For the millions of Americans diagnosed with sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is known for being one of the most effective treatments. But falling asleep with a CPAP mask on your face and pressurized air blowing into your airway isn’t exactly the most comfortable experience.
If you’re struggling to sleep comfortably with your CPAP machine, you're not alone. Here are some solutions that have worked for us.
Find the Right CPAP Mask
CPAP masks are available in a few different styles to suit patients’ various needs and preferences. There’s the nasal pillows CPAP mask, which provides minimum contact; the full-face CPAP mask, which covers the nose, mouth and face; and the nasal CPAP mask, which covers the bridge of the nose and upper lip area.
Talk to your doctor to determine which CPAP mask is right for you. For example, if you get claustrophobic easily, a full-face CPAP mask probably isn’t the best choice.
Use a Specially Designed CPAP Pillow
Traditional pillows don’t provide the right kind of support for a person wearing a CPAP mask, often resulting in air leaks and uncomfortable pressure on the face. If this is an issue for you, you’ll find great relief with the Contour CPAP pillow, which provides adjustable comfort and support for back, stomach and side sleepers.
Adjust the Heated Humidifier
Waking up with a dry, irritated nose is one of the most common complaints among CPAP users, but in most cases, it’s a pretty easy fix. Many of the newer CPAP models come with a heated humidifier that adds warm moisture to the pressured air before it enters the airway. This tends to make CPAP therapy a significantly more comfortable experience.
Take Advantage of the Ramp Feature
If you’re having trouble falling asleep with all that pressurized air blowing into your nose, you may need to start out more gradually. The ramp feature on a CPAP machine slowly ramps up to the prescribed pressure so that you have time to comfortably fall asleep.
When used as prescribed, CPAP therapy is extremely effective at treating sleep apnea, so it’s important to do whatever it takes to adjust. Soon you’ll be feeling better and healthier, and who knows, you may even learn to love your CPAP mask!