Is this a useful hack for those with sleep apnea?

Originally published at: Is this a useful hack for those with sleep apnea? | Boing Boing


My aunt has sleep apnea. She absolutely loves her CPAP. How can it be so? First night using it she said she actually slept. Hadn’t had a full night’s rest for so long she just got used to being tired all the time, just astounded by how great she felt after using the machine.


I tape my mouth shut and occasionally use “Breathe Right” style nose adhesives for what I like to call a “Broke-ass CPAP.”

It works a treat, but YMMV.


My BF’s snoring has vastly improved since his started a 1000 calorie/day diet & lost a lot of weight.

There are these doohickeys on ebay:

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Snoring is not sleep apnea though. It means something in the path of your breathing is making noise, which is annoying and can be a sign of other problems. But apnea means something keeps cutting the breathing off entirely – an apnea itself is quiet – which is a lot more dangerous.

By all means, I’m glad these have been working for you two, I just wouldn’t want anyone to think that’s all there is to dealing with something very serious.


So much this. If you snore, or a bed partner snores, step 1 is getting a sleep study done to figure out the nature of the problem.

I basically didn’t sleep prior to 2018, and as much hassle as it is to tote, clean, and keep the machine happy with fresh parts and distilled water, I am getting oxygen when I sleep, wake up rested, don’t nod off daily at 3pm, am not unconsciously clenching my jaw on my tongue (my dentist noticed), not flopping around in bed, not keeping my partner awake, not stressing my heart
… and I have “non-obstructive” apnea. One of my kids does, too. They decorated their machine with Airbender stickers.

I wish snore strips did the trick, but I need air and my nasal passages are not up to the job. A fitted mouthpiece would have been the solution if so – cast by my dentist, I’m sure. I miss spontaneous naps sometimes but not enough to risk taping my face or stuffing inhalable things in my face at night.

Nope nope nope. Gimme air.


He does or did have apnea. His snoring would wake me, and I’d hear him stop breathing. I’d put my hand on his back w/o waking him, and he’d start breathing again. Rinse, repeat. Hasn’t happened since he’s lost 50+ lbs.

ETA: His doc did want him to do a sleep study, but then the %^*&$#@! panfrickendemic happened.


Ugh. My study was in the Before Times, and done at home after an in-person training session (which could have been a video, TBH.) The gear I wore for the study was way worse than my nightly date with Squidward.


Weight is a factor in obstructive sleep apnea for many, but it’s not the only factor. I can’t imagine how keeping the mouth closed solves the obstruction (let alone the central apnea). But there are simple, comfortable straps that can hold your mouth closed when you sleep. I used one when I started my BiPAP therapy because I chose a nose-only mask.

Thirty-something apnea/hypopnea events per hour is serious. My sleep study showed sixty-some. But another important metric is how low your oxygen saturation goes.

The Apple watch oxygen saturation data may or may not be reliable for overnight collection. But there are moderately priced oximeters that do provide reliable data. Some sleep clinics use them in kits for at-home sleep studies.

As tortuous as the machine are, many people love them because it helps them feel like they used to. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the benefit of getting their apnea treated. Despite years of excellent AHI and oxygen levels with my machine, my energy and alertness never returned and, in fact, has continued to decline. This “residual excessive sleepiness” is extremely common, and there are many of us who torture ourselves at night (and two or three times a day while napping) with CPAP machines and yet still require powerful stimulants to stay awake when we need to.


Sleep apnea is very serious. The oxygen level while sleeping can drop precipitously, which puts major strain on the heart. Anyone who thinks they might have sleep apnea should get their doctor involved and get a study done if they possibly can. It’s damned expensive, but we are talking serious long-term heart damage.
I have sleep apnea. I sleep with a CPAP, nose style, and a chin strap. It makes a huge difference. Getting used to the CPAP can be a slog. But the variable ones with the correct mask aren’t as bad as some of the older styles.
I would be extremely wary of using mouth taping as an apnea treatment. Mouth breathing at night is a symptom of sleep apnea, not the cause.
Losing weight can help with obstructive sleep apnea sometimes. But not always and it doesn’t always make it go away. @MerelyGifted, If your boyfriend can afford it, he should get the study done.


