Over 18 million Americans have sleep apnea and CPAP therapy is the treatment most commonly recommended for this sleep disorder. Of course, that doesn’t mean it works for everyone. Studies show around 50% of CPAP users either discontinue their treatment or never even reach the minimum usage target in the first place. Oftentimes, this is because patients are unable to adjust to their CPAP machine.
If you’re struggling to adjust to your CPAP machine, you may be tempted to give up on your sleep therapy, but sleep apnea can lead to serious health issues when left untreated. You need to find a way to treat this sleep disorder that works for you.
These tips are designed to help you succeed with your sleep apnea treatment.
You’re Experiencing CPAP Mask Leaks
Finding the right size and style of CPAP mask is critical for adjusting to a CPAP machine. A poor-fitting mask may not only reduce the effectiveness of your CPAP therapy, it can also cause discomfort, marks on your face, and painful sores. CPAP mask leaks can even make a sound that wakes you or your bed partner up in the night. If your mask hurts you or prevents you from sleeping, you’re more likely to remove it during the night.
Do you have a nasal mask that should fit your face, but still seem to struggle with CPAP mask leaks? If you tend to breathe through your mouth, the air pressure will escape out of your mouth instead of going through your nose and keeping your airway open. This may be the case if you’re waking up with a dry mouth or a sore throat.
Choosing the most suitable CPAP mask can be difficult. You should consult with the CPAP supplier and experiment with different types of masks, such as:
- Nasal masks
- Nasal pillows
- Full-face masks
- Hybrid masks
- Helmet masks
You may need multiple fittings to get the size just right. It can also help to know your sleeping and breathing preferences. For example, if you’re a mouth-breather, you may need a mask that covers your mouth. Many patients are successful using a chinstrap, which trains you to keep your mouth closed during sleep therapy. In many instances this can be accomplished over a couple of weeks. Chinstraps can help patients to train their body to breathe through the nose, which allows for a smaller profile and a more comfortable mask.
You’re Getting CPAP Rainout
A commonly reported side effect of CPAP is drying of the airway and sore throat due to the continuous flow of air. This is why most CPAP machines now incorporate heated humidifiers. Unfortunately, these humidifiers create another problem that makes it hard for patients to adjust to their CPAP machines: CPAP rainout.
The humidifier heats the air, which then moves through the hose and into your mask. There’s a huge drop in temperature as the air moves out of the humidifier. As a result, the moisture in the air condenses into droplets in the hose. The hose can fill with water and you may find that water gets into your mask during the night. Being woken up by inhaled water droplets makes for a very unpleasant and startling experience.
There are a couple of simple changes you can make that may help prevent CPAP rainout. Adjust your bedroom temperature and the humidifier settings on your CPAP machine. You can also try placing your CPAP machine on a lower surface to your bed so water will be unable to travel up into your mask. Just be careful because water sitting in your tube can develop mold and bacteria over time. You always need to be vigilant and take extra cleaning precautions with devices that need a humidifier.
If these measures don’t work, you can purchase heated tubing or a wrap for your hose. By keeping the hose warm, you can help reduce the amount of condensation that occurs as air leaves the humidifier.
You’re Having Night After Night of Uncomfortable Sleep
You may not have any serious problems with your CPAP machine, but every night you use it, you feel uncomfortable and struggle to sleep. The machine is set up correctly and you’re doing everything right, but you still find:
- The hose gets tangled and weighs you down as you change sleeping positions
- The mask makes you feel claustrophobic and you can’t relax unless you remove it
- The constant air pressure makes breathing feel like hard work
- The CPAP machine noise or leaking air keeps both you and your sleeping partner awake
Whether you’re dealing with one or all of these issues, the result is the same: Your sleep quality and duration decrease and you don’t experience the full benefits of your sleep apnea treatment.
While any new habit takes time to stick, CPAP therapy may not be right for you. If you’re still not adjusting to your CPAP machine after months of trying, it’s time to consider an alternative sleep apnea solution that may be more comfortable for you.
You’re Ready for a Different Sleep Therapy
The Somnera® System is designed to eliminate some of the common CPAP problems. The combination of positive airway pressure (PAP) and low-flow technology provides the same therapeutic pressure as CPAP, just with less airflow. That means you don’t need a humidifier, which causes rainout and makes so much noise. You can use the same prescription and your Somnera Airbox device can be set to the same pressure or pressure range as your current CPAP device.
Somnera’s adjustable headgear is made from soft silicone and provides a wide-open field of vision. This minimal design provides comfort and helps minimize leaks throughout the night. The Somnera System comes with the smallest hose on the market, with a patented tangle-free design, so you don’t feel like you’re hooked up to anything during the night.
And because you need time to adapt to any new treatment, every Somnera System comes with sleep coaching (a $400 value) at no charge. A certified representative will walk you through a virtual setup that you can schedule at your convenience. Your coach will be available for follow-up and support as you see fit. This will ensure you get off to a great start with your new therapy.
Most habits take 21 days to form, but with the SleepBridge™ Program, many Somnera users create a new healthy sleep habit within just 10 days. See how you can reclaim your night with the Somnera System now.