For people with obstructive sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a common treatment. A CPAP machine, which is used while sleeping, uses a hose and mask or nosepiece to deliver constant and steady air pressure. Learning to sleep with a CPAP can be challenging at first, but there are things you can do to make it more comfortable.
Common problems with a CPAP include a leaky mask, trouble falling asleep, stuffy nose, and a dry mouth. The good news is that if the CPAP you’re currently using doesn’t work for you, there are other options. We’ll outline some of the ways you can learn to sleep better with your CPAP.
8 Tips for Sleeping With a CPAP
- Practice makes perfect. Once you get accustomed to wearing your mask, it will become easier to fall asleep. Wear it during the day for an hour or just before you go to bed. The longer you wear it, the more comfortable it will feel.
- Use it every time you sleep. Using your CPAP every night even if it’s uncomfortable at first is a great way to build it into your routine. The more you sleep with it, the more familiar it’ll become.
- Make sure your mask is fitted for you. To make sure your mask is properly fitted, talk with your doctor or medical equipment provider about how you sleep. Do you breathe through your mouth? Are you a side sleeper? The more information you give will help them determine which mask works best for you.
- Adjust your CPAP mask nightly. Just because you got fitted doesn’t mean you can’t make tweaks on your own to make your mask more comfortable. When making adjustments, make sure to do them lying down with the machine on. Many masks inflate slightly with the air on to help the seal, so lying down will ensure that you get an accurate fit.
- Use AutoRamp™ on your CPAP machine. This is one of the most popular settings on CPAP machines. The AutoRamp setting allows you to adjust to the pressure while you’re trying to fall asleep by starting at a very low air pressure, then moving to full pressure after you’re asleep. This feature helps you fall asleep more easily.
- Use a CPAP humidifier if your nose or throat is dry. Keeping your nose and mouth moist during CPAP treatment is a must. CPAP machines now come with built-in humidifiers that allow you to tailor the right amount of humidity to help keep your throat and mouth less dry.
- Optimize your lifestyle for sleep. By making a few simple changes to your daily routine, you can fall asleep easier. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants close to bedtime and avoid alcohol and eating two hours before you go to sleep. Working out for at least 30 minutes daily or a few times a week can also help you fall asleep easier.
- Prepare your bedroom for comfort. Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and free of distractions. If your room is too hot or too quiet, use a fan to cool it down and provide a soothing sound. Also, keep your bedroom clean and clutter-free because messes can subconsciously stress you out and keep you awake.
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If you’re having trouble sleeping with your CPAP, using the tips described above can help you sleep better. If you still have problems sleeping or have additional questions about sleeping with your CPAP, you can learn more by visiting us at Baptist Health here.