9 Tips and Tricks for a More Comfortable CPAP Sleep

7 Creature Comforts: Traveling With Your CPAP
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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!