Sleep apnea is a disorder in which your breathing slows down, is shallow, or stops intermittently while you sleep. This can cause you to be tired and moody during the day. It may lead to high blood pressure and heart disease if left untreated. Once you have been diagnosed, you may be required to use a machine that provides continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to you while sleeping. However, sometimes, you may need to wear a CPAP chin strap to ensure the air from the machine is getting into your lungs. Here are a few situations that will require the strap to ensure you are getting the full benefit of the treatment.
When you sleep, you may turn over and reposition yourself. Certain positions will cause or allow your lower jaw to drop. When this happens, the air coming in through the CPAP mask may escape through your open mouth. Wearing a strap that holds your mouth closed helps keep the air flowing the way it is needed to prevent sleep apnea.
If you wake up to a dry mouth or sore throat, you probably have a habit of opening and closing your mouth while sleeping. This is a symptom of people who breathe through their mouth. Sometimes is it due to a stuffed nose, but could also just be habit. Wearing a CPAP chin strap will keep your mouth closed. If you are a habitual mouth breather, the strap may cause you to wake a few times during the night when you feel you are not breathing normally, but because the CPAP machine forces more air into your lungs, you will sleep deeper and better after a few days.
If you snore, your mouth is not closing completely while you sleep. You may not have your mouth open very wide, and the air may just blow out through your lips, but this can cause leaking of the air forced in with the machine.
Anytime you find the CPAP machine is not giving you a proper night's rest, it could be due to air leaking from your mouth. A CPAP chin strap will resolve the problem. If you have sleep apnea, it is a good idea to have a chin strap handy for those nights you will be sleeping in a different position (such as when you will have someone extra in the bed or you will be sleeping on a couch or smaller bed). If you have a cold, and cannot breathe properly through your mouth, a chin strap will encourage you to keep it closed too. You may not always need to wear the strap, but there is bound to be times when it is beneficial. When in doubt, use one; it certainly won't hurt. Corner Medical is a clinic in your area that offers CPAP chin straps.