Should sleep apnea sufferers moderate their alcohol intake?

Although alcohol consumption is not a direct cause of sleep apnea, it could worsen the symptoms of the condition and impact your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Indeed, alcohol relaxes the airway muscles and diminishes a person’s ability to wake themselves up when they have stopped breathing.

This is particularly concerning for sleep apnea sufferers who are prone to stopping breathing during sleep. If they stop breathing after drinking alcohol, they will likely have to go without oxygen for a long period of time. When they wake up, therefore, they may experience heightened feelings of fatigue and, indeed, more intense hangover symptoms.

Alcohol can also keep you awake

Whilst you may fall asleep faster after a night of drinking, you may find it difficult to stay asleep. This is because alcohol disrupts the body’s ability to regulate melatonin levels, rendering sleep less restful overall. For sleep apnea sufferers who already experience problems with insomnia, this kind of disruption could make symptoms much worse.

Sleeping well after drinking

Just because you have sleep apnea does not mean you should completely abstain from alcohol. There are various methods you should follow to mitigate its impact on your body, however. These include:

1. Monitor your intake

Try not to consume too much and stop drinking alcohol at least two hours before you get into bed. This will give your body time to metabolise the drinks. If you’re struggling to keep your intake down, try looking into low-alcohol or alcohol-free options that you can sip during social occasions.

2. Always use your CPAP machine

This goes without saying, but it is always best to use your CPAP machine if you have one, particularly after drinking. If you’re a little tipsy it may be tempting to skip this vital step, so make sure to remind yourself a number of times before your evening is over.

3. Sleep on your side

Sleeping on your side allows gravity to open your relaxed airway, helping you to breathe more easily and potentially making your CPAP mask more effective. In fact, sleeping in this position is a good idea even if you have not been drinking.

ApneaSeal – An Innovation Discovered by Accident

ApneaSeal is Aussie Innovation at its best

Like countless ‘accidental’ discoveries in history such as Penicillin or the heart pacemaker, ApneaSeal was born on the merits of providing a customised CPAP mask fit to improve patient compliance and soon after, a prototype ApneaSeal was serendipitously born with the unique and advantageous property of being a rigid plastic. We often hear the question, “how on earth can hard plastic be comfortable”? Let’s discuss the science…

Yes, a Hard Plastic Mask

Traditional mask technologies target a need to make it easy for clinicians and patients to fit the mask with minimal sizes. Therefore, the mask needs to conform to a great diversity of patient faces… call it a perfect compromise that requires the mask to have soft, flexible qualities, however this property can make a mask prone to leak especially at high pressure.

Those skilled in mask engineering know how challenging it is to make a mask work exceptionally well within its very long list of design requirements. However, one design contradiction has, until now, been difficult to solve. That is, how to make the mask comfortable by conforming to the individual’s face, however, provide structural integrity and stability to maintain a seal throughout the night.

The stable comfort of an ApneaSeal is a unique combination that received its first granted patent in 2018. ApneaSeal uses human engineering skill to custom design a mask for each patient that spreads the forces in such a way to seal over various structures of the face with very little contact pressure, typically much less than a traditional mask. This results in a mask that remains light on the face all night long, even though the material is rigid plastic. ApneaSeal backs this science by providing patients with a mask fit guarantee to provide a positive sleep experience.

What’s Next?

Also, in early 2020, ApneaSeal expects to launch its completely new mask design that further revolutionises the “light all night” qualities with an unprecedented level of robust seal.

Phil Kwok – CPAP Mask Expert

ApneaSeal reveals exciting innovation at Sleep DownUnder 2019

Innovation at Sleep DownUnder 2019

Sleep DownUnder is Australia's premier annual event for the sleep health business. This year the event was held at the new International Convention Centre in Sydney and saw a rise in attendance over previous years.

Amongst the emerging sleep industry benchmark companies, ApneaSeal presented, for the first time, a functional example of their entirely new mask system. Having recently filed additional patents to those already granted, the ApneaSeal team was ready to present a taste of what’s to come in early 2020.

Key opinion leaders, clinicians, and physicians were impressed by demonstrations that showed the new mask exerting an exceptionally light touch against the face despite the 3D Seal being made of a rigid material compared with traditional soft silicone rubber. However, the real attraction was once the new ApneaSeal mask was shown to seal easily with no leaking at exceptionally high pressures well beyond normal CPAP therapy pressures, without any further tightening or over-tightening of headgear straps. The robustness of this seal at these high pressures is thought to be unheard of in the industry.

Based on the potential of providing an exceptionally strong seal and high comfort, it absolutely was no surprise the technology also had plenty of interest from paediatric physicians and clinicians. ApneaSeal looks forward to following up on the high level of interest from both the medical field as well as new dealers.


