Mar 6, 2006 at 7:10 pm #1217969
I’ve had sleep apnea for years now and have to sleep with a CPAP machine at home to get a decent nights sleep. Of course this has a very negative effect on my backpacking trips as I wake up numerous times throughout the night and in general get very little sleep. I’ve not been able to find an extenstion cord long enough to bring it with me. ;-)
Is there anybody out there that deals with this? How do you deal with the lack of sleep?
-jeffMar 7, 2006 at 7:02 am #1351983
Hi, I also have sleep apnea, moderate case, obstructive, use CPAP, 7 setting. I don’t have any great ideas but wanted to offer some guesses and support. Try sleeping more on the side or stomach for obstructive vs central apnea. You can train yourself a bit at home with a bike shirt and a tennis ball in the rear pocket-that’s one method the docs reccomend for some cases but I’d check since I don’t know your type of apnea. Possible risk is you get used to that instead of the mask on your back. I carry a lot more padding than most UL folks to make side or stomach sleeping comfortable. I am going to try a hammock this year in hopes of it sitting me up a bit more and see how that works. I know if I sleep in a recliner at home I don’t get obstructed. Another issue is closed bivy sacks. If you O2 sat drops too low i would guess that may be a risk in a closed bivy where the 02 sat is lower anyway. At the least, a less restfull nights sleep. I use a wire hoop in my bivy and leave a good size face area vent with the bug net open or closed and that keeps the fresh air exchange good. Any altitude and common sense says the problem could be worse. Another idea is a nap or two, 30-55min in the day sitting up and a shorter time sleeping at night since apnea comes in cycles for some folks. Maybe why I like to night hike a bit more than most. Good Luck.Mar 7, 2006 at 11:47 am #1352000
It would be worth a try, that’s for sure. I’ve heard about that idea before, but never tried it. Mine is set at 8 so we must be fairly close.
Thanks, JeffMar 13, 2006 at 5:54 pm #1352484
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
A friend of mine who climbs at elevations where Chene Stokes Syndrome is a problem, even for people who don’t experience sleep apnea at sea level, has used Diamox 500 mg time release caplets with good success. He is a podiatrist and, so, can self prescribe. You might want to run this idea by your personal physician and see what he thinks. Diamox is ordinarily used to treat High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, and high altitude climbers frequently use it prophylactically for that purpose, but it apparently also is effective in at least some people for elevation induced sleep apnea. Good luck.Apr 1, 2006 at 2:58 pm #1353951
This article asserts that learning to play the Australian aboriginal instrument known as the Didgeridoo could be a partial or complete cure for snoring and mild sleep apnea: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051224094017.htmApr 2, 2006 at 9:09 pm #1354004
@mowLocale: Minnesota, USA
I can’t say I have sleep apnea, but I do snore very bad and don’t normally get a very restful nights sleep. This is regardless of whether or not I am at home or in the bush.
I have started sleeping in a Hennessy Hammock when I’m in the backcountry. I honestly speep better in the hammock then I do in my bed – and I don’t snore nearly as much. Perhaps this will help you??Apr 4, 2006 at 10:22 pm #1354134
Some interesting thoughts. More to look into that’s for sure.
thx, jeffJul 28, 2007 at 2:05 pm #1396724
In my experience the Hennessey makes my snoring worse. I did a 4 day trip into the smokies last week and by the 2nd day my throat (obstructive sleep apnea) was so sore i felt like i had strep throat. I love the hammock, it's cozy, easy to deal with and light, but it won't work for me right now.
I've considered getting a Xantrex Powerpack ( http://www.preparedwithpower.com/portable-power/portable-powerpacks/powerpack-600hd.html#product-menu ) and see how that works out if i'm not too far into the backcountry.
Supposedly it will run a CPAP machine for a couple of nights without a recharge.
However i agree with the poster who said that sleeping on your side or stomach is a good way to deal with it out in the woods. The 3rd night of my last trip we had a clear night and all slept on our pads out by the fire and i didn't have the problems i had in the hammock. The hammock is just so damned cool that i hate to give it up. Maybe it's time to drop about 40 pounds and try it again sometime.
FYI i'll be lugging the xantrex off to a trip to Fonanta Lake in a couple of weeks if anyone is interested i'll let you know how it goes.
