If you’ve recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea, your doctor has probably prescribed a CPAP machine for you to use while sleeping. This is a device that helps you breathe more easily and keeps the air flow continuous in your lungs so that you don’t stop breathing during the night. Unfortunately, many people find the machine cumbersome and intrusive and soon give up on using it at all.
It’s important to remember that you’ve been told to use a CPAP for very good reasons, and you may be jeopardizing not only a good night’s sleep but your health as well if you discontinue using it. We’ve put together some tips to help you adjust to your machine so that you are able ease yourself into using it every night. By using these tips, you can quickly get used to the sound, feel and function of your CPAP machine and begin feeling the benefits of a better night’s sleep within a few weeks.
It’s important to allow yourself to adjust to your machine gradually. Most people who stop using it gave up because they immediately tried to sleep through the night with it and were quickly frustrated. By going slowly and allowing your mind and body to adapt, you increase your chance of success.
When you first get your machine, take the time to understand how it works, ask the technician questions, and make sure it is fitted properly. The mask should fit snugly, but not dig into your skin. There should be no loose or rattling parts, and you should have enough tubing to allow you to roll around and move in bed freely.
Begin wearing your CPAP mask during the day rather than at night. Set aside about a half hour when you can simply relax with it on, and give yourself the chance to experience how it sounds and feels. Take about five minutes to focus on how it fits and let yourself think about the positive aspects of it (it’s not that loud, the nose piece is comfortable, etc.) Then focus on something else, such as reading a book or watching television and forget about the machine. cpap masks
Most people need to do this for about a week before they feel really comfortable with it. By wearing it during the day, they become used to breathing with it without the added burden of trying to sleep with it.
Next, move your half hour sessions to right before your normal bedtime. Try wearing the CPAP mask while you’re relaxing in bed, whether you just rest your eyes, watch television, or some other restful activity. After about a half hour, or whenever you are ready to go to sleep, remove it and go to sleep as usual.
The final step is to take the use of the CPAP machine from using it before sleeping to using it while sleeping. Since you’ve trained yourself to relax and unwind while breathing with your CPAP mask in place, you should be able to fall asleep more easily wearing it. During the initial several days, you may find that you wake up after falling asleep with the mask on. Don’t feel pressured to put it back on if it makes you feel anxious. Give yourself permission to take it off and sleep the rest of the night without it.
You’ll soon be able to fall asleep for increasingly long periods of time while using your machine. If you do occasionally wake up, it can help to get up and splash some water on your face before putting the mask back on if it has shifted. This will make it more comfortable and allow you to fall back to sleep more easily. Eventually, using your machine will no longer seem disruptive; it will become second nature and just as much as part of your bedtime routine as brushing your teeth. If you take the time to adjust properly to your CPAP machine, you’ll experience great health benefits and finally get the restful sleep you deserve.