15 August 2021

Can Alzheimer's be due to Sleep Position on Back using CPAP?

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

- Thomas Edison (American Inventor & Businessman – 1847 – 1931)

On previous blog posts, from personal experience using a bilevel auto adjusting pressure machine rather than CPAP, I was able to treat, stop and reverse a sequence of events occurring during the critical REM sleep period of 4 and 5 hours of sleep. These events caused and were associated with my symptoms of Dementia. The neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s Dementia and Parkinson’s disease may be partly due to sleeping in the supine or back sleep position including when using CPAP machines.

The sequence of events occurring during REM sleep which caused and are associated with my symptoms of Dementia were hypoxia or oxygen desaturation, sleep disordered breathing including obstructive sleep apnea and flow limitations, insomnia and Awake Bruxism.

To avoid confusion, BiPAP is a Registered Trademark owned by Philips Respironics. Bilevel refers to all other brands such as ResMed.  

The explanation of how I stopped and reversed the symptoms of Dementia has been done on a practical level based on my own personal experience. Previous blog posts are listed at the end of this post. I am not a medical doctor and there will be others with more knowledge and a medical background who can explain better from a technical point of view.

Medical research is showing that sleeping in the supine or back sleep position may be contributing to neurodegenerative disorders. 

Sleeping in the lateral, or side position, as compared to sleeping on one’s back or stomach, may more effectively remove brain waste and prove to be an important practice to help reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases, according to researchers at Stony Brook University.

https://neurosciencenews.com/lateral-sleep-position-neurology-2363/

Sleeping more than 2 hours with one's head lying face upward (i.e., supine) was a significant nocturnal marker that characterized those with memory impairment, after controlling for factors such as age, sex, snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, and movements during the night.

The strength of the association, however, points to a potentially modifiable risk factor for neurodegenerative disease, similar to diet and exercise.

http://www.alzheimersweekly.com/2019/03/sleeping-on-back-linked-to-memory.html

Levendowski, Daniel J et al. “Head Position During Sleep: Potential Implications for Patients with Neurodegenerative Disease.” Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD vol. 67,2 (2019): 631-638. doi:10.3233/JAD-180697

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6398535/

What are other reasons for sleeping on your side?

More than half of sleep apnea cases are referred to as “position-induced” where apnea is only experienced when the sufferer is on their back (supine).

When you sleep on your back, your airway becomes compressed. The weight from your neck, a recessed jaw and your tongue falling backwards all lead to a greater chance of airway obstruction and the ensuing noise.

https://www.snorelab.com/homemade-hacks-to-improve-your-sleeping-position/

Sleeping on your side is typically recommended because it helps with insomnia (and the resulting sleep deprivation) as well as digestive issues like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Sleeping on your back can cause pain in your lower back. 

https://www.cpap.com/blog/body-position-cpap-therapy-side-sleeper-back-sleeper/

It’s estimated that more than half of all cases of OSA are “position-dependent,” meaning the severity of apneas significantly changes depending upon sleeping position. A person with position-dependent OSA may experience an increase of 50 percent or more apneas in their total AHI, or apnea-hypopnea index, while sleeping on their back.

That can make a big difference in both diagnosis and treatment. A person with an AHI of 5 while side sleeping, who isn’t tested while sleeping supine, may not receive a diagnosis at all. Meanwhile, they may actually test as having an AHI of 10 to 15, which would require therapy to treat.

https://sleepapnea.sleep-disorders.net/clinical/positional-therapy

If medical research is showing that sleeping in the supine or back sleep position may be contributing to neurodegenerative disorders as well as for the other reasons mentioned above; how do you stop sleeping in the supine position or on your back?

Personal experience is showing that up to the early stages of Alzheimer’s Dementia, the symptoms may be able to be stopped and reversed. I did so by using a ResMed Bilevel auto adjusting pressure machine rather than a CPAP machine to overcome sleep disordered breathing. Having cleared the symptoms of Dementia, I am back to waking up refreshed and energized each day!

In addition, it is my belief that the neurodegenerative disorders in their later stages may also be able to be reversed to some extent or at least delayed in their progress providing a better quality of life for a person. On the previous blog post, I mentioned to overcome very difficult breathing issues causing Alzheimer’s Dementia; consider using BiPAP with AVAPS (average volume assured pressure support) or Bilevel with iVAPS (intelligent volume assured pressure support) machines.

