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9 Tips and Tricks for a More Comfortable CPAP Sleep

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Tips for Increasing CPAP Comfort

Crisp leaves, shorter days, cooler temps, can only mean one thing: Fall is in the air.

And, speaking of fall, we want you to fall in love with your CPAP machine and therapy. Corny?—Maybe a little, but when it comes to your sleep, we mean business. CPAP therapy may require a little adjustment period to find exactly what is comfortable for you. Building a CPAP therapy plan takes time, effort, and patience. But once you get the hang of it, it can literally change your sleep and your life.

So we want to help you get comfortable with your CPAP machine. Here are nine tips and tricks for a more comfortable CPAP sleep:

Mask Comfort

  1. Wear it during the day. You read that right! Get used to wearing it while you’re awake so it’s more natural to wear while you sleep. Wear it while watching T.V. or surfing the Internet. Wear it while reading a book before going to bed. Basically, the more often you wear it, the more natural it will feel, and the more comfortable it will become.
  2. Believe it will improve your sleep. Being positive—and really believing it will make a big difference—will go a long way when it comes to successful CPAP therapy. Remember why you are doing it—for better rest and rejuvenation! Also, if it helps, try adding a few relaxation exercises to your nighttime routine before putting on your mask. Try relaxing your muscles, practicing deep breathing, and reducing your anxiety. When it comes to CPAP therapy, your mind can either be your greatest friend or biggest foe. We want to help you believe in what you’re doing.
  3. Take your mask to your doctor or to a medical equipment provider and ask for help. Tired of waking up with a few pesky red marks on your face? Or are you struggling to keep your mask in place during the night? Be sure your mask is properly fitted for you. Your CPAP mask is not one-size-fits-all. It should fit you comfortably. In addition to researching which mask best fits your needs, you can also reach out to your doctor or a medical equipment provider and ask to get your mask properly fitted. Also, when adjusting your mask, be sure you’re lying down as that can change how your mask fits. 

Patient Compliance

  1. Use your CPAP machine every night. We know you want good sleep, and we want to help you get it. The key to successful, comfortable CPAP sleep is consistency. The more comfortable you are with your mask, the more likely you are to wear it. Try giving yourself a reward each week you successfully sleep with your CPAP mask on. Celebrate all the victories when it comes to your CPAP therapy!
  2. Build and maintain a regular nightly routine. Research shows that a nighttime routine has many health benefits. Not only will a routine help ensure you don’t forget about your CPAP therapy, but it will also train your brain and body that it’s time to unwind and go to sleep. Rebecca Scott, a research assistant professor of neurology at the NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center—Sleep Center explained it this way, “Our sleep system, along with most other neurophysiological systems, likes predictability and consistency.” If you make your CPAP therapy a part of your nightly routine, not only will you adjust to it better, but it will also be included as part of your relaxation and rejuvenation process.
  3. Be sparing with your naps in the evening. If at all possible, be sure to stay awake within three hours of going to bed for the night. No doubt you’re tired, but taking a nap too late in the day can actually start to interfere with your ability to fall and stay asleep. If and when you do take a nap during the day—because sometimes we all need one—be sure to use your CPAP machine. CPAP therapy exists for any and every time you go to sleep. (Plus, using your CPAP machine will only improve the quality of your nap!)

Ease of Use

  1. Use a simple saline spray or decongestant. If you’re having a little nasal discomfort, talk to your doctor and try a simple spray or decongestant for relief. If, on the other hand, you are experiencing dry nose, throat, or mouth, try using a humidifier. Many of the new CPAP machines include a heated humidifier, which can be very helpful in improving your therapy. 
  2. Use a special pillow that is specifically shaped for your CPAP mask and tubing. The right pillow to pair with your CPAP mask is out there. Use a pillow designed to support your CPAP therapy and hopefully make for a more comfortable sleep.
  3. Clean your equipment. Follow the instructions on how to clean your mask, headgear, and tubing as specified by your machine. Another helpful hint is to let the machine run for a few minutes before putting on your mask. This will allow the air to cycle through. Cleaning your CPAP equipment can go a long way in increasing your comfort.

Here’s the great news: Now that you’re using CPAP therapy, you’re on your way to a better night’s sleep. And we’re here to help and encourage you along the way. With the right tools, you can start getting a good night’s sleep tonight! 

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18 thoughts on “9 Tips and Tricks for a More Comfortable CPAP Sleep”

  1. Jack Spaanderman

    after 2 hrs of using the nasal pillow and going to sleep, my cpap machine starts to pump full top pressure, resulting in me waking up. then I remove the nasal pillow and the pump will not turn off.
    could someone advise me, please

    1. Hi Jack, it sounds like you are experiencing a mask leak. Please ensure that you are using the correct size nasal pillow. When your machine senses a leak, it blows more pressure to compensate for the leak.

      For further questions, or concerns, please feel free to reach us at: 1-800-356-5221, or you may e-mail us at: cpap@cpap.com.

