Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Sleeping on your belly with a CPAP machine

This brand of butterfly pillow is no longer made but there are probably others.

Early reports suggest that sleeping on your belly (prone) is associated with a higher rate of good outcomes with Covid-19. Obviously, anything we can do to stay out of the hospital is a very good thing.

Proning vented patients significantly helps oxygenation. Even self proning the ones on nasal cannula helps.  -Source

As with all things Covid-19, this is subject to revision and change as more information becomes available.

Many people sleep with a CPAP machine to overcome sleep apnea. CPAP masks and sleeping on one's belly don't always go together.

Does anybody have any tips or "essential gear" for sleeping on one's belly with a CPAP mask? Please reply in comments.

Now is the time to fiddle around with the practice.


  1. Interesting, as the "usual" treatment for respiratory patients seems to be keeping the non-proned. This virus is full of surprises.

  2. To help a child with asthma or cystic fibrosis to drain the excess phlegm from their lungs you have them to lay on their stomachs with their upper body hanging over the edge of a bed at about 45 degrees. Knowing this, if your lungs are filling with mucus/fluid being put in a position that adds gravity to help the body remove the excess; then the high-lighted quote makes a lot of sense. Which causes me to wonder if percussioning the back like they do with cystic fibrosis would help loosen up the junk in COVID-19 patients.

    Freeholder - the reason most people with respirator problems do not want to lay flat is because of the feelings of suffocation. If you roll-over with your head hanging off the side of the bed you can actually breath better. But you have to get past a lot of social conditioning about the 'proper' way to sleep.

    1. Judy! How nice to see a comment from you. It has been a while. Thanks for reading.

  3. I wonder if the 'proning' advice has to do with the pervasive overweight/obesity problem in the US. This is considered one of the 'co-morbidity' factors and is part of the reason we see deaths in younger age groups. An overweight person usually carries it on the belly, affecting the diaphragam's purpose.

    1. Good observation.

      There is something called the obesity paradox with regards to pneumonia survival rates in hospitalized patients.

      Obese patients hospitalized for pneumonia have HIGHER survival rates than expected.

      Some medical people believe it is because GPs are quicker to hospitalize obese patients than non-obese patients. That is, obese people with pneumonia are boxed up and shipped to the hospital before they would have been if they were not obese.

      If that is so, then obesity is not a protective factor.


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