You are diagnosed with sleep apnea. The thing you had been suffering from for a long time, usually pointed to as a nightmare was a disorder.
Well, sleep apnea is not a life-threatening disorder.
What it can do is, make your life miserable, if not treated timely and professionally.
For patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, doctors recommend a CPAP machine.
You purchased a CPAP machine and got everything as planned and timely manner.
But, the night you wore the mask, connected to a box called a CPAP machine, you felt like you lost your freedom. It is intimidating wearing a mask, it looks more like you are tethered to something.
Don’t worry, you are not alone.
Check every forum related to sleep apnea, and CPAP machines, every other guy will be complaining about how intimidating it is to use a CPAP machine.
The morning after using a CPAP machine for the first time, every patient search for ‘how to get used to a CPAP machine.
And there you are too with the same phrase.
I am going to help you to get used to a sleep apnea machine. Stick to this guide, I am sure by the end of reading this post, you will have multiple ways to get used to a CPAP machine.
related: how much does a CPAP machine cost
Tips to get used to a CPAP machine:
There is nothing better than a positive or winning mindset. If you are recommended to use a CPAP machine, and your doctor prescribed use a CPAP machine for your condition, there is no way out. Sooner or later you will be using a CPAP machine.
Let me tell you shocking statistics, around 35% of the total patients suffering from sleep apnea, and stop using a CPAP machine within the first week.
So, I am sure you would not be among those stops using the first 35 percent but the other 65 percent.
Go with a winner mindset, put your everyday sleep routine in stride and get ready for minor setbacks or issues.
These are some tips, if you follow them, I am sure you would be able to use a CPAP machine without any big trouble or issue.
1. Exhale it harder
The biggest problem or issue new CPAP machine users face is breathing patterns. Our natural breathing pattern is different than a CPAP mask or what we get used to.
So, the thing you should do when using a CPAP machine is exhaling it a little harder than what you are used to.
One more thing, keep your mouth closed, and in the first few days go to your bed an hour before you use to.
Wear the mask, watch TV or something else, and trick your mind into that it’s nothing new, and don’t let the mind focus on that.
The only thing you should remember is to exhale a little faster, once you master your mind push it a little harder when exhaling things are already set for you.
2. Quiet CPAP machines
It has been more than 40 years since the CPAP machines came into existence. The early versions of the CPAP machines were loud and had something not to stand against.
But, the same complaints can’t be taken true. Today’s CPAP machines are way more developed and advanced than before, there are special quieter machines you can get your hands on if sensitive to noise.
So, if you are sensitive to noises, don’t go with noisy CPAP machines which are cheaper and perform better than others.
Go with quieter machines, now you can buy a CPAP machine as quieter as 26 decibels, quieter than an average whisper.
3. Comfortable Mask
Around 90 percent of sleep apnea patients stop using a CPAP machine because of the fatigue they experience, or intimidating it is to wear a mask.
That’s because people often go with the mask which is best in quality and performance. They don’t see what suit them the best and their facial landscape.
The most important thing and the aspect you should keep in mind is to go with a mask that fits you right.
If you feel it little intrigued with a whole face mask, go with a mask that stays on the nose and mouth area and goes back on the head with the straps.
There is a whole variety of different masks, you can pick the one that you are comfortable with, not the one top-rated, or most expensive.
4. Choose The Right Type of Mask For You
Generally, people don’t think much when buying a mask. These are three main categories of the mask, go with the one that suits you the most.
- Full Face Mask:
As per most CPAP machine users, the Full face mask is the most uncomfortable mask for beginners.
Although, as per the medical experts, a full face mask is the best and most effective for sleep apnea patients.
But, due to it covering the mouth and nose, there is some kind of susceptibility to discomfort while sleeping.
I recommend not using this type of mask if you are starting out using a CPAP machine. Once you master how to use a CPAP machine, then you go with this type of mask.
- Nasal Mask:
If you sleep on your side, a full face mask makes it discomforting for you. Side sleepers and those who move a lot in sleeping are often recommended to use a nasal mask.
Don’t take it as a nasal pillow, it covers the nose and a part of your face.
- Nasal Pillow
If you need the smallest kind of mask and got facial hair due to the reason can’t use a full face mask, go with a nasal pillow. It covers only the nose, with no mouth covering at all.