ApneaSeal Nose Studio at Sleep DownUnder 2019

ApneaSeal Nose Studio at Sleep DownUnder 2019


ApneaSeal Nose Studio 2019

ApneaSeal Nose Studio

Understanding sleep hygiene and sleep apnea

One of the essential concepts for sleep apnea sufferers to understand and address is sleep hygiene; this term refers to the habits and rituals of a good night’s sleep and the simple things that affect your slumber. As sleep apnea sufferers already experience disturbed nights, it’s particularly essential for them to practise adequate and regular sleep hygiene. In this article, we share with you the sleep hygiene practices every person with sleep apnea should know, and the importance of these rituals in managing this condition.

Short naps

For most sleep apnea sufferers, fatigue is an issue difficult to handle, and most sufferers rely on the mid-afternoon nap to re-energise them. However, good sleep hygiene dictates minimising naps to short, thirty-minute sessions to avoid disturbing or impacting a full night’s sleep.

Exercise is key

It’s common knowledge that exercise is important for your health and longevity, but especially for sleep apnea sufferers, exercise will help regulate sleeping patterns. While the form of exercise doesn’t have to be excessive, as walking is considered efficient, it’s more important for the activity to be regular, consistent and avoided just before bedtime.

Nourish wisely

Food is a significant trigger for sleep apnea sufferers, with many people reporting their symptoms intensifying after the consumption of rich, spicy or fatty foods. Each person reacts differently to these types of foods, so it’s best to understand which foods are your trigger and avoid their consumption before bedtime, or during times when your symptoms are worse.

Bedroom oasis

If you have been fitted with a CPAP machine to control your sleep apnea, falling asleep can prove challenging, especially in the beginning. Creating a sleep space that is inviting and comfortable is essential, so you can easily relax and fall asleep naturally. Coupled with a de-stressing bedtime routine, such as meditation, a relaxing bath or reading a book, your bedroom setup creates a space that induces sleep.

Avoid stimulants

Excessive consumption of alcohol, caffeine and nicotine, especially before bedtime, can contribute to being unable to fall asleep or your continual waking, even with a CPAP machine. Healthy, balanced living is vital for sleep apnea sufferers, and this basic sleep hygiene practice emphasises the power of avoiding these toxins.

Stopping breathing while asleep..does this happen to your loved one?

Living with a loved one or family member who suffers from sleep apnea can be undeniably tough; you both experience sleepless nights, frustration from the lack of sleep, and the difficulty discussing treatment options and how best to seek professional help. Being supportive of your loved one during this time is crucial, and in this article, we discuss the ways to be there for the people in your life suffering from sleep apnea, and how you can better assist them to manage their condition.

Create an open discussion

People find snoring and sleep apnea a difficult topic to discuss with the people around them, usually due to embarrassment or a lack of understanding about the specifics of this medical condition. As a supportive loved one, the more open you can be about the topic, and the more willing you are to discuss the sufferer’s feelings and thoughts, the easier the process will be for the sufferer in their pursuit of treatment.

Prioritise sleep for both of you

When you sleep next to a person with sleep apnea, it can be challenging to fall asleep, sleep soundly or experience uninterrupted sleep every night. While you may wake up irritable and tired, your loved one experiences the same feelings, simply due to the nature of the condition. To be able to help each other better, both of you need to prioritise your sleep; this may involve sleeping in separate beds or rooms until treatment begins, or altering your bedroom orientation to accommodate for your new sleeping arrangement.

Encourage treatment

The idea of utilising a CPAP machine is daunting for most sufferers, yet most people don’t know how they survived once they begin using the device regularly. Treatment is one of the most important aspects to living with sleep apnea, and, as a supportive loved one, you are highly encouraged to motivate the sufferer to pursue treatment. Being present at consultations with specialists and appointments like mask fittings is essential too, as you learn crucial information about the condition, what actions are needed to recover or improve the condition, and how to better adjust to the use of a CPAP machine.

Encourage healthy habits

Sleep apnea is worsened by unhealthy living and habits that negatively impact a person’s wellbeing. These include dietary choices, such as drinking or consuming junk food, exercise choices such as inactivity, and weight gain or significant weight fluctuations. To give your loved one the best chance of recovering from sleep apnea, and potentially improving their condition, it’s essential to encourage healthy living actively. These actions may involve joining the sufferer in making significant lifestyle changes and consistently motivating them daily.

Photo: Two hands by K. Kendall licensed under Creative commons 4

Is sleep apnea hereditary?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects the muscles of the throat and causes the windpipe to narrow or close while an individual is asleep. Common symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring or gasping for air during sleep, insomnia, headaches, dry mouth and excessive sleepiness during the day.

