A tired woman in pajamas brings a blanket from the bed to a recliner chair to sleep sitting up.

Holiday Travel Tips Without My CPAP

After many years of using my CPAP on and off again, stopping and starting therapy, I’ve finally come to a point where I use my machine more often than I don’t. This Thanksgiving was hectic. We traveled on Thanksgiving for the first time. I took my machine apart and put all the pieces and my CPAP travel wipes in the bag. It wasn’t until we made it to Indiana from Iowa and unpacked the car that Thursday that I realized I left my packed continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine on the bed! Traveling without my CPAP machine for sleep apnea meant I needed some holiday travel tips to survive.

Travel tips without a CPAP machine

It wasn’t ideal but I had to make it work because traveling 4 hours back home to get it and another 4 hours back for Thanksgiving was out of the question. With no other option, I knew I had to make some small adjustments so that I can enjoy that time with my family.

Positional sleeping

Knowing that I didn’t have my machine, I had to improvise for the weekend. I slept sitting up in a chair which helps to minimize my events compared to laying flat. For years I couldn’t use my CPAP, I found a few things that made a difference. When I lay on my back with 1 pillow I felt worse; however, when I slept on a large wedge that I used for acid reflux, I felt better.

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I even started to learn which side of my body that I slept on felt better for me. On the left side, I always feel better than sleeping on the right side.

Sleeping patterns

Having restless legs, I toss throughout the night so I start on the left side and roll throughout the night. To prevent myself from laying on my back, I would take a tennis ball to keep from sleeping on my back. Even when I have my CPAP, I notice when I start on my left side I have fewer events that compared to starting off on the right side.

Adjusting pillows

The more you use your CPAP you start to notice patterns and what works best. Adjusting your pillows, the head of the bed, and the side you sleep on can all affect your sleep with your CPAP machine.

No sleep supplements

When I take sleep supplements: I sleep harder, longer, and deeper than I would without them. For the 2 days I was there, I didn’t take those supplements but stuck to a normal bedtime routine so things were close to normal – minus not having my machine.

Tips help, for a while

Using positional sleeping and not taking the medication helped me from feeling horrible. I woke up with a slightly worse headache than normal but not sleepy or lethargic like I am when I: do absolutely nothing and don’t use my CPAP.

I was able to manage without my machine for 2 days but had to cut the trip short by Saturday as I was progressively starting to feel worse.

Learning what works and – I need my CPAP

In conclusion, the best thing for me is to have my CPAP. But, things happen when traveling where I’ve forgotten the machine or a crucial part of the machine that prevented me from using my CPAP. I’ve had sleep apnea for 17 years now so I’ve learned what works or doesn’t work for me. I’ve had a lot of trial and error that helps me adjust and find ways to deal with it for a short period of time without my machine. I never thought I’d hit a place in this journey where I: truly NEED my machine and can tolerate it, despite it not being a huge change in some of the things I hope that CPAP therapy would fix.

When using your CPAP have you found certain positions are better when using your machine? When not using your CPAP, what tips help you? Please share your story or comment below on your travel tips without a CPAP machine.

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.

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