When you begin treatment for sleep apnea with your CPAP machine, your sleep specialist will create a personalized treatment program and most likely recommend that you follow it regularly to ensure you receive the full benefits of your therapy. Following your doctor’s guidance is essential, and if you find yourself skipping your CPAP therapy, there are some consequences that you need to know.

Sometimes, things happen outside of your control, and you miss a day, or you may feel like you need a break from your CPAP therapy. However, you must continue using your CPAP machine consistently and avoid skipping your CPAP therapy too often.

We want you to understand what happens when you skip your CPAP therapy so that you can make an informed decision. Keep reading to learn more about what happens when you miss your nightly CPAP therapies.

Negative Impact of Skipping CPAP Therapy

Most patients can take a short break from using the CPAP or BiPAP machine and be relatively safe. However, skipping your CPAP therapy long-term is a bad idea and ultimately can cause your sleep apnea to return. There may also be other health risks and adverse side effects from skipping your CPAP therapy.

You may only notice minimal, if any, effects for the first couple of days. However, without consistent use of your CPAP machine, over time, you will begin to have more symptoms, including increased sleep apnea. Most of these effects are usually caused by regular sleep disruptions as your sleep apnea returns to full force.

The following side effects that are likely to occur include:

  • High Blood Pressure It has been documented that inconsistent or incorrect use of a CPAP machine can lead to high blood pressure reoccurring.
  • Daytime Fatigue Many of our patients complain about daytime fatigue, one of the most common signs of untreated sleep apnea, and is usually related to poor nighttime sleep.
  • Low Oxygen Levels Skipping your CPAP therapy may result in your body experiencing lower oxygen levels during the night, which can affect your brain, your body, your mood, and your quality of life.
  • Increase In Blood Sugar Levels Sleep apnea can affect your blood sugar levels and cause them to increase without proper management.
  • Elevated Heart Rate CPAP therapy also improves your heart’s overall health and can help reduce heart rate while sleeping. Skipping your CPAP therapy can result in an elevated heart rate.
  • Mood Changes Leaving sleep apnea untreated can lead to anxiety and depression.
  • Headaches — When left untreated or treated incorrectly, sleep apnea can also lead to headaches due to low oxygen levels and impacts on blood pressure.
  • Low Energy Sleep apnea, which causes sleeplessness, can cause periods of low energy.
  • Cognitive Challenges — Suppose you skip CPAP therapy or have yet to begin treating your sleep apnea. In that case, it is essential to understand that it can cause cognitive issues and changes in the brain that affect concentration, decision-making, and performance.
  • Relationship Challenges Proper sleep helps improve relationships with others. Regularly using your CPAP machine will ensure adequate sleep and oxygen levels in your brain and body.
  • Snoring You may notice increased snoring when not using the CPAP machine, indicating that your breathing and oxygen levels are most likely adversely affected.

Increase Risk When You Skip Your CPAP Therapy

CPAP therapy is highly beneficial and can also reverse some of the damage that is caused by sleep apnea. However, when you skip your CPAP therapy for an extended period, it could lead to increasing various health risks associated with untreated sleep apnea.

Risks associated with skipping or stopping your CPAP therapy treatment for long periods include the following:

  • Stroke CPAP therapy has been proven to reduce the risk of stroke for patients.
  • Heart Disease — Patients who use their CPAP machines consistently are less likely to experience other cardiovascular issues, which can include heart failure.
  • Brain Health Ensuring that you follow your CPAP therapy treatment plan is shown to prevent brain damage that can be caused by sleep apnea and can also reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s.
  • Diabetes Patients who use their CPAP machine consistently also have a lower risk of diabetes as it helps to improve blood sugar control.
  • Accidental Injuries Consistently using your CPAP machine will ensure you get a good night’s sleep. When well-rested and have adequate oxygen levels in your brain, it may help reduce the risk of being involved in an accident and sustaining injuries.
  • Shorter lifespan — Patient who do not utilize their CPAP machine correctly or consistently generally expect to have a shorter life expectancy than those who maintain their CPAP therapy consistently.

Can You Skip Your CPAP For a Night

You should use your CPAP machine every time you sleep. Most people can safely skip a night of CPAP occasionally; however, you must resume as soon as possible. You also want to avoid it becoming a regular habit, as even small amounts of time in minor effects of missing CPAP therapy can add up.

If you continue using your CPAP machine within a few days, you will likely not notice any long-term adverse effects. However, every patient is different, and depending upon your condition and severity of sleep apnea, it is also possible to experience cardiovascular and metabolic changes even within a couple of hours of falling asleep without your CPAP machine.

If you want to take a break from CPAP therapy, consult with your sleep specialist first to ensure that you remain compliant with your treatment plan and understand what to do should symptoms occur.

DreamZz Sleep Center Is Here to Help You With All of Your CPAP Therapy Needs

If you have trouble staying asleep, insomnia, tiredness, sleepiness or snoring, high blood pressure, dry mouth, difficulty sleeping, or other signs of sleep apnea and are ready for a sleep study, we can help. 

At DreamZz Sleep Center, our sleep specialists are here to create a personalized treatment plan to get you the best night’s sleep possible and improve your overall health.

Contact us to book a consultation today and start sleeping better tonight!