Feel good about travel and socialising with sleep apnoea and CPAP

How do you feel about travelling or socialising with your CPAP device? Happy that you’ll feel well-rested and able to make the most of your time away? Or anxious that you’ll end up snoring and your travel companions will ask awkward questions about your equipment? We hope the answer is ‘happy’ but if it’s ‘anxious’, you’re definitely not alone. So, what could you do to feel more positive about bringing your CPAP equipment along for travel and social occasions?

What are the challenges?

You might have concerns about the practical aspects of travelling with CPAP equipment, such as finding a suitable place to plug in your device at night. You might dread the interpersonal aspect: being teased or having to fend off questions and unwanted advice from well-meaning friends and relatives. Maybe events that sound like fun – a weekend away with friends, a city break with a new partner or a family trip with shared accommodation – feel like your worst nightmare. How do you handle it? Ask for your own room and worry that everyone thinks you’re being precious and aloof? Agree to share and then lie awake half the night in case you snore and wake your roommates or your bed partner? Pretend you have a prior engagement and stay at home alone instead?

Your CPAP device should feel like a lifeline, not an anchor. It should give you the energy to do the things you want to do, not hold you back from enjoying other people’s company or being spontaneous and adventurous. There’s plenty of advice out there to help you handle practicalities, like this travel checklist, but there’s not so much on how to handle your family and friends, the person beside you on the plane or the cute guy from accounts. So here are our suggestions; we hope they will help.

Find ways to talk confidently about CPAP

First, remind yourself why you use a CPAP device and what it brings to your life. Without CPAP treatment, you’d be at higher risk of suffering serious illnesses like hypertension1, stroke2 or type 2 diabetes3. With it, you probably have more daytime energy4 and are less affected by symptoms like headaches5, low mood6, weight gain7, fatigue5 and night sweats8. It’s probably safe to say that CPAP is a positive force in your life.

Second, feel proud: establishing a regular CPAP habit is a real achievement. Most people find it difficult to start therapy and stick with it over the long-term but you have, so well done. You’ve taken an important step to improve your health and you’ve persevered, even when it wasn’t the easy option.

Third, try putting those thoughts together in words and saying them out loud (try practising in the shower!). Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • “I use a CPAP device because I have sleep apnoea. Without therapy, I’d be exhausted all the time. Therapy isn’t my favourite thing, but I love that it gives me energy to enjoy life and time with friends.”
  • “I have sleep apnoea and I need to use CPAP therapy to sleep well and stay healthy. I need to sleep now so I’m going to put on my mask and switch on my device. Goodnight!”
  • “This is my CPAP device and my mask. I was diagnosed with sleep apnoea a few years ago and CPAP therapy has made a huge difference to my daily life. Do you remember how tired and grumpy I used to be? That’s because I would stop breathing dozens of times a night! I found it hard at first but I’ve got used to it now. Starting therapy was the right decision for my health and I’m pleased that I’ve stuck with it.”

Find a way to tell your CPAP story, because CPAP is part of your story and you should be proud of what you’ve achieved. And if someone asks more questions than you’re comfortable with, always remember that “No.” is a full sentence too!

Ed’s CPAP journey

Patient story – How diagnosis led to a new lease of life and 8 stone weight loss.

Ed Jones is 44-years old and is a credit analyst from Cheshire. He was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) in February 2015 and also has a heart arrhythmia. Since being diagnosed with OSA, Ed has embarked on a series of charity events raising in excess of £13,500 for charities and losing 8 stone in the process.

Tell us about your symptoms

I was permanently tired and after getting home from work, I’d have my tea and then fall asleep on the sofa within half an hour or so. I was missing out on that important family time, often ending up in bed before my daughter. The weekends were even worse, and I’d tend to nod off regularly as I was more relaxed.

What led to your diagnosis?

The lack of energy and the fact I was missing out on spending time with my daughter was becoming a problem – my wife was understandably becoming fed up. Discussions with my wife and my father had led to me booking an appointment with the doctor. I had a number of blood tests, but it wasn’t until I saw the 3rd Doctor that she suggested I may have sleep apnoea.

