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Old 18-09-2019, 12:01   #1
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Blue water sailing with sleep apnea?

Hi all,

I'm a life long sailor with sleep apnea and am thinking about starting extended sailing. I've done mostly coastal sailing and overnight trips, although I have done bare boat chartering in the BVIs, Maine and the West Coast.

I'm physically fit and capable of open water sailing, but unsure how the sleep apnea will affect my ability to handle the sleep deprivation that comes with off shore sailing. I also wonder how to power the CPAP machine during sleep.

Anyone else out there have the same issue or know of experiences with it?

Any feedback would be welcome, even if you think I'm out of my mind!
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Old 18-09-2019, 12:17   #2
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Re: Blue water sailing with sleep apnea?

Many if not most units are easily powered direct off DC, more efficient than via an inverter.

No different than powering an efficient fridge.

Humidifier uses a fair bit.

Put it on an Ah counter to see for sure, and size your electric system for triple the result, plus all the other loads of course.
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Old 18-09-2019, 12:35   #3
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Re: Blue water sailing with sleep apnea?

A couple, who are friends, both use CPAP machines while sleeping, run them off their inverter. Their refrigeration setup on the boat requires the engine be run daily, so the hour's run in the a.m. keeps the battery bank charged up.

I, too, have sleep apnea, but it must be mild, because I don't wake up smothering very often, and much less since I lost some weight. If one loses weight and stops taking alcohol, it is a reversible condition. I do not use a machine.

Ann
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Old 18-09-2019, 13:27   #4
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Re: Blue water sailing with sleep apnea?

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Originally Posted by Easc View Post
I'm a life long sailor with sleep apnea and am thinking about starting extended sailing.

There are a number of CPAP machines that run off 12VDC. Recommended, as it avoids efficiency issues with inverters and 50/60Hz issues with shore power.



I've had a number of crew with CPAP machines. Availability of distilled water has been a bigger issue than electrical power. Always able to sort out water but takes a bit of time in some places.


Remember the thin plastic in water jugs is subject to pin holes from vibration. Stow accordingly.
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Old 18-09-2019, 13:39   #5
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Re: Blue water sailing with sleep apnea?

I use 12VDC to power the CPAP. I also can power it with a stand-alone battery if necessary. I donít use a humidifier.
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Old 18-09-2019, 13:42   #6
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Re: Blue water sailing with sleep apnea?

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Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
A couple, who are friends, both use CPAP machines while sleeping, run them off their inverter. Their refrigeration setup on the boat requires the engine be run daily, so the hour's run in the a.m. keeps the battery bank charged up.

I, too, have sleep apnea, but it must be mild, because I don't wake up smothering very often, and much less since I lost some weight. If one loses weight and stops taking alcohol, it is a reversible condition. I do not use a machine.

Ann
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Old 18-09-2019, 13:52   #7
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Re: Blue water sailing with sleep apnea?

I wouldn't worry about it at all. Just get set up with a CPAP and go.
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Old 18-09-2019, 14:37   #8
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Re: Blue water sailing with sleep apnea?

You can reduce curremt draw by NOT using water and/or the heater/humidifier in the CPAP. That is not mandatory. We do that to improve humidity in the circuit in the home where there is little moisture. On the ocean there should be sufficient humidity for you to just use CPAP without water.
Also, you can get ocean nasal spray and spray your nostrils prior to CPAP use, if you dry out while passage making.

If you have obstructive sleep apnea (there are other types), missing a night or two will not harm you in the long run.

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Old 18-09-2019, 15:13   #9
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Re: Blue water sailing with sleep apnea?

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Losing weight and stopping drinking alcohol will cure most ills!!
Not so much. That used to be conventional thought but reality is that genetics are more of a cause that anything. I know many folks that have it and none are overweight or drink much. They are thin and fit, but genetics laid the path. Itís a serious condition that plagues many.
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Old 18-09-2019, 17:29   #10
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Blue water sailing with sleep apnea?

We both use CPAPís our Phillips Resperonics are native 12V machines, so the ď12V adapterĒ is just a cigarette lighter plug. I gave up trying to determine current draw, itís all over the place but very low, itís all over the place as of course it holds a constant pressure with you breathing in and out by varying motor RPM.
You could use a Kill-A-Watt meter and get an idea, but that is 110V and there are of course conversion losses.
I have to have the humidifier when in a Marina with the AC on, but sailing the relative humidity is so high you donít need it.
The direct 12V CPAP uses so little power itís not even noticed, but on crossings I donít usually really go to bed and often cat nap in the cockpit so Iím not using a CPAP like I should as I donít go down for 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
However at anchor we both do of course.
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Old 18-09-2019, 17:33   #11
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Blue water sailing with sleep apnea?

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Originally Posted by Belezar View Post
Not so much. That used to be conventional thought but reality is that genetics are more of a cause that anything. I know many folks that have it and none are overweight or drink much. They are thin and fit, but genetics laid the path. Itís a serious condition that plagues many.


In truth the screening process if your in transportation either a pilot or apparently a trucker is age and body mass, is fat folks are very much more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea, and if you snore that is a heavy indicator too. Itís not 100%, but if your old and fat, your way more likely to have it.
I know an Ag pilot that fell asleep spraying crops and crashed a brand new Thrush G10 into a cotton field, you wouldnít think someone would fall asleep at 20 ft altitude going 130 MPH would you? Itís bad let me tell you.
My Wife was sure she didnít and wouldnít do the test, so I bought a recording pulse oximeter, put it on her and put a sock over her hand t keep it from coming off, next day downloaded the results and you could see several times during the night where her O2 saturation dropped drastically.
Then she agreed to take the test.
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Old 18-09-2019, 17:50   #12
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Re: Blue water sailing with sleep apnea?

You aren't going to use a CPAP machine while on offshore passages. Just not practical with a mom and pop crew.
At anchor it should not be much of an issue. You will probably be replacing the machine or parts of it more often if you cruise the tropics extensively. Tropical heat and saltair can be brutal on plastics and rubber, degrading over a few years.

While the CPap machine is the goto prescription for sleep apnea, it has at least one major draw back. The compliance rate is something like 50%. That's the number of people who continue to use the device as prescribed.
An alternative that is very handy on a boat is a dental appliance. It may not work as well as a CPap machine, but for many it works well enough and is a simple and easy to use mouth piece.
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Old 18-09-2019, 19:13   #13
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Re: Blue water sailing with sleep apnea?

My girlfriend had quietly been suffering my sleep apnea and associated snoring for years but lately it has gotten worse, with headaches in the morning

Even though my weight has come down after the Achilles tendon operation, the nasal passages seemed restricted.

So last month I went online and bought a bunch of devices to try out

This more expensive USB rechargeable unit worked really well, totally silent, but in our airconed cabin at night, it dried out my nasal passage and back of throat.

The super cheap antisnoring devices was all about finding the right fit.

I bought 3 types and i found this conical insertion works best to adjust comfortably.

I apparently no longer snore, (even after drinks)....no more apnea headaches in the morning... and my girl is much nicer to me in the morning.

The conical one is Cheap....give it a try

The powered one is also worth trying

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Old 18-09-2019, 19:35   #14
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Re: Blue water sailing with sleep apnea?

DC versions of KillaWatt all over, cheap

coulometer, Ah Wh counter meter

At random
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07PKHPC1T
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Old 18-09-2019, 19:37   #15
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Re: Blue water sailing with sleep apnea?

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
You aren't going to use a CPAP machine while on offshore passages. Just not practical with a mom and pop crew.
Can't imagine why not, small space? Off grid power?

Thousands in fact do, in tents and vans too.
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