I love an unusual story about sleep that has as good ending. Check out this headline: Sleep Disorder Helps Woman Escape Fire.
This past week a woman in Texas can thank her CPAP machine for saving her life when a fire gutted her home. For those unfamiliar with the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine), it’s a device used by people with obstructive sleep apnea who have a problem that causes their airways to collapse during sleep. Their breathing essentially gets cut off multiple times during the night. With a CPAP, the airway stays open so breathing is possible. Sleep becomes much more restful and solid.
For Geraldine McNeil, here CPAP became her lifeline.
The fire broke out in the early morning hours, and, according to the report, her entire face was covered in soot and ash (and probably chemicals from the combustion, too) except for the area where the CPAP had been. Had she not had the machine on her face, she likely would have been overcome by the smoke.
I can’t think of a more terrifying event than waking to a fire in your home in the middle of your sleep. We’ve heard plenty of stories in the news of people who don’t survive such tragedies. I’ve never heard of a CPAP saving a life in an occurrence such as this.
Not that one would wish to have sleep apnea. But if it were me, I think I’d choose the sleep apnea and CPAP over trying to wake up in a burning house smothered by smoke and find a way out. The number one cause of death related to fires is smoke inhalation—not burns.
Hey, I know the CPAP doesn’t win points for being the most attractive device, but now it’s got an added benefit: Might save you during fire. Imagine that.
Click here to see Dr. Breus's list of recommended sleep products.