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Joined Mar 2015
Joined Mar 2015

Thanks for posting, Ruby.

This article does cover many of the problems that came up and surprised me. Nice to know common solutions.

I am still working on step 1: finding a mask style and size that works. I gave one approach, ResMed Swift Fx nasal air pillows for Her, and a separate BreatheWear chin strap a full 30 days and could not get a good fit that lasted for the night. I started with small size pillows, then changed up to a medium size. I was better able to breathe with the M pillows, but still couldn't keep it aligned when I changed positions after about 3 hrs of sleep.

I am now about 3 1/2 weeks into using my 2nd style, Optilife head gear with a built in chin strap and nasal air pillows. Much better fit. No problem with air pillows being dislodged at night. But within a few days I started having nose pain in the AM, noticed when removing the air pillows and continuing for a couple of hours. I think the nasal air pillows were pushing up on the cartilage in my nose, Ouch! When I tried to make the air pillows a looser fit, I have a lot of noisey air blowing around, although the data on my CPAP machine shows no major leak. Confusing. This is more streamlined and easier to put on with just 2 straps over my head vs. 4. I also changed to a shorter hairstyle to avoid the tangled mess with my hair and the straps.

I mostly sleep side to side, and I am now using a CPAP Contour Pillow to keep my head in alignment. That part is working well.

I think it might be time to try a new approach. Any suggestions on what else might work, based on what I have explained? It seems like this is kind of an expensive "hit or miss" approach to finding an interface that works for me. I might be able to use this OptiLife nasal air pillow some of the time, but I think I need to take a break for awhile due to the daily nose pain.

Suggestions are welcome. Thanks.

I think the first step would be talking with your Sleep Specialist or Pulmonologist about your idea of a 1 month trial without CPAP. Once you have his input about risks/benefit, you can make an informed decision.

Is you new med something like Nuvigil, Provigil (generic = modafinil)?

I have come at the problem from the opposite angle. I have been taking Provigil since it was a new med in the 1990's. When it went generic, I switched to generic modafinil. It is just this year that I was diagnosed with OSA. I thought my extreme sleepiness was part of seasonal depression. In my situation, I would like to stop taking the med, if possible. I think that might work, because I am doing OK with CPAP, so the OSA is being treated. The proposed med change that I will try is under the supervision of my MD with input from the Nurse Practitioner at the Sleep Clinic.

I can understand the bedtime anxiety that you are having, given all of the different masks you have tried and the problems that you have run into.

Here is another thought. Have you checked to see if there is an AWAKE support group in your area? That might be another place where you could get some input and/or support. I am amazed when I hear from someone who has been on CPAP for 20 yrs. I don't think I had even heard of CPAP until recently.

About REM sleep. I remember having dreams as a child and young adult. At the time of my sleep study, I was not aware of dreams. The results showed that 6% of my sleep was REM. Since I have been using CPAP, I am aware that I am dreaming again. I may or may not remember the details of tne dreams, but I know that I have been dreaming. What is more important to me is feeling more mentally clear during the day and not as tired.

Good luck. I hope you get some good input that helps you feel better and healthier.


Hi Joe,

Thanks for taking some time to help a Newbie.

You are right. I was not told how interfaces work and how to wear them. I had help putting it on correctly in the Sleep Lab, but no explanation about concept or correct use. I basically didn't shift my position that night, because I was afraid to move with so many wires, leads, the nasal pillows, straps on my head, etc. In the AM, I was told that I would need a chin strap. This has added to my confusion. With 4 straps on my head tangling with my hair there are many ways to go astray.

That said, I am coming along. I use a Res Med Swift Fx Nasal Pillow system. I started with a size small nasal pillow in the lab. When I had the experience of feeling like I was suffocating for an extended period one night, I called customer service (clinical support) department of my DME. One helpful suggestion was to increase the size of the nasal pillow. A size medium has worked much better for me.

I got very frustrated by the nasal air pillows getting out of alignment with position changes. Because I sleep mostly on my side, I got the original model CPAP pillow by Contour Products. It has more cutouts than the newer model CPAP pillow, and it works very well for me. I especially like that is shaped to keep my head and neck in proper alignment. That $50. investment turned out to be money well spent. Good thing because it is non returnable.

I also ordered CPAP moisture therapy lotion to protect my irritated skin. That has helped. I tried to find something appropriate at a local DME. They had no clue what I was talking about. I only knew that I needed something that was not petroleum based. CPAP moisture therapy is something I found online. More recently, I found Ayr Saline Nasal Gel on Amazon. It sounded like what you were referring to in your last post. I expect that will also do the trick.

So the journey continues. My latest change has been a change in hairstyle, which is a pretty drastic measure for me. My hair was not long, and not really short. I had nightly battles with working with my hair and the 4 straps on my head, especially the adjustable silicone strap on the top of my head. This is probably a more common woman issue than guy issue. To me, it felt like a drastic measure to change my hairstyle. I showed my hairdresser a diagram of all of these straps, and she came up with a short hairstyle that resolved the tangled hair issue.

I am now at 42 nights of consecutive use of CPAP. I still run into new issues and problems, but I am getting a better feel for how my interface should fit. On Monday, I have another follow up appt. at the Sleep Lab with the nurse practitioner. I think I might need another adjustment in the prescribed pressure, but I am getting closer to feeling as if the CPAP is helping.

Thanks to all who have offered tips and suggestions.

What a journey. Onward...