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I Am A Sleep Apnea Patient: Can I Travel?

Posted by Angel Rondon on

I Am A Sleep Apnea Patient: Can I Travel?

Travelling is an exciting hobby. You get to meet new people, explore new places, try new cuisines and most importantly, you learn about different cultures. As much as traveling has its perks, people with medical conditions such as diabetes, HIV and asthma find it hard to plan their tours due to their existing condition.

When planning their trips, people living with different conditions have to keep in mind their medical needs and the possible scenarios they might face which could aggravate their condition. They also have to pack with them extra stock of medication, their therapeutic equipment. Same is the case with people suffering from sleep apnea.

They are often confused on if they will be able to sleep properly on the plane or not. And, what would cost them if they choose to sleep less during their travel.

We at Liberty believe that these interpretations should not be a limiting factor for you and that is why we are here to solve your questions. We are here to provide you the tips for sleeping on plane with sleep apnea, tips for camping and tips for maintaining a better sleep schedule when travelling.

Let's start with the basics.   

Sleep Apnea is a Sleep Disorder.

 

In this condition, while sleeping, your airway passage obstructs due to which your breathing stops and starts abruptly. Learning tips for sleeping on plane with sleep apnea is therefore important to have a fun but safe journey.  

One of the most potent treatments for sleep apnea is wearing a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine while sleeping. This machine sets a continuous positive airway pressure, helping patients breathe easily every night.  But, we really don’t think that this should stop you from travelling.

Sleep apnea patients often cancel their travel plans because they think traveling can obstruct their airway passage, making the condition worse. They dread that they  might fall asleep during the journey, and their snoring will annoy fellow travelers. 

Wouldn’t it be amazing to know the hacks that can let you travel whenever and wherever you want?

Here are some tips for sleeping on plane with sleep apnea that will make your travel plans executable and the journey enjoyable. 

  1. Visit Your Doctor beforehand

The foremost thing when planning to travel is to visit your doctor. Your doctor will evaluate the symptoms, and your sleep data to help you decide if traveling is a good option for you or not. For instance, if your blood oxygen levels are deficient, as in obstructive sleep apnea, then your doctor might recommend you to postpone your trip. Otherwise, they will provide you with the necessary guidelines and prescriptions to carry your CPAP machine. 

2. Take Your CPAP with you.

CPAP machine is a BLESSING for sleep apnea patients.

One of the tips for sleeping on plane with sleep apnea is taking CPAP machine with you. CPAP subtly increases the pressure in the airways preventing the obstruction, keeping you asleep for long hours. So, traveling without CPAP can never be an option for sleep apnea patients.

Getting a prescription for CPAP machine will enable you to get through the security check-ins quickly and guess what the machine is not counted as a luggage. Before you even pack your bag, get a hold on your CPAP kit.

3. Ensure Electric Supply

Another tip for sleeping on plane with sleep apnea is to ensure consistent electric supply for your CPAP machine. Inform your airline customer service about your health state when you are booking the flight. Tell them how important a power supply is for you to use your CPAP machine. 

 Likewise, tell your hotel (or wherever you are going to stay) about your condition so that they can allow you a room with continuous power supply. 

4. Keep A Battery With You

We have mentioned how you can get a seat near a power supply for sleeping on plane with sleep apnea, but guess what it is possible for you to have a sound sleep even in the absence of the power supply too. The best option is to carry a backup battery with you to keep your CPAP running. In case you cannot take a battery, make sure to have adaptors and lead extension with you. 

Finding an electrical supply is easier when you are going to stay indoors, but what if you plan to go camping in a far flung woods? Do you think that living with sleep apnea will hinder your camping plan? 

Even if you think it will, trust us, it shouldn’t! You can take your CPAP device even if you are planning to stay outdoors. Just remember to take the battery with you. Charge it from cigarette/lighter port of your car via an adapter and enjoy a sound sleep. 

So, mark your calendars for your camping and get your marshmallows ready! 

5. Take Care Of Your Hygiene

Traveling to an area of warm climates is somewhat a risk if you are negligent about your hygiene.

Bacteria and fungi grow well in warm and humid environments. Their growth can affect your overall health. And especially for you, throat infections can be lethal.

Though, following routine cleaning activities; washing hands and face is sufficient, but extra care is needed if you are using CPAP with a humidifier. Drying out the mask, tube, head & nose straps before use is essential to avoid the onset of skin infections.

6. Take Along Your Support Pillow

Sleep apnea patients sometimes use a support pillow along with CPAP for a better sleeping period. A support pillow is designed to support the head & neck in a way that keeps the tongue from falling on the throat and prevents the obstruction of airway passage.

If you are among the group that uses a support pillow, then taking the pillow with you will help you sleep comfortably throughout your trip. 

7. Maintain Your Sleep Schedule

While you are looking for tips for sleeping on plane with sleep apnea, you should know sleeping off the plane is also important. Whether you are traveling for work or taking a break from your monotonous  routine, you are likely going to sacrifice your sleep hours to enjoy your trip.

But, know that you are a patient of sleep apnea, which can take you to death if you are going to be negligent about your health. Therefore, it is important for you to sleep for 6-8 hours a day and not sacrifice your sleep at any cost.

Why is that important?

When you are sleep deprived, your body takes you to a sound-sleep period to make up for deprived hours. But, sleep apnea gets worse in deep sleep as it can affect the air passing in and out of the lungs. On the other hand, sleep apnea makes sleeping difficult. It’s a vicious cycle, we ALL know. The best thing is to sleep well and make most of the trip when you are awake.

  

Traveling is a thrilling experience, no doubt. And with the adrenaline rush that it brings, it can occupy you in fun activities so much that you might forget about your health.

Our advice is to prioritize your health, no matter what!

When you are healthy, you can have all you want. Once you fall sick, everything will go away in  glimpse of a second. 

Work on the tips for sleeping on plane with sleep apnea, because they are going to make your journey easy. 

We hope you will abide by these tips for sleeping on a plane to enjoy you  no-snoring rides!

References

Sleep.org. (n.d.).  How to Travel Easily When You Have Sleep Apnea

https://www.sleep.org/articles/travel-easily-sleep-apnea-2/

University Hospital Birmingham, NHS Foundation Trust. 2019. A Guide To Traveling with Sleep Apnea

https://www.uhb.nhs.uk/

U.S News. 2018. Sleep Apnea: 8 Things That Make It Worse

https://health.usnews.com/health-care/patient-advice/articles/2018-07-05/sleep-apnea-8-things-that-make-it-worse

American Sleep Association. 2019. Sleep Apnea Information For Clinicians

https://www.sleepapnea.org/learn/sleep-apnea-information-clinicians/

MayoClinic. 2019. Sleep Apnea

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/symptoms-causes/

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