New CPAP user - chin straps and mouth opening

3 posts
Was this reply useful? Learn more...
   
[-]
ToughOcherLocust9745 -1 point · 10 months ago

I just started using CPAP and nose pillows this week. I think I had my first restful sleep in years last night. At first I thought there was something wrong with the machine because there were many little pauses when I felt I was getting no air or could not exhale. I shut it off and when I tried to go back to sleep, I felt the same little pauses in my ordinary breathing! It was like a revelation, my first time noticing the closing of the uvula. Somehow by the third night, I was breathing smoothly and slept through the night.

I am wearing a chin strap to keep my mouth closed, but no matter how tight I make it, I can open my mouth enough to cause the air to leak out. So if I did not open my mouth last night, it was not because of the strap. Has anyone experienced that they could learn to keep the mouth closed without any aids like that?

837 posts
Was this reply useful? Learn more...
   
[-]
wiredgeorge +0 points · 10 months ago Sleep Enthusiast

Some folks find a chin strap effective and some not so much. Some folks actually put tape over their mouth. I use a full face mask and my mouth doesn't open as much as the muscles in my jaw go slack and bingo, mouth is open as a result... To prevent this, I use a "boil and bite" mouth guard which works great for me. It prevents my jaw from slackening and keeps my mouth from gaping open at night. If my jaw goes slack, the bottom of my mask will actually end up in my mouth and becomes a massive leak and wakes me up.

If you do prefer a chin strap, there are various sizes and shapes and I suspect that some trial and error would be necessary to find the one most effective. Good luck.

55 posts
Was this reply useful? Learn more...
   
[-]
snuffie3456 +0 points · 10 months ago

I just happen to wear a bite splint (upper) and a retainer (lower), and I find that this helps keep my mouth shut and moist.

22 posts
Was this reply useful? Learn more...
   
[-]
madjack +0 points · 10 months ago

I had severe leakage problems at first (still do)...I tried a chin strap at first with a a bit of luck...however, it streched out and hurt my ears...I concentrated on training my tongue to stay in place against my palate...this helped a bit but not enough...I finally just gave up the chin strap as being to obtrusive and use a small pillow against my chin to help...consider this (I do), I had an apnea index over 50...even with my excessive air leakage my ahi is now 1. So, who cares if I leak 20+ during the night with numbers like I have seen............madjack P.S. FYI I use a ResMed10 auto set with P10 nasal pillows...being a hairy faced guy, I can't use a mask.........mj

3 posts
Was this reply useful? Learn more...
   
[-]
ToughOcherLocust9745 +0 points · 10 months ago

The chinstrap seems to be working okay. But I am noticing that I still feel the sensation of the uvula closing. In the early morning, I wake up to find that the air pressure is very strong and the sensation of closing is still there, and the pillows are leaking a little (probably because of the air pressure). I am still not sure about the way the CPAP is supposed to deal with the closing uvula - is it supposed to prevent closing or minimize it or keep air going around the closed uvula? Probably I needed a better training session than the 15 minutes with a rep.

367 posts
Was this reply useful? Learn more...
   
[-]
sleeptech +0 points · 10 months ago Sleep Commentator

All chinstraps should allow you to open you mouth if you try. That's not what they are trying to prevent. They are supposed to prevent you jaw from drooping open when the muscles relax. Think of it as supporting your lower jaw rather than keeping your mouth closed. So even though you may be able to open your mouth when you are awake, your chin strap may still be helping to support your jaw while asleep.

Are you sure that what you feel is your "uvula closing"? The obstruction in OSA happens slightly further back than that. The CPAP machine is simply supposed to create enough pressure in your upper airway to keep it open (just like blowing up a balloon). When some people fall asleep they have what we call in the industry "onset events". These are brief pauses in you breathing which are central in nature rather than obstructive, occur as you are falling asleep and disappear rapidly once you are properly asleep. These are usually no big deal. What sort of AHI does your machine say you have?

Please be advised that these posts may contain sensitive material or unsolicited medical advice. MyApnea 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.