Living with CPAP – Tips from an Insider

November 14, 2016

Two pillows on a white bed with title "CPAP Insider Tips" from someone living with sleep apnea

Monica is our amazing, attentive, and highly organized Office Manager in our Surrey Sleep Apnea Treatment Centre. She also happens to be a seasoned CPAP user. Today, she walks us through her top insider scoop tips on living with sleep apnea and sleeping with a CPAP machine.


You have been to the doctor and test results show that you are positive for sleep apnea. You have been to your provider and you have been fitted for your equipment. You have purchased your distilled water. You now you have a CPAP machine. At home. In the bedroom or wherever you sleep. And a million thoughts and questions that you should have asked during your appointment are swirling through your head.

Does it match the décor?

Will it be too noisy for my spouse – (newer CPAPs are quieter than a window fan)

And the big question can I sleep with it – the answer is yes.


Here are my top tips for sleeping well with your CPAP Machine:

1) CPAP Set-up

Set up your CPAP machine approximately 12” or 30 cm off the floor beside where you sleep – an old fashioned foot stool is a good stand for it. It’s your first night.

2) Adjusting to the Mask

Put the mask on, lay down and relax. Sometimes you need to take something to relax to get you over your fear of never being able to sleep with this, such as melatonin. Try some deep breathing or meditative music.

3) Don’t Struggle

Don’t struggle with the mask – if you are still awake an hour later, remove the mask. Try again the next night. If this doesn’t work don’t force it – go to plan B (*see below)

4) Bed Linen

Bed linen – the vented air bounces off of the covers and it really sounds 10 times louder than need be. Try adjusting your position to prevent the vented air from reverberating off of the covers.

5) Sleep Position

If you are a side sleeper, try bunching up your pillow or purchasing our specially made pillows for CPAP users. There is no magic solution. You just have to find a way to get comfortable and if you snore while on your back, the good news is that you can sleep on your back because you are wearing your CPAP. If the hose gets in the way just tuck it under the covers. There are hose lifts that slide between the mattress and box spring or you can hang the hose over your headboard.


Try wearing the mask while watching television or reading. A good mask fit is extremely important and some people just need to get used to using the mask. Try adjusting the mask straps. Try to use it when you are really tired so you don’t notice the mask. All masks have vent holes – ensure your vent hole isn’t pointed toward: Your spouse – because your spouse will get cold and not be happy.

Please keep in mind, if you just can’t get comfortable with your mask, call your provider. Sometimes what fits in the office might not work at home.  Read more about the mechanics of sleep here.

Sweet Dreams,

Monica Hird, CCBW, MAL
#sleeptech #smartersleep
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