If you have sleep apnea, few things can make a bigger difference for your sleep quality — and overall quality of life — than using a CPAP machine as prescribed by a sleep specialist. However, getting used to wearing a CPAP mask and using a CPAP machine does require a bit of an adjustment.
In fact, some people struggle to continue with their CPAP therapy because they don’t like the feel of the pressurized air or their mask.
However, sticking it out during the adjustment period will allow using a CPAP machine to eventually become second nature to you, enabling you to get the quality rest you need each night. The following tips will help you get used to your new equipment and start your sleep apnea therapy right.
1. Read the Instructions
Just like any other device you might buy, your CPAP equipment will come with a user manual. This manual covers all the basics that will help you operate your equipment. This could include setup essentials like connecting your machine to the tubing and mask, how to adjust mask fit, how to clean your equipment, how to adjust various device settings, and so on. The user guide will also provide detailed information on how long you should replace key components like the mask, headgear, and tubing.
Following these guidelines will help you enjoy effective and more comfortable therapy as you get everything set up properly. Remember, user information is also generally available online nowadays, but you should always doublecheck and make sure you are reading instructions for the specific equipment that you are using.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
Wearing a CPAP mask can be the most challenging part of beginning sleep apnea therapy. Some people find that practicing wearing the mask during the day with the mask disconnected from the tubing and CPAP machine is a good way to get used to it.
Practicing wearing your mask during the day can help you get used to how it feels so that you don’t get stressed out or start feeling claustrophobic when you put it on to go to sleep at night.
One key thing you’ll want to practice is how to adjust your headgear. Tighten the straps so that the mask fits snugly enough to prevent air leaks, but not so tight that it becomes uncomfortable or irritates your skin. If your CPAP machine can perform a mask fit or air leak test, this can help you make any necessary adjustments.
3. Experiment With Comfort Settings as Needed
Today’s CPAP machines feature a variety of settings designed to make sleep apnea therapy more comfortable. Some machines monitor your breathing patterns to deliver slightly lower air pressure levels when you exhale for more comfortable breathing. Ramping is another popular feature, which gradually increases delivered air pressure until you fall asleep.
One of the most important comfort features included in most modern CPAP machines is a humidifier. By adding moisture to the pressurized air provided by your CPAP machine, you can prevent sore throat, dry mouth, and other common side effects. Don’t be afraid to adjust your humidifier settings to find the right option for your needs. Just make sure the water tank is full before you try to use the humidifier!
4. Consult With Your Sleep Specialist
If you’re struggling with discomfort or having a hard time adapting to your CPAP machine, your first call should be to the sleep specialist who prescribed it. As a trained sleep expert, they can help you with common troubleshooting issues, including how to ensure your mask fits properly.
Your sleep specialist can also work with you to determine when changes need to be made to your CPAP therapy. This could involve adjusting the air pressure settings on your device, or even changing the type of mask you wear. They use their knowledge of sleep apnea and your sleep habits (including data provided by your CPAP machine) to help you find the best solution.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor! They are the expert, and are ready to help as needed.
5. Find Additional Support
Your sleep specialist isn’t the only person who can help you get used to CPAP therapy. Free online forums specifically targeted at CPAP users are also available, where you can connect with others who are going through (or have gone through) the same adjustments you are. Other CPAP users can offer helpful tips and insights for how you can get used to your device.
Even when you don’t need advice, simply being able to connect with other people who understand what it’s like to start using a CPAP machine can provide a much-needed boost. Their encouragement and success stories can give you the motivation to stick with your therapy.
Make CPAP Therapy a Success!
While using a CPAP mask and a CPAP machine will undoubtedly take some getting used to, there is no denying the difference this will make for your sleep quality. Not only will you eliminate constant fatigue, but you will also reduce your risk for more serious long-term side effects associated with untreated sleep apnea, such as hypertension, depression, and type 2 diabetes.
With Help Medical Supplies on your side, it becomes even easier to get the CPAP equipment that you need. We offer a wide range of CPAP machines and masks from leading brands, many of which are available at significant discounts off of MSRP. With free shipping on orders of $99 or more and high-quality refurbished CPAP machines, you can save even more as you get started with your treatment.