benefits of napping

Benefits of Napping – Afternoon Naps Help Improve Emotional and Mental Health

In a Wall Street Journal infographic, entitled “How to Take the Perfect Nap,” researcher suggests the most useful nap depends on what the napper needs.

Contrary to popular belief, the perfect nap doesn’t need to be long — but it must be consistent, quick, and in the dark. The power nap (10 to 20 minutes) is ideal for a boost in focus and productivity, according to a 2012 study. Researchers found the 10-minute nap produced immediate improvements in sleep latency, sleepiness, fatigue, vigor, and cognitive performance. The 20-minute nap, however, produced improvements 35 minutes after napping, and lasting up to 125 minutes.

Although it may be tempting to stay asleep, a 30-minute nap can lead to sleep inertia, or the feeling of grogginess and disorientation that comes when waking up. A 2015 study found sleeping for up to 30 minutes can reverse the hormonal impact of a poor night’s sleep. Researchers claim their study is the first to find napping could be used to restore biomarkers of neuroendocrine and immune health back to what’s considered normal.

Napping for more than 90 minutes usually goes through ever sleep stage, including REM and deep, slow-wave sleep, which helps to clear the mind, improve memory recall, and restore lost sleep. Interestingly, naps that include a full sleep cycle limit sleep inertia and make it easier for us to wake up.

Remember, napping later in the day can interfere with us falling asleep at night, and disrupt our body clock. So nap responsibly.

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Benefits of Napping – Afternoon Naps Help Improve Emotional and Mental Health

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10 Effective Sleep Habits For Everyone

Sleep habits have a lot to do with how well you sleep. At CPAP TotalCare, we believe sleep is the foundation of health. Not getting enough sleep can effect all areas of your life, including: judgement, mood, memory, productivity, sex drive, weight gain, reflexes, and general outlook. Long-term sleep deprivation can increase your risk of many chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.

(note: if you are a CPAP user, check out our Better Sleep for CPAP Users program)

We created this infographic to share 10 sleep habits that can be established in anyone’s life to get higher quality sleep. Some of the tips may surprise you. Leave a comment with your personal effective sleep habits below!

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Sleep Habits infographic


Sleep Habits #1: Keep It Dark

Create a quiet, dark, comfortable sleeping environment. Cover windows with darkening drapes or shades (dark trash bags work too) or wear a sleep mask to block light. Minimize disturbance from environmental noises with foam earplugs or use a room fan to muffle noise. If you can, adjust the room temperature to suit you. If you can’t, use extra blankets to stay warm. Use that room fan both to muffle noise AND keep you cool.

Sleep Habits #2: Use The Bedroom Exclusively for Bedroom Activities

Use the bedroom only for sleep and sex. Remove the TV, computer, laptop, etc. from your bedroom. Don’t eat or drink in bed. Keep discussions / arguments out of the bedroom.

Sleep Habits #3: Cut The Caffeine

Stop caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime. Caffeine promotes wakefulness and disrupts sleep.

Sleep Habits #4: Don’t Drink Alcohol Before Bed

Don’t drink alcohol before bed. Alcohol initially makes you feel sleepy, but disrupts and lightens your sleep several hours later. In short, alcohol reduces the recuperative value of sleep. Nicotine – and withdrawal from nicotine in the middle of the night – also disrupts sleep. If you need help quitting drinking or using nicotine products, see your healthcare provider for options.

Sleep Habits #5: Exercise Early

Get your exercise in by early evening. Exercising is great – just be sure to finish at least 3 hours before bedtime so that you have plenty of time to wind down.

Sleep Habits #6: No Empty Stomach

Don’t go to bed hungry. A light bedtime snack (e.g., milk and crackers) can be helpful, but do not eat a large meal close to bedtime. And empty your bladder just before you go to bed so that the urge to urinate doesn’t disrupt your sleep. The following sleep hygiene habits are especially critical for those experiencing sleep problems:

Sleep Habits #7: Maintain a Routine

Maintain a consistent, regular routine that starts with a fixed wake-up time. Start by setting a fixed time to wake up, get out of bed, and get exposure to light each day. Pick a time that you can maintain during the week AND on weekends. Then adjust your bedtime so that you target 7—8 hours of sleep.