The disorder could be passed down from parent to offspring, but it also depends on other factors, such as physiology, lifestyle and environment.

How do genetics show the possibility that sleep apnea runs in your family?

In genetics, this concept is called predisposal. It means that you are likely to develop the disorder if your parents had it. There is no guarantee that you will have the disease, but your chances are higher. This is because you may inherit some characteristics that influence the occurrence of the disorder, such as:

– Breathing problems such as asthma, allergies, and other respiratory diseases originating from the brain.

– Obesity as excess weight leads to fat deposits around your upper airway, which can obstruct breathing.

– Ethnic predisposition, research suggests that people originating from Africa, Hispanica, and Pacific Islands may be predisposed to the disorder.

Physiology

It may be that sleep apnea is not caused by genetics, but by characteristics that make it possible to have the disorder, instead. The physical features include narrow nostrils, a small jawline, a receding chin, as well as an oversized tongue, uvula, and tonsils. If you notice some of these characteristics on your family members, you are more likely to develop sleep apnea because these characteristics can block airflow and affect breathing patterns.

Environment and lifestyle

Like obesity and other related disorders that patients could be predisposed by shared genetics, sleep apnea can also be caused by your environment and lifestyle. In simpler terms, you are more likely to develop sleep apnea if you eat a high-calorie diet and do not do enough exercise. The good news is, you have control over these factors. You should, therefore, practice good health by eating a balanced diet and doing regular exercise.

What to do if you suspect you have sleep apnea?

Loud snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, but not everyone who has the disorder snores. Visit your doctor and get a diagnosis or treatments such as the use of CPAP Machine.

Why custom CPAP masks take the guesswork out of the a good night’s sleep

The secret to the perfect night sleep with a CPAP machine has everything to do with the mask; with a mask that fits you correctly, that is sized best for your face and head shape, and that feels comfortable, will ensure you a good night’s sleep. However, navigating the many CPAP mask options can be tricky, and with the abundance of options available, finding the right sleep apnea mask can feel overwhelming. We share with you why custom-fit CPAP masks will help you speed up the arduous adjustment process, will save you money on ill-fitting masks, and help you manage your symptoms easily.

Perfect sizing

Standard CPAP masks come in various sizes; however, when it comes to such a highly personal apparatus, standard sizing doesn’t cover the ranging facial structures and head sizes of the general population. Size can be an extreme factor why patients feel uncomfortable while wearing the mask. With a tight mask, the straps and apparatus cause pressure on the face and head and can lead to tension headaches. A loose-fitting mask that doesn’t stay gripped to the face can result in leaking air and inefficient sleeping experience. Some patients will interrupt this experience as a broken machine; however, this is the result of an insufficiently sized mask.

Perfect style

With a custom created CPAP mask, you can develop a style of mask that suits you best. Some people enjoy sleeping on their backs, some on their side, and a mask fitted to accommodate this will allow you to continue to enjoy your favourite sleeping style. Body positioning isn’t the only style customisation offered, as you are presented with the choice of nasal airflow, mouth airflow or both, allowing you to pick a breathing style that works best for you.

Sleep advice

The one on one time spent with the experts custom fitting your CPAP mask provides you valuable access to specific sleep apnea advice. Unless you know someone who suffers the same condition, finding diverse, reliable information about what is best for your particular situation can be tricky to find. With direction on best pillow choices, bedroom set up, and how to keep your CPAP machine maintained effectively, and your consultant can provide you with everything you need to know.

Less trial and error time

When you suffer from sleep apnea, the last thing you want is to spend weeks, months or even years figuring out the best setup for your CPAP mask. The reality is most patients experience lengthy processes to finding the right mask, and you can exhaust time, money and energy simply enduring this process.

Call us today to find out how we can help you.

Debunking the top 4 myths about sleep apnea and CPAP machines

As more people become diagnosed with sleep apnea and fitted with life-changing CPAP machines, the conversation about this condition continues to spread. However, the issue facing sleep apnea sufferers is the extreme misconceptions surrounding their symptoms, the CPAP machine, and the severity of their disorder. As most people are oblivious to what suffering sleep apnea is really like, we debunk the most widespread myths about sleep apnea and discuss the realities for people suffering from excessive snoring and patients who depend on a CPAP machine every night.

1. Sleep apnea can go untreated

It’s just snoring, right? This misconception about what sleep apnea is has plagued sufferers for years. The result of this myth is the majority of the population going underdiagnosed. If left untreated, sleep apnea can be a significant contributor to numerous severe conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, depression, high blood pressure, liver disease, and the likelihood of suffering a stroke.