What happened next?
The doctor gave me some information about sleep apnoea and it was obvious at that point that symptoms I was suffering were the very same symptoms described in the information leaflet. As I was certain this was the case and I wanted to get treatment I didn’t want to wait for an NHS appointment so my father paid for me to go to a private sleep specialist. I was given a home sleep testing kit which I had to wear to bed for a night and within a week I received a diagnosis. It showed that I was waking up 38 times an hour, which meant that I was within the ‘severe’ category – Find out more about diagnosis.

How did you get on to treatment?
Again, I was offered to go through the NHS which would have involved a wait or told that the clinic could provide equipment for me privately. I chose the latter option as I wanted to begin treatment straight away and received a ResMed AirSense 10 and began treatment within a week.

What was the impact of your treatment on your home life?
Within 24/48 hours, the impact was incredible. I had more energy, I was able to spend quality time with my family beyond struggling through work. I very quickly felt that I had got control of my sleep. I also felt reassured that there was someone checking my equipment remotely and making adjustments to my treatment to ensure I was getting the full benefit.*
*Please note that Ed Jones is a private patient with ResMed

And on your health?
I was very overweight at the time of my diagnosis and had discussed this with my doctor who advised me to focus on getting my sleep apnoea sorted before addressing my weight. Once on treatment and with renewed energy, a personal trainer friend of mine suggested that I start walking regularly. I took this advice and started with just 1-2 miles at the park and quite quickly built it up to 6-7 miles every couple of days. I immediately started to see and feel the benefits of the exercise routine and signed up to do a charity walk from Manchester to Sheffield. I also joined weight-watchers and whilst I didn’t have to make too many adjustments to my diet, the main thing was choosing less processed food which stopped me feeling hungry. In 2016 I did the Yorkshire 100k, a 100km walk which took over 29 hours to complete. In less than two years I had lost 8 stone in weight.

How are you getting on with treatment today?
I remember thinking ‘I’m not sure I can adjust to this’ when I started treatment and that, occasionally, it feels like a bit of a burden. However, when I consider that 2-3 years ago I would struggle to walk up the road compared with what I’m able to do now, it’s a good reminder to help me keep on track with my treatment as I don’t want to go back to where I was!

How have you found dealing with ResMed?
I started to use ResMed for replacement products and I now visit their clinic once a year for an annual review. They have a look at my equipment, review the data from it and we discuss my treatment. It’s such a quality service and pleasant experience and I always come away from ResMed feeling rejuvenated and enthusiastic about my treatment. Earlier this year I invested in their portable device, the AirMini and the new AirTouch F20 mask as this really helps with all the travelling and challenges I’m undertaking.

So what’s next for you?
I’m really enjoying fundraising and being able to give something back. Last year I completed a section of the Great Wall of China and I’m just about to set off to the French Alps to complete a Trek involving 3 countries in 3 days. In November I’ll be taking on the Sahara Desert – and all because of the successful treatment of my Sleep Apnoea.

And finally, what would you say to anyone starting treatment?
Listen to the experts and seek out the best advice, I cannot fault the quality of service and advice that I’ve had from ResMed.

Ashim’s patient story

Patient story with AirSense™ 10 Autoset™

Ashim 49 lives with his wife in Barlestone, near Nuneaton in Warwickshire where he is an electrical design engineer. He was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea nearly two years ago.

When ResMed approached Ashim in June 2014 to trial the new AirSense 10 Autoset device, he was keen to take part. The benefits of the new machine were evident almost immediately. With his ResMed S9 device Ashim had seen an improvement on the number of hours sleep he was getting compared with pre-treatment but upon switching to the new machine this improvement increased again.

He says, “The new machine made a huge difference. I can’t stress enough how brilliant it is. The first thing I noticed was how quiet it is. Previously I would lie awake for a while but now I drop off within 10-15 minutes and the machine senses when I’m asleep – the air flow is very gentle until it senses that I’m asleep and only then does the pressure increase.”

An added benefit is that Ashim’s wife used to wake up if the air leaked or when Ashim was restless but now she finds that she also sleeps through the night. The couple would not swap it for any other unit – Ashim compared it with driving a Ford Fiesta and then moving into a Jaguar! It means that they live a more normal life and their quality of life has improved considerably.

The unit is also very easy to use. The default mechanism is perfect and the dial setting is very easy to use.

In addition the tubing is much more flexible and allows for greater movement during the night. This, together with the quietness of the machine, makes it easier to use.

