One Year Using CPAP

July 11, 2010 · 6 comments

I’ve really done little right this year when it comes to the topic of this blog - my weight loss journey. It’s been more like Gulliver’s Travels; who the heck knows what I’m going to see or do next. But there is one thing that I have consistently done well that is positively effecting my health and that is sleeping at night with a CPAP machine.

A year ago I wrote about my experience of attending a sleep study in My Visit to a Sleep Clinic. I’m sure the experience varies at each location but I found the sleep study to be a positive experience similar to staying at a nice hotel. A hotel with someone watching your vital signs all night, but a hotel nonetheless. I am sure there are people who could benefit from attending a sleep clinic but who do not because they are afraid for some reason and I would tell them to not worry about a thing.

The results of my sleep study showed that I had severe sleep apnea, having almost 50 apnea episodes an hour, with my blood oxygen levels dipping down to 80%. I was immediately fitted for a CPAP machine.

The first few weeks of using the machine was difficult as I struggled to adjust with this new experience. Over the first few months I probably missed about 20-25 nights for one reason or another. But even in those early days one thing had become apparent very quickly - the machine was allowing me to sleep in my own bed without keeping my wife awake because of snoring like I had been doing and I was no longer tired during the day. It was clear the machine was working and I focused on finding the secret sauce to making it work on a nightly basis.

I completed one year on the CPAP machine today with the following results as measured by my ResMed CPAP machine: 339 our of 365 days for a total of 1902 hours of sleep - an average of 5.60 hours per night. So over the year I did miss 26 days but almost all of those were in the first few months as I adjusted to this new experience. Since then I have been a fervent user. Less than 6 hours of sleep a night probably doesn’t sound like much and maybe it isn’t even enough, but it is more than I had been getting and more importantly, that is all quality sleep.

I used to be a tosser and turner in bed (if your body is waking you up every minute you would be too) and you could never count on where the sheets and blankets would end up. Now when I get up everything has remained in the same place and I literally just flip back the corner of the blanket and it’s like the bed is made again. It’s a pretty awesome sign of success.

I’m not going to re-write these tips here but if you are interested in some of the things that have worked for me as I adjusted to using the machine check out the article I wrote called 5 Tips to a Great Night’s Sleep with a CPAP Machine.

I’ve been able to have this success despite traveling a little bit this year. My CPAP machine has ridden with me on short one night trips to Wisconsin, long vacations to Tokyo and many trips in between both over the road and in the air. 4 Things I Learned While Flying with my CPAP Machine summarizes the tips I’ve learned along the way.

You can bet I would prefer to lose a ton of weight along with the need for a CPAP machine to treat my sleep apnea but in the interim between now and when I finally figure out what it is going to take to actually lose that weight, I’ll be happily sleeping away thanks to a little modern science.

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AndrewENZ July 12, 2010 at 5:24 pm

I’m glad its helping but it would be good to have a long term solution eh!

Sarah @ Low Stress Weight Loss July 13, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I have friends that use the CPAP and I think your consistency is AMAZING - most people struggle much more with it, and getting to a one year anniversary with that consistency is a great accomplishment! Maybe you had to get the sleep thing sorted out before you can bring some focus to the blog’s title - sometimes we need time away from weight loss before we can face it again.

Greg July 14, 2010 at 7:02 am

I’ve got friends who use one. They swear it’s changed their lives.

Nicole Bellocq July 15, 2010 at 10:23 pm

I will be travelling on an 18 hour flight and I don’t know how I can use my CPAP on the plane. I will be travelling with West Jet from Montreal to Vancouver and Vancouver Hawaï. I have a Fisher & Paykel, Style 600 machine. Can someone tell me how they travel with their CPAP on the plane.
Nicole B.

John's Weight Loss Blog July 16, 2010 at 5:24 am

Nicole - I’m afraid I don’t have experience with this, I’m not sure that even if you had an available plug if you can actually use a CPAP while flying. Let us know what you find out!

Nicole July 30, 2010 at 5:57 pm

I finally got an answer from West Jet. I can use a power pak Motomaster Eliminator 600 or 800.

Far as your problems with weight, I have been using my nasal CPAP for the last 5 years, I can tell YES it did a lot of good and I am happy with it because of its benefits. (my prescription is at 12). But in the same time, I don’t know if it is related but I gained about 40 pounds since then. I am acutally on a proteine diet and since april I lost 27 pounds.
So don’t let yourself go fellows and beat that weight away. That is the only encouragement I can give you all. Good luck all !!!

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