Traveling with Sleep Apnea: Essential Tips for a Restful Journey

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Traveling with Sleep Apnea: Essential Tips for a Restful Journey

Travelling with Sleep Apnea tips and tricks to help you sleep great

Understanding Sleep Apnea and Air Travel

People with sleep apnea often face unique challenges when traveling, especially by air. The continuous treatment required can sometimes seem daunting, especially when considering the logistics of air travel. However, with the right preparation and knowledge, traveling with sleep apnea can be a breeze.

Sleep apnea may seem like a reason not to travel, but in fact, millions of people each year travel with their portable CPAP machines. This article will be your guide on how to travel when you have sleep apnea. Understanding Sleep Apnea can provide more insights into the condition and its implications for travel.


  1. Can my therapy machine run from the 400Hz power supply on an aircraft?

    • Most modern CPAP machines are designed to operate on a range of power supplies, but it's always best to check with the manufacturer or your healthcare provider.
  2. Will I need to have my therapy machine adjusted if I travel at high altitudes?

    • Some machines automatically adjust for altitude changes, but others might require manual adjustments. Always refer to your machine's manual or consult with your sleep specialist.
  3. Will the x-ray scanners at airport security affect my sleep therapy machine?

    • Generally, x-ray scanners at airports do not harm CPAP machines. However, it's a good idea to carry a letter from your doctor explaining your need for the device, especially for international travel.
  4. Do I need to take my machine with me if I need hospitalization?

    • It's recommended to take your machine with you if hospitalized, as hospitals may not have the specific machine or settings you require.
  5. What are some alternative therapies that do not require electricity and make travel easier?

    • Oral Appliances: These are dental devices that reposition the lower jaw and tongue to keep the airway open. They're compact and don't need power, making them ideal for travel.
    • Lateral Sleeping Positions with a Rematee Bumper Belt: This belt prevents you from rolling onto your back, ensuring you remain in a side-sleeping position, which can reduce sleep apnea events.
    • Positional Therapy: Using special devices or pillows to ensure you sleep in a position that prevents airway collapse.
    • Nasal Valve Therapy: Small, disposable devices placed in each nostril to keep the airway open.
    • Lifestyle Changes: Weight loss, avoiding alcohol before bedtime, and quitting smoking can all help reduce sleep apnea symptoms.

For those who prefer not to travel with their CPAP machine or are looking for backup options, these alternative therapies can be particularly useful. It's essential to consult with a sleep specialist before trying a new treatment to ensure it's appropriate for your specific condition. ResMed offers a variety of solutions tailored to individual needs, ensuring everyone has access to effective sleep apnea treatments.

Advanced Tips and Considerations

Traveling with sleep apnea can be both a challenge and an opportunity. While there are certainly hurdles to overcome, with the right strategies and knowledge, you can ensure that your travels are both enjoyable and rejuvenating.

Pros and Cons of Traveling with Sleep Apnea


  1. Awareness & Preparedness: Being diagnosed with sleep apnea often means you're more aware of your health needs and are better prepared for travel challenges.
  2. Portable CPAP Machines: Modern CPAP machines are compact and designed for travel, making it easier than ever to take your therapy on the road. ResMed offers a variety of travel-friendly solutions.
  3. Better Sleep Quality: With your CPAP machine, you can ensure a good night's sleep, even when away from home.
  4. Global Acceptance: As awareness of sleep apnea grows, more accommodations worldwide are understanding and accommodating of travelers with CPAP machines.
  5. Alternative Therapies: Traveling can be an opportunity to try out alternative therapies like oral appliances or positional therapy, which can be more travel-friendly.


  1. Extra Luggage: Traveling with a CPAP machine means extra equipment to pack and carry.
  2. Power Concerns: Different countries have different power outlets and voltages, requiring adapters or converters.
  3. Security Checks: CPAP machines may need to be taken out and examined during airport security checks, adding to travel time.
  4. Maintenance: CPAP machines require regular cleaning and maintenance, which can be more challenging on the road.
  5. Backup Plans: In case of machine failure or power outages, you'll need a backup plan to ensure you can continue your therapy.

Tips & Tricks for Healthy Sleep While Traveling

  • Plan Ahead: Research your destination for power requirements and ensure you have the necessary adapters and converters.
  • Carry Essential Documents: Always have a letter from your doctor explaining your need for a CPAP machine, especially for international travel.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water, especially during flights, to keep your airways moist and reduce symptoms.
  • Practice Good Sleep Hygiene: Stick to a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, and create a comfortable sleep environment.
  • Explore Alternatives: If you're going on a short trip, consider trying out an oral appliance or positional therapy as a temporary solution. Remember to consult with your sleep specialist before making any changes to your therapy.
  • Stay Informed: Understanding Sleep Apnea and its implications can help you make informed decisions while traveling.

With the right approach, traveling with sleep apnea can be a smooth and enjoyable experience. By staying informed, planning ahead, and being open to alternative therapies, you can explore the world without compromising on your health and well-being.


In the vast world of travel, navigating with sleep apnea can present its unique set of challenges. However, with the right knowledge and tools, these challenges can be easily overcome, ensuring that every journey is as restful as it is adventurous. One key takeaway from our exploration is the undeniable importance of sleeping on your side. Side sleeping not only alleviates some of the symptoms of sleep apnea but also promotes better overall respiratory health and reduces the risk of nighttime disruptions. By adopting this simple sleeping position, travelers with sleep apnea can significantly enhance their sleep quality, ensuring they wake up refreshed and ready to explore their next destination. Remember, every journey begins with a good night's sleep, and sleeping on your side is a step in the right direction.