By: Lauri Leadley, CCSH, RPSGT- Clinical Sleep Educator|Sleep Coach
If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) disorder, then you may be advised by your sleep coach or sleep specialist to use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
OSA is a serious sleeping disorder that affects millions of Americans.
Sleep disruptions in OSA are caused by the breathing being repeatedly interrupted – the interruptions can last for a minimum of ten seconds and usually happen when the muscles at the back of the throat block the airway.
CPAP Therapy for Treating OSA
OSA can lead to people waking up from sleep to reopen the airway. In addition to suffering from loud snoring (which disrupts the sleep of the partner as well), OSA can also cause the person to wake up gasping or choking for breath.
Sleep deprivation and its associated mental and physical health complications are well documented.
CPAP therapy is the most common and most effective form of treatment for OSA. However, several people who have been recommended for CPAP therapy, complain of discomfort when using the machine.
Which is why, as a professional sleep coach, when I recommend CPAP therapy to my patients, I advise them on the correct usage techniques and how to overcome possible issues they might face when using a CPAP machine.
I am going to share the top four patient concerns that I come across routinely and what you can do about it.
Related Article – Are You At High Risk For Getting Sleep Apnea
1. Discomfort of Wearing a Mask
One of the first things that people complain to me about is the discomfort of wearing a mask in the first initial days, as it can feel unnatural. However, there is a fix to this issue – you can consult with a sleep coach or machine provider over how the mask can be adjusted for more comfortable wear.
As a professional sleep coach, I ensure that the mask style suits my patient. The newer versions of CPAP masks are designed to be lighter and more comfortable – so make sure you choose a mask that suits you well.
2. Forced Air Pressure can make Sleeping Difficult
If this is the problem you are facing, you are not alone in your complaint. A lot of people find it difficult to get used to the forced air pressure – in fact, this can even keep people awake!
My advice to my patients is this – start on a low setting and then gradually adjust/increase the pressure settings. This allows you to get used to the forced air pressure. If you couple the CPAP machine with a humidifier it can reduce the dryness, so the air feels smooth.
3. Noise from the CPAP Machine
If you are worried about noise, which by the way is again a common concern, then your worry is needless. The new CPAP models are almost silent. To ensure the noise does not trouble you at a later stage, make sure you keep the air filters clean.
If your CPAP machine is of an older model, consider switching to one of the newer versions which run softly – your sleep coach can always help you to not only find a newer model but if there are any issues with the machine, they can help rectify the issue as well.
4. Skin Irritation from Using the CPAP Machine
Skin irritation from using the CPAP machine can happen. However, if you suffer from a severe allergic reaction right in the initial stages, please consult with your sleep coach. If you find pressure marks on your face, it could be because the mask might be too tight.
All you need to do is loosen the mask to fit comfortably. If you used a sizing guide when selecting the mask, ideally you should not face these issues.
To Wrap Up
If you have been advised CPAP therapy, please follow these directions so you may begin to start sleeping better. Any issues you are facing including the ones mentioned above can be addressed by consulting with your sleep coach or CPAP machine provider.
Valley Sleep Therapy – We Believe in Sensational Sleep for All!
If you are looking for information about sleep devices and products or services for treating different sleep disorders, we would be more than happy to help.
You can also visit us at Valley Sleep Therapy if you are shopping for CPAP, AutoPAP, and BiLevel CPAP machines. Browse our online CPAP supplies store or visit us in Mesa, AZ today!