Apnea patients experience a lot of discomfort from wearing a mask while using traditional pillows as they undergo CPAP therapy. Even as they try their best to go to sleep, they could be repeatedly disturbed when their mask is leaking, when they feel pain due to the pressure on their face, or when they can no longer bear the discomfort. Also, they could have neck or back pains because of tensed muscles due to uncomfortable sleeping position while having therapy. This article talks about apnea and how to solve apnea patients’ comfort issues with the use of a CPAP pillow.
What is Apnea?
People who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) experience a health condition that causes absence or cessation of breathing especially during sleep. This happens repeatedly as the patient sleeps because the “airway” or soft tissue in the throat collapses and keeps the air from flowing to the lungs. It is typically marked by choking, coughing, gasping and heavy snoring through the night and extreme tiredness during the day. It is also accompanied by poor alertness and focus during the day.
In the United States, five to ten percent of the population experience OSA. That is roughly 20 million and there are people who are yet to be diagnosed. Generally, people do not really know that they have this condition.
What are the Causes of Apnea?
Apnea may be due to a large tongue, extra fleshy tissue in the airway, or decreased muscle tone in the area which holds the airway open. As a result, the air cannot get into the lungs. These breathing cessations can occur 30 or more times per hour during sleep. Needless to say, it robs the brain and body of oxygen that is essential in maintaining energy, mental alertness, and sharpness during the day. When this condition is left untreated, it will lead to a variety of serious health problems.
Therapy: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
On the brighter side, apnea can be diagnosed easily and can be treated effectively and safely. Sleep apnea patients are recommended to take a therapy referred to as Constant or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). To prevent them from having complications, they need to use a machine that assists them to breathe properly. With this machine, patients are supplied with a constant and steady air pressure out of the hose to the nasal pillow, nose or full-face mask. Those who were diagnosed and undergo therapy experience better nights and livelier days. Other benefits of this therapy include lower blood pressure, decreased risk or heart attack and stroke, increased effectiveness and productivity at work and at home, and a better quality of life.
Ways to Have a Comfortable Sleep
There are ways through which apnea patients can sleep more comfortably. These are a combination of devices, therapy, and the right mind set. Each patient might require a different method.
• Choose the Proper Mask
Since a sleep apnea patient needs to wear a device as he sleeps, sleeping could be very uncomfortable. He can have a difficult time sleeping because of a dry nose or mouth and a leaky mask. But there are ways to solve these problems. One is to choose a mask that best fits the patient so that he can move as he sleeps without much difficulty.
• Get Used to It
Also, an apnea patient should gradually accustom himself or herself to using CPAP devices. He may start using them for a couple of hours during the day before using them all throughout the night. This will help him to have a good adjustment period until he can sleep with the devices with more ease and comfort.
• Use a Specialty Medical Pillow
Another very good solution is to use specialty medical pillows. There are two types of pillows intended for CPAP therapy: CPAP pillow and memory foam pillow.
A CPAP pillow is created with these six important features:
1. Neck support for side and back sleeping.
2. A curve where the shoulder rests for neck support and proper position. cpap machine
3. Pressure-free mask zone.
4. Head support area.
5. Ear comfort depression.
6. Inclined forehead support that keeps face from rotating downward.
A CPAP pillow helps apnea patients to sleep with ease and comfort. It also enables them to comply with the requirement to use the machine. It supports the neck and aligns the spine and the airway as well. In addition, it reduces mask leaks, pressure on face that can cause red marks, and discomfort. It can significantly help an apnea patient to sleep better as he undergoes therapy.
On the other hand, a memory foam pillow helps users who sleep on their stomach or side. Its support base is made of high density material topped with memory foam on the sleep side. This material effectively supports the contours of the neck so that the user’s head is held in a stable position. The pillow configuration is specially designed to provide support while at the same time allowing space on both sides for the mask. Like the CPAP pillow, it reduces leaks, pressure on face, airway resistance due to better neck support, and hose tension.
• Use a Nasal Pillow
Another way to have a more comfortable sleep is to use a CPAP nasal pillow. It is designed to stay attached only to the nostrils. This allows users to freely move around as they sleep unlike when they use a full-face mask that hinders them from comfortably changing positions. Also, the use of CPAP nasal pillows enables users to do their activities like watching television shows and reading books. This helps them feel normal and capable of doing the things they love. With a nasal pillow, an apnea patient will have less obstruction in his vision. Furthermore, it allows users to talk to other people with a clear voice since it is only placed in the nostrils. And since it is not cumbersome unlike a full-face mask, a nasal pillow is best for claustrophobic patients.