Discover what life is like before and after a CPAP machine | ResMed

Surfer Dani on life before and after a CPAP machine

Professional surfer Dani Garcia laughing while sitting on a camp chair by a beach as he talks about his life before and after CPAP therapy.

March 11th 2024

Have you ever wondered what your life might be like if you started using a CPAP machine to treat obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)? Would CPAP therapy really make that much difference to your quality of life, or mental health? Wonder no more! In this article we’ll explore the story of Dani Garcia, a professional surfer from Spain who shares how treatment for sleep apnoea has changed his life – for the better

Not sure what CPAP is? Check out our quick explainer

Why Dani started sleep apnoea treatment

Dani is a successful, fit and healthy professional surfer – in fact he’s been surfing since he was 10 or 12 years old and has several championship titles under his belt. Surfing is his life. If he isn’t competing, he’s at the beach training children to surf. And he’s passed his passion for the ocean onto his son, Nestor, who also loves the sport and pushes Dani to keep going, even as he gets a little older. As Dani says, when you’re at the top of your game, you’re still trying to improve every day!

However, about two years ago Dani began to feel different. He noticed a slight tickle or itch at the back of his throat that hadn’t been there before. He thought he could be experiencing changes to his brain, so saw a neurologist.

Getting diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea

A pulmologist and member of sleep clinic staff looking at the results of a sleep study on a computer. A healthcare professional in a sleep clinic control room observing a sleep apnoea diagnostic test through a glass panel.


After a series of tests, Dani was surprised to be diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea. As far as he was concerned, he slept well. His wife, however, told another story – she said Dani did snore very loudly (a ‘classic’ sleep apnoea symptom) and jumped around in his sleep, so perhaps the clues were there all along…

After his initial diagnosis Dani visited a pulmonologist – a doctor who is an expert on conditions that affect the respiratory system, like sleep apnoea. She agreed that Dani did not have obvious risk factors for OSA: he wasn’t overweight and led an active lifestyle. However, she confirmed that the symptoms Dani reported could by justified by sleep apnoea, he just hadn’t realised it.


Assessing your sleep

Because sleep apnoea can affect people in different ways, it’s always worth investigating any unusual symptoms. A good first step is to take our online sleep assessment – it could tell you whether you’re at risk of sleep apnoea, insomnia or other sleep problems, or if you have a low risk. You’ll be emailed your results so you can use them as a starting point for a conversation with your doctor or healthcare provider.

Starting to use a continuous positive airway pressure mask

Dani’s pulmonologist recommended CPAP treatment with a machine and mask, which initially annoyed him as he thought he didn’t need it. Of course, starting and getting used to any new routine is not always plain sailing (or surfing!), but Dani in the end decided he’d finally give CPAP therapy a try…

How long did it take to see results from a CPAP machine?

In Dani’s case not long! According to him, as soon as he put the mask on he felt good. And after only a couple of days he said he really felt like he’d been resting, thanks to the effects of CPAP therapy! “It’s a pleasure to get up and feel that you’ve really had a good rest,” he said.

Taking his CPAP therapy on the road

As someone who’s on the move a lot – travelling to different coastal areas in search of the best waves –it was important to Dani to be able to take his CPAP treatment with him in his motorhome and that it didn’t disturb Nestor, who often accompanies him. So he was delighted to discover he could take his CPAP therapy with him wherever he goes – and that his doctor could monitor his condition remotely while he was on the road.

Not only does this help Dani, it’s good news for his doctor too. She says that using connected devices means she can now see how her patients are reacting to CPAP therapy and monitor their therapy data daily. She predicts telemonitoring technology is going radically transform the way health professionals understand sleep apnoea, stating that it’s already been a game-changer in the care processes at her hospital.

A headshot of sleep apnoea patient Dani looking happy and relaxed as he drives his motorhome to the beach in search of waves.

So, how much better does Dani feel after using CPAP?

Dani reports that now he’s a CPAP user he’s feeling less tired and more enthusiastic – which also delights his wife! This makes sense, since the effects of CPAP therapy can include increased energy levels1 and improved mood2.

But there may also be other effects of CPAP therapy that Dani is benefiting from without even knowing it! These include:

  • Better cognitive function (mental abilities)2
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular system diseases3

In addition, people with untreated OSA are at greater risk of high blood pressure4, heart attack and stroke5-7 as well as type 2 diabetes8 – there is even evidence to suggest they have a higher risk of car/road accidents compared to people on CPAP therapy9!

What happens if Dani sleeps without his CPAP machine?

Dani says won’t be stopping CPAP therapy any time soon! But if someone with OSA does stop CPAP therapy it’s likely their symptoms and tiredness will return, as there is no cure for sleep apnoea, only treatment. The good news is that the modern telemonitoring techniques mentioned above help make it easier for both you and your healthcare provider to see how treatment is going and make any adjustments over time.

For now though Dani is focused on surfing and the difference CPAP has made to that special aspect of his life. As he says: “One thing that struck me is how many championships I could have won out of those I lost, if only I could have rested better.”

But Dani’s not dwelling on the past – he’s looking to a brighter future of continued CPAP use, and far from his initial dismay at his diagnosis, he now sees it a positive part of his life: “Having discovered this condition has been amazing. It was astonishing, and now I can’t do without the machine.”

Surfer Dani and his son walking along the beach towards the waves carrying their surfboards.

See more CPAP users’ stories

If you’ve been inspired by Dani’s story, you can watch a video of him telling his story on our patient stories page. Here you’ll also see what other CPAP users have to say about how therapy has affected their quality of life.

Quick CPAP therapy explainer

Here’s a quick refresher on OSA and CPAP machines in case you’re not familiar with them…

What is obstructive sleep apnoea?

Obstructive sleep apnoea is a disorder where a person repeatedly stops breathing during their sleep for periods of 10 seconds or more. They can vary from individual to individual, and even between men and women – but some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Making choking sounds during sleep
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Low mood10

As you may imagine, having your sleep interrupted like this night after night can have a negative effect on quality of life – but there is hope on the horizon in the form of CPAP devices…


How does a CPAP device help?

The pause in breathing associated with obstructive sleep apnoea occur when a person’s upper airways become blocked by the soft tissues in their nose and/or throat. This is where a CPAP machine (or continuous positive airway pressure machine to give it its full title) comes in. As the name suggests, it delivers a continuous, steady stream of pressurised air to the CPAP user via a mask that they wear as they sleep. This air helps to keep the airways open and avoids problems with breathing.



This testimony is based on a video produced for ResMed by BBC StoryWorks Commercial Productions. This testimonial is a genuine and documented account of the individual’s response to treatment. Outcomes and results may vary, and this individual’s response does not provide any indication, warranty or guarantee that other people will have the same or a similar experience. Talk to your healthcare professional for further information. This blog post contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website. The views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, practice, or other institution with which the authors are affiliated and do not directly reflect the views of ResMed or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates.


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