Sleep apnea is a very serious problem that impacts millions of Americans. It has been estimated that as many as 18 million people in the United States have this problem. Sufferers will stop sleeping many times during the night. These periods of times are called “apneas” and can last for up to a full minute. People who suffer the most serious sleep apnea will do this many times during one night. While there are a number of sleep apnea products out on the market, the continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) is considered to be the “gold standard.” Many sufferers do not use these machines as prescribed and ever get the full benefits. Here are some tips to help you get the benefits you need from the sleep apnea products you use.
- Get the right CPAP mask. In the world of sleep apnea products, not every accessory was created equal. What works for your friend or partner may not work for you. You need to make sure that you get a CPAP nasal pillow or mask that fits you. This will make it more comfortable. If one mask does not work, try another. Work with your doctor and the professionals at the store to get the machine that you will use and benefit from. This technology is changing all of the time so even if you do not find the perfect mask or pillow today, there may be something in the near future that can help.
- Take time getting used to your sleep apnea products. Starting using a CPAP machine is a big lifestyle change. Like any change like this, it will take time to get used to it. Do not expect to get used to using your sleep apnea products immediately. There are people who expect to be comfortable using and sleeping with a CPAP machine the first time they use it. One way to get used to sleeping in a mask is to use it more and more throughout the day. Put it on without plugging it in. Wear it around the house when you are watching TV or reading. Many people have a hard time getting used to wearing something on their face. You will get used to it if you practice it.
- Get used to the forced air. A number of people have a hard time getting used to what it feels like to have air pushed into their lungs. When you start using your sleep apnea products, you should not start using them on the highest setting. Most CPAP machines let you “ramp” up. This means you can start slowly. Your machine will raise the level after you have fallen asleep. If you find that you cannot get used to sleeping with this kind of thing, you should talk to your doctor about what all of your options are. You maya different kind of machine.
- Use it consistently. One problem, say sleep doctors, is that people do not use their machines enough to get the medical benefits. There is another problem with on again/off again use of these machines. You never really get used to the machines when you do not use it all of the time as prescribed. You need to get used to the machine and then become religious about wearing it when you sleep. Whether you are taking a nap or going to bed for the night, you need to sleep with your CPAP mask. The good news is that once you have gotten used to wearing a mask when you are awake, you will have less trouble getting used to wearing it when you are asleep.
- Keep your CPAP supplies clean. No matter how comfortable your sleep apnea products are, if they are funky, you are not going to want to wear them. Moreover, CPAP machines and accessories are warm and moist, which makes them magnets for viruses, bacteria and fungi. You will stay healthier if you keep everything clean.
Sleep apnea is a serious disorder than can lead to serious health problems for its sufferers. When you use the right CPAP equipment, for the prescribed amount of time on a regular basis, you will stay healthier and happier.