How to Avoid Jet Lag for People with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

November 13, 2018

Millions of people fly all year round, and for many, they’ll be traversing quite a few time zones in the process, meaning that the threat of jet lag is very real. While it’s just annoying for most people, for those with obstructive sleep apnea, it can really put a lasting damper on a trip by making chronic exhaustion and snoring much worse. To help you avoid and get over jet lag as quickly as possible, here are a few handy tips you can follow.

1. Bring Your CPAP

Yes, it’s bulky, and yes, it might cause you some issues going through airport security, but traveling with untreated sleep apnea is not recommended in any situation. That combined with jet lag will see you spending most of your trip in bed!

Be sure to make a checklist of everything your CPAP needs to work so you don’t forget, and bring a universal power adapter if you’re traveling overseas. A small extension cord is wise to pack as well if you don’t know where outlets will be located relative to where you’ll be sleeping. To make airport security a little easier, it’s best to call ahead and just ask what you can do to make things simpler for both you and the TSA.

2. Shift Your Sleep Schedule

Planning ahead and gradually adjusting your sleep schedule according to your destination can make a world of difference in how you feel after a long trip. Here’s a little adage so you know what to do, “If flying east, early is best; if flying west, delay your rest.”

3. Go with Water

When traveling, downing a lot of coffee or alcoholic beverages on the plane may be tempting, but this can really mess with your sleep schedule, and alcohol can actually make sleep apnea symptoms much worse. Until you’ve landed, it’s best to just stick with water. It will keep you hydrated (which is important when flying), and you’ll be able to maintain your regular sleep schedule without disturbance.

4. Consider an Oral Appliance

If the idea of lugging your CPAP through the airport is enough to make you stay home, know that you have another option. Working with a sleep dentist, you can get a specially-made oral appliance that can help you sleep without any apnea symptoms. It will slightly adjust your jaw forward to keep your airway open. This approach not only prevents breathing cessations, but it can help you stop snoring as well! These appliances are small, comfortable, and extremely easy to pack. If you’re interested in getting one, talk to your doctor or contact a sleep dentist in your area.

Traveling during is stressful enough without having to deal with sleep apnea and jet lag, but with these tips, you can give yourself two less things to worry about and simply enjoy your trip and the festivities to come.

Meet Dr. Mogell

Dr. Kenneth Mogell, a board-certified specialist in sleep medicine with over 10 years of experience treating sleep breathing disorders is the practice’s founder and primary practitioner. The practice has three South Florida locations: Melbourne, Vero Beach, and Boca Raton. To learn more about Florida Dental Sleep Disorders and Dr. Kenneth Mogell, contact our team at 844-294-7559. We accept Medicare, Tricare and most medical insurance!