We’re the first ones to admit that CPAP isn’t for everyone. For many people, it can actually lead to a loss of more sleep, either because of difficulty adjusting or because of nightmares associated with wearing the mask. If CPAP isn’t working for you, there are great alternatives.
You should never just accept that you need CPAP: ask your doctor about oral appliances first. But if your doctor thinks that CPAP is the best treatment for your sleep apnea, you should give it a fair try before giving up.
Here are some tips to help you adjust to wearing your CPAP machine.
Get the Right Mask
There are many different styles of CPAP masks. Chances are that you can use several different varieties to get the treatment results you need. So you should try on several varieties before making a choice. And if the one you selected isn’t working for you, try a different one for a little while–sleeping with them on is the only way to really know if a mask will work for you.
Also make sure your mask is fitted properly. Talk to CPAP support staff to make sure you’re wearing the mask right.
Cut Down on Irritation
Skin irritation can occur with any type of CPAP mask, although some are more prone to it than others. The best solution for skin irritation depends on the source. If your skin is getting irritated by the mask or straps, a diaper rash cream can help. You have to avoid petroleum-based products such as Vaseline, though, as these can damage the mask.
Mask liners are also available, but they can be expensive, so you might try just cutting your own liner out of an old t-shirt.
Try Wearing Your Mask while Awake
When you’re trying to sleep is probably the worst time to try to get used to something like a CPAP mask, since minor irritations can either keep you awake or get multiplied over the entire time you’re sleeping.
So you can try getting adjusted to your mask by wearing it while you’re awake. Wear it watching TV, playing video games, surfing social media, or any low-key activity you enjoy. This can make the mask seem more normal and make it easier to sleep in.
Keep Your Machine Clean
A dirty CPAP machine can cause more irritation. And it’s unpleasant to wear because of the smells it accumulates. It can even make you more likely to get sick–it accumulates bacteria that you then inhale, increasing a risk of infection.
A daily wipedown is a good idea, with a more thorough cleaning at least once a week.
Don’t Be Under Pressure
One common problem that keeps many people from adjusting to CPAP is that they are using their machine at the wrong pressure. Too high of an air pressure can lead to problems like discomfort and maybe even air swallowing, which leads to bloating and gas in the morning.
Make sure you talk to a support person about the proper CPAP pressure for you.
Still Can’t Adjust? Oral Appliances Are Easier
If you’ve given your CPAP a fair try, but it’s still not working for you, we can help you with a more comfortable alternative.