Yeah. That happens with me, though mine is due in part to a REM disturbance disorder. Still vastly better with the CPAP (technically I think mine is a biPAP) than without it


Again: this. With the proper amount of air going through my nose (now) I have no need to breathe through my mouth. Snoring and tongue-biting was my body’s way of trying to keep me not dead until morning.


Please don’t do this. You can die. The whole point of a CPAP machine is to use air pressure to hold your airway open while you’re sleeping. You know, so you can breathe. Taping your mouth shut won’t magically help with this.

But hey if you don’t want to use a medical device that keeps you from suffocating to death in your sleep because you don’t like the aesthetics or something, you do you.

FWIW, if you have sleep apnea and can’t tolerate a CPAP machine, there’s now surgical implants that are basically like little pacemakers that can shock your airways open while you sleep. It’s not cheap and may not be covered by insurance.

You may also have a condition called ideopathic hypersomnia in addition to sleep apnea. I’ve been diagnosed with both and it sucks.


“Is this a useful hack for those with sleep apnea?”


If you have actual sleep apnea all this will do is further restrict how air can get into your lungs. If you are a deep sleeper or take meds to help you sleep, taping off your mouth can kill you because your body might not wake when you stop breathing and o2 levels drop.

If you are prone to snoring when you breathe through your mouth (which is different than apnea), taping your mouth shut can redirect air through your nose and decrease snoring. It’s still stupid though.


Marijuana gummies take care of it for me, it really slows the asthma/apnea down, and I have no issues with breathing during the night, slows the sleep stress, my breathing is regular.


This reminds me of a wonderful medtech I knew who worked with children who had sleep apnea and would make it a matter of Theatre!

He’d joke about Darth Vader or decorate full face masks to look like an elephant’s face with the hose as the trunk for them and all sorts of wonderful things.


As I understand and experience it, snoring and obstructive sleep apnea occur only during inhalation while breathing through the nose. I do not see how taping the mouth shut would help. Maybe the forced jaw position opens his throat?

I was set for CPAP, but first tried a do-it-yourself “mandibular advancement device” from SmartGuard Rx. It has completely eliminated my snoring and apnea. The company even sent me a free replacement after I screwed up the molding process. Another useful tool for monitoring snoring, if you don’t have a smart watch, is the app SnoreClock. It listens overnight via your phone.

I hope this helps someone. YMMV of course.


Sorry to be that guy, but unless your CPAP setup is also connected to an O2 canister (which is a thing) you’re getting air, not oxygen. No less important for your continued living, mind you, but not quite the same.

Those kind of devices can help with snoring for sure (you don’t even need a dentist-made one you can get kits to make your own like @Extrema mentioned), but I’m not convinced of their efficacy for anything beyond very mild sleep apnea and even that could only be truly validated through a sleep study. The problem with sleep apnea is it’s not something you can really objectively “know” through intuition. You need continuous monitoring while sleeping to detect it scientifically.

I did a sleep study during the height of the pandemic. (I hadn’t done one in some 10 years and my sleep doc wanted a new one because my CF hadn’t improved at all.) I had to get a brain swab the day before, and then I couldn’t even take a shower at the end of it because they didn’t have enough time to disinfect the entire bathroom if I had. Driving home with the remnants of all that sticky silicone gel crap and pen markings all over my body really sucked.

Yup. Weight loss can definitely help in some cases, but they can be mutually exclusive. Unlike most media portrayals, sleep apnea isn’t something that only old and fat men have.


True indeed. I’m not hooked up to an O2 tank. Air, and all its breathable components, was missing from my nocturnal life.

Now I occasionally get concentrated dog farts, which is a whole different sort of gas.


I had it as a non-fat baby. A girl, even.