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Being Thankful Even When It’s Hard to Do So

It’s probably not a stretch to say that you weren’t feeling lucky when you were diagnosed with sleep apnea. Nor were you probably feeling thankful when you found out what goes into treating the condition. We also doubt that your first night of CPAP inspired feelings of gratitude.

 

However, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, we thought we would offer a little bit of optimism and talk about how to be grateful for something like CPAP—even when it’s hard to do so.

 

  • Fewer family arguments.

 

Holidays can often bring out the worst in family members. Whether it’s stress from extra obligations or old grudges coming to the surface, it’s not uncommon for arguments to break out.

 

With your newfound rest from CPAP therapy, you’ll find your irritation levels going down. Getting a good night’s sleep can go far in helping your mood around others.

This means that behavior or comments that used to make you cranky suddenly don’t seem like such a big deal.

 

  • Longer time to spend with your family.

 

Now that you’re addressing your sleep apnea, this means that you have a higher likelihood of living a longer life. With those extended years, you can spend more time with your loved ones and watch the next generation of your family grow up.

 

  • You’ll miss fewer moments.

 

Did you ever find yourself falling asleep while attending a school play? How about when you were watching your child play sports? How many social events did you have to turn down because you were just too tired?

 

With sleep apnea therapy, you’ll miss fewer of these moments between you and your loved ones. CPAP compliance means less falling asleep during the day and more energy to enjoy social occasions.

 

 

At CPAP Central, we are thankful for the chance to make a difference in the lives and health of our customers. We wouldn’t do what we do if we didn’t feel thankful for the opportunity to help others. Tell us in the comment section what you’re grateful for!

 

It’s Exam Time! Getting Tested for Sleep Apnea

 

More than likely, you haven’t attended school in years. But that doesn’t mean you’re done with tests. In fact, some of the most important exams you’ll take in your life are yet to occur. So, get out your pencils and put on your study music—we’re going to get you ready for a sleep test!

Sleep apnea is a common condition in America, but many people aren’t aware they have it. If you wake up each morning feeling as if you haven’t slept a wink, you might have sleep apnea. If a partner has noticed you gasping in the night or has complained of excessive snoring, you might have sleep apnea. And if you find yourself falling asleep during inappropriate times during the day you might—you guessed it—have sleep apnea.

Should you demonstrate some of the major symptoms of sleep apnea, it’s highly likely that your doctor will order a sleep test for you. There are a couple of different options, including:

 

Lab Sleep Test

 

Formally referred to as nocturnal polysomnography, this sleep test takes place in a lab. You will be hooked up to equipment that will monitor a variety of things, including activity from your heart, lungs and even your brain waves. Your breathing will also be measured, as will any movement by your arms and legs.

 

Home Sleep Test

 

Some doctors may choose to have you evaluate your own sleeping patterns via a home sleep test. This will allow your results to come from your normal sleeping environment. Your sleep center will give a machine that gathers different data on you as you sleep. Don’t worry about knowing how to use it—they will show you before you go home.

 

Prepping for the Sleep Test

 

No matter where you do your sleep test, it’s important to follow your normal daily routine as close as possible. You should avoid napping during the day and limit your caffeine intake in the afternoon.

 

If your tests do come back positive for sleep apnea, we’re here to help! We carry everything you need to get this condition under control, including CPAP and BiPAP machines. If you need help with anything sleep apnea related, CPAP Central is ready and willing to help! We’re available via live chat Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. EST.

A Month for Sleep

How many of you read the title and thought, “Sleeping for a month? Sign me up!” You wouldn’t be alone. Approximately 40 percent of U.S. adults get less than the recommended amount of sleep each night. Since November is National Sleep Comfort Month, now is the perfect time to take stock of the things that might be keeping you from getting a good night’s rest:

 

  • Not keeping the same bed time every night.

 

Experts tell us that going to bed at the same time every night can help establish a better quality sleep. While keeping a bed time may make you feel like a little kid, the truth is adults also need one. Waking up at the same time every day—even on the weekends—can also help.

 

  • Put down the phone.

 

Besides giving yourself a bedtime, you’ll also need to enforce another rule you may already give your children: limiting screen time. Experts say that watching TV, playing on the computer or scrolling through your phone an hour before you go to sleep can disrupt your circadian rhythms, leading to a poor sleeping pattern.

 

  • Establish a routine.

