Skip to main content

Napping with sleep apnea: what you need to know - January 7th, 2020

Sleep apnea and napping seem to go hand in hand; as the sufferer experiences decreased levels of energy from a miserable night’s sleep, napping seems the only way to survive each day. Though it can seem like a reliever of fatigue, napping can often cause more harm to your sleep apnea than good. In this article, we divulge everything you need to know about napping and sleep apnea, providing you with an understanding of why most sleep specialists are wary of napping, especially in the beginning.

Avoid napping at the start

During the adjustment period for new CPAP users, napping can play havoc with the machine’s ability to help manage the condition properly. What napping does is reduce your sleep debt; while you may want to make up the amount of sleep you’ve missed, high sleep debt will help you fall asleep faster with a new CPAP machine. As a result of the nap, you are extending the adjustment period with your machine, making it harder to fall asleep with your new set up.

Don’t forget your CPAP machine

Sleep apnea nappers tend to forget about their critical sleep device during a short nap, often failing to see the need for the machine for such short sleep. However, the physical sleep process doesn’t differ between a short sleep (nap) and a long one; your biomechanics are experiencing the same breathing issues no matter what the sleep duration. Neglecting to wear your CPAP mask during a nap can be extremely detrimental to a sufferer’s condition, and highly advised against by most sleep specialists.

Consider your location and sleep set up

Some people can nap in moving vehicles, or on the couch in front of the television, meaning they aren’t in their usual bedroom surrounds. Sleep apnea sufferers need to be particularly wary of napping outside of their typical sleep environment, as this can cause poor sleep, extended sleep debt, and exacerbated symptoms. When choosing to nap, sleeping in your bedroom is best, along with your routine bedding and sleep comforts, and, as we mentioned before, with your CPAP machine. Though sometimes it can’t be avoided, like in the case of travelling, it’s best to replicate your sleeping environment as closely as possible.

Understand why you need to nap and address it

The need to nap usually occurs due to increased sleep debt. Addressing the root cause of the added fatigue is critical for sleep apnea suffers – with a CPAP machine and eight hours of quality sleep, if napping is still necessary, lifestyle adjustments may need to be made. Such modifications may include dietary overhauls, increased exercise, and changes to the CPAP machine specifically.

MENU