This is a guest post from Ion My Sleep - please feel free to check them out if you have more questions on CPAP masks!
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, then it is very likely that your physician recommended you try a CPAP mask to alleviate the symptoms. Overall, the CPAP masks are very efficient in helping individuals with sleep apnea get a good night’s rest.
However, there have been reports of problems with the CPAP masks, especially from the patients that have tried them on for the first time. Let’s examine the most frequently encountered issues with the CPAP masks and what you can do about it.
You simply cannot stand the CPAP on your face
If the mask makes you anxious, then the best thing you can do is practice while you are awake until you get accustomed to it. For starters, you can try to put only the mask (without the hose and straps) on your face while you are watching TV or reading for instance. After the mask feels comfortable, you can wear it along with the hose at a low pressure setting. Lastly, attach the straps and turn on the air pressure machine and if it feels comfy while you are awake, try sleeping with it on.
On a side note, it is important to note that inconsistently wearing the CPAP mask will only make it harder for you get accustomed with it. Therefore, keep the settings adjusted to low intensity for a couple of weeks in order to determine if they work for you.
Your nose feels dry and stuffy in the morning
Even though they checked the CPAP mask for potential leakage, some patients reported waking up with a dry and stuffy nose. In the eventuality that the dry nose issue is caused by the device, then we recommend a CPAP mask that features an adjustable heated humidifier. However, if the humidifier does not constitute an effective solution, then it is advisable to ask your physician to prescribe you a nasal saline or a steroid spray.
You wake up with a dry mouth
If you usually sleep with your mouth opened, then it is very important to use the appropriate CPAP device, as otherwise the problem will worsen. By appropriate device we mean a CPAP mask that features:
- A chin strap that does not only keeps your mouth shut while sleeping, but also reduces the air leak from the nasal mask
- An adjustable heated humidifier that you can attach to the air pressure machine
- A full-face mask that snugly covers both the nose and mouth
You have a hard time falling asleep
Experiencing difficulties falling asleep is perhaps the most common problem that patients utilizing a CPAP mask face. However, we would like to inform you that this issue is temporary and is typically caused by not being accustomed to the CPAP device. Until you get used to wearing the CPAP machine, you can try out some of the following recommendations:
- Purchase a CPAP device that features a ramp option (meaning that it automatically and gradually increases the air flow to your preset settings while you are asleep)
- Try various relaxation techniques before going to bed (drink a cup of tea or take a warm bath)
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before going to bed
- Don’t go to sleep until you are very tired
The diversity of face shapes demands that you work closely with your CPAP supply provider and your physician in order to acquire a mask that fits you like a glove and meets your needs. With regards to the size of the mask, we would like to point out that dimensions vary according to the style of the mask. Nonetheless, as the vast majority of masks are adjustable, you can always ask your CPAP supplier to teach you how to properly tweak your CPAP device so that it feels comfortable.
Are you sure that is the right mask style?
It is necessary to mention the fact that you have a wide variety of CPAP masks to choose from nowadays and you can surely find the right one for you with a little research. If you tend to move a lot during your sleep and you want to be certain the mask provides a stable fit, then perhaps you should consider a full face mask. On the other hand, if the aforementioned device makes you claustrophobic, then maybe masks featuring nasal pillows are more suitable in your case!