Take Our Sleep Test

In contrast to just feeling tired, how likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in the following situations? (Even if you have not done some of these things recently, try to work out how they would have affected you.) Use the following sleep test scale to choose the most appropriate number for each situation:

0 = Would never doze
1 = Slight chance of dozing
2 = Moderate chance of dozing
3 = High chance of dozing

Your Situation:

Sitting and Reading

Watching Television

Sitting inactive in a public place

As a car passenger for 1 hour, no break

Lying down to rest in the afternoon

Sitting and talking to someone

Sitting quietly after lunch without alcohol

In a car stopped in traffic

    

Research & Publications

Sleep Apnea and Snoring Research and Publications
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Living With Your CPAP – 5 Tips That Make It Easier

Your CPAP may be the best thing that’s ever happened to you – but just like a good relationship, it may not always be easy. 

A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure has been a life-saver, a god-send, a gift for many people who chose to use it.  Most people who try a CPAP find that they really can’t live without it – literally as many believed that it saved their lives.  A CPAP life may be, at times inconvenient, but there are a few tips that can make it easier to live with.

1. Make sure your mask is the right size and type

CPAP masks come in a variety of sizes and shapes.  Some are full face masks that cover both the nose and mouth with straps across both the forehead and cheeks.  A common complaint is that this type of mask can make a lot of users feel claustrophobic.  There are other masks that may be more comfortable that cover less of the face and don’t feel as cumbersome.  Pay attention to the size – even when simply switching mask types.  Using one size in a certain type of mask doesn’t necessarily mean you will always need the same size.  Masks are often adjustable.

2. Get used to wearing it

This seems like a no-brainer but some people have a lot more trouble wearing it than others.  One good tip is to start practicing with the mask during the day – maybe while relaxing and watching TV.  Some sleep specialists advise that once you get used to it, you should wear it every time you sleep – even when napping.  Inconsistent use can delay the time it takes for you to get used to it.  Napping or sleeping without it means that you don’t get the benefits.

You’ll also need to get used to the forced air.  Many machines have a “ramp” feature that allows you to slowly increase the pressure over time.  Ask your doctor to help you establish a ramping schedule that begins with a little forced air and slowly increases to the amount prescribed.  In some cases your sleep specialist may recommend that you use a different type of machine – a BiPAP or bi-level positive airway pressure device - which provides more pressure on inhalation and less on exhalation.

3. Make sure that you are using humidification if you need it

Maintaining moisture in your nose and mouth is essential.  A dry nasal cavity promotes sinusitis and a dry mouth is a harbor for bacteria – which can ultimately lead to tooth decay.

A CPAP device can dry out the nose or mouth.  Use the in-line humidifier and an oral rinse (saline nasal spray) to maintain moisture. Make sure to sanitize the hose and tank.   

4. Learn about your mask and machine on your own

The doctor and his staff will educate you on the CPAP machine and teach you how to use it but you can gain further knowledge by reading the instructions and researching your questions on the internet.  We don’t recommend going against your doctor’s orders but you may find that you can find answers to the smaller issues on your own.

5. Consider your CPAP a gift

Consider it a gift to you and your family.  Sleep apnea causes a number of serious physiological illnesses.  It can contribute to serious medical conditions including heart disease, obesity, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and acid reflux.  If your CPAP lets you get a good night’s sleep then consider it to be a gift of disorder and illness prevention as well as good health. Further, there is the gift of “you” who will be around longer for your friends and family to enjoy. 

The CPAP is also a gift to your bed partner.  With a more restful and meaningful night’s sleep, you will feel better and be a more enjoyable person to be with the next day.  Some CPAP users find that they no longer wake up with awful headaches.

Sleep companions benefit from improved sleep themselves as snoring, gasping and the sudden jerks that used to awaken them suddenly go away.  And without the fatigue that haunts sleep apnea patients and their bed partners, sex lives may improve.

Donald M. Sesso, D.O.

Dr. Donald M. Sesso, the Director of The Pennsylvania Snoring and Sleep Institute, is the only triple certified snoring doctor in the tri-state area. He specializes in the surgical treatment of obstructive sleep apnea and sinus disorders and is a Board Certified ENT Otolaryngologist in Head and Neck Surgery, Facial Plastic Surgery, and Sleep Medicine.