Questions & Answers

Here, we aim to answer some questions you may have about Sleepco's approach and philosophy or any topics we think are of importance. If you have any questions or queries, please feel free to send us an email or start a chat.

sleepcos Questions & answers

— Philosophy, Care & Origins —

What is Sleepco's philosophy around the meaning of quality sleep

At Sleepco, we understand that quality sleep is not merely the act of closing one’s eyes and drifting off after a long day. We view sleep as a fundamental component of physical health, mental health, and overall well being. Quality sleep is a continuous process that begins the moment you wake up and extends until the next time you wake up.

Contrary to common belief, what prepares us for good sleep spans the entire day, not just from the evening to sleep onset. We emphasise that the waking hours are the first cycle in achieving restorative sleep. When addressing clients' sleep concerns, we assess their daytime routines and overall mental and physical health as much as their evening and nighttime habits.

Restorative sleep heavily depends on both physical and mental wellness. Therefore, Sleepco is dedicated to providing resources, products, solutions, and coaching that align with these principles, ensuring our clients achieve the best possible sleep quality.

Who founded Sleepco? Can they treat me for sleep disturbances?

Sleepco was founded in 2018 by Mr. Matthew Rowlands (BHSc), a radiographer and sleep science coach who continually undergoes training in polysomnography. Having personally struggled with sleep quality for over a decade, Matthew became deeply involved in the science of sleep pathology, support, and treatment.

Although Mr. Rowlands is not a medical doctor, he offers supplementary and complementary advice, which should be coordinated with your primary healthcare provider. His treatment philosophy focuses on addressing the underlying issues affecting poor sleep quality or low daytime energy levels, rather than merely treating symptoms.

As a Sleepco coach, Matthew conducts thorough assessments of clients' medical histories, and mental and physical health, to develop individualized treatment programs. If major health conditions are suspected (e.g., congestive heart failure or stroke), it is crucial to coordinate Sleepco's programs with your GP, sleep specialist, or primary healthcare provider.

sleepcos Questions & answers

— About the machines (CPAP, BiPap) —

What is a CPAP machine and how does it work?

A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine is a medical device commonly used to treat sleep apnea, a condition characterised by repeated interruptions in breathing during sleep. The primary purpose of a CPAP machine is to ensure that the airway remains open, preventing apneas and improving overall sleep quality. Regular use of a CPAP machine can alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea, such as snoring and daytime fatigue, and significantly reduce the risk of complications like hypertension, heart disease, and stroke.

The CPAP machine consists of several key components: a motor which generates airflow, a hose that transports the air, and a mask that fits over the nose or mouth. The machine works by delivering a constant stream of air at a prescribed pressure through the hose and into the mask. This gentle air pressure acts as a splint, keeping the airway open by preventing the collapse of the soft tissues in the throat.

CPAP settings are typically determined based on a sleep study conducted by a healthcare provider, but it is possible to determine your own therapeutic settings using an oximeter and adjusting the pressure gradually. Please reach out to us if you need help configuring your CPAP machine. Maintenance and proper cleaning of the CPAP machine and its components are crucial to ensure effective and hygienic operation. Users are advised to follow their healthcare provider’s instructions and manufacturer’s guidelines to achieve optimal results.

How do I know which CPAP machine is right for me?

Choosing the right Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine involves several considerations to ensure it meets your specific needs and preferences. Here are some key factors to help you make an informed decision:

1. Prescription and Medical Advice: Always start with a prescription and advice from your healthcare provider. They can recommend the type of CPAP machine based on your diagnosis, typically from a sleep study.

2. Type of CPAP Machine:

  • Standard CPAP: Delivers a constant, fixed pressure throughout the night. Suitable for most users with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
  • Auto-Adjusting CPAP (APAP): Automatically adjusts pressure levels based on your breathing patterns. Ideal for those whose pressure needs vary during the night.
  • Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP): Provides different pressures for inhalation and exhalation. Often recommended for users who find standard CPAP uncomfortable or have central sleep apnea.

3. Comfort Features:

  • Humidifier: Integrated or attachable humidifiers can prevent dryness and irritation.
  • Ramp Feature: Gradually increases pressure to the prescribed level, making it easier to fall asleep.
  • Noise Level: Look for machines with low noise levels for a more restful sleep environment.

4. Mask Compatibility: Ensure the machine is compatible with a variety of masks. The right mask fit is crucial for comfort and effectiveness.

5. Portability: If you travel frequently, consider a lightweight, portable CPAP machine with a travel case.

6. Data Tracking: Machines with data tracking can monitor your usage and effectiveness, which can be shared with your healthcare provider for better management of your condition.

7. Budget and Insurance: Check if your insurance covers the cost of the CPAP machine and related supplies. Compare prices and features to find a machine that fits your budget.

8. User Reviews and Brand Reputation: Research user reviews and consider reputable brands known for quality and customer support.

What is the difference between CPAP, APAP, BiPAP and ASV?

CPAP delivers a constant, steady stream of air at a single pressure level to keep the airways open during sleep. It is the most commonly prescribed device for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

APAP adjusts the pressure automatically throughout the night based on the patient's needs. It uses algorithms to detect changes in breathing and varies the pressure accordingly, providing a more customised treatment compared to CPAP.

BiPAP provides two levels of pressure: a higher pressure when the patient inhales (IPAP) and a lower pressure when they exhale (EPAP). This can be more comfortable for patients who have difficulty exhaling against the constant pressure of CPAP, and it is often used for patients with more complex respiratory conditions.

VPAP is essentially another term for BiPAP, used by certain manufacturers. It also offers variable pressure settings for inhalation and exhalation, providing similar benefits to BiPAP.

