Sleeping on a CPAP machine: what’s it like?

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27 Sep Sleeping on a CPAP machine: what’s it like?

People suffering from sleep apnea can improve their condition by using a CPAP machine during their sleep hours. However, some people fear that CPAP treatment will affect their comfort during sleep hours.

How does it feel to sleep with a CPAP machine?

Of course, at the beginning of the treatment, you will feel uncomfortable sleeping with a CPAP machine, but if you follow the treatment correctly, you will adapt over time. The two main changes are that you will have to sleep with a  CPAP mask on your face and in a face-up position.

The discomfort of the mask can be solved by finding a model that fits your face. If it is too wide, the treatment will not have the expected results, while a tight mask would be uncomfortable for the patient.

The posture can be easily solved with pillows designed for sleeping in the face-up position. Patients starting treatment with CPAP machines should consult specialists for appropriate equipment and accessories to suit their comfort.

How does CPAP work for apnea?

It consists of an external machine that transmits a constant positive pressure, through a long and wide tube, to the mask placed on the patient’s face. These masks are made of flexible plastic and incorporate a small outlet for the air exhaled by the patient.

Numerous models are distinguished by their size, the possibility of monitoring the treatment and storing data, the option of adding heated humidifiers, and so on. The most important thing is to position the mask correctly.

Among the recommendations for a faster adaptation to CPAP treatment are to avoid naps, large dinners, alcoholic beverages, smoking or taking sleeping pills. Try to go to bed tired and test the mask several times.

What side effects can have the treatment with CPAP equipment?

Most of the side effects are because patients have not yet adapted to the CPAP machine.  Side effects can be:

  • Rhinitis, or nasal congestion, is the most common, and it can be relieved with a humidifier or specific therapy.
  • Skin lesions on the face due to the mask. You can try among the existing models, apply liquid vaseline or dressings that improve adaptation and wash and moisturize your face in the morning.
  • Stomach discomfort and flatulence, in some cases.  This is solved by raising the head of the bed or using medication indicated by the pulmonologist.
  • Conjunctivitis due to air leaks.  It is usually enough to place the mask correctly to prevent this.
  • Noise or change in tone between breathing in and breathing out. To avoid this, nowadays, there are quieter CPAP available with masks that isolate the sound better.  On the other hand, there is the option of incorporating a tube to move the machine out of the way or placing earplugs in the ears.
  • Headache is usually relieved with analgesics and disappears after the first few uses.
  •  Difficulty sleeping. This is unusual and usually decreases with adaptation. If it does not, it is necessary to contact a specialist.   
  • Small hemorrhages due to damage to nasal mucus.  It is also an unusual effect, and its appearance can be prevented with adequate humidification of the mucous membrane of the nose.

As you can see, the side effects are solved with adaptation to the treatment and proper use of CPAP equipment.

As with any medical treatment, you must consult specialists who can tell you how to carry out the treatment properly. The different types of masks and complements will provide you with greater comfort and effectiveness in the CPAP treatment. Check out

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