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Do you use a CPAP machine? For those struggling with obstructive sleep apnea, one of the most common treatments is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, and this machine can help you sleep at night by delivering constant and steady air pressure. But as anyone with a CPAP machine knows, these machines are not without their problems. Here are a few tips for avoiding the most common CPAP machine problems.
Getting the Right Size
A CPAP machine delivers air through a hose and a mask, helping you breathe at night and sleep soundly. However, one of the most common problems with CPAP machines is finding a mask that fits you properly. An ill-fitting mask can leak, or simply prove too uncomfortable to wear for the whole night. At Sound Sleep Medical, we’ll work closely with you and the CPAP supplier to make sure you have a mask that fits you properly. Make sure the size is appropriate, and remember that being one size in a certain mask doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be the same size in a different mask.
If the mask is very uncomfortable, try a different mask. Masks come in a range of styles, from full face masks that sit snuggly over your nose and mouth to smaller masks featuring a nasal pillow that rests just under your nose. A full-face mask might feel too restrictive, but is perfect for people who breathe through their mouths at night, or shift a lot in their sleep. Nasal pillows might be the solution for you if you want to read with the mask on, but might not be an option if you sleep on your side. Learn how to adjust your mask, and don’t forget that a properly fitting mask won’t be uncomfortable or cause you any pain.
Many people complain at first of waking up with a dry, stuffy nose. If the mask is fitting properly, you shouldn’t experience uncomfortable dryness. Check that your mask isn’t leaking anywhere, as this can dry out your nose. Are you adjusting or tightening the straps all the time to stop a leak? Your mask isn’t fitting well, and is probably a bit too big.
If you’re still having problems with your nose, ask about CPAP devices that have a heated humidifier. The humidifier will attach to the air pressure machine, and will allow you to adjust the humidity of the air that comes through the machine. You can also use a nasal spray before bed to reduce dryness or a stuffy nose.
Do you breathe through your mouth at night? If you sleep with your mouth open, your CPAP machine could make your dry mouth a bit worse. The best way to stop dry mouth is to train yourself to close your mouth during the night. You could use a chin strap to keep your mouth closed, and this will also avoid an air leak if you’re using a nasal mask.
Your other option is to wear a full-face mask. This will cover your nose and mouth, and you can continue to breathe through your mouth while you sleep. A humidifier can also help a dry mouth, and investing in a humidifier to change the moisture levels of the air coming through your machine could give you a comfortable night’s sleep.
Skin or Eye Irritation
If you’ve experienced any skin irritation or pressure sores, your mask may not fit right, or may be leaking. Noticed dry eyes, or feel like you’re tearing up at night? Your mask is probably leaking, blowing air towards your eyes and making them dry out. Try adjusting the pads and straps to change the pressure points of the face mask. If you’re wearing a nasal mask, make sure it’s not too high up on the bridge of your nose, as this can apply uncomfortable pressure and increase your chances of a leak irritating your eyes.
Sound Sleep Medical
If you’ve been having any problems with your CPAP machine, don’t hesitate to contact us with any of your concerns. Using a CPAP might be frustrating at first, but with a little patience and help from our staff, you’ll soon notice all the benefits of treating sleep apnea, enjoy sleeping at night, and feel refreshed and alert during the day.