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How significant is sleeping position in reducing apneas
I have been working on this problem as I too have bad sleep and high AHIs when I get flat on my back as well, check out my thread on this problem:


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(09-09-2014, 05:23 PM)kfujioka Wrote: ...
Is it a really big factor? ...
Really big? No. But significant.

It's a gravity issue. Gravity will have a different effect on your soft tissues depending on which direction is down, in reference to you. Typically, a higher pressure might be needed to keep the airway open properly when sleeping on your back. Or not. We are all just a little different.

Were you not in PAP therapy, sleeping on your back could be considered a no-no. But you have a machine to counteract that problem.

I would discuss that exact issue with your sleep doc. If you do not hear something that sounds like an answer, ask if you could sleep on your back if they raised the pressure a couple of cm, and see if that makes sense to them.

I was a stomach sleeper until I was 27, but back issues caused me to have to give that up. The transition was difficult, and took a while.

So I am now already a side sleeper. If I were not, and Kate Beckinsale would just agree to sleep next to me, well then I would definitely become a side sleeper overnight.
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(09-09-2014, 05:23 PM)kfujioka Wrote: . . .
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?
. . .

Hi Kim,
Sorry I didn't see this thread earlier. The answer is - it depends on the person. My sleep study reported an AHI of 58.8 while on my back, about 3 otherwise. So for me, it is almost 20 times worse to sleep on my back than on my side.

I didn't get this information initially, but I started to suspect that position was important after a few weeks. At the beginning, I had a hard time getting my AHI under 10. Now after adopting practices which tend to keep me off my back, my AHI is averaging well below 1.

I tried sleeping wedged against some large memory-foam pillows, and that started to help, but not enough. Then I tried the tennis ball between the shoulder blades - also helped, but needed more. Then I got a Thrift store kid's backpack and loaded it with a collection of lumpy or hard doggie toys, etc. That was the key, and my AHI has been fairly consistent ever since. I watch the data daily to be sure I'm not getting into some trouble or other. Just a few days ago, I saw 2 days in a row with AHI above 1.5. I looked, and the backpack straps had loosened enough for me to twist a little , and I was ending up on my back. On one of those days, I had a nice long cluster (about 10 minutes) with event after event - not good. I fixed that, and the last several nights are back well under 1, no clusters.

I don't have a sleep Dr. as such, but my sister does. I have 2 sisters and all of us have Apnea, probably from hereditary influence. My sister's sleep Doc places huge importance on sleep position, as it is apparently quite common for back-sleepers to have more events when supine. Even my DME's Respiratory Tech made mention of this tendency when I was having trouble.

Also, for me, avoiding my back means that the pressures will be lower. The night that I had that cluster, the max pressure went up to a little over 19, where it is normally in the 12 - 14 range. Lower pressure means less trouble with leaks, and for me, less aerophagia. I have left my range fairly wide at 10 - 20, but I want the machine to be able to crank up the pressure when needed, and normally it isn't needed.

I hope this helps you.

Good luck as you journey.

PAPing in NE Ohio, with a pack of Cairn terriers
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For me it make the difference if I will be a Zombie or awake enough to work.

I have a update here on my progress:


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