 

Another way to get into a good sleeping rhythm is to have a pre-bed routine. This can be anything from reading for 20 minutes to brushing and flossing right before sleep. Some people drink warm milk or chamomile tea to wind down. We caution you from drinking alcohol for the same reason. While it may make you fall asleep, it can keep you from going through all of the REM cycles properly, leaving you feeling awful in the morning.

 

  • Stay CPAP Compliant.

 

We know that this can be easier said than done, but if you have sleep apnea it’s crucial to getting a good night’s sleep. If you’ve been avoiding CPAP due to discomfort, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experts! We can help you get to the bottom of any trouble you may be experiencing with your equipment.

 

At CPAP Central, our main focus is ensuring that you get the best possible sleep. Our Education and Resources Center can give you more tips about how to get the best rest each night. For updated and replacement CPAP equipment see our online catalog.

What is Epworth and How Does It Tell if I Have Sleep Apnea?

Have you ever wondered how doctors can tell if you may have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea? There are two barometers used to gauge whether you have sleep apnea or not. The Berlin Questionnaire and Epworth Sleepiness Scale were developed to assess risk factors (like your blood pressure) and persistent behaviors (like snoring) that may indicate that you have sleep apnea.

 

The Berlin Questionnaire was developed in 1996 to help better detect the presence of a sleep disorder, and since has become well-known for its accuracy in indicating that someone has sleep apnea. It is broken up into three categories of questions with multiple answers, some of which are “positive” answers. Each category can be “positive” with a certain number of positive answers, and these help to indicate if you have sleep apnea. For a full look at the scale, click here.

 

On the other hand, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, created in 1990 in Australia bases its indication of sleep apnea by asking your likelihood of falling asleep during certain activities. For example, one of the questions is how likely it is that you would fall asleep while watching television. You would then respond on the following scale: 0- no chance, 1- slight chance, 2- moderate chance, 3- high chance. The responses are then totaled, with any score over a 10 meaning there’s a very likely chance you have sleep apnea. Here’s a closer look at the scale.

 

These are two simple tests used by doctors everywhere to indicate the presence of sleep apnea or another sleep disorder. However, these test are not used to officially diagnose sleep apnea. If you have a positive test, your doctor may recommend you for a sleep test for an official diagnosis.

 

If you think you or someone you know may have sleep apnea, share this post with them and ask them to schedule an appointment with their doctor.

 

Training Yourself to Nose Breathe at Night

Breaking a habit can be a very difficult thing to do. Breaking an involuntary habit that occurs as you are sleeping can be even more difficult. That is the challenge that mouth breathers face if they use a nasal mask for CPAP therapy to treat their sleep apnea because a full face mask feels too claustrophobic.

 

The Problem:

 

Because the air that flows through the mask during treatment pushes the tongue down to keep the airway unobstructed, opening the mouth to breathe causes a vacuum that pulls the tongue up. This can be very uncomfortable and cause you to wake up during the night, something your CPAP therapy is trying to prevent.

 

So, how do you learn how to nose breathe?

 

There are many different techniques out there. While one lifelong mouth breather may swear that one works, it may not work for others. The name of the game here is experimentation.

 

Technique 1:

 

The first technique is to press your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Do this during the day while breathing through your nose to get used to it, and then try it as you are falling asleep.

 

Technique 2:

 

Another way is to gradually block your mouth from opening less and less. In this technique you start by placing tape over your mouth at night, which may seem like a scary thought. However, after three or so nights where you aren’t opening your mouth, you can switch to tucking a small pillow under your chin to prevent mouth breathing.

 

Technique 3:

 

Mind over matter can also be effective! Work on telling yourself that the air coming through the nasal mask is enough so that you don’t have to open your mouth. You can also visualize yourself sleeping with your mouth closed as you’re falling asleep.

 

There are many other techniques out there, or you can create one on your own. If nothing is working, CPAP Central offers chin straps to help prevent your mouth from opening. Our staff can offer helpful advice and tips to get you sleeping better at night. We’re available Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. via our live chat.

 

 

CPAP Not Working? Try These Hacks

Picture yourself getting ready for bed, putting on your CPAP mask and turning on your CPAP machine – then nothing.  Yes, your CPAP machine has stopped working.  Do you get your tool box out from the garage, call 911, or stay awake all night to avoid rattling the windows with your snoring?  The answer is none of these.  We repeat – DO NOT open up your CPAP machine and try to fix it yourself.  Also, while your CPAP may have greatly improved your quality of life, it is not life sustaining equipment.  Here are some simple steps from CPAP Central that may help when you find yourself without a working CPAP machine.

