I lose the seal of face mask overnight and develop a large air leak— meaning the APAP machine is just blowing air but not providing true airway pressure.
As such, I’ve gotten used to sleeping on back for the most part. However, I wanted to try to learn to sleep on my side with the full face mask.
I mentioned it in a previous post, but there are pillows specifically designed for this. After some research, this is the one that kept coming up:
Now then, $60 is a lot of money. However, I think it’s a small price to pay to sleep in my normal position with the APAP machine. So then I went ahead and bought it and last night was the first night I tried to sleep with it.
How’d it go?
Since I normally sleep with one hand underneath the pillow, I took out one of the removable cushions to get the right height. I then just threw a regular pillow cover over it and overall it seemed to work fine.
Unfortunately for me it looks like a combination of things happened last night. One is that I drank coffee much too late, and not only that it was Starbucks coffee which has very high caffeine content. As I’ve stated before, I don’t normally drink Starbucks anymore since I’ve been trying to trim the fat. For that reason, Starbucks was especially potent to me this time around.
Then, when you combine that with a new pillow, different sleeping position, and the APAP machine and well I didn’t get any sleep last night. In fact, it’s 5:30 am and I’m writing this post after getting into bed around 1:00 am. My poor wife didn’t get much sleep after I got home either. (Sorry honey)
My hope is that I can write this post now, and then go to sleep once the coffee wears off in another few hours.
However, I do think the pillow works as advertised. While I was laying their on my side for the last few hours, I didn’t notice any significant air leaks. As long as I don’t move around too much, it should work just fine, I think.
Is there more to the learning curve?
Cleaning your CPAP machine is very important, and it’s not that easy.
Here’s a link: Best Ways to Clean Your CPAP
You’re supposed to clean your mask everyday and then handwash it once a week. (Resmed)
You’re supposed to clean the humidifier chamber everyday and handwash it every week. (Resmed)
Some sites recommend rinsing the chamber with vinegar/water once a week to disinfect it.
Disconnect tubing everyday and let it air dry.
Some sites recommend cleaning the tubing once a week with mild detergent. Make sure you hang dry it afterwards.
Additionally, it’s important to note that you will likely need to replace the tubing every 6 months and the mask every year or so.
New filters for the CPAP machine are also necessary on a regular basis as well. I think they last up to 6 months, but they may not last as long in certain areas that are more dusty than others.
You can imagine that having to do all these steps everyday can be difficult sometimes. However, it is important because the tubing and mask can potentially cause upper respiratory infections if not cleaned regularly.
Anyways I ended up buying these items:
These are good for daily wipe down of the mask and cut down on the daily maintenance.
The tubing is very difficult to clean well. This little flexible brush helps with cleaning it every week for a better clean.
I’d also recommend finding a “mild detergent” meaning ammonia free to use. The sites I’ve seen seem to recommend “normal” Dawn or “normal” Ivory or Seventh Generation Free and Clear. Finding an ammonia free detergent is harder than it looks as most of them are “Ultra” or “Platinum” or something that has ammonia.
As it stands, I’m going to try to stick to using the APAP machine and at this point I’m kind of committed to it by buying these items.
CPAP/APAP machines have a learning curve.
I just share my experience and the things I bought to help.
Ok, time to go to back to sleep now.
Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.
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