CPAP, or ‘continuous positive airway pressure’ machines are designed to treat people who suffer with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where a person’s breathing is disrupted i.e. it repeatedly stops or starts during sleep.
Predominantly, the condition affects those who may be overweight, people aged over 40 and men, but anyone could suffer from sleep apnea.
When people stop breathing in their sleep, the brain and other vital organs do not receive enough oxygen to keep them healthy. Untreated sleep apnea can actually be very dangerous to a persons health and has been linked to an increased risk of strokes, heart failure and hypertension.
That is why CPAP machines are an important treatment method for sufferers. While the person sleeps, the CPAP machine will prevent their airways from collapsing when they breathe in. They do this pushing a steady supply of pressurized oxygen through an air filter tube that connects to the wearers mask covering their nose and mouth.
This prevents any blockages in the throat and keeps the airways open to allow oxygen to flow properly into the lungs, essentially keeping them alive.
Does CPAP machine improve sleep?
Sleep apnea can cause sufferers to wake up feeling unwell and tired (even if they got a good number of hours of sleep) because they will keep waking up to resume normal breathing.
Most sufferers will also snore a lot during sleep which can further disrupt their sleep and the sleep of anyone sleeping within the vicinity.
Snoring with sleep apnea is caused by the narrowing or complete closing of throat structures which prevents oxygen from getting into the lungs. This often causes the person to make a ‘snoring’ sound while they sleep.
A CPAP machine will prevent this from happening by keeping a person’s airways open, thereby eliminating the ‘snoring’ sound and improving a person’s sleep.
Untreated sleep apnea will cause the sufferer to lose out on sleep causing them to struggle with concentration during the day. A CPAP machine will help with this, allowing the person to wake up feeling fresh and well-rested, ready to take on the day.
Does CPAP machine stop sleep apnea?
CPAP machines are a form of sleep apnea treatment rather than a cure for the condition. This is because sleep apnea is caused by a number of external factors that a CPAP machine cannot control such as obesity, old age, having a large neck and/or tonsils, smoking and/or excessive alcohol drinking, sleeping on your back, and other family members having the condition.
CPAP therapy will only treat the symptoms of the condition. However, without the use of a CPAP machine, you could be at an increased risk of passing away in your sleep if you suffer with sleep apnea.
The machine creates a constant supply of pressurized oxygen that is pushed through an air filter tube and into the wearers mask that covers their mouth and nose. This pushes through any blockages in their throat to keep the airways open and allow oxygen to flow properly into the lungs, without this, the wearer may completely stop breathing in their sleep, putting them at risk.
Without anything obstructing this flow of oxygen, your breathing doesn’t pause. As a result, you don’t repeatedly wake up in order to resume breathing.
What are the benefits of using a CPAP machine?
The main benefit of using a CPAP machine is that it stops your airways from collapsing while you sleep, allowing your brain and other vital organs to get enough oxygen to work properly.
There are several other benefits associated with better breathing during sleep, thanks to a CPAP machine. These include improved sleep, better concentration during the day, lower blood pressure and more.
Here is a breakdown of the benefits of using a CPAP machine:
Better sleep for you and your partner
Most sufferers will snore a lot during their sleep, disrupting their sleep and whoever might be sleeping next to them.
A CPAP machine eliminates snoring by keeping the throat structure open while they sleep. So, no snoring means a great night sleep for you and your partner.
Due to the lack of oxygen a person receives during the night, they are more likely to experience headaches and migraines.
A CPAP machine helps to keep a steady stream of oxygen to the brain, thereby reducing the chances of them waking up with a headache or a migraine.
Reduced risk of heart disease
Using a CPAP machine has been linked to a lower risk of strokes and heart problems. This is because the machine ensures your body receives enough oxygen to function normally, thereby keeping your heart functioning well and putting you at a lower risk of heart problems.
Lower blood pressure
Many sleep apnea sufferers who also struggle with high blood pressure have found using a CPAP machine has lowered or stabilized their blood pressure levels, although there is further research to be done on the link between CPAP machines and lowered blood pressure.
Better concentration during the day
As sleep apnea causes disrupted sleep, many sufferers will struggle with tiredness and a lack of concentration the next day. A CPAP machine improves the persons sleep and as a result, makes them more alert during the day.
Increased mood and energy
Living with sleep apnea can largely affect a persons energy and mood. Constantly waking up during the night to resume normal breathing and loud snoring means sufferers will often suffer from a lack of sleep.
Sleep deprivation can really take its toll on your entire body. The result being, reduced alertness and lower energy level which ultimately affects their mood.
Using a CPAP machine is the best way to improve this. By working to keep a constant flow of oxygen into your lungs, the machine enables you to sleep uninterrupted throughout the night.
So, getting a good night’s sleep will give you much more energy and put you in a much better mood.
Damon Wiseley is a Registered Respiratory Therapist and Certified Pulmonary Function Technologist.