The device is also very portable. On a recent holiday to Majorca, Ashim took the new unit on the flight and had no problems during the journey, using it throughout his time away. The wireless connection also worked well while they were away and indeed has been a feature that Ashim has found very useful. It has meant that if he has any concerns he can get them resolved very quickly by asking ResMed to monitor his activity. This gives considerable reassurance and also provides a sense of being looked after.

I did find that the bag was a little small for my existing mask which makes it bulky when travelling but this is a minor issue which I’m sure will be rectified.

Ashim concludes, “I would say that the device is 75% better than the previous model. You expect progress to show improvements but I feel that the AirSense 10 AutoSet is a tremendous step up, and I’m sure my wife would agree! Having used it for six weeks, I would not swap it for another unit.”

“If someone has been recently diagnosed and is looking at the models available to them, I would urge them to consider the new device. I’m sure that it will be more expensive than the previous model but as far as I’m concerned it is worth every penny, and the investment in a good night’s sleep is priceless!”

Judith’s patient story

A patient story with AirSense™ 10 Autoset™ For Her

Judith, 67 is a make up artist in the film industry and continues to work part time. She lives in Marlborough in Wiltshire with her husband, and between them they have six children.

She was diagnosed with sleep apnoea two and a half years ago. Judith had noticed that she was waking up feeling as though she had a hangover, even this often happened after an early night and hadn’t been drinking. She also had very little energy and her husband had noticed that she gasped for breath on occasions during the night. Having heard about a doctor who was particularly good at diagnosing conditions, Judith went along to see him and the first question he asked her was whether she snored. Having acknowledged that she did snore, the doctor told Judith that he was reasonably certain that she had sleep apnoea.

When she went to the clinic for her overnight sleep test, she was woken within an hour and a half due to the frequency with which she stopped breathing. Consequently, the staff put her on a CPAP machine and Judith slept like a log for the rest of the night, even having to be woken up the next morning!

Judith says, “I had never felt so wide awake – it was marvelous. I ordered a CPAP machine from ResMed and it arrived within a couple of days. I was working overseas on location so rented the device but when I arrived home I contacted ResMed and acquired an S9 model.”

Despite working part time, Judith’s job means that she continues to travel extensively. She had not had a problem with the S9 but having agreed to the AirSense 10 Autoset trial, she asked for permission to take it with her on her travels and as a result has identified significant benefits for her lifestyle.

Commenting on her experience, Judith explains, “The AirSense 10 Autoset For Her is much smaller and is very easy to use. I find it very easy to pack and to set up again. In its case, it looks like another of my make-up bags! As I get older, I want life to be as easy as possible so even if I’m working in the UK, I will often travel close to the set and stay in a hotel to avoid too many early morning starts! I find the new model very convenient. The device converts to the US wattage so I only needed to take an adapter plug with me when I’m travelling abroad.”

Another benefit that Judith identified was the noise level. Although the S9 is not particularly noisy – on a recent overnight stay in hospital, Judith took the S9 with her and another patient remarked on how quiet is it – but the AirSense 10 Autoset For Her is quieter still. Her husband has commented that he feels there is a noticeable difference, enabling him to sleep more soundly.

As someone who feels she is not technically minded, Judith appreciates the simplicity of the AirSense 10 For Her. In terms of the data, as long as she sees smiley faces on the screen, she is happy and she likes to check how long she has slept for but she acknowledges that for those who are more technically minded the data would be of greater interest.

Judith concludes, “The portability is very convenient for someone like me who travels regularly. The new unit looks like a radio on my bedside table, rather than something medical and takes up very little space. I was very pleased to be asked to take part in the trial and would like to continue using the AirSense 10 Autoset For Her once the trial has finished.”

Alan’s Patient story

Patient story with AirSense™ 10 Autoset™ CPAP machine

Alan is 65 and retired. He lives in Gloucester with his wife who is a doctor and between them they have five grown up children.

Following his retirement, Alan’s wife encouraged him to have a sleep test. His main symptom was heavy snoring and following his sleep test and diagnosis, Alan wishes that he had done something about it earlier.

Having been prescribed CPAP, Alan acquired a ResMed S9 device and adapted well to the equipment. He found it made a huge difference and even though he hadn’t noticed being sleepy before, once he started using CPAP he found he had more energy. Also his wife highlighted that he wasn’t snoring and she sleeps more soundly as a result.