1 – Check Your Water Chamber or Humidifier

When a CPAP machine isn’t working, it can often be caused by a worn out heated element in your humidifier.  To check if this is the problem, remove the tube going to the humidifier and connect it straight to the CPAP machine, bypassing the humidifier.  Try turning on your CPAP machine again. If it works, then you know that you’ll need to replace the humidifier.  If your CPAP still doesn’t work, you may need to replace your entire CPAP machine.

Replacing the water chamber or humidifier is easy because it does not require a prescription.  It is also a lot cheaper than replacing the entire CPAP machine if you are no longer under warranty.

2 – Check Your Warranty

When a CPAP machine breaks down less than 2 years after purchasing, you are most likely still under warranty.  Checking on warranty status can be done with either your CPAP provider, who should have your prescription on file or by checking with any authorized dealer for Philips Respironics or ResMed.

3 – Check on Copy of Prescription

Another item you will need if replacing your CPAP machine is your prescription.  You can call your doctor to obtain a new prescription right away.   Your prescription will allow you to easily order another CPAP machine quickly to avoid any more difficult nights.

For more questions on what to do if your CPAP machine breaks, visit Cpapcentral.com. We’re available Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. via our live chat.

Celebrities with Sleep Apnea

If you think sleep apnea is only something the common public deals with at night, you are mistaken.  CPAP Central wants to let you know that you are not alone and that some of your favorite celebrities might be wearing the exact same mask that you do at night!  Check out these celebs who wear a CPAP mask to bed:

Randy Jackson

  • Has sleep apnea and type-2 diabetes.
  • On American Idol.
  • Former musician for Bob Dylan, The Divynls, Blue Oyster Cult

Shaquille O’Neal

  • Has moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Former NBA center/actor
  • Featured in a sleep apnea video.

JaMarcus Russell

  • Has sleep apnea.
  • Number one pick in 2007 NFL draft.
  • Before being diagnosed, Russell had fallen asleep in team meetings.

Quincy Jones

  • Has sleep apnea.
  • Won 27 Grammy Awards.
  • Jazz trumpeter and record producer.

Regis Philbin

  • Diagnosed with sleep apnea.
  • Emmy-award winning talk show host.

Roseanne Barr

  • Diagnosed with sleep apnea.
  • TV sitcom star.

Larry the Cable Guy

  • Has sleep apnea.
  • Famous comedian and actor.

William Shatner

  • Has sleep apnea.
  • Famous actor from Star Trek and Priceline commercials.

Graham Elliot

  • Had sleep apnea.
  • Judge on MasterChef show.
  • After sleeve gastrectomy surgery and losing 147 lbs, Elliot no longer requires CPAP.

Anne Rice

  • Has sleep apnea.
  • Author of The Vampire Chronicles.

Reggie White (1961-2004)

Jerry Garcia (1942-1995)

  • Passed away in 1995 from a heart attack and possible complications of sleep apnea.
  • Lead singer of the Grateful Dead

Justin Tennison (1977-2011)

  • Passed away at age 33 from complications related to sleep apnea.
  • Actor featured on Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch.

While most of the celebrities listed have been able to get their sleep apnea under control through CPAP therapy, the final three were unable to overcome their health problems and passed away from health complications that were possibly brought on by years of untreated sleep apnea.  CPAP Central hopes you take this as a reminder to encourage loved ones to get tested for sleep apnea and begin treatment right away to prevent sleep apnea-related conditions.

 

Importance of having Clean CPAP Equipment

CPAP users understand the importance of sleep apnea therapy to their health and well being. Today, CPAP Central would like to remind you that keeping yourself healthy involves keeping your CPAP equipment clean and up-to-date.

 

Maintaining and replacing supplies is important. Over time your supplies like the mask, headgear, tubing, filters and chin strap get unsanitary and become unhealthy for continued use. These supplies are not meant to last forever!

 

CPAP supplies are disposable.  Most masks are made with plastic and silicone with the headgear being made from neoprene, a synthetic rubber.  Over time these supplies break down and replacements are expected.

