CPAP Benefits Identified by CPAP Users
When people start CPAP therapy they are usually concerned with daytime sleepiness, concentration, depression, weight gain, links to diabetes type II, heart disease, hypertension, and numerous other negative impacts to the body and mind that result from a lack of deep restful sleep. Like any change to a regiment, adjusting to sleep therapy or the use of a CPAP machine requires some adjustment. However, keeping the goal of a better quality of life in mind, after a few days, weeks, or months (depending on how long they have gone without therapy and a good night of sleep) most users start to see very positive and life changing CPAP benefits!
Real CPAP Users Discuss CPAP Benefits after Successful Therapy
With this survey, we were interested in identifying the benefits of CPAP therapy in order to provide a baseline for users and veterans alike to compare their results. ts, With 400 CPAP user respondents, they told us in their own words, what they liked and didn’t like about CPAP therapy. We also sorted out the beginners who are too new to have realized any benefits at all, and assembled the other’s comments and survey results for a better understanding. In a nutshell, CPAP therapy has amazing benefits! It’s as though getting a good night of sleep again is an elixir for better health and well-being!
CPAP Benefits: Better Health, Concentration and Less Sleepiness
Nearly 400 people responded to our question: Do you notice differences in your sleepiness, general health, and concentration with increased hours of CPAP use? 81% of our survey respondents said yes! That speaks volumes to how much CPAP therapy improves a user’s life
More than 50% of our survey respondents also noticed a benefit from CPAP therapy they did NOT expect. Here are 22 of the additional unexpected benefits users specifically mentioned, in their own words: I don’t see any unexpected benefits listed here?
CPAP Benefits: More Energy and Less Daytime Sleepiness:
Maybe it is not surprising that our survey respondents reported more energy. People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) often say they feel like “a new person” after beginning CPAP therapy. Many studies reported in the journal Sleep provide evidence that CPAP therapy significantly diminished fatigue and improved energy in people with OSA.
More than 70% of our 400 survey participants felt they had more energy since starting CPAP therapy. Some of our survey respondents commented:
- I have more energy since I get a better night’s sleep.
- I just have more energy all day long.
- The absence of sleep affects all aspects of your life. In my case sleep apnea developed over a long period of time and I slowly and incrementally thought my lack of energy was part of maturing in age.
- With CPAP I sleep better.
- I am not tired during the day.
- I feel better when getting up in mornings, and I have more energy all day. Of course I also have mine hooked to an O2 concentrator for night sleep time only.
- My breathing and energy improved
- I find I am yawning much less often throughout the day
CPAP Benefits: Fewer Headaches and Migraines
The relationship between OSA and headaches has been recognized and studied for over a century. Jeanetta Rains, PhD writes about it in the Headache Journal. It is thought that the low oxygen levels associated with OSA cause the blood vessels to widen. In turn, this can cause vascular headaches upon waking up, especially in the first 30 minutes after sleep.
Moreover, OSA is also associated with excessive daytime sleepiness that leads to headaches. 84% of our survey respondents who ad previously suffered from headaches or migraines had reduced episodes. Here is what our survey respondents said in their own words:
CPAP Benefits: Improved Quality of Life:
Many studies have shown that CPAP positively impacts daytime sleepiness and quality of life. Studies like this one support what our survey respondents indicated(link is broken). More than 85% of CPAP users say that therapy has improved their lives and feel better overall.
This is fairly dramatic evidence given only 2% of the respondents said it did not improve their lives. Of course, in our opinion, there could be changes made which can make a difference to improve those who believe it didn’t help. Nevertheless, continue to search out answers to issues and try to optimize sleep therapy as much as possible!
CPAP Benefits: Lower Blood Pressure
WebMd hosts an article titled Sleep Apnea Devices Lower Blood Pressure, which describes several studies that show CPAP therapy can lower high blood pressure. Our survey respondents noted that it was difficult to tell if their blood pressure was actually lower if already on blood pressure medication. A few mentioned they did experience lower blood pressure after starting CPAP. More than 50% of CPAP users with previously high blood pressure did say that they have had a reduction in blood pressure after CPAP use.
There have been numerous studies showing the connection between OSA and high blood pressure. But, there has been no conclusive evidence about which comes first, OSA or high blood pressure. However both are risk factors for each other. It is a fact that apneas do cause a rise in blood pressure during sleep. In simple terms, the lack of oxygen during an apnea event signals the brain to increase blood pressure so that the heart and brain continue to receive oxygen.
In a study called ‘HeartBEAT’, which explored ways to prevent heart problems in people diagnosed with OSA, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers found that CPAP therapy does indeed lower apneas and blood pressure. This is probably not surprising to CPAP users since CPAP therapy is designed to result in providing uninterrupted, deeper sleep.
CPAP Benefits: Better, Deeper Sleep
Studies show repeatedly that better, deeper sleep results in tremendous health benefits for all age groups. In this study, CPAP patents were shown to achieve deeper sleep than those without the machine if they had OSA. The study also tied lack of deep sleep with the potential for Alzheimer’s and dementia. This link has become more prominent as studies continue to understand more about how the brain operates and is influenced by sleep.
As anyone knows, more and better sleep directly impacts mood and attitude. The majority of respondents agreed that CPAP therapy improved their sleep, mood and energy levels. . Many of our survey respondents specifically commented that they were impressed by the quality of their sleep on CPAP therapy. Many of them originally thought it would be nearly impossible to sleep deeply wearing a mask and breathing pressurized air. We were pleasantly surprised with the fact that nearly every respondent slept more soundly and deeply.
CPAP Benefits: Stopped Snoring and My Partner Sleeps Better Now Too
CPAP therapy does not completely alleviate snoring in all cases. However, as we point out in a blog post here https://www.thecpapshop.com/blog/does-cpap-therapy-stop-snoring-what-does-it-help/, if snoring was caused by OSA, CPAP does reduce or eliminate snoring. Another benefit to CPAP therapy which was mentioned is a much happier and well-rested bed partner! Our survey showed that only 5% of CPAP users’ bed partners say they still snore after they began using CPAP therapy. Of course, a happier bed partner is in everybody’s best interest!
One thing to note is that several survey respondents said that their sleeping partners are sometimes bothered by noise from the machine or noise from air escaping through mask leaks, or from exhale air pressure escaping in their direction. There are several remedies to these issues brought on by CPAP therapy, including getting a better fitting mask, a newer, quiet CPAP machine, or a mask that has an air diffuser like the new Brevida mask that filters the exhale air pressure and should help bed partners sleep better. The newest CPAP machines are whisper quiet and should not upset a bed partners sleep in the slightest.
CPAP Benefits: Focus and Clarity of Thought
According to research at Harvard, sleep is a major factor in memory, learning, and focus. Sleep may also be vital in storing memories. Our survey respondents certainly back up that research.
CPAP Benefits: Better Able to Fight Off Colds!
Roughly 60% of our CPAP users thought that CPAP therapy made it easier to sleep when they had a cold or the flu.
Our survey respondents had much more to say. In part two of this blog, we will outline some of the more surprising and less popular CPAP benefits.
This post was originally published on April 19, 2017 and updated on August 29, 2023.