Franklin TNJul 30, 2007 at 8:02 am #1396810
I've has severe obstructive SA and use a cpap at home and, with a battery and inverter, on car-camping trips (with boy scouts). I do backpacking too, though it's kinda hard to take the car-camp setup :).
My dentist made an appliance that pulls my lower jaw forward (caled silent nite?). That, with Diamox and a muscle relaxant (forget the name) make 2 week outings possible. I don't get great sleep, but it's passible.
edAug 27, 2007 at 8:38 pm #1400183
I just got back from a 2 night backpacking trip in the Sierra's and I had a very difficult time sleeping. This really scared me because I really want to continue to backpack but how can I ever do this when I hardly sleep. The only thing I can think of is using one of those air chairs and sleep sitting up. Anyone have any suggestions whatsoever? My cpap setting is at 14 so I have severe osa. Any suggestions would help.Aug 28, 2007 at 7:00 am #1400218
Julio, speak with your physician about what he might recommend.Aug 29, 2007 at 9:05 pm #1400469
Thx Matt. I will give my md a call and get her opinion.Sep 4, 2007 at 5:15 pm #1401039
@srparrLocale: SE Michigan
I have severe sleep apnea, and have to use a CPAP at home. Week-long hikes were an endurance event because I wasn't getting any restful sleep, but then I decided to try a dental appliance and see how it would work. It works decent for me, but not quite as well as a CPAP. I can get a good nights sleep on the trail using this and a nasal strip while sleeping on my side.
I hike mostly on Isle Royale, so haven't tried this at altitude … but it should still be better than just hoping for the best. I do try to get a good nights sleep before starting a hike, and try to include a lazy "recovery" day in my hike schedule afterwards.
DISCLAIMER: I am just a satisfied user, and have no other relationship with the makers of the TAP II.Sep 18, 2008 at 5:36 pm #1451531
@srparrLocale: SE Michigan
Anyone know any details on how apnea and mountain sickness interact? Would an apnea sufferer be at higher risk when at altitude than someone without apnea?Sep 18, 2008 at 7:22 pm #1451541
Yes, because your breathing is restricted and it is increased breathing that will help you acclimate.Oct 13, 2008 at 6:53 pm #1454375
I'm aware the that this topic is rather old, but I thought I would add a bit to it.
There are a small variety of battery powered CPAP machines. The above link will run a CPAP for about 12 hours a 10 centimeter of water pressure, or 10 hours a 12 cwp. The original poster was at 7 cwp, so given a spare battery he could theoretically run this CPAP at his pressure for a solid 3 nights, 4 if he is lucky.
Also its recommended that you use your CPAP for 8 hours if possible, but if you are looking to stretch the battery you could run it for the first half of the night and then the last hour or so you are asleep would extend the battery and let you get some sleep. The first part of the night because your first good run of slow wave sleep (brain rest) and REM sleep (body rest) will happen in the first 90 minutes assuming you are tired from your day. 4 hours of CPAP at the start of the night will cover two REM cycles in all likelihood. The last hour will almost certainly be REM sleep as your brain tends to go to REM in the last hour, particularly if you haven't been sleeping well over the past 3 because you are saving battery.
btw, I am a 7 year registered sleep technologist.Jan 20, 2009 at 10:09 pm #1471705
My plan is now to carry a Battery Geek C-222: http://www.batterygeek.net/v/vspfiles/Super_CPAP_Battery_Pack_222Wh.asp
It powers a Puritan Benett machine, and for me, at 8 hours a night, it should go for 5 nights or so. (I'm about to go to Tasmania and will do a 5 night trip there) I was asymptomatic, however (i.e., can tell no difference between using the machine or not), so I'm doing this purely so I don't get a stroke at 55 like my father did.
