Humans spend a lot of time making sure we’re healthy and comfortable when we’re awake, but what about when we sleep? Spending up to one-third of their lives asleep, most people forget to make sure we’re sleeping well so that we can reap the benefits of a healthy sleep cycle. For many adults, one of the biggest challenges to getting a good night’s sleep is sleep apnea – a respiratory ailment that results on the blocking of air passages when a person sleeps, resulting in constant wake ups, snoring, a damaged respiratory system, and a life of never being fully rested. Luckily, there is a solution – sleep therapy. Today, let’s explore the four things you need to know if you’re considering sleep therapy.
#1 – Sleep Therapy is a Medical Treatment for Sleep Apnea
Sleep therapy is safe and proven to be effective as a medical treatment. Starting with a sleep study, which is overseen by a doctor and team of medical professionals, the process is a partnership between you, your doctors, and respiratory therapists. You’ll never be alone in the process and will constantly have the advice of a number of healthcare pros to help keep you healthy.
#2 – Sleep Therapy Involves a CPAP Machine
On your doctor’s prescription, your sleep treatment will likely involve a CPAP (or similar BiPAP) machine. A CPAP works with some equipment including a comfortable face mask and replaceable filter to keep your airways open while you sleep. The machine is small and non-invasive, meaning it does not require surgical installation or a permanent presence. Most people keep their CPAP next to their bed and simply put on a face mask every night, allowing a simple tube to blow air into their mouth without any discomfort.
#3 – Sleep Therapy Requires Minimal Maintenance
For the most part, your respiratory therapist will handle maintenance of your machine which involves cleaning, data reporting for your doctor, and any technical maintenance. They’ll also teach you how to use it, and can answer questions to help resolve any discomfort. A CPAP user only has to do two things to keep their machine going: clean it and replace the supplies. CPAP cleaning only involves warm water and disinfectant, and can be done mostly with a special CPAP spplies cleaning machine, like the SoClean medical device. A respiratory therapist can teach a CPAP user how to clean their machine to make sure it is always provided clean, fresh air. Replacing CPAP supplies is also simple, and can be done by most respiratory therapists or CPAP providers. Supplies like tubing, masks, and filters will need to be replaced at different intervals (usually every few months) to keep everything running smoothly, but this is covered by many insurance plans and usually only takes a few seconds to switch a piece out.
#4 – Sleep Therapy Will Change Every Part of Life
Most sleep apnea patients start sleep therapy to get a better night’s sleep, but they don’t realize how big of an impact that will have. Because sleep apnea blocks airways while the patient sleeps, they actually stop breathing several times each night. When this happens, their body will wake up, but sometimes they may not realize it, leading to the illusion of a full night’s sleep when in reality the body was awake for most of the hours they were in bed. A sleep apnea patient who isn’t using a CPAP machine will usually never reach the REM stage of sleep, the most important part of the sleep cycle when the mind and body heal, regenerate, and refresh. Because of this, the patient lives life thinking they’re fully renewed each night, but actually struggling with a high level of tiredness and exhaustion. Most people who start sleep therapy notice a positive change to their waking lives within the first couple of days. They note increased levels of energy, less need for naps, better attitude, long attention spans, stronger relationships with loved ones, increased work productivity, and so much more happiness because their brains and bodies now have a chance to fully rest every night.
Sleep therapy is the best solution to treat sleep apnea, and a CPAP machine is a game changer. If you think you may have sleep apnea, you should contact a doctor or respiratory therapist and ask if sleep therapy may be able to change your life for the better.
Article by Jase Lucas | Sales & Marketing Coordinator at Byrd-Watson