Sleep apnea is a condition that causes the patient to stop breathing multiple times over the course of the night. Even though the patient resumes breathing without assistance, sleep apnea can lead to undesirable effects, such as snoring and poor-quality sleep.
One of the most commonly prescribed treatments for sleep apnea is the use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. The CPAP machine blows a constant stream of air that prevents the throat from collapsing so that the patient remains breathing the entire night. To get the most from your CPAP machine, you need to wear it every night for the entire night.
However, many patients neglect to regularly use their CPAPs because they find it uncomfortable. If you find yourself avoiding your CPAP machine, here are three tips to make your machine more comfortable.
1. Swap Your CPAP Mask
Don't feel like you must use the CPAP mask that comes with your machine. There are three main types of CPAP masks available; the best option depends on your sleep habits and the settings of your CPAP machine.
A full-face CPAP mask works well for patients who breathe through their mouths. Some individuals breathe through their mouths due to allergies or personal habit. It may be more comfortable for those who sleep on their backs.
The nasal CPAP mask covers a much smaller area of the face (from the upper lip to the nose). It is a great alternative to the full-face mask, and many patients find it more comfortable to wear. If you change sleep positions throughout the night, consider a nasal CPAP mask.
A third option is the nasal pillow mask. This mask attaches to a piece of headgear that helps the mask stay in place. If you dislike larger masks or find it difficult to keep your mask in place, try this option.
2. Increase the Machine's Humidity Level
You can adjust the humidity level on most CPAP machines. Some patients complain that they experience a stuffy nose or dry mouth when they regularly use their CPAP machines. Increasing your machine's humidity level can help combat both of these issues.
3. Practice Wearing Your CPAP Mask When You are Awake
Some patients have a psychological block to using a CPAP machine. It takes time to get used to wearing a CPAP mask. By the time you go to bed, you are normally ready to sleep and don't want to deal with additional inconveniences.
Acclimate yourself to your CPAP machine by wearing the mask at other parts of the day, such as when you are reading or watching TV. This helps you become accustomed to the mask so that it does not bother you when it is time for bed. For more information, contact your local sleep apnea doctors.