New to CPAP therapy

TROUBLE SLEEPING? Manage your expectations.

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As we understand it, the primary purpose of a CPAP machine is not to help you fall asleep; it is meant to help you breathe. However, once asleep, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure can help you stay asleep.

Sleep is a separate subject. Realizing this makes it easier to understand the therapy and how to ease into using and sticking with it.

Click here for very good information from the Cleveland Clinic about what sleep apnea is and the potential negative impact on health it can cause.

Here is what I would say to someone starting out on Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy.

“When you get a CPAP machine, it is a good idea to get used to it during waking hours, not at bedtime. Talk with your sleep therapist. Read the instructions so you can adjust the hose temperature and moisture levels. Understand how to see your AHI and mask fit readings.

Sit in a comfortable chair or couch. Put on the mask and make any adjustments for a comfortable fit to maintain a good seal against your face. Turn on the machine, reduce the pressure to allow it to ramp up and then read a book or watch television. Try this for fifteen minutes while continuing to make any adjustments as needed. This is a good time for fidgeting with your mask. As you get used to things, try for thirty minutes.

Your goal is to become comfortable not only with the feeling of the actual mask but also with the concept of the therapy. More than likely, using a mask liner like the CPAP Comfort cover will help ease you into the process.

During sleep with sleep apnea, the soft tissue in the back of your throat can collapse and close off your breathing. This interrupts sleep and can have a negative impact on your health and wellbeing. The machine keeps the airway passage open. This means it will be easier to stay asleep and your blood and brain will receive the oxygen needed.”

Sleep being a separate subject, follow guidelines to help.

If you awaken during the night and it takes a while to get back to sleep, it should not lead you to abandon therapy, If you remain in bed while awake, keep your mask on, let your mind wander and eventually you will return to sleep.

HINT: When you wake up to go to the bathroom, keep your CPAP mask on. This eliminates the need to put it back on when you return to bed. Simply turn off the machine and unplug the hose from your mask. You might even keep a drinking glass with a straw next to your bed so you can take a drink with your mask on. Stick the straw through the hole used for the hose connection.

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