Sleep Habits #8: Get Up if You Can’t Sleep

Get out of bed if you can’t sleep. Only go to bed (and stay in bed) when you feel sleepy. Do not try to force yourself to fall asleep – it will tend to make you more awake, making the problem worse. If you wake up in the middle of the night, give yourself about 20 minutes to return to sleep. If you do not return to sleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing. Do not return to bed until you feel sleepy.

Sleep Habits #9: Nap Wisely

Nap wisely but sparingly. Napping can be a good way to make up for poor/reduced nighttime sleep, but naps can cause problems falling asleep or staying asleep at night – especially if those naps are longer than 1 hour and/or if they are taken late in the day (after 1500 hours)If you need to nap for safety reasons (e.g., driving), try to take a short (30-60 minute) nap in the late morning or early afternoon (e.g., right after lunch), just enough to take the edge off your sleepiness.

Sleep Habits #10: Hide The Clock

Move the bedroom clock to where you cannot see it. If you tend to check the clock two or more times during the night, and if you worry that you are not getting enough sleep, cover the clock face or turn it around so that you can’t see it (or remove the clock from the bedroom entirely).

Now it’s your turn.

Now that you’ve read about these 10 sleep habits, it’s time to take action.

Your next step is to answer the following question:

Which of these 10 sleep habits are you going to work on first?

Or, maybe you have some tips and habits that work for you that you want to share.

Either way, let us know by leaving a quick comment right now.

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Using CPAP But Still Tired All The Time – Tiredness, Fatigue & Red Eyes in The Morning

Many CPAP users are using their CPAP but still tired all the time.

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Here is the honest truth about CPAP therapy… the entire ecosystem is, for the most part focused on the wrong thing.

When you really get down to it, all anyone seems to care about is ‘compliance’ with the therapy. In other words most providers see the goal of therapy as one thing: usage.  As long as you are using your machine, that’s success — end of story.

But that’s not the the point is it? The whole point of CPAP therapy is BETTER SLEEP!

And just using CPAP does not always guarantee better sleep, in fact some CPAP users might even feel that their sleep is worse with CPAP than it is without. They are using CPAP but still tired all the time.

CPAP Changes your Sleep Patterns, 100% Of The Time

Sleep apnea is a unique condition because you can’t see it.  You can’t observe apnea events happening in your own body because they happen while you are asleep! Because of this sleep apnea sufferers are not aware of snoring, disrupted breathing and the resulting fragmented or poor sleep.

When you have untreated sleep apnea, you are so completely exhausted from night after night of inadequate sleep that you “seem” to fall asleep easily. Of course even when you fall into sleep almost immediately, it is often a poor, damaged sleep that leaves you tired and foggy during the day.

When you begin treatment, you might find that CPAP makes falling asleep difficult and suddenly begin to experience some degree of insomnia. This can be very discouraging if your experience prior to treatment was that you slept almost immediately. And now treatment seems to make falling asleep and staying asleep challenging and frustrating. Although you may find falling asleep difficult with CPAP, once asleep CPAP helps you progress through the four stages of sleep and sleep quality is greatly improved.

Of course, insomnia is only one possible issue that might find you using CPAP but still tired all the time. It may be that your settings are wrong, pressure is too high, or your mask is uncomfortable or leaking. Any number of equipment-related issues might be causing you to get less-than-optimum sleep.   If your CPAP wakes you up every morning at 3am because the pressure ramps up too quickly, it’s hard to get good quality sleep. If your mask is blowing air into your eye all night, it’s hard to get good quality sleep.  You find yourself using CPAP but still tired all the time — not the outcome you would hope for.

Fortunately, most of these issues can be resolved.  With a few simple steps most people can sleep noticeably better than they have ever slept. And with good quality sleep every element of physical, emotional and cognitive health is properly supported. Sleep is the foundation of good health.