 

Bacteria is no one’s best friend.  As your mask gets used it needs to be cleaned regularly with mild soapy water and left out to dry in direct sunlight. Remember, the older the mask, the more bacteria in the mask, tubing, and quite possibly you!

 

If you have to constantly rearrange your mask or tighten it down for the best possible use, you can harm yourself in the process.  If you start to get red sores on your face, more than likely it is time to replace your mask and headgear.

 

Dirty filters are a mess and if you ignore them by not replacing them, your CPAP will turn into a mess too!  CPAP machine filters NEED to be replaced on a regular basis.  If not replaced, the buildup can cause the machine to overheat and not work efficiently, thus damaging the motor.

 

After you clean your equipment you can put it in the sunlight to dry, but don’t keep your supplies there.  Leaving your CPAP supplies in direct sunlight will break them down even quicker causing you to spend more time and energy getting new equipment.

 

At CPAP Central, not only can we help you stay well supplied with your CPAP equipment, we can also help you keep it clean! We sell mask wipes, tube cleaning systems and the SoClean sanitizer, which cleans your entire CPAP system while it is assembled!

Obesity and Sleep Apnea

Obesity is a risk factor to sleep apnea. It is safe to assume that a healthier living will translate into a reduced risk of developing sleep apnea. This is also true if you’ve already been diagnosed. Eating healthy has been shown to help to reduce the severity of sleep apnea and increase the effectiveness of your CPAP therapy. CPAP Central wants you to understand why having a healthy diet, while diagnosed with sleep apnea, has many benefits.

 

CPAP therapy helps treat your sleep apnea.  You get in a usual routine every night of putting on and turning your equipment on and cleaning your equipment regularly.  Do you have a healthy routine for your diet?  Your health habits can factor in to the effectiveness of your CPAP treatment.

 

Eating the right things at the right times can also help your therapy. For example, eating spicy foods or other foods that trigger activity in your metabolism for dinner may keep you up, which doesn’t allow your therapy to work for as long. Also, avoiding foods with caffeine in them, like chocolate, or foods with neurostimulants in them, like bacon and cheese, will help you fall asleep faster at night.

 

You also need to pay attention to what you are drinking. Just like with food, anything with caffeine in it like coffee, tea, or soda should not be consumed in the hours leading up to going to bed. In addition, drinking alcohol before going to sleep poses two problems. First, it loosens the soft tissue in the airway more, increasing blockage. Second, your CPAP machine is set up for typical sleeping conditions. You breathe differently after consuming alcohol which doesn’t allow for ideal treatment conditions.

 

One thing to remember while eating and drinking as a sleep apnea patient is to determine if the food or drink you consume is healthy or not.  If you have to think about it, you should probably put it down!

 

At CPAPCentral.com we want everyone to experience better sleep, better health, and a better life, remember healthy eating and healthy sleep go hand in hand.

A CPAP Mask for Every Situation

Trying to find the right CPAP mask can be a challenge in addition to trying to get used to pressurized air being pushed through your airway. It has to fit your breathing style, whether you’re a mouth or nose breather. Then it has to have the right level of comfort, allowing you to fall asleep while staying in place and providing you with the air you need for your treatment. Combine that with trying to find the right tension for your straps so that your mask is neither pressing into your face nor falling off at night, and it may take awhile to find the right combination.

 

CPAP masks come in many different shapes, sizes, and fits.  CPAP Central offers several different types of masks for your sleep apnea therapy:  nasal, full face, nasal pillow and total face masks. Here’s a little bit more information about each mask:

 

  • Nasal CPAP Masks – Nasal Masks help users who primarily breathe through their nose. A chinstrap can be used to help keep your mouth closed in-case you breathe through your mouth too.  Nasal masks have a seal that goes around your nose shaped like a triangle.
  • Full Face CPAP Masks –A full face mask covers both your nose and your mouth with a triangle shaped seal. This is great for users who breathe through either or both their nose and mouth during their sleep.
  • Nasal Pillow CPAP Masks –This mask helps people who suffer from claustrophobia, but still allows them to receive CPAP therapy, breathing through their nose.
  • Total Face CPAP Masks—Many people have trouble getting their CPAP masks to fit because of facial hair, dental work, nose structure or dentures. These issues can be addressed through the use of a Total Face CPAP Mask.

 

It may take some time to find exactly the right CPAP mask for your situation. If you need help picking one out, contact the experts at CPAP Central. We’re available via live chat Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST.