How to Live with a CPAP Machine

Photo by Mathias P.R. Reding on Unsplash

Most people that use a CPAP machine for the first time don’t like using the device. They are hesitant to wear it because it feels uncomfortable. Here’s some tips on how to live with a CPAP machine.

In 2008, a study done by the Canadian Respiratory Journal reported that about half of people diagnosed with sleep apnea don’t do any treatment. The report indicated the following:

  • 43 out of 80 patients, or 54% percent, were still using the machine, and most reported they had some improvement in their symptoms
  • 12 out of 80 patients, or 15%, had abandoned the use of the machine after using it for around 10 to 15 months
  • 25 out of 80 patients, or 31%, had never done any therapy after their initial diagnosis

Many continue to sleep like they always did without a mask and don’t realize their health will suffer later because they aren’t using their machine. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, you don’t need to think negatively.

It’s better to know that you have sleep apnea because there are treatment options, such as using a CPAP machine which can make you feel a lot better to get on with your life without having your life impacted as much. You will have more energy, and you’ll be healthier. However, it does take some time to get used to the machine, so here are some tips for using your CPAP device.

You Need a Lot of Practice

It takes some practice to get used to this machine. It will feel quite different because you’re wearing a mask when you sleep. You might wear it during the day when you’re sitting around to get used to it. Around an hour before you decide to go to bed, you should put the mask on as this will also help you get used to the device. The more you wear your mask, the easier you will get used to it. You have to give it some time until you’re able to adjust.

Use It Every Time You Go to Sleep

You must comply with your doctor’s wishes and use your CPAP every night. You can’t use the device one night and then not the next night. It would be best if you had a routine like other routines, such as brushing your teeth. Then, before you go to bed, your ritual is to put on your mask, get comfortable, and sleep.

The mask is only there to help you sleep and get the rest you need to get on with your busy day. By wearing a mask, you were doing yourself a favor some getting used to the mask in creating a routine with it is essential. You can’t get the benefits of CPAP therapy if you don’t wear the mask.

ResMed Pro Tip

ResMed indicates that you don’t want to skip nights. It would be best if you got used to wearing the mask. You also want to avoid napping because you want to be tired at night, so you fall asleep with the mask on. If you’re pretty tired, you’re going to be able to fall asleep even if you have that mask on.

The more you use the mask, the more you will become second nature to you. If you take a frequent nap, you should do so with the mask on because you have to use this device each time you go to sleep, even if it’s just for a nap. There’s a wide range of options for these masks, so you should be able to find one that works for you.

Make Mask Adjustments at Night

If you wake up with red marks on your face, you should loosen the mask up slightly. Likewise, if the mask falls off at night, you want to tighten it. Again, you can tweak the mask to suit your needs and individual comfort level. Don’t be afraid to find a comfort level that works for you, and if you’re having trouble speaking with your provider to understand how the equipment works.

Res Med Pro Tip

It would be best to adjust the mask when lying down and having the device on. Most masks will inflate slightly when they have air on, as this is how the device seals. So by adjusting the mask when you have it on, you’ll get the best fit possible.

Get the Mask Fitted for Your Needs

If you’re new to using a CPAP device, you need to ensure that you have the right fit. Speak to your provider and let them know if the mask does not fit properly or feel uncomfortable. You want to let the provider understand your needs and enjoy the best fit and device that you can get. If it doesn’t fit the right way, then let them know about it so they can help you.

AutoRamp™ Mode

Many of these devices have the AutoRamp mode now. This setting allows you to adjust the air pressure by starting at low pressure as you try to fall asleep and then having the full force once you fall asleep.

This allows you to fall asleep in comfort, and then the complete treatment that the CPAP machine provides for you can start to work as the device adds more pressure while you’re sleeping. This mode allows you to go to sleep with just a little bit of pressure and not the full force of the mask as you try to fall asleep. It would be best to ensure that your machine has this mode, and most of them do now. Speak to your provider if you have any questions.

Use a Humidifier for Dry Throat or Nose

If you have a dry throat or a dry nose, you want to keep this moist when undergoing your CPAP therapy. The air pressure of the device will make everything drier than what you’re used to, especially if you’re already in a dry room. You can use a humidifier to combat this. You can find these devices online or in many department stores, and they will help improve

the air so you can go to sleep with the moister you need to feel comfortable. Speak to your provider, and they can help you understand humidity and find something that works for you

ResMed Pro Tip

Most CPAP machines now have a humidity setting which can help keep your nose and throat moist. Speak to your provider about the humidity options available to you.

If You Have Trouble Keeping Your Mask on, Wear Gloves

It may seem strange, but you should consider wearing gloves if you take the mask off at night while sleeping. You want to wear gloves with no grip or ones with an inferior grip. Wearing gloves prevents you from pulling off the mask during the night. Once you get used to wearing the gloves, your body will adjust to it, and you will be able to take the gloves off after some time as you’ll longer take the mask off during the night.

ResMed Pro Tip

It’s pretty standard for patients to take their masks off before sleep. However, if you have disruptive sleeping patterns or take sleeping medications, you may suffer from this issue. It would be best to ask about treatment options with your doctor, as there are ones that can help you sleep better to get used to your mask and not take off during the night.

Conclusion

It would be best to be positive when you’re wearing the mask. It does take some time to get used to the mask, but you have to work with it and give it some time until you’re used to wearing it.

If you have a positive mindset and understand that CPAP therapy is essential to your overall health, you will find it easier to use the mask. Once you get into the habit of using your mask, it will not be much of a problem for you. However, if you continue to struggle with the mask, speak to your provider so they can help you with the mask and any issues that you are having with it.

 

 

 

I write about sleep apnea for Health Union and WebMD and cover other topics. Contact me about your own writing needs, and I would be happy to help you out with your business or blog.

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