A CPAP machine is a tool designed to help people with sleep apnea get better quality sleep. When everything is working properly, they are extremely beneficial. Unfortunately, as with all other forms of technology, things can sometimes go wrong.
One issue we hear a lot about is that the CPAP mask leaks. Often, the complaints sound like:
- “I’m losing air pressure.”
- “Strange noises are coming from my mask.”
- “My sleep is being disrupted.”
- “I feel stuffed up when I wake up in the morning.”
If you have similar complaints, your CPAP mask likely leaks. Read on to learn about the top five reasons your CPAP mask leaks, and what you can do about it.
- The pressure is too high. When you first receive your CPAP machine the doctor or therapist most likely helped you to set the pressure settings based on the results of your sleep study. There may come a time, however, that these settings will need adjusting. You can talk to your doctor about changing it. There is also a chance that if you use a CPAP with a ramp feature that gradually increases the pressure that it has been set too high.
- You toss and turn in your sleep. If you move around too much in your sleep it can cause your CPAP mask to shift or become loose which breaks the seal and causes a leak. This can usually be taken care of by simply tightening the straps. If you are someone who tosses and turns at night you may also want to consider purchasing a mask specially designed for active sleepers.
- Your mask is dirty. If dirt and oil build up on your CPAP mask it can lose the seal. You should clean the mask daily by wiping it down with a damp washcloth or a wipe designed to clean CPAP masks. Once a week you should deep clean the mask with soapy water. Also, keep in mind that over the day sweat, oil, dirt, makeup, accumulates on your face and can cause your mask to slip. So, make sure you wash your face before you wear your mask.
- The way you sleep. The position in which you sleep can alter how your CPAP mask fits your face. If you are a person who tends to breathe with your mouth open at night, then a nasal mask is not going to work well for you, and you should instead use a full-face mask. If you sleep on your side, a nasal mask would work better for you.
- Your mask is old. Eventually, the seal on your CPAP mask will wear out and cause a leak. It’s normal to have to change your mask at around every three months or so. If it’s time for you to change out your mask you can browse the options we have available here.
If you feel like you still have a mask leak after trying the above suggestions or have any other concerns about your CPAP machine, we are here to help. Visit us at Valley Sleep Therapy or call us at (480) 361-0124