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Should CPAP users worry if they lose power to their machines?

Kristen Havens

Winter is coming, and so is the weather that comes with it: high winds, heavy ran, snow, and ice, all of which can cause the power grid to go down during the night. Blackouts are an inconvenience for everyone, but they're particularly worrisome for people who rely on electricity to run their medical equipment.

CPAP users fall into this category. Without a steady source of power or a ready backup option (like a battery pack), your CPAP machine will stop running when the power goes out. You'll be getting by without treatment for your apnea until the grid comes back online. 

Similarly, if you're traveling and you don't have a reliable source of compatible electric current for your machine, you won't be able to comply with your therapy. (For example, if you're in a country with different outlets, or if you're camping or residing in a temporary shelter.)

No power to your CPAP machine means you'll be living with untreated apnea and snoring until electricity becomes available again. Anyone who's lived with obstructive sleep apnea knows what that means.

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What is bruxism and how does it impact sleep?

Kristen Havens

Bruxism is the act of clenching or grinding your teeth, either out of habit or unconsciously. Though some people grind their teeth unwittingly during the day, most tooth grinders engage in what's called nocturnal bruxism — nighttime tooth grinding or clenching that occurs during sleep. Doctors and dentists sometimes refer to these people as "bruxers."

If you are a nocturnal or sleep bruxer, your upper and lower teeth come clench together forcefully during the night — with a pressure of up to 700 pounds per square inch. (Normal daytime pressure, if you were to clench your teeth right now while reading this article, would be 200 pounds per square inch.) 

There are two forms of night bruxism: clenching and grinding.

  • If you clench your jaw without moving it around, the jaw remains clamped together forcefully for a sustained length of time.

  • If you grind, your lower jaw moves side-to-side while clenched, making a distinctly unpleasant squeaking sound that can send your sleep partner running from the room.
Both forms of bruxism can lead to side effects like headaches and dental damage.

All bruxism is classified as a parafunctional behavior, meaning it's a movement of the body that serves no purpose. Nocturnal bruxism is considered a movement disorder, and it's quite often associated with other sleep disorders like obstructive apnea and restless leg syndrome.

However, if you grind your teeth at least 2 to 4 times per hour, your bruxism may be diagnosed as a sleep disorder in and of itself. (A sleep study would be required to verify this.)

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Is vaping a better option than smoking at bedtime?

Kristen Havens

Many e-cigarette users enjoy the nighttime ritual of one last puff before bed. Before enjoying those flavored e-cigs, you may want to read up on vaping and what exactly it is you're inhaling. The sleep-stealing components of e-cigarette vapor may surprise you. 

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