At CPAPMan, we know how hard it is for new patients to fall asleep with their CPAP equipment. After a life spent without a mask on your face, CPAP therapy is an adjustment, and you shouldn’t feel bad or unusual if you struggle to adapt to the treatment. Don’t worry: it does get easier over time.
But, to help hasten that adjustment process, there are a few things that every CPAP patient can do to help themselves fall asleep quickly. I’m not talking about sleeping pills or anything dramatic either: read on for a few quick tips that anyone can implement.
1. Wear Earplugs
This one applies for patients who dislike the noise of the CPAP machine. Today’s devices aren’t as loud as the machines of even five or ten years ago — and are significantly quieter than a sleep apnea sufferer’s snoring — but there are plenty of people who struggle to fall asleep in the presence of noise. If that sounds like you, try a pair of earplugs. Most common earplugs are robust enough to block the low hum of a CPAP machine, and they’re generally comfortable enough to not disrupt your sleep.
2. Use the Ramp Feature
Just about every CPAP machine made in the last ten years has a feature called ‘ramp.’ The ramp is intended to help CPAP patients who struggle to fall asleep while the machine blowing air into the mask by delaying the onset of pressure for up to forty-five minutes. The ramp will not only delay pressure, but also add pressure incrementally so you won’t feel a sudden rush of pressure at any point.
3. Check How Tight Your Mask Is
You get enough uncomfortably pressure from CPAP machine’s air; you don’t need any more from an unnecessarily tight mask. Many people incorrectly assume that they need to tighten their mask straps until the mask is clamped onto their face. This isn’t true, and in most modern masks, this might actually harm the quality of your seal. For proper therapy, you want to optimally tighten the mask: it should be attached in such a way that the mask won’t slide off your face when you toss and turn, but it should also fit comfortably. If you wake up with pressure sores or red marks from your mask straps, you’re probably over-tightening your mask.
4. Use a Hose Lift
Some patients strongly dislike the feeling of their tube down by the chest. This can be claustrophobic for some patients, while others worry that they’ll accidentally rip their tube off their mask or machine if it’s lying by their side. For these people, we recommend using a tubing lift to get the hose off of your chest, and above your head. The lift can be attached to the backside of your bed, and all you have to do is wind the tube through the strap at the top of the lift and down to your mask. You can also wear a mask like the IQ Vented Blue, which is designed so that the tube wraps over your head instead of down your chest.
5. Wear a Chin Strap
Some patients toss and turn worrying about whether they’ll disrupt their seal if they accidentally open their mouth at night to breathe. If this sounds like you, try wearing a chin strap. The strap is comfortable — some people like the feeling of the neoprene straps — and will make it difficult for you to accidentally open your mouth.