Dealing With Sleep Apnea When You’re Sick

It’s bad enough living with sleep apnea, but it can be a lot worse when you’re not feeling well. April was a month I would like to forget as I contracted COVID-19 and had to deal with that along with my sleep apnea. Here are some tips for dealing with sickness when you also have sleep apnea to look after.

Tips for dealing with sleep apnea when sick

Wearing your mask

Try to wear your mask as much as you possibly can. This might not always be practical if you have a stuffed nose or you’re coughing all the time. I struggled somewhat with my mask as I had a cough, and my nose was never as clear as I would’ve liked.

If you can’t wear your mask, get back to using it as soon as possible as you want to get quality sleep. If you can breathe out of the mask without much difficulty, then try using it even if you’re not feeling all that well.

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Diet is key

A good diet will make you feel better overall, even when you’re sick. Try to get plenty of fluids, fruits, and vegetables when you’re under the weather, as these contain a high level of nutrition.

I feel better when my diet is good. During my stint with COVID-19, my diet gave me the energy I needed to get through my day. You will get better quality sleep if you eat well, whether you’re sick or not. Try to avoid food before bed as you’ll sleep better.

Naps and resting

If you can’t use your mask as much as you would like, try to nap. You need adequate rest when you’re not feeling well. So use your mask when possible, but don’t be afraid to have a regular nap during the day to keep your energy levels up.

I spent a lot of time napping during my stint with COVID-19 and used my mask when I could. Rest is key when sick, and you need more of it with sleep apnea. Use your CPAP machine when you feel better and can breathe properly again.

Accept the bad days

There were days when I couldn’t use my mask and didn’t feel very well. I wanted to wear my mask, but I couldn’t do it.

Sometimes you need to take a break from your CPAP mask. You may have a day when the mask isn’t working for you for whatever reason. Some nights, I still throw my mask on the floor. I accept the bad day but get back to using my mask the next night.

Avoid stimulants

When I was sick with COVID-19, I avoided alcohol and other stimulants. It can be tempting when you feel lousy to take a drink, but It doesn’t help you sleep very well.

The same can be said when you have sleep apnea. A drink now and again is fine, but you’ll get poor quality sleep if you drink too much. This won’t do your sleep apnea any favors, so try to keep drinking to a minimum if you want to feel your best.


Suffering through illness isn’t much fun, and it can be made worse when you have sleep apnea. Try to use your mask as much as you can when recovering and take breaks when you need them. Get lots of rest, and soon, you’ll be feeling better.

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

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