You don’t need to tell us how important CPAP therapy is for patients with sleep apnea. We know that our customers – and all patients – depend on CPAP for a proper night’s rest and that they’re always looking to get the most out of their equipment. We’re often asked for CPAP tips or ideas for maximizing therapy, and today, we thought we’d share a couple pieces of advice that we commonly dispense. Remember, if you have further questions, we’re always willing to help: just drop us a line in the comments or at our email, [email protected]
Tip 1: Avoid over-tightening your mask
This may sound intuitive, but a surprising number of patients are willing to clamp their mask on in an effort to enhance their seal. A quality seal is important, certainly, but if you need to tighten your mask to the point of discomfort, the problem is less with the seal than the mask itself.
Over-tightening a mask can lead to painful and unseemly facial blemishes and strap marks, imprints that won’t fade quickly if you tighten your mask every night. Worse, some patients with overly tight masks subconsciously remove their masks in the middle of the night and don’t realize what they’ve done until the following morning. You want a snug fit, but if you’re tightening your mask to the point that it hurts, you either need to re-adjust your mask, get a new cushion, or possibly find a mask that fits your face better.
Tip 2: If you want a light mask, go nasal pillow
Patients who wear them won’t be shocked: nasal pillow masks
are the lightest CPAP mask type. They aren’t ideal for patients who toss and turn all night, but if you’re a relatively sound sleeper, you can wear a nasal pillow mask without worrying about disrupting the mask’s fit throughout the night. If you dislike bulky masks or hate the feeling of a cushion on your chin or nasal bridge, the nasal pillow mask is perfect for you.
Tip 3: Use distilled water in your heated humidifier
Distilled water keeps your humidifier clean and safe from mold growth and mineral deposits. Distilled water is pure water, which will keep your humidifier chamber hygienic and operating properly for as long as you own your machine. If distilled water is unavailable, we recommend using bottled water over tap water. This goes for cleaning too!
Tip 4: Hypoallergenic filters last longer
If you have a ResMed machine and don’t like changing your filters regularly, consider using hypoallergenic filters
. These filters feature dual-sided fabric which makes them thicker and more durable. They’ll block debris far longer than a typical filter and with proper maintenance, can be used for months.
Tip 5: Climb the stair? No. Use the Ramp!
We talked about the ramp feature in depth
a few months ago, but the bevy of positive responses we got after publishing warrant a re-mention.
Most CPAP machines – especially new ones – feature a pressure ramp that allows you to gradually increase the air pressure on your machine. This lets patients to fall asleep more naturally, without a high volume of air inflow from their machine as they drift off to sleep. For patients – especially ones with high machine pressure settings – falling asleep with a CPAP can be a challenge. With the ramp, you can drift off to sleep while the pressure is set on zero, and over the course of the night, the pressure will increase to your prescribed level.
If you’re not sure how to set up the ramp, be sure to check out our instructional video below: