CPAP therapy, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy, is not always east to get used to at first. For patients of CPAP, the initial shock of breathing with apparatus on the face can be extreme. Below are some suggestions on how to make this experience both easier to acclimate to and more comfortable.
How to Get Used to CPAP Therapy
- Use the autoramp setting on your CPAP machine. The autoramp setting makes the machine gradually increase the air pressure until it reaches the prescribed setting. This process can take around 45 minutes, providing an adjustment period and, often, allowing you to fall asleep before the machine reaches its highest air pressure.
- Download the ResMed My Air app to track your sleep apnea therapy. The ResMed My Air app sends data automatically from your CPAP machine to the app, telling you how well you’ve been sleeping each night. Seeing your sleep patterns may help you continue using CPAP therapy because it provides you with tangible proof of the improvement of your quality of sleep.
- Wear your mask during the day to get used to how it feels. Wearing your CPAP mask and CPAP headgear during daily household chores or while watching TV will help you become accustomed to how it feels and may help you sleep better with it, because you will be better accustomed to the feeling of it.
- Maintain a nightly routine. Establishing a nightly routine and then adhering to it helps you remember to wear the mask every night, as well as helping you acclimate to the usage of the mask. It will just become a part of your routine.
How to Increase Comfort on CPAP Therapy
- Make sure you have the right mask. Do you get sinus headaches easily? The nasal pillows most likely are not the best choice for you then, because they can artificially clog your sinuses.
- Wear gloves to ensure that you won’t remove the mask while sleeping.
- Readjust the mask every time before you go to sleep. Sometimes during usage, the mask fittings may loosen, causing it to feel more uncomfortable. To prevent this, always check how the mask fits before going to sleep.
- Use nasal saline spray or nasal decongestant. Both of these help decrease nasal dryness caused by the CPAP mask.
- Use NasoGel or NeliMed. These two nasal creams help reduce nasal dryness as well.
- Use a chin strap. If you suffer from mouth dryness due to your mask, buying a chin strap ensures that your mouth remains closed, eliminating mouth dryness.
- Sleep on your side. Side-sleeping promotes better blood flow and alleviates snoring and insomnia.
- Switch to a BiPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway pressure) machine. If you experience pain or bloating in your abdomen area, you should talk to your doctor about trying a BiPAP machine, instead. BiPAPs have a higher pressure when inhaling and a lower pressure when exhaling.
- Clean your equipment.
- Check the air pressure settings of your CPAP machine. If the settings are too high or too low, you may suffer from headaches or ear aches. Talking to your doctor about possible new air pressure settings fixes this problem.
- Find a Contour CPAP Pillow that suits you. If you are experiencing an uncomfortable pressure when sleeping because of the pressure your pillow puts on your CPAP mask, you should try a CPAP pillow. This pillow was designed with special foam, curvatures, and cut-outs that allow the mask to be unobstructed when the patient moves. It has been proven to reduce mask leaks and pressure on the face, suitable for all types of sleepers (side-sleepers, back-sleepers, and stomach-sleepers).
- Use a heated humidifier. The humidifier adds moisture back into the air that you’re breathing, eliminating nasal and mouth dryness. It’s almost standard to include these in your CPAP machine package because dryness is such a common side effect. If you continue to experience dryness while using a humidifier, then you should raise the heat setting on the humidifier or consider raising the ambient temperature in the room.
- Invest in protection pads. Here are highlighted three different types of protection pads. RemZZZs Mask Liners fit over the mask and help reduce irritation or red marks on the face, caused by the CPAP mask or headgear. They are available in a trial pack or a 30-day supply. Mars StrapGuards wrap around the straps on your mask and prevent indentations caused by the headgear. They are made of a soft flannel material and are sold in single- or double-layer protection. ResMed Gecko™ Nasal Pad sits on the bridge of your nose, reducing soreness and redness caused by CPAP masks. It can also help reduce mask leaks.
- Use a hose cover. Bro-GHO Hose Buddy is one product that helps lessen condensation in the hose, gravity strain, and even helps with rain-out issues. Rain-out is when water accumulates in your mask or condensation fills your tube.
TheCPAPPeople.com website provides many products aimed towards increasing your comfort levels, some of which are listed above. They also offer aroma therapy, cleaning, moisturizing, and even anti-bacterial tubing filters on their website. If you are searching for information on CPAP, sleep apnea, or other related topics, the CPAP People website contains a blog, seeking to inform, educate, and share information on these topics.