Getting used to your new CPAP can be a challenge. Strapping a mask to your face with air blowing into your nose isn’t exactly a natural way to sleep! Some patients take to wearing their CPAP device easily, but many more go through a period of acclimation, or adjustment, while using the device.
CPAP use can be challenging and may require some adjustments to your system. Here are 10 helpful tips to help you adjust to regular CPAP use.
- Lower the stakes: don’t try to get used to your setup when you’re already tired and ready for bed. First, try wearing your CPAP for short periods during the day while you watch TV or read to get used to how it feels.
- Having nasal problems or mouth leaks? Try a heated humidifier. Not only can it decrease those issues, it can increase CPAP compliance
- Keep going: We know that early persistence pays off. Research has shown that if you’re using your CPAP regularly after the first week, then you’ll most likely still be using it after 1 year.
- Keep it clean: clean your mask, tubing, and headgear regularly and remember to change them on the schedule established by your insurance provider. Typically, every three months for tubing and mask and every six months for the headgear
- Feeling the pressure? Many devices have a ramp feature that allows you to start treatment at a lower pressure. As you fall asleep, the pressure will gradually increase to your normal pressure. Many newer devices have a feature that also reduces resistance when you exhale.
- Prevent the pull: Is your tubing pulling on your mask? Try looping it over your headboard to reduce the sensation.
- Dry, stuffy nose? A nasal saline spray may reduce mild nasal dryness. If congestion continues, talk to your physician. A nasal decongestant or steroid spray may help, but shouldn’t be used without your provider’s guidance.
- Make sure your mask is just right: A properly adjusted mask should sit parallel to the face when viewed from the side, not tilted in or out. Overtightening your mask can actually increase leaks and will cause soreness, so make sure yours is snug but not tight to your face.
- Keep those filters clean: regularly clean and replace your CPAP’s filters. They help remove dust, pollen, mold, and other airborne particles that cause irritation and allergy symptoms.
- Remember, it’s worth it: Using your CPAP will reduce or alleviate the nagging symptoms caused by sleep apnea. Studies have shown that benefits of consistent CPAP use include:
- Increased daytime attentiveness and energy level
- Fewer morning headaches
- Reduced irritability
- Improved memory
- Less waking during the night to go to the bathroom
- Increased ability to exercise
- Increased effectiveness at home or work
- Improved overall quality of life