CPAP machines are nothing short of life-saving devices for anyone suffering from obstructive sleep apnea — quite literally, in fact. Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed for long periods of time, simply because individuals aren’t aware that they have this sleep disorder until other serious symptoms appear; symptoms resulting from long-term sleep deprivation can be very taxing mentally and physically, and can have long-term consequences on your overall health as well.
Although there are a few different treatment options available for anyone who suffers from sleep apnea, many individuals find that CPAP masks provide the most effective treatment, at a very low cost, and without having too many negative side effects; that being said, it does take some time most first-time CPAP machine users to get accustomed to sleeping with their masks on. If you’ve found that you’re getting a little frustrated with your mask, or even if you haven’t started using it yet but you’re already feeling a bit anxious, here are a few tips to help you relax and adjust as quickly as possible:
- Don’t be afraid to make some adjustments with your CPAP mask, and even with the set up of your bedroom, when you first start to use one. It’s essential that the mask fits properly or else it won’t work, so don’t be afraid to contact your doctor or the CPAP machine supplier if your mask feels excessively uncomfortable. Since it’s normal to experience a dry nose, dry mouth, and even dry eyes and skin (especially if the mask is loose and air escapes), it’s a good idea to get a humidifier for your bedroom and purchase moisturizing nasal spray or eye drops. If these physical symptoms persist, of course, it’s important to let your doctor know.
- Getting used to the machine will definitely take some time, but one way to help yourself relax with the mask on is to wear it during the day whenever you’re not moving around — when working on the computer or watching a TV show, for example. This will help you get used to the feel of the mask without feeling pressured to relax and fall asleep.
- You’ll probably experience some trouble relaxing at night when you start using a CPAP machine for the first time, so it’s important to do everything you can to help your body physically relax (even if your mind is still worrying). Make sure to avoid caffeine and alcohol before behind, turn off any digital devices with LED screens (like cellphones or laptops) that might keep your brain awake, and try dimming the lights or taking a shower before getting ready for bed. All of these things have been known to help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep — which is your main priority (and difficulty) when you’re dealing with sleep apnea.
Now it’s your turn to contribute! If you’ve got any tips about how to feel comfortable with a CPAP machine, we’d love to hear your advice!