a path created by a CPAP machine leading to a bed with signs along the way showing a CPAP mask, a glass of water, and a toilet

Tips for Better Sleep

When it comes to sleep apnea, getting a good night's sleep can be a pain. Before diagnosis, I don’t think there was any way I had a good night's sleep unless it was for at least 12 hours if not more.

When you stop breathing throughout the night causing lower blood oxygen levels along with all the other problems it causes, it’s easy to see why it is so difficult to get a good night's sleep. I have devised a few ways to help get better sleep with or without a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).

Reduce reasons to get up during the night

If you choose not to use a CPAP, which I do believe is your right, it is increasingly difficult to get a good night's sleep and as I am sure you are aware, comes with its own set of problems you could be faced with. One of the few ways I have found to get a better night's sleep is to make sure I had no reason to wake up during the night.

I would go to bed after eating and not drink much before bed. It’s hard enough to get good sleep and that can be compounded if you wake up hungry or to go to the bathroom every few hours.

Some people can use nasal strips or other products to help open airways, but sleep apnea generally happens beyond where any product effects so in my opinion, they are basically a waste of money. You may get a placebo effect when you first use them, but in time they will feel ineffective because they really aren’t working. They initially trick you into thinking they work.

Choose the right CPAP mask

For those who choose to wear a CPAP, there are some tricks to getting a better night's sleep. The first is choosing the right mask for you. There are many different styles of masks. Finding the one that fits how you sleep is key to getting a better night's sleep.

If you sleep on your stomach, find a mask that works best for that sleep position. The same goes for side sleepers or back sleepers. You will be surprised how much the right mask will help you sleep better.

Find a good position for your hose

Finding the right way to position the hose to your mask is also a big deal while sleeping. I have tried many different ways and sometimes I pull the hose apart at a connection which makes it near impossible to breathe, waking me up. Or I wake up with the hose wrapped around my neck acting like my machine is trying to kill me. Not exactly what you want when you are trying to sleep.

I have found it best to pull the excess hose near me and wedge a bit under a pillow so there is some slack by my head to move around but not to where it can wrap me up.

Learning from each other

These are a few tips I have learned through my journey to find better ways to sleep with sleep apnea. I am sure there are a lot more we could all share with each other.

The key is finding what works best for you which is done through trial and error. Find what works for others and use that to help find what works best for you.

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