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Oxygen device for prone sleepers?

Molly'sMom's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2013

Hubby is in the dry mouth stage post-treatment and is unable to sleep.  He resists all my suggestions that he needs to sleep in a recliner or with numerous pillows, claiming he just can't sleep upright.  Urggggh.  Of course, he is dozing in his chair right now, but that is not the deep sleep he needs.  When he goes to bed, his soft palate becomes dry, airways apparently close up, and he wakes up gasping for breath.  Kind of like the problem he had years ago when we were at a very high altitude, so neither of us know if this problem is entirely real or partially imagined.  He's very anxious about getting enough sleep; he needs to begin teaching his law classes in just a few weeks.  He's got Ambien, Xanax, Biotene, XyliMelts on the way and taking OTC decongestants, but nothing gets him through the night.  Did any of you encounter this and make use of an oxygen machine or other devise that helped?  I know he will resist a sleep apnea mask, so I am looking for something a little less obtrusive that will calm his anxiety through the night.  

Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

I suffer with terrible drymouth problems but I started using Stoppers 4 Dry-mouth spray about 6 years ago and it has been a life savior to me. It may not fix everything but will sure help with the dry mouth problem, I order it at www.drugstore.com


Hope it helps


fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1217
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi Molly'sMom,

Guess what? He's going to have to sleep any way he can until he heals enough to lie down. I spent the last two weeks of treatment and the first 5 weeks post treatment sleeping in my recliner. I slept when I was able to sleep. I used one of those neck pillows you use on airliners. I had no choice as lying down caused the same issues your husband is experiencing. Biotene "Oral Balance" gel has been helping as of late.

Besides not being able to sleep well, I'm up several times a night due to the amount of water I need to drink to quell the dry mouth... nudge nudge, know what I mean? ~lol~

So my advice is to sleep whenever he can sleep and by whatever means necessary. We need to sleep for our bodies to heal and have to do what we have to do to get it. 

Positive thoughts and prayers





CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4336
Joined: May 2012




I use to go through a whole procedure before bedtime.  Swish  and spit with soda , salt and water mixture, a slosh and swallow of magic mouth wash and jump onto bed. it did not last long and I would wake-up with the driest mouth  you can imagine.  Once I started using Xylimelts it changed everything.  They last from 2 -to 4 hours and I sleep great.   I still use Xylimelts and now sleep all night.


I might be wrong but blowing oxygen in might tend to dry his mouth even more.  I would tend to think an over-the-counter solution can be found along with water and getting up at night to pee and repeat whatever procedure you come up with.  This period of post treatment side effects is a pain in the azz, you just have to grin and bear it.  Hopefully, the inconvenience will be short lived.


Anyway, welcome to the H&N forum, where dry mouths, we have.




phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4674
Joined: Mar 2012

I doubt oxygen would help him since he's suffering from drymouth.  In the weeks after treatment I used those Breath Rite strips...those little bandaid things you put on your nose and a bottle of Stoppers 4 next to the bed.  The strips kept my nostrils wide open so I didn't breath through my mouth, and therefore the dryness didn't get so bad I could knock on doors with my tongue.  My sleeping ability went up about 90%.  A little spray of Stoppers 4 before bed, and again, if I had to use it in the night....(I still keep it by my beside). 

During the day I use the Xylemelts that Matt spoke of....



longtermsurvivor's picture
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mar 2010

If he has sleep apnea, nothing but the proper treatment will help.  There must be a reason you raise this possibility?  Does he have prolonged apnea when you listen to him breathe, while asleep?  That can be studied, you know.  Also, if he is dry, a decongestant is going to make that worse, not better.  As has been said, stoppers does help.  So does having a humidifier running at the bedside.  I am 18 months out, still pretty dry. but I notice I've adjusted somewhat to the dryness and often times don't wake up anymore.  but I am really dry when  I get up in the AM. 



Molly'sMom's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2013

It's amazing how much we forget when under stress.  Of course the decongestants will dry him out even more - what was I thinking?  I have probably been making things worse instead of better.  And it never occurred to me that oxygen would only make things worse, but that makes sense as well.  I have dug out the humidifier from the closet as well as the airline pillow and will encourage him to use Breathe Right strips tonight.  Xylimelts and Stoppers 4 arrive later this week.....

Thanks to all of you - the posters to this thread and to all threads, for your time and support.  I believe that the tips from experienced sufferers are almost as important as the treatments in getting us through to a brighter day!



Posts: 839
Joined: May 2013

I have been sleeping in a recliner since the first of March.  It was for swelling, then the thick mucus during rads, then more swelling, then the PEG tube, now it's (still) for swelling  and RLS.  If he is able to doze off in the chair, then that might be where he has to sleep for a while.  During treatment (and right after) I would wake up every 2 hours gagging and needing to spit or vomit. It's tough, and I hope he is able to get some rest. 

ToBeGolden's picture
Posts: 695
Joined: Aug 2010

I had extreme insomnia for a month, and Ambien did nothing for it. The I received a prescribed super-sleeping pill. It litterally knocks me out within a couple of minutes and I get about 6 hours of sleep. After waking up, I can fall asleep within a half an hour for another 3 or 4 hours.

I am a total laryngectomy and neck breather. I sleep on two pillow wedges at about a 45 degree angle. If I don't sleep at that angle, mucous clogs my trachea.

I am reluctant to name the sleeping pill because it is so potent. I know my breathing drive is way down right after I take it. So I think the patient needs a clear airway for about 4 hours after taking the pill.

These are issues that need to be discussed with your husband's doctor. Just want you to know that there are much stronger sleeping pills than Ambien. (Ambien is a fine medication for most patients.) Rick.

fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1217
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi Molly'sMom,

Sleeping meds such as Ambien can be effective but you have to be careful with them. I had issues with sleep for some time during treatment and my MO prescribed Ambien. My experience wasn't that great. When you're on a lot of meds including laxitives to counteract the effects of pain meds and drinking a lot of water for dry mouth for instance.... need I say more? Also, I found that for me, it resulted in amnesia. I awoke several times on the floor, or in a different part of the house with no recollection of how I got there, often times not wearing what I was wearing when I went to sleep! I had heart surgery in '07 (bypass) and suffered from insomnia as well as severe nerve pain. I was prescribed Amatriptyline. Now that stuff helped! I slept hard not recalling even dreaming and my nerve pain was gone within days. Keep in mind sleeping meds require you devote at least 8 hours to sleep. I personally found I was in a fog for several hours even after sleeping for a while. 

As I mentioned previously, your husband may have just bite the bullet and sleep in a chair or recliner for now. It was a great accomplishment to finally be able to sleep in my own bed but it took a while to get there. The only negative to that is my lymphedema gets aggravated due to lying flat. With so many of my lymph nodes removed during the neck dissection, lying flat prevents drainage. 

Definitely check out the neck support airline pillow. It helped trmendously while sleeping in the recliner. 

Positive thought and prayers


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