Top 5 Common CPAP Problems & Solutions

Common CPAP Problems

CPAP problems are not uncommon, especially in the early days of treatment. From mask styles to CPAP pressure settings, here are some of the most common CPAP problems patients experience, and how to fix them. 

  1. Getting used to wearing a CPAP mask - The most common CPAP problem sleep apnea patients experience is the mask. Wearing a mask while you sleep is not natural, but if you’re dealing with severe sleep apnea, the goal is for it to become second nature. There are a variety of mask styles and sizes to choose from so you can get the best fit for your face. Ask your doctor to show you how to adjust your mask to get the best fit. Learn more about mask styles.
  1. Removing the CPAP mask during sleep - During the early days of treatment for sleep apnea, it’s not unusual for patients to wake up to find that they are removing the CPAP mask while sleeping. When the mask falls off, or you take off the CPAP mask during sleep, it defeats the purpose. If the CPAP mask falls off during sleep, put it back on immediately, or adjust the straps if they’ve loosened too much. If the problem persists, you may need to try another type of CPAP mask. Get more tips on how to keep your mask on during sleep here.
  1. Uncomfortable CPAP pressure settings - The ramp features provide you with control over the air pressure, starting low, and then gradually ramping up to the pressure suggested by your physician. Luckily, you can adjust the ramp rate, but if your CPAP problems persist, consult your doctor about possible alternatives like a BIPAP machine. Learn more about how to adjust your CPAP pressure settings.
  1. CPAP machine noise - Most newer CPAP models are nearly silent, but it’s not uncommon to find the noise bothersome. Check that there’s no blockage or buildup in the air filter, try wearing earplugs or creating “white noise” to disguise the sound. If you haven’t replaced your CPAP machine in a few years, look into updating your device to a newer, quieter model.
  1. Stuffy or runny nose - A leaky mask can dry out your nose, so check the mask fit first. Using a saline nasal spray or rinse at bedtime can help avoid overdrying and decrease your chance of developing an annoying CPAP nose sore. Leaky or poorly fitted masks can also cause nasal congestion and sores. Using a CPAP machine with a humidifier can help alleviate nasal congestion and dryness.

Finally, when undergoing treatment for sleep apnea, it’s important to note that your health and your sleep won’t improve if you don’t meet treatment compliance. In addition, your insurance may refuse to cover the cost of treatment if you do not remain in compliance with your recommended treatment plan. If CPAP problems with your mask or other aspects of treatment persist, talk to one of our experienced sleep specialists to determine your best options.