ASV is a more advanced device designed for patients with central sleep apnea, complex sleep apnea, or Cheyne-Stokes respiration. It continuously monitors the patient's breathing patterns and adjusts the pressure support on a breath-by-breath basis to stabilize breathing.

How often should I replace my CPAP machine?

The general recommendation for replacing a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine is every 3 to 5 years. This timeframe is based on the typical lifespan of the device and advancements in technology that can improve therapy effectiveness. However, several factors can influence this schedule:

1. Insurance Guidelines: Some insurance companies follow a 5-year replacement cycle, but it's essential to check your specific policy for details.

2. Device Condition: If your CPAP machine shows signs of wear, malfunction, or decreased performance, it may need replacement sooner.

3. Technological Advances: Newer models often come with improved features, such as quieter operation, better data tracking, and enhanced comfort settings, which might warrant an upgrade.

4. Manufacturer’s Recommendations: Always refer to the user manual and manufacturer’s guidelines for specific advice on the lifespan and maintenance of your machine.

Regular maintenance, such as replacing filters, hoses, and masks as recommended, can extend the life of your CPAP machine. If you experience any issues with your therapy or the machine's performance, consult your healthcare provider to determine if a replacement is necessary.

Can I travel with my CPAP machine?

Yes, you can travel with your CPAP machine. The smaller and lighter the better, however most airlines allow CPAP machines as carry-on items and do not count them against your carry-on limit. It's advisable to bring a copy of your prescription and a letter from your doctor. Ensure the machine is labelled as medical equipment. For international travel, check the voltage requirements and bring necessary adapters. Pack extra supplies like masks, tubing, and filters. Inform the airline in advance if you need to use the CPAP during the flight, as some may require prior notice. Travel CPAPs are regarded as the best choice for travel, keep in mind however that they generally do not have an inbuilt humidifier. If you require humidification; use your travel CPAP with an HME equipped mask.

sleepcos Questions & answers

— CPAP Accessories —

What types of CPAP masks are available and how do I choose one?

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is commonly used to treat sleep apnea. There are three main types of CPAP masks: nasal masks, nasal pillow masks, and full-face masks.

1. Nasal Masks: These cover the nose and are ideal for those who move around in their sleep or need a higher pressure setting. They provide a good balance between comfort and stability.

2. Nasal Pillow Masks: These are minimalistic and rest at the entrance of the nostrils. They are suitable for those who feel claustrophobic with larger masks or have facial hair. They are also good for those who wear glasses or read before sleeping.

3. Full-Face Masks: These cover both the nose and mouth. They are best for mouth breathers or those with nasal obstructions. They are also recommended for higher pressure settings but can be bulkier and less comfortable for some users.

Choosing a CPAP Mask:

  • Comfort: Ensure the mask fits well without causing discomfort.
  • Breathing Style: Choose based on whether you breathe through your nose or mouth.
  • Sleep Position: Side sleepers may prefer nasal or nasal pillow masks, while back sleepers might find full-face masks more suitable.
  • Pressure Settings: Higher pressure settings might require a more secure fit, like a nasal or full-face mask.
  • Lifestyle: Consider if you wear glasses, read, or watch TV before sleeping.

How do I clean and maintain my CPAP accessories?

To clean and maintain your CPAP accessories, follow these steps:

1. Daily Cleaning: Wash the mask, cushion, and tubing with warm, soapy water. Use mild, non-fragrant soap. Rinse thoroughly and air dry.

2. Weekly Cleaning: Soak the mask, tubing, and humidifier chamber in a solution of one part white vinegar to three parts water for 30 minutes. Rinse well and air dry.

3. Filters: Check the filters weekly. Rinse reusable filters with water and replace disposable filters as recommended by the manufacturer.

4. Humidifier: Empty and dry the humidifier chamber daily. Clean it weekly as described above.

5. General Maintenance: Inspect all parts for wear and tear. Replace any damaged components promptly.

Regular cleaning prevents bacteria buildup and ensures optimal performance.

What should I do if my CPAP mask is uncomfortable or leaks?

If your CPAP mask is uncomfortable or leaks, first ensure it fits properly. Adjust the straps to achieve a snug but not tight fit. Check for any wear and tear on the mask or headgear and replace parts if necessary. Try different mask styles, such as nasal pillows, nasal masks, or full-face masks, to find one that suits you better. Use mask liners or cushions to improve comfort and seal. Clean your mask regularly to maintain hygiene and performance. If issues persist, consult your healthcare provider or a CPAP specialist for personalized advice and potential adjustments to your machine's settings.

Are there any accessories that can enhance the comfort of my CPAP therapy?

Yes, several accessories can enhance the comfort of your CPAP therapy. One notable accessory is the Sleepco Silencing Kit, which allows the CPAP device to be placed under the bed, significantly reducing noise and creating a quieter sleeping environment. This can be particularly beneficial for light sleepers or those who share a bedroom.

Another useful accessory is a heated humidifier, which can be integrated with your CPAP machine. It adds moisture to the air, preventing dryness in your nasal passages and throat, which can be a common side effect of CPAP therapy. Additionally, heated tubing can be used to maintain the temperature of the humidified air, reducing condensation and ensuring consistent comfort throughout the night.

CPAP pillows are also designed to accommodate the mask and tubing, allowing you to sleep in various positions without dislodging the mask. These pillows often have cutouts or contours that reduce pressure on the mask, enhancing overall comfort.

Mask liners can provide a soft barrier between your skin and the mask, reducing irritation and improving the seal. They can also help absorb facial oils, which can otherwise degrade the mask material over time.

Lastly, CPAP cleaning supplies, such as mask wipes and tube brushes, ensure that your equipment remains hygienic and free from bacteria, contributing to a more pleasant and safe therapy experience.