Forum · Community Tips for Using PAP Devices

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[-] Kyle +0 points · about 2 years ago

As many of you know, it can be very difficult to accommodate to using new PAP devices, especially when you're newly diagnosed. As so many of the MyApnea community members have been through this process, we want to create an area for new PAP users to come and get advice from those with experience.

In the interest of helping others, please share tips and tricks that you wish you had known when you first started using your PAP device!

Let's make the accommodation process as smooth as possible!

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[-] DennisD +0 points · about 2 years ago

Improve your CPAP usage even before entering the bedroom.

Know why you are moving forward with CPAP. I moved forward for my fiancé (now wife) , so I can continue to work on complicated projects and for my health. You will have to remind your-self periodically.

Make success a process.

Commit to putting your CPAP on every night. Tolerating and maybe even enjoying the process will come later. Increase the minimum time you will wear the mask every night. There were weeks of checking the clock for me. Getting to 4 hours was the magic number for me.

Why is my nose filling up with water?

I was not prepared for condensation building up on my first nasal mask. We’ll describe the experience as uncomfortable. Towel by the bed to clear condensation may come in handy

I am being strangled by my CPAP.

I eventually developed a sleep position plan and practiced transitions. Newer masks with swivels really help if you are getting tangled.

I was doing so well. What happened?

Allergy season tends to catch me off guard. I found taking my allergy medicine just prior to symptoms was very helpful. See, why is my nose filling up :). Know your sleep process and stick to it. I do best when I read before going to bed (well before kids anyway).

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[-] TedB +0 points · about 2 years ago

Try wearing your CPAP while awake, watching TV or reading to help get used to it.

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[-] DanM +1 point · about 2 years ago Sleep Commentator

Great tip, DarrelD.

I often tell new CPAP users to practice wearing their CPAP device while awake. Make sure to turn the machine on so you get used to the air pressure and not just to wearing the mask. A CPAP mask should never be worn for long periods of time without the machine turned on.

Many CPAP users have difficulty tolerating the feeling of air being forced into the nose and/or mouth while trying to fall asleep. To help with this, most devices have a "ramp" feature. The ramp feature starts the CPAP at a very low pressure and automatically increases the pressure over time to make falling asleep more comfortable. The length of ramp time varies, but it can be adjusted on most machines. Ask your home care provider how to adjust the ramp time on your machine if you feel the air pressure rises too quickly while you are trying to fall asleep. You should also ask your home care provider if the ramp feature starts automatically or if you need to start it manually. Many machines have a ramp button that can be pressed to start the ramp feature. If you wake up during the night and have difficulty going back to sleep because of the air pressure, you can press the ramp button to lower the pressure while you fall back to sleep.

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[-] Kyle +0 points · about 2 years ago

Here are 6 quick tips for traveling with CPAP from @Ed :

  1. TSA will pass your cpap right thru at the airport if you take your cpap out and leave it on top of the plastic tray.
  2. Never check your cpap as luggage. Take on board with you, it is medical equipment and can not be counted as a "carry-on".
  3. Always carry spare parts...save your old mask, tubing and a cord to plug in. I have stepped on my mask at night in dark hotel rooms overseas and always had a spare to use.
  4. Always carry a long distance connection with you, electric outlets are sometimes a long distance from your bed and your cpap cord will not reach. Especially on cruise ships.
  5. Foreign countries have different electric wall plugs...make sure you take an adapter.
  6. Take small bottle of Woolite to clean your mask, and small bottle vinegar to clean humidifier.
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[-] Bhek +0 points · about 2 years ago

Thank you guys so much! My machine arrives the day after tomorrow and I'm a little anxious about how I'm going to manage. It helped a lot during my sleep study, but that was well over a month ago and I wont have cute healthcare providers coming in during the night to adjust my gear. I have to get some rest and continue to get this weight off!

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[-] 2Sleepy +0 points · about 2 years ago

Bhek, I can relate to what you are saying about the difference between using the equiptment in the lab vs. at home.

I got a tip from a Respiratory Therapist that helped me a lot, when I was new at using the equipment and headgear.

TIP: Practice putting on the headgear and using the machine while you are most alert during the day. I was getting all tangled up in the headgear, chin strap, etc. when I tried to put it on at bedtime when I was already sleepy. It looks so simple, but easier said than done when you are not fully alert.

TIP: Read through all of those brochures after the equipment is delivered. When the Respiratory Therapist did the demonstration with me in my home, everything seemed so simple and straight-forward. It was then, but the details are very easy to forget. The brochures will have diagrams, further instructions, and may explain something in a different way that makes it easier to understand.

TIP: Find out who you can call with questions / problems. This has been an ongoing process for me. When I was having problems with my nasal air pillow & head gear, I got very frustrated. I later learned that the company that supplies my equipment, has a Customer Service Center specifically for clinical problems. The Customer Service Center is staffed by Respiratory Therapists and Sleep Techs. One toll free call to that center made a huge difference in my adjustment.

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[-] Bhek +0 points · about 2 years ago

Thanks for the tips 2Sleepy.

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[-] TheresaS +0 points · about 2 years ago

Bhek, Thank you for joining MyApnea.Org and congratulations on your new CPAP therapy. It will change your life in the most positive way. I understand you may be somewhat nervous about going solo at home with CPAP for the first time -- away from the sleep lab. I am a former sleep technician, and this is what I taught my patients to do when they were starting out with the treatment:

Take some big, deep breaths, completely relax. Put the mask on your face as you turn the CPAP unit on… Relax…Close your eyes, clear your mind of all other thoughts... Keep your lips closed, but don’t tense them…. Let the pressure being delivered via the CPAP fill the back of your throat…

IMAGINE your upper airway - being kept open by the pressure… Breathe with it, not against it………Breathe slowly…Concentrate…Relax...