2. Sleeping is worse with a CPAP machine

Another key reason why people go undiagnosed with sleep apnea is because of the myth surrounding the experience of using a CPAP machine. Many assume that using a CPAP machine is harder to sleep with, is uncomfortable for the sufferer, and makes it challenging to relax while wearing the mask. While the first couple of days with the machine are an adjustment period, the patient’s ability to sleep improves exponentially with the CPAP machine. The constant airflow to the patient means the sufferer doesn’t experience continuous waking during the night or have to endure the exhausting efforts to recover their breathing.

3. You can’t travel with a CPAP machine

Once fitted with your CPAP machine, you aren’t confined to the four walls of your bedroom, as most people assume. The design of CPAP machines are travel-friendly, so you can confidently fly with them, both locally and overseas. We always recommend keeping your device in your carry-on luggage, however, to protect it during travel.

4. You don’t need to care for your CPAP machine

Many times we have experienced first-hand the repercussions of neglecting a CPAP machine’s cleanliness. The style of technology is applied directly to the face, through the use of a mask, and that means it can attract oils and dirt from the face, clogging the mask and filters. Excessive build-up of dirt, as well as germs, allergens and mould, can end up making you sick, so a CPAP machine must be cleaned regularly, daily being ideal.

When is it time to replace my CPAP machine?

Unfortunately, your CPAP machine won’t last forever, nor should it. With advances in technology and the needs of patients changing over time, the reality is that you will require a new CPAP machine at some time during your life. The question is, when is the right to replace your CPAP machine?

We take you through the time in your life when you should revaluate your current CPAP machine, when you can easily take advantage of new industry developments, and when your first device shows signs of replacing.

Change In Your Needs

After your diagnosis of sleep apnea, changes in your lifestyle and health can affect your overall condition both positively and negatively. Your needs for a CPAP machine change as your condition does, and you may find yourself needing to replace your existing unit to accommodate these needs. Sufferers, who begin their CPAP journey by renting, or buying second hand, may find themselves upgrading as their situation persists.

New Models Available

Like every piece of technology, new and improved CPAP machines are reaching the marketing regularly. With improved humidifiers, masks and travel options, your older machine might not be as effective for your condition as that of a newer model. You may not be able to identify if this is the case for you; if some time has passed since issuing your CPAP machine, speak with your specialist about any new options available.

Broken Equipment and Neglect

CPAP machines require regular cleaning and maintenance from you, the user. Combined with proper skin hygiene practices and daily cleaning of the machine, it’s easy to extend the longevity of your device. However, if your machine isn’t performing as it once was, you are receiving lower air pressure, or you have broken components, you are likely due for a new device. Specific parts of your machine are easily replaceable, however, and these include the mask, the power cord and fresh, clean filters.

Eligible for New Machine

Depending on your specific condition and your private health insurance, you may be eligible for a brand new machine. With varying time restrictions, and with particular insurance policies, sleep apnea sufferers can receive replacement parts and full new machines every specified number of months or years. It’s imperative you check with your insurance provider about your policy, and if that time has come for you, there is no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of this opportunity.

The First Night’s Sleep: How To Adjust To A New CPAP Machine

It can seem like a scary time, the first few nights with your CPAP machine. You are nervous about how you will sleep with the machine, and how you will finally relax with your new sleeping buddy. However, you are not alone in this feeling, and sleep apnea sufferers have been navigating this adjustment period for years.

In this article, we take you through ways to help you adjust to your first few nights with a CPAP machine, how to make yourself more comfortable, and why patience and persistence will see you through this difficult time.

Start With Short Bursts

The first night is going to be the toughest of all, so getting yourself used to your CPAP machine is the first hurdle to overcome. While most people assume this adjustment time comes at night, the day time is the perfect time to become used to the machine.

Before your first night begins, try some of the following tips to make your mask more comfortable:

· Spend fifteen minutes at a time with the mask on, whilst watching television, cooking or working, or any alike activities
· Stand in front of the mirror to help you adjust the mask’s position, to find the most comfortable positioning
· Make your adjustments whilst lying down, which will allow you to feel if the mask shifts or moves in the lying position

Comfortable Bed and Bedding

There is no denying the first few nights with the CPAP machine is uncomfortable, so it’s essential that every other area of your bed is relaxing. Before your first night, make sure you have the best mattress for your preferred sleeping style, your bedding is cozy, and your room is temperature-controlled. A dark, quiet room will also help you settle into a deep slumber, however, it’s more important to create an environment that induces sleep for you.

Relaxation Routine

Before your time in bed begins, and you start your first night with the CPAP mask, engage in relaxation activities that will help you unwind in bed. The more relaxed you can make yourself, the better your experience will be. On your first night, try reading a book, or watching a relaxing television show, or partake in yoga or breathing exercises.