Summer is finally here and that means more time outdoors, staying up late, and even traveling! If you have obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, we have some tips for you about traveling and sleeping well to keep your energy levels up wherever you go.
Poor Quality Sleep
Even without sleep apnea, travel can have a big impact on your sleep. Whether you’re camping in tents, renting a hotel room, and adjusting to a new bed, or crossing time zones flying across the country or internationally, any one of these can wreak havoc on your sleep quality. Just navigating the summer months can adversely affect your normal sleep habits since the days are longer, the nights are shorter, so you stay up later and tireder (especially if you aren’t using your sleep apnea device).
If you’re spending more time outdoors, you’ll also be exposing yourself to allergens that can make your sleep apnea worse (think of congested nasal passages and sinuses). Taking allergy medications and using saline nasal sprays can help you sleep better, but if you have OSA and aren’t camping in a tent, be sure to pack your CPAP machine or oral device so you can get good sleep in your hotel, Airbnb rental, family cabin or RV!
CPAP or Oral Appliance
Traveling with sleep apnea means packing whatever sleep gear you need to get a good night’s sleep (and not keeping those around you awake from snoring loudly all night long). Whether that’s your CPAP machine or an oral appliance, be sure to pack what you need in a protective carrier to transport it safely wherever you’re off to. Reconsider not bringing your CPAP device with you because even spending one night without it can leave you struggling to breathe and the constant fatigue that comes from poor sleep.
It’s a good idea to pack your CPAP in its own carrier bag while flying so you can pass through security while flying. Once you reach your destination, make sure you have access to distilled water for the humidifier and are able to plug into a power supply like an electrical outlet so it can deliver pressurized air while you breathe.
A custom oral appliance that keeps your airways open while you sleep can be a nice change when traveling because it’s compact and easy to carry. It’s great for making sure your airway stays open and makes more room for your tongue to sit without blocking the airway. Just be sure not to lose it or leave it behind when traveling back home from whatever destination you are leaving behind!
Getting Your Best Sleep
The benefits of continuing to treat your sleep apnea wherever you go means you won’t be snoring all night so you’ll wake up feeling better and maintaining your energy levels to do all the things you planned for your vacation. While traveling this summer, make sure your environment is comfortable, make sure it’s cool enough and limit sun exposure so you won’t be interfering with your body’s production of melatonin, that essential hormone helping you sleep and wake up refreshed.
No matter where you’re headed to this summer, have fun without sacrificing your sleep quality along the way. A good night’s sleep will give you the energy you need, whether you’re sightseeing, driving on the open road, or flying across the world to exotic destinations. Just like a toothbrush and toothpaste, your sleep apnea device is crucial to your health and mood.
We Can Help
If you’re experiencing sleep apnea or need help with your breathing while sleeping, we welcome you to consult with our sleep specialist. We have helped countless patients get the sleep they need and deserve.