Sleep apnea that can kill you.
And, unfortunately, it’s all too common in the United States. Indeed, 18 million people are known to suffer from it around the country.
Sleep apnea is a potentially fatal sleeping condition where the muscles in your throat don’t open your airway as required. The airway remains closed for extended periods, stopping you from breathing while you’re asleep. If the period without breathing extends for too long, it can result in your death.
Thankfully, there are numerous ways to solve the problem! CPAP machines are one of them. But what are they? And how do you use them?
Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about this essential solution to sleep apnea.
What Are CPAP Machines?
Let’s begin with a definition.
CPAP is short for continuous positive airway pressure. That in itself gives you a clue to its primary function! They look like some futuristic astronaut lifesaving device. You wear a mask that’s attached to a tube, which links up to the main machine that’s filled with water.
The CPAP machine ensures there’s sufficient air pressure to open your airway when you breathe. As a result, you won’t suffer from long periods without oxygen throughout the night!
It’s a win for all involved. Your breathing is supported, and your snoring is reduced too. Your partner (and your kids, and your neighbors, and the dog downstairs…) gets a better night’s sleep as well!
Essential Things to Know About Using Them Properly
CPAP machines can make all the difference to your sleep. However, there are certain tips to keep in mind that will ensure:
- You avoid common CPAP problems, and
- You get the most out of yours.
Here are some essential tips to ensure you’re using your CPAP machine properly.
1. Check It’s Covered by Insurance
First off, you should check whether your CPAP machine is covered under your health insurance policy.
Thankfully, most policies will do this. However, there’s no harm in verifying it.
After all, these sleep-supporting machines don’t come cheap. Coverage may vary depending on certain factors, including your state and presence of secondary insurance.
2. Experiment with Different Features
The primary purpose of a CPAP machine is always the same.
However, there are definite ways to personalize them to your own requirements. For example, the individual components come in a variety of styles and sizes.
Take the time to experiment with what’s right for you.
For example, a full face mask may suit someone who sleeps on their back. But anyone who slumbers on their side is likely to find it unsuitable. Likewise, everyone’s face is different. Slight variations in size and style can make for a much better fit and experience all-around.
Remember, these masks are likely to take some getting used to anyway. It’s in your interest to optimize the experience however possible. Speak with your doctor or sleep professional to find the best alternative.
3. Wear it During the Daytime
As we just mentioned, these machines are likely to take some getting used to.
A good way of adjusting to them is by wearing them for brief periods during the day. Remember, practice makes perfect! Daytime exposure will help ease you into the night-time experience. When you settle down to sleep you’ll be less surprised by the sensation.
Next up, experiment with its use during naps you take. If you’re fond of an afternoon kip, then take the opportunity to use the CPAP machine. Incremental increases in use will smooth the transition into nightly use.
4. Expect Nose Problems
These machines are great for your breathing!
But they can have negative effects on your actual nose. The most common bugbear is having a dry and stuffy nose after their consistent usage (a dry mouth is also common). No-one wants a snotty, uncomfortable nose when they sleep!
You can try using a nasal saline spray to help. A couple of sprays before bedtime can make a big difference.
However, the biggest impact is likely to come from the humidifier that (usually) comes attached to the CPAP system. Using this to increase the humidity is known to increase comfort, as well as actual agreement to use the machine!
5. Prepare to Remove It at Night
Let’s face it, falling asleep with something on your face is far from natural!
Many people wake up to find they’ve somehow taken it off during the night. It’s like an unconscious protest at having put it in place!
Similarly, it might just fall off. This is especially common for people who move around a lot during the night. Twisting, turning, and moving into different positions means anything improperly secured will come loose.
One way of solving the problem is to wear a full face mask. It might sound counterintuitive. But they come with more straps to keep it in place. Alternatively, seek out masks with chin straps included. This can have the same effect.
6. Clean the Filters
Modern CPAP machines should run fairly silently.
However, older models were known to cause a ruckus. Obviously, any excess noise at night can have negative implications on sleep. Cleaning the system and air filters (this company can help) is a good first step to ensuring the CPAP machine runs are quietly as possible.
If the problem persists, and the noise is intolerable, then discuss with the supplier to see if they have any suggestions.
7. Be Patient
Getting used to a CPAP machine takes time.
As we’ve already noted, the use of it can seem strange at the beginning.
It’s important that you persist with it though. After all, it may save your life! You can’t afford to take the risk by giving up on the process. Over time you’ll adapt and be on your way to better sleep as a result.
Time to Wrap Up
There you have it: everything you need to know about using CPAP machines properly.
Sleep apnea is a common problem that impacts millions of people around the US. Unfortunately for them, severe cases can be fatal. Consequently, it’s vital to take steps to reduce the problem.
And that’s where CPAP machines come in. Hopefully, this article has provided all the information required to use them effectively.
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