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  • Writer's pictureRobyn Woidtke, MSN, RN, RPSGT, CCSH

Help your bed partner sleep better

Did you know that using CPAP can help your partner sleep better? Studies show that the bed partners of CPAP users typically sleep better when CPAP is used. Bed partners of people with untreated sleep apnea often wake up due to the noise from snoring or the stopping of breathing. Untreated sleep apnea is often more cause for concern to the bed partner than when CPAP is used [1].

How CPAP helps others get rest

Some people worry that CPAP can disrupt intimacy but CPAP therapy may improve sexual and marital relations. In fact, some bed partners like the “white noise” from CPAP machines to help them sleep [1-3].

One potential disruptor of CPAP for a bed partner’s sleep is a poorly fitting mask. Sometimes, a bed partner’s sleep can be interrupted because they can hear the woosh of the air coming from the mask. This may be resolved by trying different masks to fit better and ensuring the straps are secure. To test for mask leads, try on the mask, turn on your CPAP machine, and move your head about. You may want to lie down as well. If you notice any leaks, try adjusting the mask straps for a better fit. Sometimes the bed partner can help ensure the straps are adjusted properly. If this does not help, talk to your care manager about new mask options.

The big picture

Even though you are concerned that your bed partner’s sleep might be disturbed when you use CPAP, you might be pleasantly surprised. By using your CPAP, your bed partner’s sleep and anxiety will most likely be improved. Knowing that your bed partner wants you to be healthy should reduce your worries about your bed partner's sleep disturbance. So, not only is sleep better at night, you might even have more fun during the day [4].


  1. Rosa D, Amigoni C, Rimoldi E, Ripa P, Ligorio A, Fracchiolla M, Lombardi C, Parati G, Perger E. (2022). Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Adherence to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Treatment: Let’s Talk about Partners! Healthcare. 10(5), 943.

  2. Baron, Kelly G., et al. (2022). Couples-based interventions to promote PAP adherence among older adults: a qualitative study of patients, partners, and providers. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 18(11), 2627-2634.

  3. Ye L, Malhotra A, Kayser K, Willis DG, Horowitz JA, Aloia MS, Weaver TE. (2015). Spousal involvement and CPAP adherence: a dyadic perspective. Sleep Med Rev. 19, 67-74.

  4. Luyster FS. (2017). Impact of obstructive sleep apnea and its treatments on partners: a literature review. J Clin Sleep Med. 13(3):467–477.


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