Any Willing CPAP User Can Optimize Their Sleep

As stated above, there are steps you can take to optimize your sleep. What we refer to as ‘Sleep Optimization’ for CPAP users includes these five key elements…

  • CPAP Therapy Optimization
    • CPAP is a complex therapy and, unfortunately, many CPAP users are left on their own after the first few weeks of therapy are over. Equipment settings adjustments, humidification improvement, mask alternatives, equipment upgrades, CPAP Mask Liners… all of these things might be required to make your CPAP as effective and comfortable as possible.
  • Weight Loss
    • Being overweight makes your airway narrower which not only makes your sleep apnea worse, it also means that you will require higher pressures while on CPAP to keep your airway sufficiently open to prevent apnea events. If you lose even a relatively small amount of weight, you may be able to significantly reduce your required pressures and get a much better night’s sleep.
  • Soft Palate Yoga
    • One of the core causes of sleep apnea, besides excess weight, is loss of muscle tone in your soft palate (the back part of the roof of your mouth). This is a natural part of aging. As we get older, we lose muscle tone. What you see on the outside is true on the inside as well, at least as far as your soft palate is concerned. And just like your outside muscles, you can tone your soft palate through exercise. A toned soft palate means a more open airway, and much more comfortable therapy for you.
  • Sleep Improvement Techniques
    • High quality sleep is more attainable than you might think. There are simple changes you can make, starting tonight, that will increase the quality of your sleep immediately. Small changes in sleep habits or environment can have a big positive impact on your sleep.
    • Sleep improvement techniques include training in deep relaxation, breathing techniques that trigger the relaxation response, desensitization exercises that diminish the sensations of CPAP therapy, protocols to reduce nervousness and anxiety, and methods of effectively producing natural melatonin and normalize sleep schedules and rhythms.
  • Engagement, Support, Tracking & Accountability
    • Beyond anything mentioned above, your willingness to engage in a process to improve your sleep is the most important element of success.   If you are engaged in the process, have the support you need, track your results in some way (like keeping a sleep journal), and set realistic goals, you will find that better sleep is easily within your grasp.

If You are Using CPAP But Still Tired, You Don’t Have to Suffer, and You Don’t Have to Go It Alone – Your TotalCare CPAP Therapist is Here to Help


The TotalCare Sleep Apnea disease management program is available free to any CPAP user and supported by qualified, professional, CPAP therapists. If you want help getting better sleep and better CPAP therapy, click here to create your free account, complete an interactive CPAP therapy checkup, and to give us some details about your CPAP equipment.


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CPAP TotalCare Launches Web-Based eHealth CPAP Therapy Program for CPAP Users, Therapy Providers & Clinicians

Broomfield, CO – CPAP TotalCare Inc. announced today the US beta launch of its CPAP TotalCare web-based CPAP Therapy program that makes therapy easier, more effective, and more efficient. This new eHealth web application and therapy program provides CPAP users a way to stay connected with their healthcare providers as well as efficiently self-monitor their CPAP and health data and manage their equipment and supplies. It allows CPAP therapy providers and clinicians to deliver the highest standard of care to a large patient population in an efficient and economical manner.

CPAP Therapy (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is the treatment of choice for a chronic, widespread, and serious condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).  The objective of CPAP TotalCare is to improve patient satisfaction and adherence to CPAP therapy while, at the same time, reducing overhead and increasing revenue for CPAP equipment providers and clinicians.

“CPAP therapy providers have been looking for an affordable and efficient way to stay in touch with, and manage, their CPAP patients.” said Doug Hudiburg, Founder and CEO of CPAP TotalCare.  “Because of the inherent difficulty of staying in close contact with a growing pool of patients, therapy providers, patients, and their physicians often lose touch – which leave the patient isolated and unsupported – something none of the stakeholders want.”

