If you’ve been recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, you may have been prescribed a positive airway pressure (PAP) machine to treat your sleep apnea. A CPAP machine, or continuous positive airway pressure machine, is a commonly prescribed treatment that uses mild air pressure to keep the airways open while you sleep. CPAPs are mainly used to treat sleep apnea but can be used for respiratory conditions as well.
A CPAP machine includes a mask that fits your nose and mouth held to your face with straps. The tube connects your mask to the main machine that controls the pressure of the air delivered into the mask, allowing you to breathe easier. Its function – opening up airways – is essential for those with sleep apnea. It can also help reduce or eliminate snoring.
A good CPAP machine is typically quiet in addition to being small and lightweight. Some even have built-in heated humidifiers! There are many types of CPAP machines, so ask your doctor or respiratory therapist about your options to find the one most suited to your needs.
Using a CPAP can improve your overall quality of sleep and health, but some have trouble adjusting to sleeping with the machine.
So, here are a few tips for how to get a good night’s sleep with CPAP:
1.) Get the mask fit right.
The most important tip seems obvious but is often a problem: Making sure the mask fits. Our staff will help you find a middle spot between the mask fitting too tightly or too loose. Too tight, and the straps will put too much pressure on your cheeks, making it uncomfortable. Too loose, and the mask may leak, meaning you won’t get the proper airway treatment. When you find the perfect medium, you’ll be able to wear the mask without the straps hurting or air leaking out.
We offer mask fittings to help patients find the right fit. Our sleep coach or respiratory therapist will walk you through the different types and sizes of masks and how to use each one to identify the perfect one for you.
2.) Wear it during the day.
Another tip urges you to go the extra mile: Wearing your CPAP during the day. The more you get used to the feeling of the mask on your face, the easier it is to get a full night’s sleep with it on. If you are sitting and reading or watching TV, put your mask on to get used to the pressure of the mask itself. Then you can even add the hose to get a feeling for the other pieces as you desensitize yourself to the mask. Sticking with using the mask and machine for all sleep will help you feel better sooner.
3.) Talk to our specialists.
Many issues could arise when sleeping with a CPAP machine, and we have many solutions that can help. If you are getting a dry, stuffy nose or a dry mouth, it might be a leak in the mask fit or where we can prescribe a chin strap or nasal pillow to help. We understand that for those who have never used a CPAP machine, getting the right fit on the first appointment is not always the case. It does require time and patience to adjust to the machine, but our staff is here to help if your CPAP is causing trouble.
We here at Expert Sleep wish not only that you are treated for your sleep apnea, but that you are comfortable whilst doing so. Sleeping with CPAP can be strange at first, certainly different from a regular night’s sleep, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be uncomfortable. By doing the right preparations, procedures, and practices, you’ll be able to get used to the feeling of your CPAP and get a better night’s sleep.