CPAP Therapy

How Long Before CPAP Helps with My Sleep Apnea?

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea you may be feeling overwhelmed. You’ve conquered the sleep study and received your equipment, but are now struggling to find comfort sleeping with your CPAP. For many, sleeping with a CPAP can take some adjustment. The good news is that there are many things you can do to improve your experience of CPAP therapy.

It’s not uncommon to wonder how long it will be before you notice anything different. Learning more about how CPAP works and how to get the most benefit from one can help you improve your Sleep Apnea symptoms and get better rest.

How long does a CPAP machine take to work?

Some people have dramatic CPAP results from the first day showing a woman sleeping with a cpap machinethey use the machine. Others find that the effect, for them, is cumulative. They may not feel an improvement until they have used a machine regularly for several weeks or months.

The person who sleeps next to you may see results from the CPAP machine before you do. They may notice that you are less likely to snore at night or suffer the paused breathing common with Sleep Apnea. As a result, your sleeping partner may find that their sleep is greatly improved right from the start1.

Recovery from Sleep Apnea is possible, but in order for that to happen, you will need to make a commitment to the therapy.

According to an article published in the medical journal Sleep2, the longer study participants used their CPAP machine, the more likely they were to see their symptoms improve. The study also found that there was no set amount of use that works for everyone, and that results varied.

In order to see any benefit, the person has to use it consistently.

How Does CPAP Work?

Understanding the science behind CPAP therapy can help you understand why it’s recommended and how it can help with your Sleep Apnea. According to an article published in the medical journal Respiratory Care3, PAP therapy works by using air pressure to open your collapsed airway during sleep.

showing a man sleeping with a cpap machine

“CPAP” stands for “continuous positive airway pressure.” CPAP machines are the most effective non-surgical treatment for Sleep Apnea. There are several types of machines that can help with Sleep Apnea symptoms.


Most Sleep Apnea patients use an Auto CPAP Machine (APAP) because it can automatically adjust to the correct pressure while you sleep. This means fewer visits to the doctor to adjust your pressure and less concern about whether factors, like weight gain or loss, have created changes in your pressure needs.

It’s also important to find the best CPAP mask for your lifestyle. Some masks use a nasal pillow, which is a cushion that fits directly into the base of your nose. Others include a mask that goes over your nose and mouth or a mask that covers the nose only.

If you have been using a CPAP machine for several weeks and are still wondering how long does it take to feel better with CPAP, talk to your doctor to make sure you are using the machine correctly. For optimum effect, your CPAP should be used every night when you go to sleep.

Trying out different mask styles can be helpful if you are having trouble sleeping or if you showing a cpap maskare experiencing side effects like a sore throat, nasal congestion or irritation on your skin. By working with your healthcare providers, you can find the right fit for you. Your doctor may recommend nasal spray medications or a humidifier if side effects are keeping you from feeling as good as you should.

What if I Have other Questions about CPAP and Sleep Apnea?

Sometimes, it can be helpful to talk to people other than your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing. Other people who have Sleep Apnea are often a great source of insights. They can help you navigate treatment and learn more about how to get the best CPAP results.

One place you can get more information is from a CPAP support group. Here, they can help you understand the answers to questions like “how long does a CPAP machine take to work?” or “am I using the machine in the best way for me?” People in the group can provide insights about their own experiences. They may also be able to make recommendations for adjusting to the CPAP machine and how to get the best experience.

Many Sleep Apnea sufferers turn to the message board to find help and advice from other CPAP users. For many, CPAPtalk is almost like a support group that’s available 24/7.

If you are new to CPAP treatment, it may be difficult for you to figure out how to tell if CPAP therapy is working. One sure sign that it is working is that you are finding that you sleep through the night more often.

Sleep Apnea often causes you to wake up when you stop breathing; CPAP therapy allows you to breathe more smoothly so you can enjoy better sleep. You may also find that you are less tired in the day and less likely to suffer Sleep Apnea symptoms such as depression, irritability or brain fog.

You can also talk to your doctor if you are worried and wondering how long your CPAP machine will take to work. Your doctor can provide insights and answers, as well as updates about your personal health. By working together, you can find the best approach to your symptoms and the best way to manage your health and your sleep.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have about CPAP therapy. Call us at 1.800.356.5221 or email for more information.


1. Atwood, Jr., MD, Charles. “Sleep and CPAP Adherence”. Published on the National Sleep Foundation’s website. Accessed August 14, 2018.