Bhek, relax, keep positive, and you will do very well.

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[-] Bhek +0 points · about 2 years ago

Thank you TheresaS! Last night was my first night with my new machine and I have to say... it was a game changer! While I can see how it can be a challenge to get used to having this thing on your face all night and the occasional leaks can be disturbing once you feel like you're resting, I have to say, I got up this morning feeling completely different! I had no signs of weariness. My eyes and sinuses were bright and clear. I woke on my own (with no alarm clock) at 5:45am feeling better than I ever have. The payoff is soooo worth the adjustments. Thank you guys for helping me ease into this next phase.

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[-] TheresaS +0 points · about 2 years ago

Good going, Bhek! Thanks for your progress report. Hope to read your continued updates !

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[-] 2Sleepy +0 points · about 2 years ago

Wow, Bhek

What a great experience you had on your first night!

I am still making a lot of mistakes, but I am committed to being CPAP compliant. See you on the discussion boards.

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[-] Johnnybuc +0 points · about 2 years ago

Hi, I'm a two time loser with CPap. I tried it in 2005 and 2011 and just couldn't hack it. Oral devices aggravate my TMJ. Recently went to an ENT to see if I might be a candidate for surgery, but he said no and told me that not using cpap would make me a goner. I guess I'm ready to go back and have my third sleep study, and it looks like they have a gizmo now that allows the hose to mount over your head, which might help. Creative visualization might help too.

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[-] HappySleepingUser +0 points · over 1 year ago

Try acupuncture for your TMJ. It cleared up mym Mos's and she ahd it MANY years before getting relief- the bruxing (teeth grinding) at night is making it worse! Nobody knows whther griding results from apnea or visa versa, but it's often part of the trouble. Pray alot- it makes a huge difference for me!

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[-] HappySleepingUser +0 points · over 1 year ago

I meant Mom's TMJ

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[-] Kaixin +0 points · about 2 years ago

I was one of those fortunate individuals who became accustomed to the mask the first night. As a Psychologist, I knew I had to play a 'head game' with myself to find a comfort level. Visual imagery is often extremely effective with my clients - especially with insomnia. So I used one on myself. I imagined that as soon as I slipped on the mask, a flow of cool clean healthy air would enter my body and begin an internal cleansing process. Circulation would increase, "'bad' air would be expelled, germs would be chased out to the kidneys, nasal passages would be soothed and decongested. The picture went on and on. I realize how childish this may seem to some, but the more I began to anticipate the moment when I could slip on the mask and start the war against bad humours in my body, the easier the game was to play. I would practise breathing deeply to "enhance the good" I would tell myself that I could feel the "good guys" doing their job. Convincing myself that putting on that mask was extending my future health was the best head game I have ever played. I sincerely hope it will work for you.

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[-] SheilaP +0 points · about 2 years ago

I have had my sleep apnea machine for almost two years now, not sure that I have ever completely adjusted to using it, if I do sleep for about 7 hours with it on, I wake up with a pressure sore on my nose. currently my problem is almost in my sleep removing the mask after only around two hours.

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[-] TheresaS +0 points · about 2 years ago

Although not ideal, Member303535, that is 2 hours of good sleep that you would not have had without CPAP. In time you may become more aware of removing the mask and returning it to your face. What do you do currently when you realize it is not on? Regarding the pressure sore, I am curious to know what others here have tried.

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[-] dizer +0 points · about 2 years ago

I have had my CPAP machine since 12/31/14. I am still getting used to it. I find myself taking it off in the middle of the night and turning off my machine when I am sound asleep. Another bad habit I have had, is when I can't fall asleep right away, and it is 12:15 or 12:30 and I am still not asleep, I take it off and sleep without it. I need to stop that, but it's been difficult. I know it has been good for me being on my CPAP machine, I can tell the difference in my energy and in my alertness. When I was taking the sleep study, and it was the 2nd night, I slept all the way thru the night. I had the little nasal pillows that were square, like a pillow. I have the other one now, and it has taken a little getting used to. I use the smallest one they make. I'm open for suggestions. Thanks!!

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[-] SheilaP +0 points · about 2 years ago

I experience the same thing, it is so frustrating. When I take it off in my sleep,I vaguely remember removing it but don't have any control, just seems to happen. Then so mad at myself in the morning when I wake up without the mask. Getting ready to go to bed now, so hope I have success tonight.

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[-] SheilaP +0 points · about 2 years ago

TheresaS Your question concerning when I realize the mask is not on, nothing because I don't realize until morning, and then it is too late.

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[-] Sherry +0 points · about 2 years ago

I have been using a CPAP machine for 20 years. I have also tried the dental device and Provent Nasal Patches. There are pros & cons to all of the above. It does seem that no matter what I use, I do have much more energy with some apnea assistance than with none. All the remedies can feel somewhat intrusive and annoying but the proof of feeling better with them is rewarding. Therefore, I tolerate! I want to encourage you to not be so hard on yourself or beat yourself up when you discover you have abandoned the remedy by morning. I rarely wake up with my CPAP still on, or the mouth piece still in, or Provent still attached. I know that I pull it off in the early AM hours as I starting to awake and become aware because it is not always the most comfortable feeling once you drift back into consciousness. However, I believe it is in place most of my sleeping hours. If not, I would feel a difference.

Please be advised that these posts may contain sensitive material or unsolicited medical advice. MyApnea.Org does not endorse the content of these posts. The information provided on this site is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for advice from a health care professional who has evaluated you.