Traveling With Sleep Apnea
Last updated: May 2023
Sleep apnea is a very easy condition for most people to treat, especially when you are in your own bed at home. This becomes much more difficult when you are traveling or not at your house and somewhere you have to spend the night.
Another issue with sleep apnea and travel is cleaning your machine. I clean my machine with a bucket of warm, soapy water, which is not really possible when traveling.
There are a few things you can do when traveling to help with your sleep apnea.
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Note to self: don't forget your CPAP
The first thing you can do is to plan ahead and bring your continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine with you. Many people like to pack the night before leaving on a trip, so you can leave on the day of the trip and not have to feel rushed. This can cause your CPAP to be left behind. There are so many things going through your head when you travel that grabbing your machine may be the last thing on your mind.
In order to not forget it, I would recommend placing a note on your luggage that reminds you of anything you need to pack the day you are leaving. This can include your CPAP, phone charger, and other things you might need during the night you didn’t pack already.
What if I forget to bring my CPAP machine?
What happens when you do forget your machine? For many of us, there isn’t much we can do. You will have to plan ahead for a less than optimal night's sleep.
You may be able to try sleeping in a more reclined position to see if that helps with airflow and ease of breathing. Sometimes people do have a little better rest when not sleeping flat.
Try to keep your nostrils clear as well. If you can, and it is OK for you to use, try some nasal spray or nasal wash to keep your nose clear. This may not help everyone, but allowing yourself the best chance of easy breathing can’t hurt.
Go to bed earlier
Another thing I do is go to sleep earlier than I normally would. Sometimes this can be tough because I am not always tired, but you know you are about to get a poorer night's sleep, so the more time you can sleep could help you be not as tired in the morning.
I have found the few times I have forgotten my machine, I function better on more sleep than usual.
Consider having your CPAP shipped to you
The last bit of advice I can give is to have someone overnight the machine to you. If you are spending a day or 2 out of town, this wouldn’t really be worth it. But if you are on a vacation for a week, it may be best to have someone overnight the machine to where you are staying.
Yes, it is going to be a bit costly, but a week without your machine can potentially cause issues to your body and ruin your time away from home. It is better to spend the extra money than be tired the rest of your trip. Plus, this may help you remember to bring it next time if it costs you some extra money.
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