      Have a great day!

  2. I am sure many people can not sleep without a CPAP machine but in my experience they are not that effective.
    Having used CPAP machines for 6 years I have yet to get used to them.
    Hard mask reacted badly with my skin and caused deep seated rashes to my cheek and nose.
    ‘Soft masks’ have very sharp and unforgiving plastic elements that wake me up several times a night. I have damage to my front teeth, eyes and nose.
    In order to avoid leaks the straps have to be so tight I wake with no feeling in my top lip. Even h I have to sleep with my head sandwiched between two pillows to persuade the machine to register an acceptable mask fit.
    I try to use the mask every night but sometimes I need to sleep without waking in pain.
    My latest visit to the technical department to check my machine has resulted in the pressure setting being so high I am unable to breath through my nose as air through my mouth blacks nasal breathing.
    I hate my CPAP.
    Many people have similar experiences but withdrawal of driving licences are used to cajole compliance.

    1. Hi Jeff, i’m sorry to hear about the tough time that your having with your CPAP therapy. Having a good, comfortable mask fit is key to successful therapy. It has been my experience that for a lot of CPAP users, it takes switching masks many times before they are able to feel any benefit from their therapy.

      We would be happy to speak with you to recommend a mask that may work well for you. Also, CPAP.com sells all of our complete mask with free 30 day returns. If you purchase a mask from us and find yourself unhappy with it for any reason, simply return the mask for a refund, or a different mask. Keep in mind that we do require a valid prescription in order for any complete mask to be purchased.

      If you feel your pressure is too high and keeping you from breathing properly, please speak with your doctor, as a lower pressure setting may be required.

      For further questions, or concerns, please feel free to reach us at: 1-800-356-5221, or you may e-mail us at: cpap@cpap.com.

      We wish you the best!

  3. Carol
    Can you explain why we need a prescription to purchased a new cpap mask, it seems odd since the machine is the therapy not the mask? I don’t see alot of non-cpap users spending money on cpap mask.


    1. Hi Grace, I agree with you, but per the FDA guidelines, anytime a customer purchases a complete mask, humidifier, machine, provent and some heated hoses, we are required to have a valid prescription on file.

      If you purchase a replacement cushion, headgear only, filters, a standard hose and some other supplies, a prescription isn’t required.

      My apologies for any inconvenience that the prescription requirement causes you. If you have an older prescription with no expiration date, it would be acceptable. Also, keep in mind that your prescription doesn’t have to come from a Sleep Specialist. Your Primary Care Physician, a different doctor, or even your dentist can write a prescription for you.

      Also, if you would like for us to request a prescription from your doctor on your behalf, we offer this option as a free service to you!

      For further questions, or concerns, please feel free to reach us at: 1-800-356-5221, or you may e-mail us at: cpap@cpap.com.

      Have a great weekend!

  4. My partner has had a cpap machine for a few years now and has for past few months been snoring all night. This is causing lack of sleep for me and me nagging him to stop snoring. Doctors says nothing wrong with readings and might be leak on mask. There is no leak and mask is tight as causing marks on face. I’m at my wits end again not being able to sleep and I’m sure snoring so badly not doing partner any good. What can we do

    1. Hi Karen, I totally understand the frustration with having your partner snore all night, mine does it too! Usually, snoring while using a CPAP machine, means the therapy isn’t working.

      Do you know what your partner’s AHI is? This information can be found under the therapy data, if your partner has a machine that records advanced data. If the AHI is above 5, I would encourage your partner to speak with their doctor about possible setting adjustments (maybe increase pressure).

      Also, your partner may benefit from switching to an APAP machine. This is a machine that is set to a high and low pressure and the machine changes to the needed pressure on a breath-by-breath basis.

      For further questions, or concerns, please feel free to reach us at: 1-800-356-5221, or you may e-mail us at: cpap@cpap.com.

      We wish both you and your partner the best!

  5. I have been using Dreamstation for 3 months. Pressure at 9 cm h20. I like the nasil under the nose cushion mask. I’m still tired during the day and thinking of changing settings from CPAP to APAP. Can you suggest new settings based on a CPAP setting of 9? I was thinking of 7-12 .

    1. Hi Donald, i’m sorry to hear that you’re feeling tired during the day. The APAP, machine may be a better fit for you, but before you make changes to your machine and/or settings on your machine, I would recommend you speak with your doctor. Your doctor can provide medical guidance such as viewing your sleep therapy data to provide you with the pressure settings that may work best for you.

      I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more assistance, but if you have other questions, or concerns, please feel free to reach us at: 1-800-356-5221, or you may e-mail us at: cpap@cpap.com.

      Have a wonderful evening!

  6. Salvatore Ingrassia

    Was doing well with my CPAP therapy until recently. Feels like I’m getting too much air pressure and that is keeping me awake. I use the nasal pillow type and there are no leaks. Don’t know why this is an issue now and want to lower the pressure but not too much. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

    1. Hi Salvatore, I’m sorry to hear about the recent problem with your pressure. Have you changed your nasal cushions within the last 3 months and your entire mask within the last 6 months? If not, please change your supplies to see if this helps with the pressure.

