Picked up my new bi-PAP machine yesterday afternoon and used it to sleep last night for the first time. The difference between the bi-PAP and the traditional C-PAP is that they both provide Positive Airway Pressure to prevent snoring and apnea, but he bi-PAP modulates the amount of the pressure between exhalation and inhalation. So slightly more pressure when you're inhaling and slightly less when you're exhaling. It sounds a lot louder to me wearing it than it did to my wife, so I felt a little like Anakin Skywalker in his later years. Even with the varying pressures it's still a little tough to get used to the pressure it exerts on inhalation. I also noticed that if you stop and kind of hold your breath for a longer than usual moment (like to breathe out for a long yawn) the machine will jump the pressure up again as though it's trying to jump start your breathing again...so that's a little annoying.
It took me a little longer than usual to fall asleep, but I planned for that and laid down about 30-45 minutes earlier than I normally would. They built in a ramp pressure that cuts the pressure in half and then gradually builds it back up to full pressure over 30 minutes. That makes it a little easier to adjust while trying to nod off. The biggest problem I had was that the mask made me so hot. My face was super sweaty when I woke up during the night and it just made me feel generally hotter. That could have had something to do with the unseasonably warm weather we're having. Our overnight low was around 60 degrees which is more typical for the daytime high in March here in Iowa. I'm either going to have to turn on the air-conditioning (which is like blasphemy to do it before closer to Memorial Day) or get some kind of stand fan for my bedroom. I had the ceiling fan on high, but that wasn't enough to sufficiently cool me down.
I was able to tolerate the mask for most of the night. I shucked it about 4:30 AM which is only about half an hour before my alarm goes off, so that was pretty good. I can't really tell if I slept that much more soundly. I don't recall having more dreams than usual or anything, but I definitely feel a little more rested than usual. Of course that could just be because I went to bed a little earlier too.
I'm not going to judge whether or not this is the answer to my sleep issues until I've given it a couple months, but I'm hopeful. If I'm honest the thing I'm least looking forward to about the whole breathing apparatus isn't wearing it at night, but the significant amount of cleaning and upkeep it requires. I'm going to have to set aside an hour or so every couple of days to properly clean the device since I'm a little bit of a germophobe.
The main reason I was so anxious to get this taken care of right now is that I have to travel for work next Thursday and I'm being forced to share a room with a co-worker. They wouldn't have been able to sleep at all with me in the room if I were still snoring full force. I could have brought them ear plugs, but this is a more permanent solution.
Oh yeah...and do you know how much these frigging things cost?!?!? The respiratory care place billed my insurance almost $4,000 just for the little shoebox sized machine. I'm on the hook for 20% of whatever the insurance allows. They likely won't accept a $4,000 charge and will instead knock it down closer to $3,000, but that's still like $600 out of my pocket in addition to the $400 or so I'll owe the doctor for the sleep study.
Is good sleep (assuming this works) worth $1,000? We'll see.