Can’t get to sleep with your CPAP?
Getting used to the feeling of CPAP therapy can be hard at first. But there are some simple steps that you can follow to familiarise yourself with therapy.
Try these tips for falling asleep and having success with your CPAP machine and mask.
1. Ease yourself into using CPAP
Try using your CPAP therapy equipment for a few short periods during the day. Wearing it when you are not tired and when you are watching TV or reading, is a great way to determine if there are any adjustments needed.
Your therapy specialist will have set up all of your equipment’s settings to suit your sleep apnea needs, but you may need to make some subtle adjustments to your mask or your humidifier’s settings – especially if your home environment differs greatly from where you were set up in your CPAP clinic.
2. Make your CPAP mask comfortable
The most common problems with treatment occur when your CPAP mask does not fit properly. If its not fitting properly when you “hit the sack” you may not be able to go to sleep as easily as you should.
During the day, make subtle adjustments to your mask to get a good seal and to make it comfortable. Stand in front of a mirror to do this.
Once you have made some adjustments to how it feels, try lying down and turning on your machine. Your face contour will change slightly when you are laying down. So this is an important step not to miss! Some sleep apnea machines have a “Mask Testing” mode that you can use to test with.
If the mask is too big, the headgear straps holding it to your face will need to be pulled tightly. This may irritate you. Likewise if the mask is too small, it may not seal properly and the air may blow into your eyes. If you are having either of these problems, you should visit a CPAP clinic to see if your mask’s fitting is right.
If you are worried about how the mask or head straps feel against your skin, don’t let this bother you. You can buy soft nasal pads to sit on your nose to reduce the rubbing of the straps against your skin.
Before starting out on CPAP therapy, make sure you are doing your best to maintain good sleep hygiene. What does this mean? This means making sure your lifestyle, habits and practices are all conducive to helping you sleep well on a regular basis.1
You can improve your sleep hygiene by making a few minor adjustments to your lifestyle and attitude.2 Here are some habits that you should follow:Listen to your body
- Your body’s internal clock can provide accurate signals when it’s ready to go to sleep. So make sure you listen to it. For example:
- Go to bed when your body signals to you that it’s tired.
- And likewise, don’t go to be unless you are tired. (We will touch on this more in the next section, as it’s an important factor to consider when starting out on CPAP!)
Improve your sleeping environment
- Have a good mattress and pillow.
- If you are a side sleeper, there are specially designed pillows you can purchase that will help you to use your CPAP mask.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet and the right temperature.
- It is recommended that your bedroom’s temperature is between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius3
- If you can’t control the noise or light of you room, invest in some ear plugs and eye masks.
- Avoid social vices like alcohol, coffee and mobile phones before bed 4.
Improving your sleep hygiene is unlikely to eliminate your sleep apnea or your snoring, but it will set you up for being successful with CPAP, which can help treat these things.
4. Don’t go to bed until you feel tired5
If you head off to bed when you aren’t feeling tired, you may not be able to switch off. Add in the addition of something new and unfamiliar like a CPAP machine, and you might find it unusually hard to fall asleep. Your mind may keep you awake by thinking too much about your mask and machine.
If you find when it is getting close to bedtime that you aren’t tired, consider delaying go to bed by a little while. Try doing something relaxing.
Want to read more about the ways to improve your sleep apnea treatment? Check out our guide on the 7 ways to treat sleep apnea by clicking the link below.