      Also, have you had a recent sleep study (within 3-5yrs)? If not, you may speak with your doctor about having a new study to see if your settings should be adjusted.

      If you aren’t currently using a Auto-Titrating machine (APAP), this is a machine, that changes your pressure automatically on a breath by breath basis I would recommend you speaking with your doctor to see if switching to one would help with the feeling of getting too much pressure.

      If your doctor suggests a different pressure setting for your current machine, please feel free to contact us at: 1-800-356-5221 and we can assist you with the adjustment over the phone.

      We wish you the best!

  7. I have Myasthenia Gravis which greatly diminishes my ability to inhale/exhale….I was put on CPAP therapy and I could Not tolerate it….then some sharp doctor said to use a BiPAP unit….I bought a Resperonics Dream machine and their newer under the nose / hose on the head mask….it works Great…my normal daytime blood oxygen level of about 92 goes to 97 with the BiPAP on at night…..anyone with MG (and their caretakers) should look into BiPAP!…>D

  8. Gabriele Dodes (Gabi)

    Hi Carol, I’m fairly new at this. I had a nasty sinus infection, got a so clean started using Capp, have runny nose.i do not know if to use my machine wet or dry, also don’t know what air pressure is set on. I’m using a nose pillow, before I had a full mask then a nose mask. I do not have an appt. with the Dr. til the 31. of this month. What should I do in the men time.? hope you can help me.Thanks ?

    1. Hi Gabriele, i’m sorry to hear about the sinus infection. A heated humidifier which adds moisture with your therapy helps to reduce, or eliminate sinus irritations. If you are already using a heated humidifier, you may try increasing the setting. Also, if your machine has an option for a heated hose, you may consider adding one with your therapy, if you don’t already have one. You may also try using a sinus rinse before going to bed and again after you wake up. Please see the link below to view a rinse we currently stock.


      Please be sure that you are changing the filter in your machine on a regular basis. If you have a disposable filter, you should change it at least once per month. For a reusable filter, you should wash at least once/week and change it every 6 months. Also, even though you are using a So Clean, we recommend you washing your mask at least once per week with warm water, using a gentle detergent such as baby shampoo and left to air dry.

      If you use your humidifier, make sure you are emptying your chamber each day, allow it to air dry and detach your hose daily, hang it over the shower door, or curtain to dry out. Please wash your hose once/week with warm water and mild detergent. You may also use a mixture of vinegar and water.

      While you are suffering from the sinus infection, I would recommend you go back to your full face mask since it can be pretty difficult to breathe through your nose while congested. You may try adding extra filtration by using a bacteria filter listed in the link below.


      With having a sinus infection, you may require prescription medications for complete relief, but while waiting for your doctor’s visit hopefully, this information will help.

      For further questions, or concerns, please feel free to reach us at: 1-800-356-5221, or you may e-mail us at: cpap@cpap.com.

      We wish you the best!

  9. Hi, I have been using bipap for a number of years. I have very low apnea but the machine does help me EXCEPT when I experience aerophagia. I wake up (usually in deep sleep) and have air bubble trapped in my throat and my stomach is distended with air. it is pretty painful and definitely you cannot sleep through this. Have tried all of the protocol for GERD, tape my mouth shut, etc etc and it still happens. Sometimes I don’t get it though and I wonder what is different on those nights. One dr suggested being careful not to tuck my chin into chest (I am a side sleeper) because this would force air down the wrong way. Anyone have a comment on that? I try to keep my head aligned but when you are sleeping on an incline (for possible GERD) it is hard to prevent.

    1. Hi Elisabeth,
      I’m sorry to hear about the troubles you’re having with your CPAP therapy.

      Unfortunately, the best solutions for this problem are not a catch all but instead an attempt to find the middle ground between needed CPAP pressures.

      Here’s what you can do:

      Talk with your BiPAP prescribing physician. The doctor may suggest decreasing the pressure in order to decrease the bloating. This decision would need to be made by your doctor to ensure you do not suffer from a constricted airway.

      As the chin of a CPAP/BiPAP user nears the chest, air has a greater chance of entering the digestive tract. When possible, try to lay in a position which allows the chin to remain above the torso.

      Change your normal pattern, and try a different sleeping position to keep air out of the stomach. Lay on the left side or rotate to the right side. Incline with pillows or lay flat.

      If these fail, It may be that you should consider a surgical alternative to your BiPAP therapy. Many have tried all sorts of other solutions to this bloating problem with little success.

      I would encourage you to visit our forum at cpaptalk.com also to hear what other CPAP/BiPAP, users are saying.

      For further questions, or concerns, please feel free to reach us at: 1-800-356-5221, or you may email us at: cpap@cpap.com.

      Best Wishes

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