There are many reasons why people can’t tolerate wearing their CPAP every night. Masks may be uncomfortable or lead to feelings of claustrophobia. People may experience irritation of the skin or airway. Or it may just seem like a pain to put on the CPAP every night. However, for many people CPAP is the best sleep apnea treatment available, and it’s important to give it a fair try before giving it up, especially if you have severe sleep apnea.
Here are some tips for trying to make CPAP work better for you.
Make Sure You Have the Right Mask
CPAP masks come in many different designs and styles. While it’s true that some of them look like alien facehuggers, you may be able to wear a less cumbersome style. Talk to your doctor about what styles are appropriate for you and try to find the most comfortable one that is still effective.
And don’t forget that masks usually come in different sizes and can be adjusted. Ask your doctor or a salesman about how to adjust the mask properly to get a more comfortable fit.
Do You Have the Right Accessories?
Although a basic CPAP machine might cause you all kinds of problems, you may be able to purchase additional equipment to make it more comfortable, such as a humidifier or heater to help combat irritation of the nostrils or throat. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and find out what solutions may be available.
Although sleep apnea has serious risks, it might not be wise to try to sleep using your CPAP right away. Try wearing your mask at other times of day, especially while you’re engaged in a distracting activity like watching TV or playing video games. Once you think you’re comfortable wearing it during the day, you’re ready to try it at night.
Get the Right Pressure Settings
Having air forced into your throat and lungs isn’t how we’re meant to breathe, so CPAP is always going to feel a little unnatural, but finding the right pressure settings can make it feel less so. If you reduce the pressure, you might feel more comfortable. And some people benefit from what is known as bi-level positive airway pressure, BiPAP, which uses two different pressures to simulate breathing in and out. And many CPAP machines have a ramp setting, which allows pressure to be gradually increased from when the machine is turned on, which might help you fall asleep.
Modern CPAP machines tend to be much quieter than older designs. If you bought a used or reconditioned CPAP machine and you’re finding it’s noisy, it may be time to upgrade. Also make sure that your CPAP doesn’t sit on anything that’s noisy or have anything noisy placed on top of it.
Still Can’t Adjust?
Unfortunately, even if you’ve gone through all these steps, it’s still quite likely that you won’t be able to adjust to CPAP. The good news is that in that case you can pursue CPAP alternatives that may work just as well for you, such as oral appliance therapy. Oral appliance therapy doesn’t use a mask, hose, or pump. It doesn’t force pressure into your airway, and it’s easy and quick to use.
If you would like to learn whether oral appliance therapy is an option for you, please call (303) 691-0267 for an appointment with a Denver sleep dentist at the TMJ Treatment & Sleep Center of Colorado.