How to Manage Sleep Apnea in the Summer
Last updated: July 2023
During the summer months when it gets hot and uncomfortable, we often have trouble sleeping. This is a lot worse when you need to sleep with a mask on your face to control sleep apnea. Here are a few ways to reduce mask discomfort during the hot days of summer.
Cool down the room
Try to cool down your bedroom before you go to sleep. Keep the windows open or use a fan to blow cool air into the room. If you have an air conditioner unit, this is ideal, but this is often not possible in an apartment or other residence where you may not be allowed this sort of unit.
I use a fan right by my bed, so I get a contact stream of cool air nearby. This keeps me cool enough to get to sleep on most nights.
You can buy cooling sheets and other systems that keep the bedding cool and comfortable as you sleep. A temperature-regulating sheet can add a lot of comfort to your sleep at night and reduce the discomfort you feel when wearing a sleep apnea mask.
Bamboo and linen are two materials that are quite cooling and comfortable. Sheets that wick moisture can also add extra comfort to your nighttime sleeping routine.
Gel pack trick
One method I use to keep cool is a gel pack. This is the same type that you would use for a snore knee or back. I slip one of these under my pillowcase and this keeps me cool as I try to go to sleep.
This cools my face and neck enough that I can get the sleep I need even when the room is too hot from baking in the sun all day long. This trick has saved me from a lot of lost sleep.
Pillow in the freezer
Another trick I use along with the gel pack is that I put my pillow in the freezer for about an hour before I go to bed. This cools the pillow enough that I'm able to slip my mask on and reduce mask heat enough to get to sleep.
I occasionally avoid sheets altogether and sleep on top of the bed. This has worked for me quite a few times during sweltering nights when the room is still hot.
I try to delay sleep by an extra hour if it’s been quite hot out during the day. By delaying my sleep time it allows the fan to do its job and enough cool air gets into the room to drop the temperature by a couple of degrees which makes going to sleep a lot easier.
Take a break
In some cases, you may want to take a break from your mask if you can’t manage the heat. There have been a few nights where wearing my mask was close to impossible during the night. I always go back to wearing my mask as soon as it’s cooled off enough so mask-wearing is comfortable again.
These are some of the tricks that you can use to stay cool in the summer months to avoid mask heat. Try a few of them and see how you feel.
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