There’s no way around it: relationships are challenging. Whether they’re brand new dating relationships or long-term partnerships, there will always be an ongoing process of revelation, acceptance, and adjustment required to keep them running smoothly. If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea and are nervous about introducing a CPAP machine into your relationship, you’re not alone. Many CPAP users feel apprehensive about wearing their masks in front of their partners, especially for the first time.
If you’re wondering how to approach the conversation about sleep apnea with your partner, please consider these three key tips:
1. Masks Literally Keep People Alive
If there’s one thing we’ve all learned to acknowledge in recent days, it’s that masks can literally help keep people alive. During the rise of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the World Health Organization called on people around the globe to “Make wearing a mask a normal part of being around other people.” Many people wore masks in public for the first time; and although they felt uncomfortable at first (and maybe even a little ridiculous!) they quickly adjusted and made mask-wearing a part of their daily routines.
Now more than ever, people are aware that certain types of masks can literally help keep people alive. You have an opportunity to use this newfound knowledge as a springboard to introducing your CPAP mask and machine into your new relationship.
Paul Hokemeyer, a family therapist in New York City, says that the best way to mitigate feelings of shame or awkwardness is to take charge of the situation and be completely upfront about it. “You don’t have a machine because you needed another expensive accessory, you need it because you can’t breathe at night. It’s a physiological condition, not an issue of a personal weakness,” he says.
2. CPAP Machines Aren’t as Intrusive As You Think
Common concerns about CPAP machines are as follows:
- They’re noisy.
- They take up a lot of space.
- They’ll prevent intimacy.
Fortunately, these concerns often turn out to prove less of an issue than people fear.
First, recent improvements in technology have led to significantly quieter CPAP machines than ever before. The Philips Respironics DreamStation, for example, delivers only 25.8 decibels with an average pressure of 10cm. Even when increased to 15cm, this machine is still extremely quiet, creating no disturbance for either CPAP users or their bed partners. This model is also 28% lighter and 18% smaller, taking up less bedside space than ever. Still not small enough? Then consider the DreamStation Go, a ultra portable travel CPAP machine that’s half the size and has one-third the components.
As for intimacy, there’s no rule that says the mask must be worn any time you’re physically in bed. Just when you’re ready to sleep. If you’re planning any other pre-sleep activities, the mask can always wait!
3. Humor Can Ease the Introduction to the CPAP Machine
As you’ve no doubt already gathered, we here at cpapRX believe that it’s best to have a sense of humor about the whole situation. Rather than trying to avoid the conversation or cringe with embarrassment, own the CPAP mask and machine by cracking a few jokes.
While not every personality would feel comfortable pulling these off, we recommend moves such as the following:
- Put on some funky music and dance into the room wearing the mask. Ask, “How do you like me now?”
- Slip on your CPAP mask. Hold up a picture of Batman’s Bane. Ask your partner who wore it better.
- Place a fake mustache over the part of your mask that most approximately covers your upper lip. Say to your partner, “I mustache you how this mask looks.”
If none of these jokes works for you, use them as inspiration for your own light-hearted mask introduction.
We Can Help
While many people with sleep disorders are aware of their struggles, some remain undiagnosed. To learn more about sleep health, at home sleep tests, and how you can benefit from a CPAP prescription online, please contact us at any time. We look forward to hearing from you!
Don’t forget: We’re running a Valentine’s Day sale for all of our CPAP lovers out there. Get 20% off your entire order* by using the code loversZZZ in checkout. But don’t delay this gratification, the deal is only good through February 28.!
*Offer expires 2.28.21. Not valid on purchases of at home sleep tests, gift cards, therapy monitoring services and prescription services. One use per customer. Cannot be combined with other offers.