Tips for Getting to Sleep with your CPAP Machine

Medically reviewed by Kimberly Allen, Respiratory Therapist.

Getting used to a CPAP machine isn’t always the easiest task. Sleep apnea treatment is unique for each individual. Don’t get discouraged, using your new device will get easier and comes with many benefits. Just be patient as you transition to using your CPAP device, it will get easier. Remember, sleep apnea treatment isn’t only necessary for a good night’s sleep, but it’s important for your mental and physical health as well.

How To Make Your CPAP Machine More Comfortable

1. Look Up CPAP Machine Reviews

Not all CPAP manufacturers are the same. Each CPAP model incorporates a different look, feel, and features. You may like one more than the other. Look up some reviews and consider what features are important to you.

  • Some CPAP machines have incredibly quiet motors so they won’t disturb you or your partner. CPAP noise levels are rated in decibels, so consider the dB rating for each option. 30 dB is about as loud as a whisper.
  • If the air passing through your CPAP is harsh or could consider using a CPAP with a humidifier to add heated moisture to the air for increased comfort. Pairing your CPAP with a heated hose can also help maintain the warmth of the air.
  • If your CPAP pressure settings are too strong consider getting a CPAP with an auto ramp feature. This will slowly ramp up the amount of pressure you receive over a period of time until it reaches your prescribed settings yo help you fall asleep. Some also automatically adjust the pressure with every breath to help you stay asleep.
  • One of the most common complaints of first time CPAP users is exhaling against the pressure of the machine. Some manufacturers offer an expiratory pressure relief (EPR) or FLEX feature. This allows the machine to lower the pressure when the patient exhales, making exhalation easier to tolerate.

2. Check Out Mask Options

There are three main styles of CPAP masks; full face, nasal, and pillows.

  • Are you a mouth breather? Maybe a full face mask would be the best option?
  • If you are severely claustrophobic you may want to look at a mask with minimal contact on the face and offers a clear field of vision.
  • Do you wear glasses or like to read or watch TV before bed?

How To Fall Asleep Faster With Your CPAP Machine

1. Practice Makes Perfect

Don’t give up. With a few nights of practice wearing your CPAP mask will get easier. You’ll develop a perfect technique in no time by adhering to your sleep apnea treatment.

Wear your CPAP mask a few hours before bed each day to get used to it. Wear it while you read or watch TV. Also, always use it during naps and while on vacation.

The process known as CPAP desensitization can help you gradually get used to your machine by using it for longer periods of time before bed each night. Start off with 15 minutes of use before bedtime, then increase to 30 minutes.

2. Make Sure You Have The Right CPAP Mask

There are multiple different types of CPAP masks to help meet the needs of individual sleep apnea patients. Take some consideration as to what type of mask will work best for you.

If you’re a mouth breather you’ll need a full face mask to cover your nose and mouth.

However, if you breathe through your nose you can use a nasal mask or pillow nasal mask, which takes up a lot less surface area. Although, those who are prone to congestion and allergies will need to use a full face mask when they can’t breathe through their nose.

Accessories such as CPAP mask liners, creams, straps, and headgear can make your mask more comfortable.

You also need a correctly fitting CPAP mask. If your mask is too tight it may put too much pressure on your skin and if it’s too big it might easily slide off during the night.

3. Optimize Your Bedroom For Comfort

Make sure your room is nice and comfortable for sleeping in.

  • You’ll want your bedroom to be dark, cool, and free of distractions.
  • Distraction-free also means quiet.
  • Phones and computer screens can keep you awake, so put away electronics about 30 minutes before bed. However, it’s fine to watch TV before bed.
  • If your room is too quiet or too hot use a fan to enhance your bedtime comfort.
  • Keep your room clean and clutter-free. Messes can subconsciously stress you out and keep you awake.
  • Make sure your bedding is comfortable. Do you have supportive, soft pillows? Is your mattress lumpy? Does your blanket keep you warm? If anything is bothering you when it comes to your bed, fix it.

4. Optimize Your Lifestyle For Sleep

There are a few simple daily changes you can make in order to make getting to sleep easier at night. For example, you can:

  • Avoid caffeine close to bedtime and other stimulants that may keep you awake.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages 2 to 3 hours before bed.
  • Work out for about 30 minutes a few days a week but make sure it’s at least three hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid eating two hours before bedtime to prevent heartburn and stomach cramps.

5. Relax Before Bed

Take the time to wind down. It can be difficult to actively end your night and try to go right to sleep. Relax by reading a book, watching some TV, meditating, or whatever else you find to be soothing. Start relaxing about two hours before bedtime.

Avoid stressful or emotional topics before bed. When you get stressed out your body may release the stress hormone cortisol, which makes people alert.

6. Keep Your CPAP Clean

Because your CPAP mask touches your skin and your breath passes through the components dust, skin cells, allergens, smells, bacteria, and more can collect. You might sleep better with fresh and clean CPAP supplies. Plus, clean CPAP equipment will last longer and help prevent you from getting sick.

You can wash your CPAP supplies by hand using warm soap and water once a week. Then hang them up to dry. OR you can speed up the process by using a CPAP cleaner like the Lumin to sanitize your items in as little as five minutes.

Don’t Give Up

Even though getting used to your sleep apnea machine may take a few days, don’t give up. With a little patience and practice, you and your CPAP will be off night after night of sweet dreams.

Information provided on the Aeroflow Healthcare blog is not intended as a substitute to medical advice or care. Aeroflow Healthcare recommends consulting a doctor if you are experiencing medical issues or concerns.