A man and woman of color surrounded by little hearts, sitting on a bed holding hands and smiling at each other.

When You and Your Spouse Both Have Sleep Apnea

Last updated: June 2023

From the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I both agreed that we were both adults. We don't tell each other what to do and when to do it. This took a whole lot of stress out of our relationship. We’ve had only 3 arguments in 22 years – not bad at all. This is my experience sharing CPAP maintenance with my spouse.

Sharing CPAP maintenance with my spouse

My husband also has sleep apnea and, like me, uses a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Sharing CPAP maintenance has some advantages in our house.

Whose job is it to clean the CPAP machines?

While cleaning a CPAP isn't necessarily a hard job, it does take a few minutes. We have found it easier just to do both at the same time.

Neither one of us is responsible for the other. But when we clean our individual machine we'll just go ahead and grab the other's and clean it also. To us, it's a nice gesture of caring for each other.

We both have things in our lives that may not allow us to clean our CPAP on any given day. I personally have several health issues that sometimes keep me from doing anything all day. And of course, my husband works sometimes very long hours. So, we share the job of cleaning our CPAP machines.

Filling the water reserve tanks and sharing responsibilities

Again, those tanks need to be filled every night before bed. We both know it. So, whichever one of us gets in the bedroom first will just go ahead and fill both tanks. Not that either one of us expects the other one to do it. So like I said earlier, just that nice gesture of caring for each other that doesn't cost a thing.

By the way, this is how we care for our whole home in general. Our home is both of our responsibilities and not just up to 1 person. These responsibilities can include general cleaning, dishes laundry, or caring for dogs, cats, chickens, and rabbits.

Whose CPAP is making noise at night?

I'm sure you're all very aware of the different sounds a CPAP machine makes in the middle of the night when they're not fitting correctly.

Now, before my husband got his CPAP, my mask would wake him up with air whistling out around. He would wake me up and let me know that I need to adjust my mask. And yes, I've also had to wake him a few times now with his CPAP machine.

There have also been a few times where we've been wearing the CPAP and the noise gets a little loud, waking the other up. Those are quickly fixed by waking the other person up and just having them roll over on their side.

Reminding each other to put on our mask

Also, when we've either fallen asleep without our CPAP on or taken them off in the middle of the night when the snoring (or lack of breathing) is going on, we also wake each other up. Just to remind each other we might want to put on that CPAP mask.

Having fun with sleep apnea!

My husband’s mask has tubes that go all around his head. The air is connected at the top of his head. I personally have the nose pillow mask. At times, we have races to see who can get their CPAP mask on the fastest.

I always win!!

Or, we will just figure out which cartoon character the other looks like with their mask on!! We have fun with the full-face mask – kind of a Darth Vader when you breathe through it and try and talk!!

Does your spouse also use a CPAP machine? Do you share CPAP maintenance with a spouse too? Please share a comment.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

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

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

What themes would you like to see your fellow community members write about?