The battery itself weighs a good 5 pounds — so much for ultralight backpacking…Jan 20, 2009 at 11:00 pm #1471708
I've summarized my experience here:
http://piaw.blogspot.com/2009/01/how-i-deal-with-sleep-apnea-and-cycling.htmlJan 21, 2009 at 2:46 pm #1471827
@worthLocale: Wind River Range
You might want to investigate the Pillar Palatal Implant. It is an outpatient procedure using a local anesthetic that takes about an hour. Plastic like rods are implanted into the soft palate to stiffen it; thus, keeping it from collapsing.Jan 22, 2009 at 9:16 am #1472010
If a machine would run 4 hours, that would work great for me. No matter how hard I try, I always find the mask on the floor by the bed in the morning.Feb 3, 2009 at 11:13 pm #1475280
The implant is great for snoring, not so effective for apnea.
The vast majority of the time obstructive sleep apnea is from a congested or narrowed airway. This could be from weight, large tonsils, small neck, or, for most people, your tongue. Any of the above will be completely unaffected by the implant you are refering to.
The best non-CPAP based option would me a mandibular advancement device. As the name kind of implies its a mouth guard that helps to pull your ower jaw forward. This has the effect of moving your tongue away from the back of your throat. It also helps with snoring.
Im glad to hear that you were able to find a set up for using your CPAP on the trail that wasn't too cumbersome. Some of my patients are going to be very happy to know that an option exists for them. Also, I think ResMed makes a CPAP machine that may possibly be lighter than the one you have, but I don't think it is an auto-titrator, so its the same pressure all the time.Feb 3, 2009 at 11:17 pm #1475281
Look for a mask by ResMed called the Swift LT. Its a nasal pillow mask. My patients who take their mask off usually do so because it is uncomfortable. The Swift is exceptionally light and by far the best tolerated mask we use in our lab.
If you get one tighten the lower strap first when you put it on, then the top strap. If you dont the mask will never work right and will fall off constantly.
BCMay 27, 2009 at 7:45 pm #1504000
I second the opinion on the Swift LT. Been using it for over a year after having used a full mask for three. Wish I had started off with the Swift LT.
Regarding batteries, CPAP.com has very lightweight Ion Lithium batteries made for a couple different CPAPs. I have the ResMed S8 Elite and it will power my S8 for 6 hours at 13 setting without the reservoir. However you must use the converter purchased separately. I bought this for backpacking but have yet to try it. The battery and converter weighs about 3 lbs. Battery by itself is only 1.5 lbs and you can buy an extra battery for $200. So roughly your cost per night is that plus the weight. I plan on doing 2 night trips until I prove this works for me and then I may buy another battery or two as it doesn't add that much weight. I also use this battery a LOT to power my iPhone while biking because I run low on juice on long rides. Works great!May 28, 2009 at 7:57 am #1504073
Weight loss can reduce snoring and 'cure' mild sleep apnea. For other reasons I went on a very low fat, mainly vegetarian, lots of whole grains diet. Everybody who keeps to this diet without cheating loses weight. By the time I had lost 10% of my body weight, my sleep apnea went away. If I remember correctly that is about what is recommended for mild sleep apnea — lose 10% of your weight. Many of you on BPL are already very fit and don't have fat to lose so this advice is irrelevant.
It also works the other way. My cousin had sleep apnea and gained a lot of weight. Once he went on the CPAP, he had the energy to exercise and lost quite a bit of weight.
I never was on a CPAP, though probably should have been before I started losing weight.
Sleep apnea can cause other serious medical problems, so it's best to get a doctor's advice.Jul 1, 2009 at 2:50 pm #1511583
I wanted to follow up on the post I made above regarding the power system I bought for those that might be interested. I did finally spend a night at around 8,000 feet a couple weeks ago with this solution. It worked exactly as I had hoped. At a setting of 13, I got about 7 hours out of a 1 lbs 5 oz battery plus ResMed S8 Elite, headgear, hose and inverter which is required. All of that weighed 4 lbs 14oz. I used it in my hammock so it was a bit of a tight squeeze but no bother. Certainly more comfortable than not breathing. Now for the kicker, I went ahead and invested in three more batteries and I'm leaving next week for a 5 night trip down the JMT doing the Tuolumne to Red's Meadows section. I will be on my own the last night (no more power) but I may ration the use and at least get some sleep on the 5th night. Will decide which way to go once I'm up there. I'll let you know how it goes! My total weight cost for 4 nights is just a smidge over 10lbs which is reasonable to me considering the alternative. http://www.cpap.com is the one that supplies this battery btw.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.