There is an expense in time, money and emotions to have a sleep study done and then be outfitted with a CPAP machine and mask. Patients are desperate to sleep better so that the overall quality of their lives might improve. Doctors, nurses, technicians, researchers and product manufacturers all are dedicated to help make this result possible.
Why then do so many people give up on their sleep therapy?
“It was so miserable that I gave up. I called it my torture machine.”
“I have tried several silicone masks previously and all of them caused sores on my nose.”
“I tried on several occasions to get used to the horrid mask, which promised to help me sleep more soundly and awake refreshed. But after about two weeks of it, I threw the darn thing in the back of my closet.”
These are just a few of the things people have told me about trying CPAP therapy. Since patients are desperate for a solution and sleep professionals are dedicated to provide it, it is almost a crime that the system fails so very, very many people.
Making CPAP More Comfortable
People who start CPAP therapy have been given a lot of information about the mechanics of using and cleaning the equipment. One thing that needs more emphasis is how to make wearing a mask more comfortable. Several things come to mind:
Try a different mask. The sleep therapy industry has created products that address medical needs while dealing with thousands of variations in facial physiology, skin types, allergies, etc. A person does not have to settle for the first mask tried. CPAP masks commonly come in full face, nasal and nasal pillows. Within those categories are styles that address the placement of the straps, chin support, pressure on the bridge of the nose, etc.
Identify the cause of the most discomfort. Is your skin sore and red where the silicone cushion touches your face? Does your mask leak air causing disruptions to your or your partner’s sleep? Are your straps so tight that they leave marks on your face well into the next day?
Check with your sleep professional or research online for products that will help address your problems. New products come on the market all of the time. Look for products that provide a soft barrier between the silicone cushion or the straps and your skin. If you start with these you should be able to alleviate many of the skin irritations, strap marks and air leaks.
SEE ALSO: Economic & Social Costs of OSA
Increasing CPAP Effectiveness
With products offered today, it is possible to increase the effectiveness of your sleep therapy. This result is even better when the solution may be laundered and used over and over again rather than be disposed and replaced after several uses.
If one product does not give you the results you desire, try another one. You may need to experiment until you find the solution that works for you.
Supplement your CPAP equipment with accessories that help you find comfort so that you can be successful at staying compliant with your sleep therapy. Your health can benefit.
Norman Paulk, CPAP Comfort Cover, LLC., Camas, Wash.