The CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure), is the main and most common treatment for those that suffer from sleep apnea.
This machine essentially allows them to sleep uninterrupted throughout the night, as the machine assists the breathing and ensures the airway doesn’t collapse.
But can you ever stop using the machine?
The answer is yes. If your apnea goes into remission, or the symptoms become less serious or even disappear, then you will no longer have to use a CPAP machine, as you will be able to sleep through the night without assistance.
However, for as long as your sleep apnea is bad enough to require assistance, you will need to use a CPAP machine.
Essentially, some people with severe sleep apnea can, in time, reduce their symptoms so that they leave the severe group, and enter the moderate group.
Like for example, by losing weight, so that there’s a less restrictive airflow, and less assistance is needed to cope with the symptoms.
If this is the case, then there might be other options to treat the sleep apnea, and they will no longer require the use of a CPAP machine to sleep throughout the night.
How do you stop using a CPAP mask?
For as long as your sleep apnea is severe, you will have to use a CPAP machine in order to be able to sleep throughout the night.
This is because the CPAP machine is the most commonly used form of treatment for sleep apnea. (It’s not a cure, as there isn’t really a cure for sleep apnea, there are just ways to treat the symptoms, and methods of lessening the symptoms).
So if you want to stop using a CPAP mask, you will have to lessen your symptoms, so that they end up being moderate enough to not require the CPAP therapy. But how can you lessen your sleep apnea symptoms?
There are a few things you can do yourself, to improve the airflow and therefore ease the symptoms of sleep apnea, so that they’re not as prominent. Here are a few of the main things you can do:
Practice some yoga
There are many benefits to practicing yoga, and one of them is a reduction in the symptoms of sleep apnea. This is because one of the main symptoms of sleep apnea is decreased oxygen saturation in the blood.
And one of the things that yoga can do for you is improve those oxygen levels through breathing exercises, and strengthen the overall oxygen flow of your respiratory system.
This way, getting into a routine of practicing daily yoga, especially before bed, can reduce the number of interruptions you get throughout the night because of sleep apnea.
Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight
Obesity can severely affect sleep apnea, making the symptoms a lot worse, as the extra fat will add pressure and obstruct the airflow.
This is why the main recommendation, when it comes to sleep apnea, is to lose and then maintain your weight so that it’s at a healthy level that won’t affect the airflow of your respiratory system.
In fact, in some cases, weight loss can completely eliminate sleep apnea, in which case you will never have to use a CPAP machine again! (But be careful, as regaining the weight might bring the condition back.)
Reduce and avoid smoking and alcohol
Drinking alcohol will relax the throat muscles that control, which can lead to interrupted sleep cycles, snoring, and inflammation of the airways.
All of which will worsen sleep apnea symptoms. Smoking can likewise cause inflammation.
So if you want to reduce sleep apnea, you can change your lifestyle, leaving smoking and drinking behind, so that the symptoms aren’t as bad.
Switch up your sleeping position
The sleeping position can have a major effect on your sleep apnea.
In fact, some people will only suffer from sleep apnea when they are sleeping in a certain position.
Sleeping on your back is what causes the most sleep apnea. So you might want to try sleeping on your side!
Use a humidifier
Dry hair can enhance sleep apnea symptoms, as it can easily irritate the respiratory system. A good home remedy to treat sleep apnea is to use a humidifier in your room.
This will help you breathe better, and you can also get specific humidifiers that enhance sleep and breathing with the use of anti-inflammatory essential oils.
Using oral appliances
The CPAP machine is the biggest item used when treating sleep apnea.
But if your sleep apnea isn’t as severe, you can use smaller oral appliances that slightly reposition your jaw, or keep your tongue out of the way, so that the airflow isn’t blocked or restricted.
When should you not use a CPAP mask?
If your sleep apnea is moderate and does not require a CPAP mask, it’s best not to wear it.
Damon Wiseley is a Registered Respiratory Therapist and Certified Pulmonary Function Technologist.