When Alan was asked to take part in the trial of the AirSense 10 AutoSet he agreed and although the S9 isn’t particularly noisy, he immediately noticed that the new machine was quieter. He also recognised the convenience of the new device and finds it very easy to use.

Alan hadn’t used a humidifier in the first 6-12 months of his initial treatment but having highlighted to ResMed that he felt dryness in the mornings, he added a unit and he immediately noticed a difference. Once he started using the AirSense 10 AutoSet, one of the biggest benefits was the built in humidifier. Previously he hadn’t taken the humidifier unit with him when he went away but as he was travelling to America with his son, Alan asked if he could take the new equipment with him and following a positive response, he found the compactness of the AirSense 10 AutoSet invaluable.

He comments, “Not having to take the extra box was very convenient and extremely easy to use travelling around.”

In terms of performance Alan finds the AirSense 10 AutoSet to be very good. He monitors his data each day and finds it useful to be able to have this on the screen when he switches off his machine.

Alan continues, “The facility to transmit data wirelessly is very valuable for routine screening. I feel reassured to know that any problems could be resolved by looking at the data remotely rather than an issue being allowed to escalate. Also I imagine that this service would be particularly useful to a new patients in the early months of using CPAP.”

In terms of the maintenance of the equipment, Alan finds the filter very easy to change and, although the inbuilt humidifier takes a little longer to clean, the benefits of having an inbuilt element far outweighs this.

In summary Alan says, “The AirSense 10 AutoSet is a big improvement and ticks all the boxes for me. I find that the AutoSet Response feature helps me to sleep better and the ability for my clinician to monitor my treatment data is reassuring.”

David’s Patient story

Patient story – Feeling fitter than ever at 50

David is 49 and lives with his wife and 2 teenage daughters. David works in London in a senior directorial role for a large company and travels frequently.

Snoring as a main symptom

At 46 years old David had found his snoring had become progressively worse to a point where it was having a serious effect on his relationship with his wife, who was starting to sleep in the spare room every night. Snoring had literally become the elephant in the room and bedtime had become awkward.

David said, “The final straw came after a boys’ skiing trip after which my friend phoned my wife and asked ‘how do you cope with this’?! I knew at that point I needed to do something about my snoring”.

David had also got to a point where he was waking himself up, and so never started the day feeling refreshed or energetic.


During a 2 yearly medical, David discussed his snoring with the physician who recommended a sleep study be performed. This showed that David was suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). ”I remember thinking, ‘oh my god’ does this mean surgery? But I was quickly assured there is a non-invasive route to treatment and I was referred to ResMed’s Centre for Healthy Sleep in London for CPAP treatment.”

“I visited the clinic with a significant amount of trepidation, confusion and many questions, but Verity, the clinician, was calm and reassuring. She was also very matter of fact, helping me to understand how CPAP therapy would fit within my lifestyle. Once I got over the initial sense of panic, I settled into it very quickly”.

Sleep apnoea therapy

David returned home that night with his new therapy device and mask, amidst many questions from the family, but also some excitement that it might be as good as they’d been promised. David recalls that on camping holidays and when sharing family rooms, the whole family had been affected by his snoring, so it wasn’t just him holding his breath.

“The first few nights were definitely a little tricky and it took a couple of weeks to settle in – Verity made the point that I was trying to unpick decades of sleeping habits. But – with her at the end of the phone and responding to emails with recommendations, it didn’t take long before I simply settled in and started feeling the full benefits of my therapy. Verity even sent me a chin strap to help with my breathing which also really helped”.

Travelling with CPAP

Very early on into David’s treatment, he went on another skiing trip with his friends,”I remember they had such bad experiences in the past that they drew straws to share a room with me, but I was happy to unveil my new equipment and after the customary Darth Vader jokes, it was quickly evident that I had completely turned a corner and we all slept well. I even became indignant when any of them started to snore in the night!”

OSA is not just for the overweight

David has always kept fit and maintained a collar size 15.5, so he didn’t automatically seem like a candidate for OSA. Even then, he has noticed a huge difference in ‘wellness’ since his diagnosis and treatment for OSA.”As I approach 50, I feel fitter than I have ever felt before and am able to run 5k in 19 minutes, which I could never do prior to my diagnosis. I know I have fewer colds, far more energy, good sleep hygiene, and I feel as though my immune system is as good as it’s ever been.”

