Tips for getting used to wearing your CPAP device.
I was diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) the year I graduated from college. Until then, I thought I was always tired because all of the late nights studying and long days doing what a 20-something tends to do. My first experience wearing a CPAP mask to sleep wasn’t a good one. Neither was the second… or third… or 20th! I didn’t know anyone who used CPAP therapy and I was too dumb to talk my clinician, so it took a while to figure out I wasn’t using the right mask for me.
When you find the right CPAP mask (and it may take a little research to get it right), I found it helped just wearing around the house; just the mask. Get used to the way it feels on your face. Wear it doing the dishes or watching TV. Do this for a few days, whenever you can. Then try wearing the mask and hose with the air pressure on. Do this during the day. You’ll find you get so used to the sensation of it, it’s no longer weird trying to fall asleep while wearing it.
Once you’ve become accustomed to how it feels, start wearing it to bed – every night - even when you nap! This is important. DO NOT use it occasionally! Stick with it for at least a few weeks. See if the pressure settings are right and if your mask fits properly and comfortably. If you’re not consistent, you’ll never get used to it or benefit from your CPAP therapy.
One more thing, because many of us who works at CPAPmachines.ca suffers from some kind of Sleep Apnea (trust me: it’s not contagious, it just happened that way – and we’re all passionate about helping others with OSA), we all take turns testing out new merchandise even before we agree to sell it. Our product descriptions are not written by the manufacturers (like you’ll find on other websites), they are all written by us to best describe which device or accessory might better suit your needs. Check out our descriptions. They may help you find a CPAP mask or machine that is perfect for you.
Fred Harris - Inventory Control Manager
Tips for tolerating forced air from your CPAP machine.
When I started my CPAP therapy several years ago, I had a heck of a hard time getting used to it (who actually enjoys someone blowing in your face while you try to sleep anyway!?). Back then, there wasn’t a lot of information out there about Sleep Apnea and CPAP therapy. Eventually, I learned about something called a “ramp” feature. Not all machines have it, and its something your doctor or clinician has to adjust for you. Basically, the feature allows you to start with low air pressure when you first put on your CPAP mask. As you begin to fall asleep, the machine gradually increases the pressure up to your prescribed setting. This way, you don’t have to contend with that weird full-pressure blowing as you try to fall asleep. And when you do, you get the pressure you need to prevent an apneic event.
But, if a ramp feature still doesn’t help you, it might be time to talk to your doctor about a different device. A bi-level positive airway pressure (B-PAP) machine, for example, automatically adjusts the air pressure while you sleep: giving you more pressure as you inhale and less as you exhale.
Just remember to stick with it! Giving up on your therapy won’t help you. Just ask your doctor. Or drop us a line. We’ll help you find the information you need to make the right decision.
Marleen Pieter - Accounting Dept.
Tips to cure feeling claustrophobic in your CPAP mask.
CPAP mask designs have really come a long way. And as technology improves, they’ll continue getting lighter and more comfortable. But sometimes, even a stray eyelash can be enough to ruin a good night’s sleep. So feeling a little claustrophobic when you’re wearing your CPAP mask is totally natural!
Here’s what helped me feel more comfortable in my CPAP mask:
First: practice holding the CPAP mask up to your face – just the mask! No straps, no headgear, no hose. Do this during the day, maybe while you’re watching TV. Take your time. Don’t rush it.
When you're comfortable with that, try wearing the CPAP mask with the straps.
Next, try holding the CPAP mask and hose on your face (NO straps!) while the CPAP machine is attached and running at low pressure. Just enough air to barely feel it.
Finally, wear your CPAP mask WITH the straps and with the air pressure machine turned on. Do this during the day, when you’re fully awake. And remember: take your time.
Once you're comfortable with that, try sleeping with it on.
It’s not a natural feeling trying to fall asleep wearing a piece of silicone and plastic strapped to your face, so it may take a little time and patience to get there.
A friend of mine – who suffers from both Sleep Apnea and anxiety – swears by mild meditation just before bed. Another “CPAPal” (that’s my cute nickname for my fellow OSA sufferers) turned off his CPAP machines’ ramp function. He said the automatic increase in pressure made him feel helpless and anxious. Just make sure you talk to your doctor or clinician first.
It sounds obvious but your CPAP mask should be properly vented and maintained to allow carbon dioxide to escape when you exhale. A CPAP mask without sufficient ventilation could add to that claustrophobic feeling.
Sometimes, your CPAP mask might be totally wrong for you. You might want to try a different size or style. Often a nasal pillow design helps people relieve that claustrophobic feeling. But you could be trading effective pressure for comfort. Talk to your doctor or reach out to us here.
There’s one more thing: a positive attitude helps a lot! No one wants to sleep wearing a CPAP mask. It’s not natural. But for millions of us, it’s life saving therapy. The sooner you embrace your CPAP therapy, the better you’ll feel the next morning. Remember when you were a kid and your parents forced you to eat all your vegetables? You didn’t want to do it and I bet it was horrible chocking down all that spinach. But now you know better and you’ve probably grown to LOVE spinach. Same goes for CPAP therapy. A willingness to try and a good attitude will do wonders.
Agostino - IT Dept.