TL;DR; (at the top, because I’m nice) CPAP isn’t anywhere near as bad as I’d feared, in fact it’s kind of OK. My biggest gripe is that it limits spontaneous sleepovers.
It’s been a little over a year since I got diagnosed, and just about a year since I started using a CPAP. I figured I’d quickly write down my experiences so far, maybe someone will find it useful.
I originally went to see a doctor because of extremely loud snoring. In retrospect, I must’ve had this for years. I basically only sleep with other people when I’m drunk, so I always blamed the booze. I was wrong. It was OSA instead.
Numbers from the sleep study: AHI 23, the vast majority of which were hypopneas, only 1 apnea in the entire night. SPO2 never went below 90%.
Was given a choice between CPAP, mandibular advancement, or surgery. Opted for CPAP (after encouraging words from you all). Got a ResMed AirSense 10. Pressure set to 6 cmH2O. Which is pretty low.
I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to tolerate the feeling of air blowing up my nose. Much to my surprise, that turned out not to be an issue at all. It took me a while to find a good mask. Tried a bunch of them, including DreamWear (pillows and cradle), N30i and the Swift Fx. I found them all to suck. My main gripe with all of them was the noise: the air that blows out of them hitting the pillow/duvet causes turbulence, which causes noise, which wakes me up.
I finally settled on the P10. It’s a super minimalistic nasal mask, and the diffuser makes it super quiet. I just have to remember to take a brush to the diffuser every once in a while, as the tiny holes tend to clog with gunk, ahem. With the P10 my AHI is usually between 0 and 1.5. Sometimes as much as 3 when I have a cold. But a big improvement all the same!
I didn’t start CPAP because I was tired, and it hasn’t done anything for my energy levels. My neighbours are the main beneficiaries: they sleep a lot better without the sound of my snoring. I’m sure my health will benefit in the long term, but there haven’t been any obvious improvements that I can see.
I’m still struggling with the social aspect of it. I’m a pretty sponteneous person. I used to spend the night somewhere on a whim, or stay out late and catch up on sleep on the train to work, or crash on random couches. That’s done. I can’t do that anymore. I don’t want to annoy anyone with my terrible snoring. Lugging a CPAP around requires planning, which I’m incapable of doing. And so my social life has suffered. I don’t drive, so leaving a travel CPAP in the car isn’t an option. And I haven’t found a decent travel CPAP that’s small enough to keep in my day pack. I’ve considered trying the “Nastent” nasal stents for such spontaneous occasions, but they look so uncomfortable that I haven’t taken that leap yet.