I spent over the past 7 years trying to deal with my sleep apnea and it has been one hell of a ride. Below is all the stuff that I have done and my specific solution to my sleep apnea.

Health conditions: Mouth breather from chronic nasal congestion which caused overbite, 10+ allergies, eczema

  1. Sleep Study (didn’t sleep more than 2-3 hours since it wasn’t comfortable). Results showed not breathing but nothing substantial as I didn’t sleep enough hours.
  2. Spoke with multiple ENTs and Allergist. Inferior turbinate radiofrequency reduction was done by ENT and it didn’t help with the congestion. Went on 3.5 years of allergy shots for 10+ allergies.
  3. Tried multiple masks (will remove it in the middle of the night). Would ducktape the mask to my face but still didn’t really work. Finally found a nasal mask that worked for me but didn’t work because I breath through my mouth. Highly recommend talking to the sleep tech who helps you with mask fitting (requires health insurance which sends your info to the DME to set up an appointment to get mask and CPAP machine)
  4. Employer recommended short term disability but Sleep doctor didn’t approve and stated that I would be fine as long as I sleep with mask on. Don’t give these doctors your time as they are not open to working with you. I had to quit my job as I was not able to do my job when I only slept 1-2 hours a night. I had migraine and headaches almost everyday, brain fog, bloody nose when nasal rinse, consistently falling asleep, etc. (Competent doctors can provide other ways to help you sleep such as prescribe sleep medicine)
  5. Traveled through Southeast Asia for 6 months to de-stress and talk to multiple doctors in other countries to see if they could find a different solution. Nasal congestion is a major problem to my sleep apnea and there are no physical issues with my nasal cavity.
  6. Changed my diet and lost 20 lbs in hopes it would help (ketogenic, intermittent fasting, and/or elimination diet). Had some improvements with elimination diet but wasn’t sustainable unless I plan to eat only 6 foods for the rest of my life.
  7. New sleep doctor. New mask (nasal) and taping my mouth shut to prevent me from using my mouth. It works. Allowed me to change my settings as I recorded myself sleeping every night with security camera. 4-8 -> 6-8 -> 4-8 -> 4-10 -> 6-10 -> 6-15 -> 7-11 Small changes in min and max pressure settings would affect me easily.
  8. Had 1-2 AHI for over a year but still had constant brain fog.
  9. Finally get new sleep study (with mask on!) Asking for this for over 1.5 years. Noticed that back sleeping was causing a lot more issues. (14 AHI on back, 4 AHI on side)
  10. Experimented with Velcro chest strap with Velcro ball in back to prevent back sleeping. Somewhat good results!
  11. Purchased magnetic ball to place in shirt (half magnetic inside shirt, other half outside). Better results as less restriction with Velcro straps
  12. Felt too warm to wear mask but decided to increase the humidity with a humidifier. YAHTZEE! No brain fog and no tiredness. It works!
  13. 1 month without cpap machine. Feeling great! I need to have the magnetic ball to prevent myself from sleeping on my back, 50%+ humidity, and I can finally sleep and wake up without brain fog. I use otc allergy medicine for my allergies and need to use saline nasal wash every morning and afternoon but that is specific to my allergies and congestion.

I hope my experience has helped you in finding the right steps to managing your sleep apnea. I would highly recommend getting a security camera to monitor your sleep and replay it to see what could be the issues throughout your sleep. It could be something as simple as sleeping on your back or humidity issue. Also, find a doctor that will work with you. I had multiple sleep doctors that would do the bare minimum so I would struggle with multiple different masks. You need to test the masks until you find one that works for you and be prescribed Ambien if you can’t sleep with the mask on.

  1. Nasal congestion – Saline nasal spray, otc allergy medicine, humidifier
  2. Back sleeping – Magnetic ball (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08H25GRX1/)
  3. Mouth breathing – mouth taping with 3m micropore tape 1530-2
  4. CPAP tubing issue – Hang it over your head (I used a pulley with a clothes hanger with weight on one side and velcro the tubing to the hanger base). Therefore the tubing is above you at all times.
  5. Use the data of the CPAP machine to run OSCAR to view your sleeping and make adjustments as needed. https://www.sleepfiles.com/OSCAR/
  6. Security Camera – Record yourself sleeping. Place the camera above you and record your pillow and head with notifications of movement so you can replay when you move in your sleep.

My case is unique and required a lot of patience to get through it but I was determined to find a solution. I haven’t been working for 4+ years but it is worth it. Finding a workable solution to sleep apnea takes a lot of time as the results of small changes in your CPAP machine or other methods can takes months to find a result. You want to record your work in hopes of finding a happy medium.

Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions that I could be of assistance.

Edit: Also I had a customized mouth guard made for me by an oral surgeon that cause jaw pain as it forced my lower jaw to move forward (I try not to remember anymore) before I left my job (between #3 and #4). It was made similar to the Narval ResMed.

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