Currently there are a number of different options to stop or minimize sleeping in the supine position or on your back. Details of these options are detailed on the following article:

https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-positional-therapy-for-snoring-and-sleep-apnea-3015313

These options range from the simple to the sophisticated and from cheap to expensive.

1. Sewing Tennis Ball into a T-shirt

Whenever you roll onto your back, the discomfort from the ball will turn you back to your side.

2. Backpack

Wearing a backpack to bed at night by placing a firm baseball into the pack can add some discomfort that will keep you sleeping on your sides.

3. Zzoma and Bumpers

Zzoma is an example of the fabric and foam bumper belts including a block and Velcro strap that keeps you from being able to sleep on your back. These are a little more expensive, and some require prescriptions from a doctor.

4. Night Shift Device

For the technology inclined, the Night Shift device is a simple plastic band worn around the neck that vibrates when you shift onto your back. At a cost of about $350, it is definitely a more expensive option.

5. Wedges and Stacked Pillows

6. Adjustable and Adjusting Beds

Buy an adjustable bed or alternatively, at a reduced cost, it is possible to stack books, bricks, or even cinder blocks under the feet at the head of the bed to put it on an incline.

As the article points out, “long-term adherence to these therapies is usually low.” This is not surprising having tried the first two options and options 5 and 6 not being practical when travelling away from home. In addition to discomfort, I also had insomnia which is not good when you want to have great sleep. 

How do I stop sleeping in the supine position and stay of my back?

What is a sleep option for FREE that will not cause discomfort?

This is the reason for the quote at the top of the page.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

- Thomas Edison (American Inventor & Businessman – 1847 – 1931)

I will share a secret with you and show a little trick that has stopped and minimized sleeping in the supine position or on my back. Importantly, when I am travelling away from home, I can easily reproduce what I am about to show you.

Let me ask you a few questions:

Why do people sleep on a flat bed?

Have you ever considered sleeping on a bed that is curvy?

By having the edges or sides of the bed curling up by using padding such as old towels and blankets, I am able to have a great night’s sleep! The bed allows me to have variations on the three main positions that many people have; sleeping on their left and right side and on their back.

A curvy bed allows you to move the body’s centre of gravity to the middle of the bed making it less likely you will end up on your back. In addition, throughout the night when you move; due to being on different parts of the curve of the bed you end up in slightly different sleep positions on your side. This will move the body pressure points throughout the night as I am not in the one position such as on the one specific point of my left shoulder and left hip all night. By doing so, has greatly assisted in overcoming neck, shoulder and back issues.      

An additional benefit for those people that have positional sleep apnea is by having a curvy bed; your face will be slightly downwards and reduce the likelihood of your tongue falling backwards and blocking your airway. By reducing the severity and number of apneas, less machine pressure may be required with your sleep apnea therapy.    

Less machine pressure should reduce CPAP side effects and issues including aerophagia, potential mask problems including mask leaks and air coming through eye tear ducts and out the eyes.

When travelling away from home and staying at say a hotel, use the spare linen, towels and blankets in the room to make the bed curvy.

Should you also suffer from reflux and indigestion, consider lifting up the head of your curvy bed 5 to 6 inches.     

Below are pictures using padding to make a curvy bed, before and after.  


Further details of the combination of REM sleep issues, obstructive sleep apneainsomnia and Awake Bruxism and how they may be an early warning or marker of a diagnosis of REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder (RBD) and subsequently Alzheimer’s Dementia and Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders are on the following blog posts:

Oct 20: Use BiPAP ST with iVAPS or AVAPS for REM sleep issues

Nov 20: Use BiPAP and CPAP to treat REM Sleep and OSA issues which may cause Parkinson's and Dementia  

Dec 20: Stop CPAP REM Issues and Sleep Apnea causing Dementia: Use BiPAP

Jan 21: Stop Hypoxia, Alzheimer's, Bruxism using CPAP and BiPAP

Feb 21: Stop Insomnia, Hypoxia, REM sleep issues causing Alzheimer's: Use BiPAP

Mar 21: Use BiPAP to prevent Alzheimer's Dementia caused by REM sleep issues

Apl 21: What BiPAP Settings prevent Alzheimer's due to REM sleep breathing issues?

May 21: Can Different BiPAP Machines prevent Alzheimer's Dementia?

Jul 21: Stop Alzheimer's Dementia using BiPAP with AVAPS or iVAPS

Should you be having side effects and issues with your sleep apnea therapy; CHANGE what you are doing so that you can wake up feeling refreshed and energized each day.

“Have courage. Be adventurous and Go for it! Overcome your fear.”

- Mrhelpful 

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