We talked about the impact of CPAP on the fictional relationship between the last man on earth and his “wife,” but in truth this impact is all too real for men and women who are trying to date after a diagnosis of sleep apnea and a CPAP prescription.

Just look at the deep, dramatic tension in this recent lifestyle piece on being “single with sleep apnea.” The author, Lindsey McCaffrey speaks very frankly about the difficulty of meeting and feeling comfortable sleeping with another person because of CPAP.

Love Is Irrational

McCaffrey struggles with what all CPAP users face: the disparity between the necessity of CPAP, and the unpleasant nature of it. Rationally, she says, she knows she has to use it, but it’s hard to introduce other people to the machine–and it is, in McCaffrey’s representation, a completely separate introduction–because “CPAP is clunky, ugly, and overall ridiculous-looking.”

Unfortunately, the process of a relationship has to work over that inhibition, which is not a simple process. Instead, McCaffrey says, it takes 11 stages before you truly feel comfortable sleeping next to a person.

The 11 Stages

Happy couple on a dateMcCaffrey’s writing style leans quite heavily on the gif, which makes it unbearable to read for some of us. For those who want a gif-free version of the 11 stages, here they are:

  • Decline all invitations
  • Plan ahead for transportation so you always have an exit plan
  • Always have a solid “gotta go” excuse ready
  • Make sure you know how to politely send someone away
  • Realize you have to stay strong
  • Wonder if they can accept your condition
  • Test them out with a brief nap
  • Gauge their reaction to your snore
  • Time for truth
  • Schedule an overnight date
  • See if they want to let you wear your CPAP
  • Cuddle

Cuddling, of course, is the sign of success. It’s stage #12 because McCaffrey has two number 5’s on her list. (In fairness, sleep apnea makes it hard to pay attention to details.)  You can only get there if the person truly loves you and lets you wear your CPAP mask at night.

Dating with Less Drama

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a sleep apnea treatment that would allow you to avoid all this dramatic negotiation and anxiety involved in dating? A simple sleep apnea treatment that you could simply carry with you, put in, and take out without worrying that your partner will be weirded out and dump you right on the spot?

Good news: there is. An oral appliance is subtle. You can put it in after kissing goodnight and remove it in the morning with no fuss. And you can easily carry it with you on any date where you might not be sleeping at home.

An oral appliance gives you the freedom to just live, without having to plan everything around your sleep apnea treatment. And for many people, it works as well as CPAP–better, even, because people are more likely to use it.

If you would like to learn how an oral appliance can make dating easier if you have sleep apnea, please call (402) 493-4175 for an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.