2. Weaver, Terri E., et al. “Relationship Between Hours of CPAP Use and Achieving Normal Levels of Sleepiness and Daily Functioning”. Published in the medical journal Sleep, June 1, 2007. Accessed August 14, 2018.

3. Andreea Antonescu-Turcu, MD and Sairam Parthasarathy, MD. “CPAP and Bi-level PAP Therapy: New and Established Roles”. Published in the medical journal Respiratory Care, June 22, 2011. Accessed on August 14, 2018.


  1. IHi David
    I have been using my CPAP machine for about almost 3 months now and what a mess the first month was the full mask tore into my nose so bad I have a scar and got an infection. Now I’m using the nassel one and getting chaffing and it falls out because I move too much. I don’t know what to do? But I do know that when I do get a chance to use the machine for 8 hrs. Straight I feel great! Do you have any suggestions on what other devices I can use on my face to get a better nights sleep continuously?
    Thank you Kristine

  2. I ham going on my 6 th week of using my CPAP and I still can’t get used to it. The most I have worn it is 5 hours and that is rare if you have any suggestions please let me know because this process is really getting me down

    • Hi Jan, I’m sorry to hear that you’re having some problems adjusting to your CPAP therapy. Keep in mind that the amount of time it takes for you to become acclimated to your therapy varies widely from person to person. Some folks are able to tolerate therapy immediately, some takes up to six months, or longer.

      One of the most important aspects in having success with your CPAP therapy is making certain that you have a comfortable fit with your mask, including no leaks, the mask must be the correct size.

      I would encourage you to try a different style mask, also try watching tv with your mask on, or if you take a nap during the day, do so while using your CPAP machine. Also, if your machine’s pressure setting is too high, or too low, it causes discomfort. Be sure to keep your doctor in the loop with your CPAP therapy, so that adjustments can be made as needed.

      Please see the link below to our forum to see what other CPAP users are saying about getting use to their therapy.

      Otherwise, being patient, keeping an open-mind and remaining positive to your medically necessary therapy may help you get through the rough patches and allow you to keep going with your therapy.

      We wish you the best, don’t give up!

  3. Peter Kleinsasser Reply

    I’m on the sleep apnea machine for about 4 weeks. The first 3 weeks I slept better and was rested out but 4th week I dont sleep as well and I’m tired and very low energy during the day. So what the Hell is that about?

    • Hi Peter,
      I’m sorry to hear you’re having some trouble with your CPAP therapy. Please keep in mind that even though you started our doing very well with your therapy, it does take time to become fully acclimated with your CPAP therapy.

      To improve your therapy, it’s important to understand the challenges that you’re having. Do you have a comfortable mask? It often takes trying several different masks before you find the one that works well for you. Does it feel like a lot of air is blowing, or that you aren’t getting enough air? Are you experiencing noise from your machine, which is causing you to not sleep well?

      Also, I would encourage you to speak with your doctor about your symptoms. Your doctor can review your therapy data in detail, to confirm if a setting adjustment is warranted.

      We have a CPAP blog, a forum where a lot of seasoned CPAP users, share information and provide tips for successful therapy. Please visit, to join in on the conversation.

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

      Don’t give up on your therapy, we wish you the best!

  4. Hi,
    I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, have a machine, and am on the second kind of mask, but it never seems to make a difference in my sleep pattern — I wake up every two hours with or without the machine.
    Is it possible I was misdiagnosed?

    • Hi Liz,
      Were you diagnosed with sleep apnea after having a sleep study? If so, your diagnosis, is probably correct, but there is always a possibility of a misdiagnosis.

      In order to assist we must get to the root of the problem which is causing you to awake every 2 hours while using the machine? Does it feel like you’re getting too much/little air? Is your mask a comfortable fit? What type of mask are you using (full face, nasal, nasal pillow)?

      I understand you’re already on your second mask, but keep in mind that you may have to try several masks before you find the one best for you. If you need assistance with finding a mask that may work best for you, please feel free to give us a call at: 1-800-356-5221 and we’re happy to help.

      Also, be mindful that it may take some time to become acclimated with your CPAP therapy. Some folks are able to successfully use their machine immediately, some take a couple of months others years.

      I would recommend you speaking with your doctor/therapist about your concerns, as he/she will be able to review your therapy data in depth to determine if your machine settings should be adjusted.

      Best Wishes!

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