Using Your CPAP

Using Your CPAP

Many people require a month or two to fully adjust to using CPAP. If you are having difficulty adjusting, don’t give up hope! There are many adjustments that can be made to help you be more comfortable as you grow accustomed to the CPAP machine.

Common CPAP Problems & Solutions

Common complaints and their solutions include the following:

  • I feel claustrophobic; my mask is too bulky. Smaller masks, such as a nasal mask, are available. Experiment with different sizing. In addition, try relaxation exercises. Wear the mask during calming activities such as reading or watching television in order to train your body and become more comfortable. Gradually introduce the mask into your sleeping routine. Start slow if needed and set goals to increase your time wearing the mask. Have patience and train your body, just as you would for any physical goal.
  • I dislike breathing “forced air”. Many CPAP issues can be traced to incorrect air pressure. Try lowering the air pressure to a gentler level.
  • I have a stuffy nose. Heated or humidified air could be the solution. Try a heated CPAP humidifier.
  • I have a dry nose or mouth. A chinstrap or full facemask can prevent air leakage and decrease dryness.
  • My skin is irritated by the mask. Try applying pads around the edges of the mask. Make sure your mask is not too tight! Overtightening is a common problem.
  • My eyes are dry or teary. A nasal pillow or adjustment of mask pads/straps can prevent leaks and protect your eyes.
  • I can’t fall asleep. This could be due to noise, feeling claustrophobic, or movement during the night. The relaxation exercises named above, sound adjustments listed below, or rerouting the hose over the top of the bed to prevent entanglement can help eliminate this problem.
  • I can’t stand the noise. Check the air filter and make sure it is clear. If the machine still makes a great deal of noise despite a clear filter, have your device checked. Many patients also wear earplugs or try a white-noise sound machine.
  • I keep removing the mask while I sleep. Setting an alarm for a few hours after falling asleep will remind you to put the mask back on if you have removed it. You can gradually set the alarm for later as your body adjusts to wearing the mask.

Each patient is different and requires unique adjustments. Again, do not quit if you have only been using the CPAP for a few weeks. Remember what positive benefits you have gleaned from using CPAP and keep using relaxation techniques to grow accustomed to the mask. It will take time for your body to get used to the CPAP machine and for your normal sleep schedule to be restored.

Most CPAP patients agree perseverance truly pays off!

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