Blogs > Sleeping with CPAP

Assistant News Editor Lee Dryden was diagnosed with sleep apnea and uses a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to assist with breathing while sleeping. From a layman’s point of view, he will discuss the benefits, issues, challenges and frustrations of sleeping while wearing a mask.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Homer Simpson has sleep apnea

  Sorry I couldn't resist but it appears as though cartoon icon Homer Simpson has sleep apnea, as shown in previews for the Season 26 (!) premiere on Sept. 28.
  The clip posted on Sleep Education's website shows Homer, uh, struggling a bit with his CPAP. The slapstick nature of it is funny to anyone but it is especially relatable to those of us in apnea land when we recall our early days with the treatment.
  FOX has teased that a character will die in the season's first episode and the Internet is abuzz with speculation that Homer is a goner based on his CPAP debacle and general unhealthy lifestyle.
  I haven't seen the show in a few years but they aren't going to kill the most popular character (sorry Bart) on one of television's most enduring franchises of all time.
  Besides, Homer's health will improve as he gets used to his CPAP.
  Even though it's a cartoon, apnea awareness landing on the pop culture radar is a good thing.

Friday, July 18, 2014

New topics in apnea world: Singing and E.D.

   It's been awhile.
   I decided to fire up the blog again and came across a couple of interesting topics.
   Apparently singing is now among the strategies (perhaps not universally accepted) to lessen the impact of apnea.
   The topic is addressed in a Health Q and A in the Herald-Review in Illinois.  It cites a 2013 UK study on the success of a 3-month daily singing exercise program which can be found at
   I'm not vouching for this method (and it certainly shouldn't be a CPAP replacement) but, hey, singing never hurts.
   In other news in apnea land, a study has found that regular CPAP use can help men who also suffer from erectile dysfunction, according to a report in Medscape.
   It is logical that the two ailments can occur simultaneously as being overweight can be a factor for both. It is hoped that perhaps men reluctant to use CPAP will spring into action with the added benefit of addressing their E.D.
  "If sex sells it at the end of the day and gets more men to use their CPAP, that's great," said Kerri Melehan, a sleep researcher at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, where the study took place.
   Yes, it is.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Apnea testing for pilots, air traffic controllers

   Getting tested for sleep apnea is a choice for most people - one that too many people decide not to make.
   Ignoring the symptoms is not an option for overweight pilots and air traffic controllers as the Federal Aviation Administration is requiring testing for them, CNN reports.
   This was prompted by reports of pilots or controllers falling asleep or being too tired on the job - a recipe for disaster when they are holding many lives in their hands. A pilot who fell asleep on a 2008 commercial flight in Hawaii - and missed the destination - was eventually diagnosed with sleep apnea.
   Body mass index will be checked during exams which will determine who will undergo apnea testing.
   To review, apnea interrupts breathing during sleep, which causes the sufferer to wake up dozens of times throughout the night. This results in being less than alert the next day. Many with sleep apnea are overweight with thick necks that obstruct normal breathing.
   Required testing for overweight pilots and controllers is obviously long overdue.
   Hopefully others who have symptoms - and pilot vehicles on the ground rather than planes - get tested and treated before making a sleepy mistake that harms themselves or others.

Friday, October 25, 2013

CPAP makes you better looking

  The benefits of CPAP have been well documented in this space and many others.
  I know people who say it is life-changing and they feel like brand-new well-rested happy souls.
  A new report indicates CPAP users become more youthful and attractive.
  Say what?
  An article in details a study where the faces of CPAP users were photographed before and after at least two months of therapy.
  Volunteers (both medical professionals and regular folks) looked at the images side by side. About two-thirds of the group rated the post-treatment photos as showing the subjects to be more alert, attractive and youthful.
  An analysis found decreased forehead volume and less redness around the eyes and cheeks.
  So now you have more ammunition to convince your loved one to take the CPAP route - wear that mask and you'll look just like (insert male or female celebrity's name here).

No. 1 NBA pick has sleep apnea

  I wouldn't wish sleep apnea on anyone but it certainly sheds light on the topic when a celebrity is involved.
  No. 1 overall NBA pick Anthony Bennett of the Cleveland Cavaliers apparently suffers from sleep apnea and asthma, according to his coach Mike Brown in a report on
  The report indicates he has difficulty with conditioning and getting up and down the floor.
  Bennett also had a shoulder injury that kept him off the court during the summer but the coach also cited apnea and asthma as factors.
  Brown (who coincidentally suffers from sleep apnea and uses CPAP himself) says he doesn't know if Bennett wears a mask at night.
  I certainly hope the team doctors do.
  Untreated sleep apnea leads to diminished daytime energy - not exactly a recipe for success when hoopin' it up at the game's highest level.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Watch sleep apnea in action

  Here is a video I found on YouTube.
  The content is somewhat disturbing.
  Put simply, it's a gentleman with breathing interrupted, gasping for air, clearly suffering from sleep apnea.
  We can't watch ourselves sleep, obviously, so show it to someone close to you (who you suspect has apnea) so they understand what you are witnessing while they sleep.
  Click here to watch the video.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Thin people can get sleep apnea

  I've addressed this before but it's a good time for a reminder.
  Don't think it's impossible to get sleep apnea if you are thin.
  Yes, many apnea sufferers are overweight but a recent article in The Herald-News in Illinois drove home the point that anyone can be affected.
  It mentions a 170-pound man of average height whose wife noticed he was snoring loudly and waking up gasping for air. He did not feel rested upon waking up.
  A sleep study diagnosed his apnea.
  Just like non-smokers can get lung cancer and non-drinkers can get liver cancer, this ailment also doesn't discriminate.
  So please keep an eye out for interrupted sleep in your loved ones of all sizes.