CPAP TotalCare is building the world’s most effective CPAP Therapy management program. The company is intensely focused on providing CPAP users with the tools, resources, and support they need in order to get the best possible result from their experience with CPAP Therapy. For Clinicians and therapy providers, the solution addresses the fundamental problems and inefficiencies related to managing CPAP Therapy.


CPAP TotalCare makes CPAP therapy best practices scalable and profitable through…

  • Standardized, evidence-based patient management protocols and business processes
  • Low-cost interactive follow-up & patient support – with email, text messaging, and secure private messaging
  • Self-service supply ordering and patient payment collections – retail/self-pay or 3rd party payer
  • Efficient patient management technology – automating many tasks and greatly streamlining others with standardized workflows
  • Therapy and health metrics tracking – support for all major CPAP machine and CPAP mask types, wearables, and health peripherals including Withings, FitBit, and Jawbone devices.
  • Document storage & sharing, equipment & supply maintenance schedule, video reference materials, and much more.

According to the company, the intent of this beta phase of the software is to work very closely with therapy providers, patients, and clinicians to test, improve, and refine the CPAP TotalCare program through user feedback.   “We’ve taken the application just far enough to have the basics in place, the best stuff is yet to come because it will be driven by user needs” Hudiburg said.

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CPAP Mask Explained

What is a CPAP mask?  The CPAP mask provides the “seal” to allow the pressurized air flow into the airway, thereby holding it open.  Obstructive sleep apnea patients, who are treated with CPAP, wear a face mask during sleep which is connected to a CPAP machine through a tube.  The CPAP mask forces air into the nasal passages at pressures high enough to overcome obstructions in the airway and stimulate normal breathing. The airway pressure delivered into the upper airway is continuous during both inspiration and expiration.

People who work in sleep medicine often hear the question “what is the best CPAP mask”?  Unfortunately, there is no right answer for this.  In reality, the best CPAP mask is the one that works for you.  Like other choices in life, CPAP mask choice can be complicated and what might seem to be a good CPAP mask at first, turns out not to be the best one.  So, how do you choose?

A variety of CPAP masks exist:  nasal masks, pillows masks, full face masks, oral masks and hybrid masks.  The nasal CPAP mask typically covers only the nose, a “pillows” mask is configured with two cushions, each slightly inserted into the nostrils, a full face mask is one which covers the nose and mouth, and oral mask only covers your mouth and a oral/nasal mask covers your mouth and has nasal pillows for your nose.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these types of CPAP masks…

  • Nasal CPAP Masks
    • Nasal masks combine the minimal design of nasal pillows masks but with slightly more coverage over your nose. The nasal cpap mask cover the entire nose and is held in place with headgear, or with straps around the head. It has a silicon cushion in triangular shape, that helps make the fit more comfortable. If you have air leaks problems, it’s because the nasal mask is too big, is too old, or it has the wrong style for your face.  Facial hair can also cause air leaking with a nasal mask.
  • Nasal Pillows CPAP Masks
    • A nasal pillows mask work best if you wear glasses or read with the mask on, because some nasal pillow systems obstruct vision less than do full face masks. You can even read in bed or watch TV in bed with nasal pillows.  A Nasal Pillows CPAP mask is very easy to put on and take off at night- especially if you have to run to the bathroom. You can easily slip the nasal pillows back on with out loosing your ability to fall back to sleep quickly.  However, they may not work if you are the type of person who moves around a lot in your sleep or if you sleep on your side.
  • Full Face CPAP Masks
    • Full face masks cover more of your face to accommodate people who mostly breathe through their mouths.  It is perfect for the mouth breather, or for those patients suffering from allergies, a deviated septum or nasal congestion.  A  full face mask has a triangular shape. It seals around both the nose and mouth, and is held in place with headgear, or straps.  The full face CPAP mask also contains a  hard plastic  frame which keeps a softer inner cushion in place. This cushion lies against the face and has an important role in maintaining a good seal and comfort.  Full face masks also have head gear which consists of straps and sometimes a forehead brace.
  • Oral CPAP Masks
    • Oral CPAP  masks allow you to use only your mouth to breathe the air from CPAP.  Because it uses just your mouth only, it’s important to have heated humidification to prevent dryness of the oral tissues.  This type of mask is good for patients who breathe mostly through their mouth, who cannot use a full face mask (claustrophobia) or patients with nasal problems (nasal congestion, deviated septum, etc.).
  • Oral/Nasal CPAP Masks
    • Oral/Nasal CPAP masks cover the mouth and has nasal pillows for your nose. So, it doesn’t cause skin irritation by covering your nose.  The hybrid mask is good for mouth-breathing patients who don’t like using a chin strap or full face masks, for patients who are claustrophobic or for CPAP users with irritation on the bridge of the nose.

