CPAP machines have become one of the most common solutions for treating obstructive sleep apnea, but it’s no surprise that many first-time users have some trouble getting comfortable with the masks and experience a few weird side effects of using a CPAP machine. Here are a few things to expect when you start sleeping with a CPAP mask:
- Dry nose and/or mouth: Because of the continuous stream of air, you may find that your nose and/or mouth dries out when using a CPAP mask; if you sleep with your mouth open, or if the air is naturally drier than usual (which often happens during the winter), you may find that you’re experiencing more dryness than other CPAP machine users. Turning on a humidifier at night will put moisture back into the air, and nasal sprays can provide relief for dry noses. If you find that your mouth is still comfortably dry, you may want to consider a full face CPAP mask that covers both your nose and mouth.
- Pulling the mark off during sleep: This is a natural side effect that many first-time CPAP machine users experience, especially those who move around a lot during sleep. Many people get used to sleeping with their CPAP machines running and this problem goes away on its own; if you’ve been using a CPAP machine for a while and you’re beginning to develop this problem, it could be a sign that your nose is getting congested at night or that the CPAP mask you’re using is extremely uncomfortable.
- Trouble falling asleep: Last but not least, it’s important to remember that it takes some time to get used to sleeping with a CPAP mask on; give yourself some time to adjust, and even try keeping the mask on during the day while reading or watching TV so that your body gets used to the mask and can relax enough to fall asleep. Other simple changes that may help you relax at night include avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, exercising during the day, and refraining from using electronic devices for about an hour before you go to bed.
Remember, most of these problems can be fixed very easily or may even go away on their own as you get accustomed to sleeping with your mask on — so don’t give up on your CPAP machine after just a couple days! And if any problems persist, appear suddenly, or start to worsen, make sure to contact your doctor immediately.