Many people own a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and they avoid using their machine because it can be awkward or uncomfortable. There are adjustments you can make to increase your compliance with CPAP therapy.
Change Your CPAP Mask
The standard CPAP mask fits completely over the mouth and nose, which can be intimidating and uncomfortable. Furthermore, you may need to force yourself to sleep on your back, which is not always easy to maintain throughout the night. There are many types of masks available and talking with your doctor can help you find a mask that continues to provide the right amount of air flow, while improving your comfort. Switching to a mask that is less intrusive or one that works by only covering the nose can help if you experience anxiety while using your machine.
Cushion Tender Sinuses
If you have sinus problems, any pressure on your forehead, cheeks or nose can cause discomfort. When switching to a smaller mask is not an option, or you find that your mask is still uncomfortable, you can purchase cushions that fit under your mask. There are various types of cushions available, but most are designed to fit over the bridge of your nose and cheeks, which are areas that are especially sensitive to the weight of your mask. Look for cushioned straps if your mask requires a strap that goes over your forehead.
Oil and bacteria that remain on your mask can encourage breakouts, especially if you have acne-prone skin. If you experience breakouts from wearing your CPAP mask, keep a small bottle of alcohol or witch hazel on your nightstand and use cotton balls to apply the product to your face. Before you wear your mask and immediately after taking your mask off, wipe all areas of your face that come into direct contact with the mask. If either alcohol or witch hazel can be used on your mask, you can directly sanitize your mask before and after use.
Try aromatherapy supplies that are designed to be used with your CPAP machine or make your own. Certain scents such as lavender or any other scent that you find relaxing can help off-set any unpleasant chemical or rubber smell that is caused by your CPAP mask, or help ease anxiety if your mask makes you uncomfortable. Relaxing scents will also help you sleep easier and encourage you to wear your mask as intended.
If you want to create your own aromatherapy treatment for use at bed time, consider purchasing oil warmers that can safely be used unattended, or place a few drops of your favorite essential oil on cotton balls or tissues and leave them near your bed. Only use your chosen aromatherapy method at bed time and in your room so you are associating the pleasant scent with bed and your CPAP machine.
Add Moisture To Your Room
The airflow caused by CPAP machines can be especially drying to your mucous membranes. If you find that you wake up with a dry throat, sinus irritation or nose bleeds, adding a humidifier to your room can make you sleep more comfortably.
Choose humidifiers that are designed to work in conjunction with your CPAP machine to deliver moist air inside your mask. Otherwise, a traditional humidifier for your room can work just as well. One advantage of using a room humidifier is that it does not add moisture directly to your mask, which lowers the risk of bacteria or mold accumulation in your machine.
CPAP machines are an important part of minimizing or preventing severe complications from sleep apnea. There are several methods you can try to make using your machine more comfortable and encourage you to use the machine as directed. Talk to your doctor or CPAP machine manufacturers for more information.