But, due to only the nose being covered, there can be some issues in breathing for those suffering from worst Sleep apnea, and it also leads to nose dryness.
5. Practice using it during the day
The mask you wear the first time makes a clamp of plastic hugging your face and turning you look like an alien.
It feels a little awkward and intimidating. It takes time to get used to it, to help you sleep sound, you should practice wearing it during the day when you got some free time.
Try different settings, and save the right fitting setting for the night.
Start wearing it during the day, let it stay in your mouth, and get used to the sensation. Wear it when you are watching TV, reading a book, or doing other things in your leisure.
6. Clean CPAP machine
If it is not the mask putting your peace in disarray, it can be a dirty CPAP machine that makes you fall ill or have some kind of infection.
It has been tested that due to infection people often stop using a CPAP machine. There is no fault with the CPAP machine, it is a dirty CPAP machine or its mask.
The mask should be cleaned on regular basis due to humidity and your nose connecting it to it, it can grow germs and bacteria, and a dirty mask can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria.
In the same way, it is the CPAP machine’s inner fan system that pressurizes air, and the humidifier moist the air, if the humidifier is not clean, and has grown mold inside, the air you will be breathing is full of germs.
Indirectly you are inhaling germs, which surely going to make your lungs suffer.
So, cleaning a CPAP machine, its humidifier, and its mask should be among the top priority. Make it a routine, and clean it as per the mentioned schedule.
7. Guys with facial Hair
Men with facial hair suffer the most. They are already fighting a battle with sleep apnea, and the added problem is no mask fits them well.
For you, you must buy a mask keeping your facial hair in mind. Luckily there are masks specially designed for you, just search online and ask for a special mask for your condition, and you will be delivered the type.
It’s okay to not use a CPAP machine once a Week
For the first month, you can’t take a break from using a CPAP machine. It’s for the sake of getting used to it.
But once you are used to it, you can take a break once in a week or two or as per your doctor’s recommendation.
But don’t take weeks-long or months-long breaks, it will break your habit of using a CPAP machine plus the severity of the sleep apnea will come back again.
The discomfort suffered using a CPAP machine
There are different types or levels of discomfort sleep apnea patients have to suffer using a machine.
I am not saying that you too would suffer the same kind of discomfort, every complaint is different, and may require a dedicated solution.
But, this is what most sleep apnea patients have complained about using a CPAP machine.
The shortest and surest way to tackle this discomfort is, you prepare yourself for a kind of discomfort.
You prepare your brain that there will be some difficulties and discomfort in starting, and within a few days, you will get used to it.
Pressure against the natural breath
The pressure the CPAP machine pushes against your natural breath feels kind of overwhelming. Above all, some patients might not be able to keep up with the exhalation.
The inhalation speed is always more than exhalation, while the CPAP machine is set at the same pressure and speed for inhalation and exhalation.
To get this fixed, if it is overwhelming and you can’t keep it with the CPAP machine, you can mention it before your doctor and he may recommend you a BiPAP machine.
The BiPAP machines come with different pressure and settings for inhalation and exhalation. You can reduce the exhalation speed and get it to the point of what you can cope with.
Mask makes it discomforting
It’s the mask, tethered to a box, placed on your mouth, which makes it discomforting and overwhelming. Plus, you can’t move around, it is like losing freedom, sacrificing your maneuverability on the bed.
The max you can do with a mask gets a good quality mask with the right padding and headgear area. Or get a mask that stays only the mouth and nose, not on the whole face.
Even the quietest CPAP machine will have noise. It’s a fan spinning inside a box, pressurizing air, and along with a humidifier, there will be some kind of noise.
The thing you can do is, buy a less noisy or particularly quiet type of machine. Don’t go with too noisy machines, you will get disturbed by the noise if not the sleep apnea.
As I mentioned, we can’t do anything about using a CPAP machine, there is no way other than using it.
The thing you can do is to get yourself ready to use it. There are ways, methods, and tips that make your brain gets prepared for using a CPAP machine.
Getting used to a sleep apnea machine aka CPAP machine is an ongoing process. It’s not like you will get used to it within days or hours, or it will show no problem at all.
It’s a new thing, breaking your years-long habit of sleeping, so give it some time to fall in, get settled, and make peace with yourself.
Make yourself ready for the initial bumps, the first few nights might be over intimidating. But, you make yourself a goal, make a plan and stick to it.