Almost all masks require some type of headgear to keep them in place.  In general, your CPAP mask should not fit tight on the face.  The CPAP mask should be lightweight and fit the shape and size of the nose and your facial structures.  The CPAP mask should be comfortable and not have leaks.  You may need to make some adjustments to your mask to achieve these goals.

The fact that there are many different companies that make CPAP masks, and that each company makes the “best one”, can be tiring and confusing.  So, don’t become overwhelmed with the choices.

Rather than point you to one specific CPAP mask or another, here are some thoughts and suggestions.

  • When you are first diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) it may be overwhelming. You have to learn how to work a CPAP machine, to review the information that is collected on the machine, to worry about humidification…….then thinking about the right CPAP mask can seem impossible.  It is OK to feel this way!  Do not be worried about asking for help. Everyone adapts to CPAP therapy differently.
  • If you have been struggling with CPAP for a while, finding a different CPAP mask option can be helpful on your road to success, ask your care provider for help with achieving your CPAP usage goal.
  • We have provided a link to the most current mask options, look to see what is available, and remember CPAP masks are always being revised and new ones come onto the market frequently.
  • Some of you might be a CPAP warrior!  Great work! You love your CPAP and mask, but still might want to look for other newer options. You might just find a new favorite!

If your mask is not working out for you, remember… you are in charge of your therapy!   The important point is that you (yes you!) can ask your CPAP equipment provider to help you get the right CPAP mask.

Before you start looking for a new mask there are a few things you need to think about:

  • the size and shape of your face – the mask has to “follow” the shape of your face or nasal orifices to minimize leaks,
  • the shape and size of your nose – to avoid the excess pressure from the mask frame (if it’s a nasal or full face mask),
  • the shape and size of your nasal openings and interior passages – if you want to use nasal pillows, these interfaces have also different shapes and sizes. Find the ones for your nose,
  • your sleep position – some masks work better for side sleeping, others for sleeping on the back.
  • other conditions – are you claustrophobic? Then a full face mask will be difficult to tolerate. Are you a mouth breather? Then nasal mask or nasal pillow will not work without the help of CPAP chin strap.
  • try CPAP mask liners, they can make living with your CPAP much easier.

If you would like professional assistance with CPAP mask selection and fitting, consider purchasing our Professional CPAP Mask Fitting service.  Tell us about your current mask… model & size, what you like about it, what you don’t like about it, what kind of problems you are having with it, etc., and one of our experienced CPAP Therapists will select three mask options for you. We’ll send you all three masks to try and your CPAP Therapist will be available to help with fitting challenges or questions via telephone or video chat.  Each product will also come with an online video showing exactly how to fit each mask.  Use all three masks and keep your favorite.  (Or keep all three at a great discount!). Learn more… (links to offer page)

Finally, a couple of ending thoughts:

  • Nothing about me, without me…… getting the right CPAP mask is your right!  Don’t settle!  Be your own advocate!
  • A good question to ask yourself is “how can I make sure that I am getting the right things that I need, when I need them?”  It is OK to ask your providers these questions and have them explain their choices.  Be empowered!
  • To quote Winston Churchill, “never, ever, ever, ever give up”; remember, there are many CPAP mask options for you!  Be empowered!  Explore, be curious and ask many questions.  It is the responsibility of the clinical professional to listen to you and provide you with what you need.

Information about CPAP mask problems…

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