Accept CPAP therapy, don’t fight it

David concludes “Prior to my diagnosis with OSA, relationships, friendships, travel, work, everything in my life was being eroded. Had it not been fixed, I can’t imagine where I’d be now. To anybody suffering from snoring I’d advise them to get it checked out and don’t just stick their head in the sand. To anybody recently diagnosed, I’d say ‘accept this therapy because it works – embrace it, don’t fight it’. I work 60 hours per week, travel regularly, keep fit and no longer wake up with a sore throat, feeling lethargic. All thanks to my therapy and to Verity and the team at ResMed for helping me get onto treatment so well.”

Bob’s patient story

Patient story with AirSense™ 10 Autoset™

Bob Benton 56 is single and lives in Fenchurch Street in London. A publican by profession, Bob was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea in 2012 following treatment for cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disease that is often hereditary.

Having shown symptoms of sleep apnoea, Bob was sent to Harley Street for a sleep test, following which he was diagnosed with severe sleep apnoea with pauses in breathing of more than 43 each hour!

t was recommended that he use a CPAP machine. Having done some research into CPAP and the best devices available, Bob visited ResMed’s London clinic in Wimpole Street and discovered the S9, his favored device at the time. He also spent time trying out different masks in order to find one that suited him best, finally settling on a nasal pillows mask.

In June 2014 Bob was approached by the London Clinic to ask if he would take part in a trial for a new device. His enjoyment of researching CPAP equipment made him a perfect candidate and he agreed at once.

Talking of the AirSense 10 AutoSet Bob comments, “The reporting is a great aspect of the new model. What’s more this reporting has demonstrated that my apnoeas are down to less than five a night! Also I’m sleeping for longer and usually get a good 5-6 hours sleep without waking at all which has made me feel much more alert during the day and has given me a sense of feeling really refreshed when I wake up.”

The new device is also much quieter, “I don’t know that it’s on”. Bob also feels that it is much lighter so that while the size is not dramatically changed, he imagines that the reduced weight will make it easier to travel with the new model.

Bob also believes the ramp functions which adjust the pressure comfort levels are easier to control. He says, “The functions are very simple to use and therefore give patients the opportunity to experiment and to find out what works best for them – everyone is different and this new facility recognises that and allows each individual to find the correct pressure for them.”

He adds, “I have found that the humidifier requires a lower temperature to my old machine. I have turned it down by two degrees which means that it consumes less water and if I had a particularly long sleep, the water is unlikely to run out.”

In conclusion, Bob believes that the technology in the AirSense 10 AutoSet has improved dramatically. He says, “It is hard to believe that any further advancement could be made – the AirSense 10 AutoSet does the job for OSA patients.”

Finally his advice to new patients, or those considering a new machine is that “I would suggest that other patients upgrade to AirSense 10 AutoSet as soon as they are able to.”

Kevin’s patient story

Patient story with AirSense™ 10 Autoset™

Kevin is 49 and lives with his partner in Uttoxeter in Staffordshire.

In January 2012 when visiting his doctor in connection with another condition, the doctor mentioned OSA and asked him questions about snoring and daytime sleepiness. His partner agreed that Kevin tended to stop breathing during the night and that he was tired all the time. He had always snored heavily and following the consultation with his doctor, Kevin was sent for a sleep test. During the test he stopped breathing more than 200 times and was diagnosed with severe sleep apnoea.

He was prescribed CPAP and adapted to it straight away, immediately feeling the benefits of a good night’s sleep.

On agreeing to take part in the AirSense 10 AutoSet trial, the first thing that Kevin and his partner noticed was the quietness of the new model. The S9 used to make a small noise that would disturb Kevin’s partner.

Kevin has only recently started to use a humidifier but finds that this element of the AirSense 10 AutoSet is much easier to use. As Kevin is registered as blind, he finds it more straightforward and convenient to fill up the new unit.

The AirSense 10 AutoSet with the built in humidifier is also much smaller and Kevin therefore feels it will be much more portable to use outside of home whether going on holiday or taking it into hospital where the bedside tables are not very spacious.

Kevin comments, “As someone who is blind, the new CPAP machine is very simple to use – I just need to press a button on the top to set it up. It is also very easy to maintain and to keep clean. I would love to be able to continue to use the new device after the trial has finished.”