CPAP Tips and Commonly Asked Questions

January 28, 2015

Cozy up with your cup ‘o tea and pull up a chair to get the inside scoop from our own Aunty Jane. Jane serves up wise CPAP tips sunny side up and and dishes on answers to some common questions.

The tubing gets in my way.
Draping the tubing behind you and over the headboard helps with that. There is also a new device that attaches to the bed that holds the tubing up and rotates so that it can move with you.

Why do I wake up feeling bloated and full of air?
Occasionally, a CPAP user will experience air trapping in the stomach and awaken with stomach pain or gas.
Sometimes simply making sure that you sleep with your head aligned with your body can help with this. If you want to elevate your head in bed you should do that with a wedge pillow or with bricks under the headboard. If you sleep with several pillows it may cause your head to tilt forward and block your airway. Lowering the CPAP pressure can help but your sleep specialist may not want to do this if it reduces the effectiveness of your treatment. Switching to bilevel pressure or C­Flex may be very helpful in these cases.

Suffering with a stuffy, runny nose and /or sneezing.
This is THE most common side effect of CPAP therapy. It is caused by the cool, dry air from your CPAP machine
reaching your sinuses. The use of additional humidity attached to your CPAP machine should prevent this. If this effect still occurs with a room temperature humidifier you may require a heated humidifier. At the beginning of this therapy you may need to use a corticosteroid in conjunction with the humidifier to settle the tissues. Please contact your

Extra tired when using CPAP.
This effect occurs to some people when usage of CPAP reaches most of the night. This feeling may last up to 1 week.
Some descriptive terms for this are, “I feel totally out of it”, “overwhelmingly tired, groggy”, “dragging”. All these descriptions usually has one wonder why carry on with the therapy, as it made them even feel worse. At this point, one MUST stay on CPAP to get through this stage. There is light at the end of the tunnel!
Very vivid, real­like dream while using CPAP.
This may occur if the person using CPAP has been missing a large portion of their REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.
Once they enter REM sleep, they stay in it much longer than usual. This generally occurs at the beginning of CPAP therapy and is short term.
Inside of nose is stinging.
This is the result of dry, cool air from the CPAP machine irritating the mucosa inside the nose. The addition of a CPAP
humidifier should solve this effect. Please call your therapist at SLEEPTECH ­ 1­877­597­5030.
Ear pain and/or plugged ears.
Stop CPAP therapy and call or email SLEEPTECH to speak with your therapist.

What if I’m snoring with CPAP?
This should not occur, while using CPAP. It usually indicates the necessity for a higher pressure. Please call your
SLEEPTECH therapist to make this adjustment. If you do not have a bed partner to tell you that you’re snoring, then a dry mouth and tongue may mean your snoring.

What if I buy a new mask and it does not work for me, once I try it at home?
You have a grace period of 2 weeks to return your mask and exchange it for another mask.

How can I avoid the water build­up in my hose?
Your machine should be 12” off the floor. I have mine on a footstool beside my bed. When I get
up in the morning I stretch the hose up to drain any condensation back into the humidifier. I take off my
mask and hose and take it in the shower with me to wash and allow it to dry over the shower head.
Then I reattach the hose before I go to bed at night.

How do I know if I need a full face mask?
If you wake up with a dry mouth – chances are you need a full face mask or a chin strap.
If your spouse is poking your ribs at night because you are still snoring ­ chances are you need a full face
mask a chin strap or an adjustment to the pressure of your equipment. Call us for an appointment.

Why am I getting red sores and marks on my face from my mask/headgear?
Masks and headgear should be changed anywhere from 9 – to 15 months. What is happening is
that your cushion is wearing out – getting softer, and you need to pull the head gear tighter to get a
good seal with your mask.
Washing the mask seal daily is important to good mask fit with the least pressure on the straps

How do I change the pressure on my CPAP machine?
You should not need to adjust the pressure on your CPAP. Any adjustments that need to be
made should be in consultation with a therapist.

How do I know if my CPAP pressure needs to be changed?
Your body will tell you – you will be tired again. Not all tiredness is due to the CPAP not working.
Make an appointment with a therapist who will check your equipment to make sure it is working well
and if need be arrange to for an overnight oximetry on CPAP to make sure your pressure is correct.

If I lose weight will my sleep apnea go away?
Chances are your sleep apnea may be less but it will not go completely go away. We can only
know if the sleep apnea is resolved by losing the weight and retesting. Most sleep apnea has structural
issues as well as weight issues that have to be considered.
I use my CPAP and the pressure has been titrated, but I still feel tired, what can I do?
You can go back to your doctor to see if there is another cause of your tiredness – eg Restless
leg syndrome, narcolepsy. Have your doctor do a physical if one has not been done recently and or
referral to a sleep specialist.

How can I solve a dry mouth?
This depends on what is causing the dry mouth. Many medications you may be on also cause
dryness and sometimes it is a cumulative effect with the CPAP.
Sometimes you just need to turn up the humidity on the machine.
You might need a full face mask or chin strap.
Put a cozy on your hose to help to keep the air in the hose warm.
Opting for a heated hose – if it is available for your machine.
A mouthwash that keeps your mouth moist. (ie Biotene, Moistir)
You should discuss this with a therapist.
If all the above fails, you can return to your doctor for medication.



Aunty Jane

Aunty Jane

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