Have you recently been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea or OSA? And does your doctor recommend Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP therapy to you? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by several things you need to do—from buying and setting up your CPAP machine to getting comfortable using it while sleeping.
At Pacific Sleep Care, patient care is our priority. So today, we’ll help you navigate some common issues experienced by those new to CPAP therapy. We hope you get better rest as soon as you iron out all the kinks with your CPAP machine.
1. It may take some time before you experience the benefits of CPAP therapy.
CPAP machines for sleep apnea have been available to help people sleep better and safer. But the key to successful CPAP therapy is patience and consistency. If you’re new to using a CPAP machine at night, it may be difficult to tell if it’s working.
Some people with OSA experience improvements in their breathing and sleeping patterns right away, while others may not feel the benefits for weeks or even months. Another factor at play is the type of sleep apnea you have. If it’s OSA, you may notice improvements just after a single night of using a CPAP machine. Those with central or complex sleep apnea may need more time to adjust to CPAP therapy.
One sure sign CPAP therapy is working is you’re sleeping through the night more often. You can also ask your partner or the person who sleeps next to you. They may observe that you’re less likely to snore or experience breathing pauses at night. Even if your partner doesn’t notice anything, your CPAP therapy is likely working if they have experienced peaceful and uninterrupted sleep as well.
2. Proper mask fitting is key to being comfortable with your CPAP machine.
When you get your CPAP machine, one of the first things you should do is get used to your CPAP mask. You may experience some discomfort the first time you wear it. So to get acclimated, mask-train by wearing it around the house during the day.
If you don’t still feel comfortable wearing the mask after several nights of using your CPAP machine, go back to your doctor. CPAP masks come in various sizes and shapes, and sometimes, the mask that felt right at the doctor’s office may not be the best fit when you’re lying down on the bed and trying to sleep. Natural body changes over time can also require you to get fitted with a different mask.
Here at Pacific Sleep Care, we provide trial CPAP machines, along with fitted masks, at no cost while we work with you in optimizing the effectiveness of your CPAP therapy. We’re ready to help you with any issues with your trial masks.
3. Your CPAP machine should be set up correctly.
The sleep study measures how many times your breathing pauses in one night. That number, also called the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), helps your doctor determine your type and level of apnea. They also consider AHI when recommending pressure settings for a CPAP machine. So if you’re on CPAP for a while and still don’t notice the benefits, consider adjusting your device’s pressure settings or go back to your doctor to re-evaluate your AHI. The machine must have been set up incorrectly.
Again, Pacific Sleep Care facilitates a treatment optimization period. Before purchasing a CPAP machine for sleep apnea, you can use a trial machine. This way, you, along with the guidance of your doctor, can explore your treatment plan. If the trial machine doesn’t work for you, our team will check the mask for leaks, adjust the settings or do anything to help optimize your apnea treatment plan.
4. Removing your CPAP mask in the middle of the night and not remembering you did it is a common issue.
When adjusting to your new CPAP machine, you may wake up in the middle of the night because of mask leaks. It’s also possible you shifted position and, in turn, took your mask off. Whatever the reason, taking your CPAP mask off in the middle of the night means you don’t get the benefits you need from CPAP therapy.
Consider tightening your mask or using mask liners for a better seal. That way, you’re less likely to wake up due to mask leaks. Got a bed partner who’s a light sleeper? You may want to ask them to watch out for you and have them convince you to put the mask back on—no matter how you refuse to wear it while half asleep.
Conscious efforts to keep your mask in place every time you sleep can help you get through the initial adjustment period. It’ll then be easier to stick with your treatment.
5. A CPAP machine for sleep apnea doesn’t have to be so loud.
A quiet CPAP machine is essential, especially for the sake of your partner or spouse. Thanks to technology, the best CPAP machines have become quieter and smaller. Visit our office to check the newest CPAP machine that won’t wake anyone up.
Sometimes, though, it’s the mask that makes the noise—not the machine. So make sure you have a good seal. Then, again, tighten the mask or use a mask liner to stop leaks. Also, you can reposition the mask to change the direction of the vented (and sometimes noisy) airflow and guide it away from your face (or your partner’s).
Start Your CPAP Therapy with Ease Here at Pacific Sleep Care
As one of the trusted suppliers of CPAP machines in Canada, we’re ready to assist you whether you are already diagnosed with sleep apnea or suspect you have it.
You can take our self-evaluation tests to initially see if your symptoms are likely to indicate sleep apnea. After that, we’ll refer you to a sleep specialist. If you already have an official diagnosis, our team of registered respiratory therapists, nurses, and other medical professionals is ready to optimize your sleep apnea treatment.
Contact us today or visit us at one of our locations on Vancouver Island.