Generally speaking, when you first start CPAP therapy you won’t have had much experience with a mask being on your face for 8 hours a night. Starting on CPAP therapy is a big change and it can take a little getting used to. Here are some tips that may help get you on your way to comfortable, effective therapy.
1. Understand that it is not always an easy therapy to get used to
You have spent your life sleeping without anything on your face and then all of a sudden there is a mask applying pressure to your airway. It is going to take some getting used to. Some people pick it up straight away, others take a bit more time to get used to it. It is comforting to know for some of our patients, that it can take a little while to get used. Persistence is important.
2. Try your Equipment out without the pressure of needing to sleep
We recommend trialing your CPAP equipment during the day for a few short periods of time. For example, while you’re watching TV, you can put it on to get a feel for it and see if any adjustments need to be made. During this time, check to see if your CPAP mask is fitting correctly. Try standing in front of a mirror and seeing if there are any leaks and that it is sealing correctly.
Spending some time to get used to your equipment and used to the breathing sensations CPAP offer without the pressure of falling asleep can be very useful.
We consider using CPAP a skill that needs to be learned. Like any new skill, it takes some work and different strategies to get it going effectively. Click here for some more tips on getting used to CPAP therapy.
3. Use the ramp setting on your CPAP machine
If the air pressure from your machine feels too high while you’re trying to fall asleep, trying using the ‘ramp setting’.
The ramp setting will begin your device on a low pressure and gradually build this pressure up over time. This means you will be able to fall asleep before the CPAP machine reaches its therapeutic level.
You can preset a duration for the ramp or some modern machines will detect when you are asleep, then gradually build up the pressure
Turn the machine off and start again. By turning the machine off, it will go back to its start pressure and allow the ramp to begin again. This a good tip for later in the night too if you wake up and feel like there is too much pressure blowing. To find out how you can alter the ramp time on your AirSense 10 CPAP Machine, Click here.
4. Maintain & Establish Good Sleep Habits
It is important that during this time you maintain and establish healthy sleep habits.
Healthy Sleep Habits include:
- Getting enough sleep (usually 7-9 hours)
- Going to bed when you feel tired in the evening
- Sleeping with a good mattress and pillow
- Ensuring your sleep environment is dark and comfortable
- Refraining from alcohol and caffeine consumption before bed
- Maintaining consistent sleep and wake times
CPAP therapy is a process and it can take a bit of work to get started. Often we find that the benefits are worth it in the end so keep persisting.
5. Talk to your therapy provider or other CPAP users
Using CPAP is a pretty private therapy. Reach out for support when using CPAP. As a CPAP therapist, we have been through this process thousands of times and have different strategies to help you get used to the therapy.
Your CPAP provider will also have access to some pretty detailed data from your CPAP machine. For example, within a leak chart, we can determine whether this leak is coming from a mask seal or a mouth being open. We can then address this issue to ensure your therapy is more comfortable and effective. There are several other issues we can troubleshoot too.
We have also set-up a CPAP support group on Facebook where CPAP users can discuss with eachother what works for them.
5. Inspect your equipment
From time to time we see patients come in with a noisy mask. It could just be that a part is not connected properly or that over time something has worn out. Parts can be replaced which makes the upkeep of your CPAP equipment much less expensive. We recommend coming in for a review every 12 months to check your data and equipment, to book in your review email us firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 1800 799 950.