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5 Tips for Having a Better CPAP Experience

CPAP machines are used for treating sleep apnea

CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure machines, are used by patients who struggle with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a potentially fatal sleep disorder which causes a patient’s breathing to stop and start repeatedly throughout the night. CPAP machines have been created for sleep apnea patients to help them with this problem.

CPAP machines are worn over the mouth and nose, and air is gently pushed into the airway in order to stop the throat from closing. However, CPAP machines often have a bad reputation for being uncomfortable and difficult to look after.

A drawing of a man wearing a CPAP machine while asleep
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that can cause a person to stop breathing in sleep.
CPAP machine is used to treat the disorder, whose discomfort can be eased with these tips.
(Image: by PruebasBMA - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, commons.wikimedia.org)

So, here are some tips to help you have a better CPAP experience:

1. It Gets Easier

Like most things in life, when you try something new for the first time it can feel strange. Wearing a CPAP machine is no exception. Having to fall asleep with a mask over your nose and mouth can feel very uncomfortable, but evidence has shown that it does get easier with time (and practice). If you don’t like the feel of the mask on your face at night, then it might be a good idea to try wearing it during the day so that you can get used to it.

2. Keep it Clean

In order to prevent harmful bacteria from building up inside the mask, you need to learn how to keep it clean. A CPAP machine is constantly exposed to moisture; this means that it’s the perfect place for bacteria to breed. In order to stay well and have a better experience using your CPAP machine, you’ll need to make sure you keep clean and sanitized.

3. Make Small Adjustments

Many people find that they have to make adjustments to their mask in order for it to feel comfortable. If you wake up in the morning with red marks on your face, then the mask is too tight. Even if your mask has been fitted by a professional, it may require a bit of tweaking.

When making adjustments to your mask, make sure that you’re lying down, and you’ve got the CPAP machine turned on. When the machine is on your mask will inflate slightly, so making sure you're lying down with the machine on will allow you to make sure it’s fitted accurately.

4. Use a CPAP Humidifier

If you find that your CPAP machine leaves your mouth and nose feeling dry, then purchasing a CPAP humidifier is recommended. Humidity is needed for CPAP machines to work effectively, and while purchasing a room humidifier might help, being able to tailor the humidity to your needs is much better.

5. Wear Gloves to Bed

It’s fairly common for people who use CPAP machines to wake up in the morning and find they’ve taken their mask off in the night. In order to stop yourself from unknowingly taking your mask off, it’s a good idea to wear gloves. Choose gloves that have little or no grip. Most people find that after a week or so they no longer need to wear gloves as they no longer try taking the mask off while they’re asleep.

If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea then there’s a good chance that you’ve been advised to wear a CPAP machine when you go to sleep at night. Anybody that has ever experienced one of these machines knows that they can take a bit of time to get used to. They’re not the most attractive pieces of equipment, but they can save your life. If you have to wear one of these machines, then follow some of our top tips to make your experience as pleasant as it can be.

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