Should you use CPAP during naps?


Hey sleep warriors!


Should you or should you not use your CPAP during naps, that is the question. 


The other day, my very compliant patient, who is new to using CPAP, asked me - Dr. Hutchison, “do I need to use my CPAP during naps?”


Well, the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. First off, I assured her that once she has adjusted to using her CPAP nightly, and if she was getting enough hours of sleep, she will likely not NEED to nap as much as she did prior to CPAP. That being said, even with CPAP, you may occasionally need or  want a nap. 


Now this sleep byte isn’t about when it’s okay and not okay to nap – you can check out my other Sleep Byte on napping for that. Rather, if you do decide to nap - should you use your CPAP? 


So, here are some things to consider when deciding if you should use your CPAP or decide to skip it:


  1. How long do you plan to nap? I suggest you determine this before you close your eyes - set an alarm if you must. For example, a healthy nap duration is about 20 minutes. For this short time, it’s probably okay to not use your CPAP. However, if you plan to sleep for an hour or more, then I recommend putting it on.


  1. Where do you plan to take your nap? Short, healthy naps are generally done outside the bedroom, so your brain doesn’t mix up a short rest with your long sleep. So, if you’re napping in a chair in the living room, it’s unlikely that you have your CPAP handy.  Lugging your CPAP from room to room can be cumbersome, and cords strung across walkways can be downright dangerous. So, for the short nap in the chair, CPAP probably isn’t necessary. On the other hand, if you are napping in your bed and your CPAP is right there staring at you, go ahead and put it on. In this location, your brain is used to sleeping with your CPAP and hey, the quality of your nap will be improved. 


  1. My third and final tip for deciding about using your CPAP during your nap, depends on your overall acceptance of CPAP in your life. Some people love their CPAP and can’t imagine trying to sleep without it - if this is you, by all means, use your CPAP during all sleep opportunities - at night and during a nap - even a short one. However, if you don’t really like your CPAP but you use it because you care about quality sleep and other health benefits, then giving yourself a break from CPAP during a nap may be beneficial for the overall relationship.  


As a reminder, and as with all of my videos, this is my general opinion and not specific to any individual patient. Talk to your doctor if you have specific questions about napping and your CPAP, especially if you have very severe sleep apnea. 


Thanks for being here, I’ll see you next week. 

Waiting on a Machine or Just Getting Started With A CPAP? 

Due to the recent recall and general delays in healthcare services, many people are forced to wait to get their CPAP machines. There are things you can do to prepare, so download the first of its kind guide with actionable tips you can start on today.


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