Setting Up For Success

Success at CPAP is not easy. In fact only 40% of users use the machine more than 70% in a week.

Only 2 out of 5 CPAP users use their CPAP system more than 6 times a week.

Can I skip using my CPAP system?

This is best discussed with your doctor but in general the answer will be NO. For your health you need to keep to a regular CPAP regime.

The side effects of sleep apnea when you stop breathing is the loss of oxygen in your blood. This leads to high blood pressure, increase risk of heart attack or stroke.

When you have sleep apnea you are choking yourself. If you’re off your machine then you are putting a huge strain on your body.

Only you can decide if the risk is work it.

Why do people stop using their CPAP solution?

Vanity

It just looks so unattractive. How an your spouse find you attractive when you look and sound like Darth Vader. An alternative view is that your spouse will appreciate getting an undisturbed night of sleep.

There’s also proof that when your sleep apnea improves so you will your sexual abilities.

It’s only snoring.

Some people who snore have sleep apnea others don’t. Some people don’t snore and have sleep apnea. But it isn’t just snoring. It’s you not breathing you’re denying your body the oxygen is desperately need.

The mask is uncomfortable to sleep in.

This is especially true for full face masks. I’m a side sleeper and my mask would move up because of the pillow (use a CPAP pillow). Other people toss and turn and the mask moves because the hose drags across the pillow (use a hose holder).

I always get a dry nose.

Your nose is your body’s natural humidifier. It takes in the air as you breath and gives it some moisture. When too much air goes into your nose and it can’t produce enough moisture. To overcome this you should use a humidifier to get the air moist before it goes into your nose.

I tried a humidifier and water formed in my mask and drip onto my face.

This is called rain-out. It happens when the warm air hits the code air in the room. So it’s humidifier and rainout or no humidifier and dry nose.

But there are three things you can do to minimize rainout.

  1. Decrease the temperature of the air leaving the humidifier. But as you turn down the temperature you’ll find the air isn’t as moist. It’s a careful balance that can take time to find but just be patient.
  2. Warm up the hose or cover it in a host cover. This works because the hose and air are closer in temperature and won’t cause condensation.
  3. Sleep on your back. Some people find that sleeping upright makes the liquid drain down the face instead of your nose, mouth or eyes.

The Machine Keeps Me Awake

Older machines can be loud, especially when the blower is worn out. Newer machines are much quieter.

But anytime you move air you also make noise. Although quiet they still make a noise.

I found putting the machine nearer to floor helped a lot. But I then had the hose pull down on my face mask. I had to get a hose holder and a longer hose but it really helped.

Wherever you put your machine you need to keep it dust free. More importantly make sure the air intake is not blocked. Because its in a dustier location you should also check the filters more frequently than weekly. You should wash the reusable filter and replace the disposable filter when it’s no longer white.

When I wake up I’m not wearing my mask

Scary when this happens. You wonder how it was taken off and placed on the side table. You have no recollection of doing this.

This occurs when you’re not getting enough air. You need to increase the pressure of the machine.

But you shouldn’t change the pressure without getting advice from your sleep doctor.

My doctor gave me a set of pressures hat I could adjust my machine to.

I can’t breath out

Sometimes it’s tough to breathe out. It’s like blowing into wind. Then you likely need a machine that reduces the pressure when you breathe out. This is known as a BiPAP machine.

I find it hard to fall asleep with the mask on

I struggled to get to sleep. It’s hard to fall asleep when air is being rammed down your throat. Sleep apnea happens when your throat muscles/soft tissue relax and begin blocking the airway. But until that happens the air is just annoying.

You need a way to fall asleep, let the throat relax causing the apnea and then use the pressure to help keep the airway open. But the pressure keeps you awake.

If this is your problem consider using a ramp up feature on your machine. This lowers the pressure for the first 30 to 60 minutes and slow increases the pressure.

I get Acne around my face

Getting acne because of my mask was embarrassing: it looks like I was going through puberty again.

But stopping the acne is easily sorted.

You need to make sure your mask is clean before you use it. Be careful that you don’t use an anti-bacterial soap as it damages the cushion material. You should use a specially formulated CPAP mask cleaner. They are a much better cleaner than using soap and water.

I get red marks on my face

Red marks occur when the mask is on too tight.

Some masks work better by having less tension so try reducing the headgear tension. E.g. cushion masks should be fitted to your face, pull away from your face to expand the cushion to a better seal.

The main reason for increased strap tension is to reduce the amount of mask leaks. Sometimes its because the mask and/or headgear is aging. Headgear stretches out of shape; cushions become harder or wear out.

With modern masks you can replace just the parts that are wearing out. I recommend using Amazon to get the parts. Good pricing and in most cases free shipping.

I’m suffering from open sores

This is very uncomfortable and you should see your doctor about treatment.

There are options to not using your mask.

If you’re using a full face mask try using a different mask that rests on different parts of your face. If you’re using a nasal mask or nasal pillow then switching to a full face may help.

Another solution is to use Mask Liners. You can put the medication on the sores and then use a mask liner as a ‘bandage’. This allows the medicine to work and the mask liner smoothing out the pressure and improving the seal so you can reduce the headgear tension.

My mask keeps slipping

If you’re an active sleeper then you put additional pressure on your mask as it gets tugged around. This can be minimized by by using a CPAP pillow and a hose holder The hose holder holds the hose up in the air so it doesn’t drag your mask around and the pillow allows the mask to sit in the hollow and not causing it to twist.

I wake up with Dry Eyes

This is cause by your mask leaking air into your eyes. It’s a mask leak and you should follow our mask leak guidelines.

I wake up with terrible dry mouth

This is caused by your mouth being open as you sleep Basically you need to shut your mouth and this can be done using a chin strap.

You have to be careful with dry mouth. A dry mouth is a ripe environment for tooth decay. Leave it unattended and you will get a mouth full of cavities.

You may also want to consider using Biotene: it helps keep your mouth moist.

Summary

There are many things that can stop you using your CPAP and reaping the benefits. But they can be overcome with simple changes.