BETTER EQUIPMENT: Dan Alter is sleeping a lot better when on holidays these days as he   has the compact AirMini with him on his travels.
BETTER EQUIPMENT: Dan Alter is sleeping a lot better when on holidays these days as he has the compact AirMini with him on his travels.

Sleep a little easier tonight, no matter where you are

ON the market this month is the newest small device technology to help the nearly two million Australians who struggle every night with chronic obstructive sleep apnoea.

ResMed has launched the world's smallest Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device, the AirMini, which weighs in at 300 grams. It's being described as a discreet sleep therapy device which incorporates the proven CPAP technology into a portable, pocket-sized device.

The unit joins the ResMed's CPAP family of treatments for the condition. It's uses innovative technology and is suitable for use at home and while on the go.

Dan Alter lives a very active life and has had to carry with him a CPAP unit. The 66-year-old now has his hands one of the new ResMed AirMini devices.

"I'm really happy to be able to use the AirMini,” Mr Alter said.

"I have been living with sleep apnoea for about 17 years and as a keen traveller and motorcyclist, I am so pleased to have access to a smaller, lightweight CPAP device that I can easily take on the road.

"The fact that the AirMini syncs with my phone means I can analyse my sleeping patterns on a daily basis, which provides me with information on how I am managing my sleep apnoea.

"It's also a bonus that I won't need to pack a separate travel suitcase just for the device.”

Sunshine Coast University Hospital's Senior clinical measurement scientist Anita Brake's describes the ResMed's CPAP technology as the "gold standard” in sleep apnoea treatment.

"It treats the obstructive sleep apnoea by preventing the collapse of the upper airway. It blows air through a mask. That pressure of the air holds the upper airway open; it splints open the tongue and the roof of the mouth.”

Ms Blake said that some surgical procedures had also been trialled to cure the condition or prevent it happening in the first place. The other treatment is a mandibular advancement splint which is similar to a mouth guard.

Sleep apnoea is where a person's breathing is comprised during periods of time while they sleep. The person may have shallow breathing, or they may stop breathing completely.

It's comes in two forms; obstructive and central.

"Obstructive sleep apnoea is caused by a physical obstruction of your upper airway. The tongue and roof of the mouth can collapse making you shallow breath or block up your upper airway completely and make you stop breathing all together,” Ms Brake said.

"Central sleep apnoea is caused by a problem with the signal from the brain to the breathing muscles so that a person doesn't try and take a breath, so their upper airway remains open, but they physically don't try and breath.”

The two main causes of this conditions are genetic and excess weight.

  • Genetic is shape of your upper airway, tongue, roof of your mouth and jaw; some of things can predispose some people to having sleep apnoea.
  • Putting on weight means adding a loading to a person's breathing system which then requires more effort to take a breath in. "If you already have a naturally narrow throat from your genetic structure, and you then you put on weight, you make a very mild problem became a significant problem,” Ms Brake said.

Other causes can be increasing age and for women, hormonal changes due to menopause.

In addition to the use of the ResMed's CPAP machines, Ms Blake recommends sleep apnoea sufferers can improve their sleep quality with these tips -

  • Lose weight.
  • Reduce alcohol intake, particularly in the evening, as it is a sedative and will make your muscles more floppy.
  • Ensure the nose is clear.
  • Look at the sleeping position.
  • Follow a good sleep hygiene program of a regular sleep pattern, limit napping during the day, light exercise and getting out in the morning sunlight to reduce melatonin.
  • Turn off electronic devices that have blue light, well before going to bed.

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