Adjusting to Life With a CPAP Machine

Discovering that you need to use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine at night can involve a difficult adjustment. Many people become very anxious just thinking about using this device. However, it’s important to deal with these feelings of anxiety correctly and to take the necessary steps to adequately adjust to life with a CPAP machine.

Drs. Dennis Kellar and Madhu Gundavaram are happy to provide you with a number of tips to make adjusting to your new CPAP machine easier, and also to invite you in for a consultation at Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine. All of us here at our Algonquin, Illinois, office want to help you get the best night’s sleep possible with your new CPAP machine. 

First, stay positive

Those who face the prospect of a CPAP machine with a negative attitude are usually going to have what they’re fearing: a negative experience. If you’re expecting the experience to be difficult on you, that you won’t be able to sleep with the machine, or that you will be inconvenienced by it, that’s probably what will happen.

Instead, try to think about how much this machine will likely help you. After all, you’re getting it because your sleep apnea is making it harder for you to sleep. This treatment will actually make it easier for you to sleep, which will improve every other aspect of your daily life.

Take your time choosing a machine

Don’t feel like you need to choose the first provider or machine you see. Different companies make CPAP machines, and different machines will fit you in different ways. If you don’t feel comfortable with a certain salesperson, company, or machine, don’t let it sour you on the experience. 

You are the customer, and your choice matters. Take your time selecting the right machine, and try on different options until you find one that fits comfortably.

Here’s a tip: It’s usually best to pick the smallest machine you’re comfortable with, unless you move around a lot and think it might come off your face at night. This type of sleep behavior could require a full face mask. 

Also, don’t hesitate to bring your mask back if you find you have issues with it. It simply might not fit you right, and this can lead to a host of problems that can be avoided by just returning your mask and getting a new one. 

Get used to the machine

It’s usually a better idea to try to wear the CPAP machine during the day for a while to get used to it, rather than waiting until you need it at night. Attempting the latter could actually cause insomnia and other problems if you’re not comfortable with the mask when it’s time for bed. 

Instead, try wearing the machine while you’re awake, perhaps while watching TV or spending time alone. Try to wear it for longer and longer periods so you can begin to get comfortable with it.

Be consistent

Try to keep your use of the CPAP machine consistent and continual. This means you should wear it every night and even take it with you when you’re traveling. Also, be sure you make time for your sleep. Set aside a full eight hours each night, and don’t skimp on the time you need to be resting.

Ask for help

Adjusting to your CPAP machine takes time, but don’t feel like you’re going it alone. If your mask doesn’t fit, try a new one. If you’re feeling claustrophobic when you wear it, reach out to Drs. Kellar and Gundavaram for advice. Remember, this process takes time, but once you do get used to your CPAP machine, you’ll sleep better, and the effects will ripple throughout your life.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment at Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, call 815-770-5980. You can also book an appointment online. Come down to our Algonquin office and start getting better sleep as soon as possible.

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