By ANTHONY McFADYEN
We all know how important a good night’s sleep is but if you’re a sleep apnea sufferer that’s going to be a challenge but the new ResMed AirMini – the smallest device of its kind – now makes getting quality sleep even easier.
Sleep apnea is a condition where your airways partially or fully close, preventing oxygen from reaching the lungs.
The brain, in turn, senses this and sends a reminder to the body via adrenaline to breathe again.
This process, or apnea, can occur many times during sleep preventing the sufferer from ever reaching a deep, regenerative sleep.
Sleep apnea suffers overcome this condition by the use of a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) device that forces the airway to remain open by providing air, under pressure, into the airway via a nasal or face mask.
I was only recently diagnosed with severe sleep apnea and I have come to realise the benefits of CPAP in getting a good night’s sleep…and so has my wife!
But most CPAPs are large and bulky, making them difficult to travel with.
As an airline pilot, I spend nearly half of my time away so being able to use the ResMed AirMini has been a game changer.
The ResMed AirMini is the smallest CPAP on the market and weighs just 300g. It is 136mm wide, 84mm long and 52mm high. That’s about the same size of a smartphone.
The unit features a main power button and Bluetooth button for pairing with the free iOS or Android app.
Even the power supply is compact unlike other bulkier CPAP power supplies.
The companion app is easy to use and comes with the ability to change the CPAP settings with links to simple video tutorials on setting up and controlling the device.
There is a sleep summary page that provides a score on the quality of sleep for the user which takes into account data such as the length of the sleep, mask fit and apnea events.
The app also shows a month’s worth of data but stores an entire year of data that can even be accessed by a sleep technician.
The AirMini supports the following ResMed masks: the AirFit F20 full faced mask, AirFit N20 nasal mask AirFit P10 and AirTouch F20 which covers a good range of masks to suit most sleep apnea sufferers.
The AirMini is an automatic CPAP which means it is able to provide a variable output of air pressure through the sleep period.
Auto units are generally preferred by sufferers as they can detect the onset of an apnea and increase pressure accordingly to keep the airway open and allow the user to begin a sleep period with a lower pressure for increased comfort.
One of the challenges with travel sized CPAPs is providing appropriate humidification.
Without humidification, the user can wake with a dry mouth.
But the ResMed AirMini overcomes this by providing waterless humidification via a small cartridge that converts exhaled air into humidity and returns it to the user.
It should be noted that this feature is not available for full face masks. However, as a full face mask wearer, I did not find this to be a problem as I predominantly sleep in hotel rooms with dry air-conditioned air and am used to having little humidity.
Modern CPAPs can be whisper quiet and travel sized CPAPs have been criticised for being too noisy compared to their larger, less travel friendly counterparts.
Whilst this is somewhat true for this unit, it is an acceptable tradeoff for having the reduced size and weight of the unit.
The AirMini is louder than my home CPAP unit but does not stop me from either going to sleep or staying asleep.
Where the AirMini really stands out as a winner is in its size.
It is the smallest travel CPAP on the market and takes up minimal room in my luggage.
I am frequently away for three to seven days and always try to pack as light as possible using only a cabin sized trolley bag.
The AirMini comes with a hard shell case for the unit itself and a soft bag that fits the mask, headgear, tubing and power supply.
These take up similar room to a pair of joggers or a toiletries bag whereas my home CPAP unit would easily take up one whole side of my bag.
A full range of accessories is available to support the unit including replacement filters, masks and tubing along with a stylish travel satchel and rechargeable battery that can be used on aircraft or when sleeping with no power nearby.
RRP: $2,100 (but we’ve seen it priced online for $1,695)
The ResMed AirMini CPAP is an excellent solution for sleep apnea sufferers who travel frequently and like to pack light. It is easily the smallest unit on the market and is reasonably priced, easy to setup and simple to use.