These 5 tips make sleeping with a CPAP device easy

by Barbara R. Abercrombie
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Sleeping with a CPAP machine can be annoying — the mask covering your face, the hose you attach to a machine grumbling next to your bed. We understand it. Undeniably, they can be a hassle, so people choose to sleep without them. Up to 35% of people do not use their prescribed CPAP device as intended. Some people only use it for a few hours a night, while others ignore it completely.

Ignoring sleep apnea is as serious as heart disease and high blood pressure. We don’t recommend that. Instead of compromising your sleep quality and health, use these quick tips to make sleeping with a CPAP mask part of your routine.

1. Choose the right mask style

The good news is that CPAP machines have come a long way from the clunky old noise machine with a huge face mask. Newer models are very quiet, and there are several mask styles. Modern CPAP machines offer mask variations allowing you to choose what works best.

Common CPAP mask styles:

Full face masks: This coverage option is what people expect from CPAP machines. It covers both your mouth and your nose. It is a good option for those with a stuffy nose or breathing through their mouths at night. Nasal Mask: This mask only covers your nose. It is very suitable for people who move in their sleep. Nasal Pillow Mask: This mask has the smallest facial coverage — it sits over your upper lip and nostrils. This option is great for those who feel claustrophobic with a full range or are wearing glasses. Mouth Mask: This mask only covers your mouth and is best suited for people who breathe from their mouths at night.

When choosing the mask style, consider the position in which you sleep. If you sleep on your stomach or side, the larger shows with different straps can push against your pillow.

2. Make sure your mask fits properly

Once you know which mask style best suits your needs, you must ensure it fits. An ill-fitting mask is uncomfortable and can leave you with a dry, stuffy nose. If you see red spots on your face, it’s too tight. On the other hand, you won’t get the benefits that CPAP machines offer if the mask is too loose.

Make adjustments every night until you find the perfect fit. When adjusting your mask, do this while lying down with the mask on your face. If you are having trouble fitting your cover properly, your doctor can help you adjust the show accordingly.

Getty Images/cherry beans

3. Practice wearing it during the day

When you first put on a CPAP mask, it can feel like you have an Alien face-hugger clamped to your face. It takes time to get used to. The last thing you want to do is save the acclimation period for when you try to fall asleep. Instead, wear it during the day to get used to the feeling of being on your face. Wear it while watching TV or reading a book. Soon you won’t notice it anymore.

If you cannot wear it during the day, try breaking it down into steps. Start with just the mask – no tubing or straps. Then slowly attach the hose and straps to the process.

4. Use the ‘ramp’ function

CPAP machines are designed to push air into your airways to prevent them from collapsing from sleep apnea. For some people, the feeling of forced perspective is hard to bear, especially at first. Many CPAP machines have a “ramp” feature that starts with lower air pressure as you fall asleep and increases throughout the night. Work with your doctor to find your prescribed optimal pressure for your sleep apnea.

5. Be patient

Getting used to sleeping with a CPAP device is an ongoing process that needs to be measured in small steps. No one takes their new CPAP machine home and immediately sleeps on it for eight uninterrupted hours. CPAP machines can help you sleep better and ultimately improve your long-term health. Despite the sometimes annoying CPAP struggles, you’ll feel more rested when you sleep with it.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare professional if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.

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