Using a CPAP is Awesome

I’ve been using a CPAP for 9 years for mild-moderate obstructive sleep apnea. It’s great. If you think you could have more energy, you’re sleepy during the day and you snore and/or have apnea (stop breathing) many times a night, you should definitely ask a doctor about getting one.

First, do you have a problem?

Take this 2 minute quiz, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), to find out. I score a 1, which is great.

Do you wake up groggy every morning? That may be because your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen at night!

Do you often wake up with a sore throat in the morning? That’s because you snore!

Your bed-partner and/or an app can tell you if you snore or have apnea. SnoreClock worked great for me! And my then-fiancee told me how my snoring woke her and she’d freak out when I’d stop breathing for 30 seconds at a time.

But I don’t want to have to wear weird medical equipment!

Don’t worry about it’s appearance at all. The only person who will see it, your sleeping partner will LOVE that you aren’t waking them up with your snoring! They will demand that you wear it!

I love mine! I spend less time sleeping every night, have more energy, and think more clearly. And there’s a lot of science that says it’s good for a host of long-term health conditions like dementia, heart disease, etc

There’s sources that say it will take several weeks for you to gain benefit from it, that’s bunk! The very first night you have it dialed in and have a good night’s rest, you’ll know it’s working! It’s like getting 8 hours of sleep every night instead of 4, because it quite literally is!

Some Details

It took a full year to get my CPAP fitted correctly. In the end, it was a stupidly simple fix that 4 (expensive) sleep doctors couldn’t identify. I kept ripping the mask off after 1-4 hours of sleeping because I felt like I couldn’t get enough breath through the mask. The doctors said, “Well, that’s better than nothing” and I’d just stare at them with accusing eyes. The solution: I told a tech at Kaiser I needed to try different masks and despite his mild objections, he let me try some on. With 15 seconds of trying on in the office, I could easily tell it was the right call. I changed from a medium Resmed F20 mask to a large one. The VERY FIRST NIGHT was awesome and it has been ever since.

If you are struggling to get it to work your doctor says that getting 4 hours sleep with the mask is “enough”(that’s what all my doctors said), they are an idiot, don’t go back. It’s true that medical “compliance” is measured by whether a person uses the machine for at least 4 hours per night but that cut-off is for certifying commercial drivers and pilots and such with apnea . If it’s working, you’ll sleep all night with it on; if it’s not working, you’ll sleep 0-4 hours with it on.

I tried a lot of things to help improve my CPAP usage. Now, the only things I do are:

  • wash the mask cushion every 2-4 nights with hot soapy water. Maybe monthly I’ll use isopropyl alcohol for a deep de-oiling
  • Shaving before bed helps, I do it about 1/2 the time
  • If I used a humidifier, I’d probably need to do more cleaning

With Kaiser insurance, my mask replacement parts are free. But when I had a PPO, it was cheaper and easier to buy parts on Amazon than use the janky insurance system.


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