Getting used to CPAP therapy
As you can imagine, there is a common belief that the biggest barrier to successful CPAP therapy is discomfort. This is, for the most part, true. CPAP is a new, strange experience, unlike anything your body has seen before. Do not let this deter you! CPAP therapy is the most effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Not only that, but with time and a little bit of effort, your CPAP machine will bother you no more than the glasses on your face or putting pajamas on at night.
But my machine is blowing too much air!
As we've said, your body has never had to deal with this constant airflow in your airway before, and it is uncomfortable! Our biggest tip here is that the human body is remarkably adaptable. Most pressure related issues resolve themselves with time and use.
If the pressure just feels too much, there are steps you can take at home as well as comfort measures that our sleep therapists can help you with as well.
If you find that you cannot fall asleep or you are woken up and must rip it off your face, we strongly recommend desensitization. To do this, put the mask on and if you are having a very hard time, you don't even have to connect the machine at first. You want to do this before bedtime, when you are reading a book or watching T.V. You want to trick your mind to forget you are wearing the equipment. The more comfortable you are to be wearing the mask, the easier it will be to fall asleep and will feel less strange in the middle of the night.
Some people find that they are bloated when they wake up in the morning. What is happening there is that your body s confused with the air coming in and tries to swallow it! While it can be quite uncomfortable, this symptom almost always goes away on its own.
Our sleep therapists have a few options that they can try that will alleviate your side affects. First, they will take a lot of time in your appointment finding the right mask for you - this is crucial for being comfortable with your CPAP. Next, they will talk to you about humidity. The right level of moisture is key to your comfort level. Most machines come with a ramp. Since you don't really need the full pressure into you are asleep, this feature starts your machine off at a very low pressure, only building to the pressure you need after you've fallen asleep. Lastly, the newer machines come with a pressure relief feature; this drops the pressure down while you exhale and raises it to your prescribed pressure as you breathe in! All these working together will help you adjust to CPAP therapy.
Our FAQ page is also a good resource for different tips on adjusting to CPAP. Our staff is professional and trained extensively to troubleshoot and resolve any of your CPAP concerns.
Remember, that while CPAP therapy may be uncomfortable at first, the benefits of long term use will make up for that exponentially!