It’s widely known in sleep medicine circles that the most common—and helpful—treatment we have these days for patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the CPAP machine, short for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. If you’ve been diagnosed with OSA, then you know exactly what I mean.
The problem with CPAP therapy is that not a lot of people are good about using it on a routine basis. Or, like trying to start a ambitious exercise program, they are compliant at the start and then slowly drop off. Within a few months, they are rarely found using their CPAP. And sleeping poorly as a result.
But there’s hope: new research that just surfaced and was presented last week at a conference in San Diego has revealed that when patients are prescribed just a two-week course of a certain sleep aid (the one marketed as Lunesta), they are more apt to be using their CPAPs in six months.
Lunesta is one of the more popular prescribed sleep aids, which can help you to fall asleep and stay asleep by enhancing the activity of a sleep-friendly chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). My guess and experience is that many of the sleep aids in this category would work as well.
So I ask you:
- Do you have OSA?
- Do you have a CPAP? Collecting dust in your closet or beside table?
- Are you tired of being tired?
- Have you ever heard about Apnea and how it can affect your health and relationship?
If you answered yes (and I know there are a lot of you out there) then you may want to take up this conversation with your doctor. Using a sleep aid for a short period of time in conjunction with a CPAP appears to be able to help you set an important pattern in your nightly routine. You’ll get used to using the CPAP, and feel the difference a good night’s sleep brings.
I know, the CPAP isn’t the sexiest of devices, especially for a bedroom. But it can transform an OSA-sufferer’s sleep. OSA is associated with some pretty unwanted health consequences—from heart problems to mood and memory problems, and even weight issues. Yet there’s no consequence to using a CPAP machine other than better sleep, better health… and a happier bed partner who doesn’t have to listen to your episodic breathing (and probably snoring) all night.
It’s time to put OSA to bed.
Michael J. Breus, PhD, FAASM
The Sleep Doctor