Did you know that according to The American Sleep Apnea Association, there are about 22 million Americans who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)? The most common treatment option for OSA is using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines. These help to keep the airway open and prevent apnea and decreased oxygen levels while asleep. But what happens when you’re not feeling any better when using CPAP therapy? Before you you give up, keep reading to learn four common reasons.
CPAP machines, unfortunately, can become uncomfortable in the middle of the night. Waking up in the middle of the night can make you want just to say, “Forget it, I will sleep better without it.”
Many people do this. Unfortunately, this can lead to worse sleep and potential health risks associated with untreated sleep apnea.
Taking off the CPAP machine, especially at the end of sleep, can ruin the last stages of sleep. REM sleep, or the deepest sleep stage, typically occurs during the last third of the night.
During REM sleep, the muscles are the most relaxed. This includes the muscles in the airway, which leads to the airway becoming blocked off during sleep with people who suffer from OSA.
Removing the mask and falling back asleep will hinder the benefits of using a CPAP. This can lead to more CPAP issues and leave you feeling more tired since you will not be getting good REM sleep.
CPAPs can be challenging to set up and get used to at first. In addition, some people find breathing against pressure uncomfortable. Over time and with practice, most people overcome this challenge.
In addition to getting used to the pressure, many people have difficulties with the mask itself. For example, an improperly fitted mask can cause several issues. Some issues associated with an improperly fitted CPAP mask include:
If you are experiencing any of these CPAP problems, you can try to adjust the mask on your own. However, if you cannot get the CPAP mask adjusted properly, get professional help to ensure your mask is fitted correctly.
It is important to get reevaluated often to ensure that you’re benefitting from your CPAP machine and the appropriate settings. In addition, your CPAP level may change over time based on your condition.
Some people see improvement and need a lower setting, especially if they had major weight loss. However, sometimes OSA can worsen over time, and some people need to increase their CPAP settings.
Your physician can evaluate your sleep study results and make adjustments if needed.
When someone suffers from OSA, a common symptom is frequently waking up during the night. OSA can cause some frequent nighttime awakenings due to apnea and lack of oxygen during sleep. For this reason, many people who seek CPAP therapy blame their insomnia on their OSA.
Unfortunately, not all insomnia is caused by OSA, and sometimes there are other underlying causes. If you are still suffering from insomnia, it is important to talk to your doctor to seek alternative treatment options.
Getting used to using CPAP therapy at night can be a challenge. However, it is important to your health and sleep to try to wear it all night.
Making sure you have a properly fitted mask can make a big difference in the comfort of using a CPAP. If you are struggling with your CPAP mask, contact us today for help and alternative CPAP mask options.