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How significant is sleeping position in reducing apneas
#1
I am newly diagnosed and have been sleeping on my back due to back and shoulder problems. My back is getting better but my should is still quite painful.

I have read on here that back sleeping is a big no no.
How much does sleeping position alter apneas?

Is it a really big factor?

I am trying to build a tolerance to laying on my side or stomach during the day so I might be able to sleep in that position at night.

Do any of you have experience in your apneas reduce by changing your position from back to side or from back to stomach? What is the AHI difference?

I have an Airfit P 10 which is quite small and I might be able to use it on my stomach.

Any help would be appreciated.

Kim
Kimberly from HonoluluSleep-well
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#2
Back sleeping is OK for most people on CPAP, but you may need a little more pressure or have a few more apneas.

Back sleeping makes apnea worse for some people. For some people not using CPAP, the difference may be enough to be important to your health.

For CPAPers, the pressure is usually set to eliminate your apneas while sleeping on your back. A few people find back sleeping is still a problem, even with CPAP.

Sleep on your back, and check your AHI numbers. Your auto machine will probably adjust to the pressure. If not, you can raise the pressure.

Kim, are you using SleepyHead or ResScan? Your profile says "other software."

Get the free SleepyHead software here.
Useful links.
Click here for information on the main alternative to CPAP.
If it's midnight and a DME tells you it's dark outside, go and check it yourself.
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#3
Hi Kim, I am a back sleeper and have been since I started on this journey at the start of the year. I do sleep half sitting up, not sure if that makes any difference but the back sleeping has made no difference to my Apneas.
I achieve no worse or better results than most people.
I also use P10 pillows.
Do you have a problem, are you having high AHI's or leaks while sleeping on your back?
If you are you could maybe look for other possible reasons besides the back sleeping.
If your results are good and your are comfortable I would stay on your back and not worry about it.

Good luck..
Sleep Tight...
Gabby
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#4
(09-09-2014, 06:26 PM)archangle Wrote: Back sleeping is OK for most people on CPAP, but you may need a little more pressure or have a few more apneas.

Back sleeping makes apnea worse for some people. For some people not using CPAP, the difference may be enough to be important to your health.

For CPAPers, the pressure is usually set to eliminate your apneas while sleeping on your back. A few people find back sleeping is still a problem, even with CPAP.

Sleep on your back, and check your AHI numbers. Your auto machine will probably adjust to the pressure. If not, you can raise the pressure.

Kim, are you using SleepyHead or ResScan? Your profile says "other software."
I have not yet installed Sleepyhead software. i just ordered a SD card reader which will come in the mail in a few days. My son will help me install Sleepyhead software. Then I can upload my data and see what is up.

I am new to all of this. Tomorrow I see my sleep doctor who wants my Oximeter reading. Tonight I will use an Oximeter I bought that is compatible with Sleepyhead software. My son is figuring out how to install the software on his PC and print it out for me before he goes to school tomorrow morning. I cannot even read the oximeter's manual because the print is so small. Ha! Ha! Ha! My son is 16 years old and super good with computers while I am not. I am glad he is still living at home.
Eventually I will be able to see my data.

I can only sleep half of the night with my bipap. But I consider that a success because a week ago I could only sleep 2 hrs with it on. Little by little. It has only been about a month.

Thank you for your advice.
Kim
Kimberly from HonoluluSleep-well
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#5
Sleep in a position in which you feel comfortable (otherwise you will frequently wake). IF sleeping on your side is comfortable, then that may allow you to get by with a little less pressure, but don't sleep on your side if it is painful. Elevating the head of your bed can also help (it can reduce both the extent of your apnea - and maybe let you use less pressure, maybe not - and any gastric reflux you might be dealing with). One possible CPAP plus with sleeping on your back is that it may be easier to keep your mask positioned in a way that doesn't leak (some side-sleepers have problems with the pillow knocking their mask seal out of wack...).

The one thing you want to avoid doing is sleeping on your back if you aren't using your CPAP - that could make everything worse.
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#6
My mouth opens when I sleep on my back so I opted for a full face mask and a chin strap. That arrangement seems to eliminate the problems associated with being on my back so I roll around every which way...I think.
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#7
I used to gasp and snore badly when sleeping on my back before CPAP. I was ok (sort of) sleeping on my side.

CPAP allows my to sleep on my back although the AHI and Pressure is higher.

I got into the habit of sleeping on my side though and prefer it now.
Disclaimer: The 'Advisory Member' title is a Forum thing that I cannot change. I am not a doctor and my comments are purely my opinion or quote my personal experience. Regardless of my experience other readers mileage may vary.
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#8
Sleeping on your back is NOT forbidden. Especially when you are using PAP therapy. Heck, getting back to sleeping on my back is one of the reasons I started by CPAP journey.

Without the PAP therapy, sleeping on your back lets gravity work to pull soft tissue down in the back of the throat and cut off airflow. Since gravity is not working so much against you sleeping on your side may position that soft tissue where it is not in the way.

Over simplified, PAP therapy acts like blowing up a balloon, if your airway were that balloon; it moves all that tissue out of the way regardless of the sleeping position (when it is blown up, the insides of a balloon do not touch unless you twist it into a dog, or a sword, or a crown or something).

So without PAP, sleeping on your back would be hard because gravity is helping pull the back of your tongue and other soft tissue down against the back of your throat: you would be getting a lot more apnea events. But with it, and with it properly dialed in (settings for back sleeping may be different than side sleeping - that's where the auto part comes in), back sleeping should be no problem. Particularly since you are using that auto bipap.

Over the years, I programmed myself to only side/belly sleep. I am so much better rested now that I have been able to break that physiological barrier and get back to sleeping on my back.

OMM
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#9
My AHI sleeping on my back ranged from 3.0 to 3.5 consistently.

Sleeping on my side my AHI ranges from 0.5 to 1.0 consistently.

No brainer for me!!
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#10
My sleep study indicated that my AHI was about twice as bad sleeping on my back as sleeping on my side. I always go to sleep on my side but I generally wake up on my back. Is it being on my back that wakes me up or am I just on my back when I wake up? My guess is that I wake up because I have rolled over onto my back. Whatever it is, I take no pains to ensure that I sleep on my side and my therapy seems to be doing fine. I am just a little crazy but I am like R_G..... I am the same.

Best Regards,

PaytonA
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