Everyone has questions and issues as they learn about their new bedtime friend, their CPAP machine.  This first week will really set the tone for your success with your machine.  During this time it is essential for you’re to ask questions and get the help you may need so that you sleep better at night. 

These 5 steps will help you have a great first week on your CPAP and will help you move on to a successful future of restful sleep

1.       Learn what the results of your sleep study were.   You really need to understand why you need the CPAP.  Learn what your test says.  What was your Apnea/Hypopnea index, the number of times you stopped breathing and breathed so shallow your oxygen levels dropped?  Knowing how bad your sleep apnea is will allow you to understand that this machine will help you to feel better and live healthier,   Did you have other issues such a limb movements and teeth grinding, also known as Bruxism?  If you have other issues your doctor may not want to deal with them until after he has dealt with the sleep apnea.  Know that these conditions may still cause you to wake up during the night and might have to be pursued at a later time.  What pressure did they use to correct the breathing issues and what pressure did all snoring go away?  If you understand why the pressure was set at a certain level you might better understand why the machine feels the way it does.

2.       If you are having a mask problem, deal with it as soon as possible.  Most insurance companies will replace a mask during the first 30 days.  If you do not give the company enough notice you may run out of time and have to pay for a new mask.  This is especially true if you develop a pressure mark of any type.  These usually occur on the bridge of the nose.  They mean one of two things, either you have the headgear too tight or that your skin cannot tolerate the pressure of the mask.  There are many masks on the market so if the first one gives you problems there is likely a second style of mask that will work better for you. 

3.       If you cannot sleep with the machine the first night, do not fret.  Many people have this problem.  The sensation of CPAP blowing air in your nose and mouth may take a little getting used to.  Try using it while sitting in the living room watching television.  This will give your mind something to concentrate on, a comfortable place for you to learn to adjust to the air and will make it less threatening then lying in a dark room with nothing to do but stare at the ceiling.  Once you have done that for a few hours then bring it back to the bedroom and try using it at night again.  The second time you should feel more comfortable and be more successful falling asleep with your CPAP.

4.       Find the right humidity for you.  Humidification can help reduce stuffy nose, sinus issues and dry mouth but you have to find the balance between fixing drying problems and getting too much water in your mask and tubing during the night.  Just remember that a dry nose and mouth is much more uncomfortable then a little condensation on your nose.

5.       Talk to someone if you cannot solve a problem.  Three days after you get your new machine the company that set you up should call you to see how you are doing.  Do not hesitate to talk to them.  Tell them the truth.  They may have a solution to your problem.  If they do not have a solution, talk to your doctor.  Sometimes they are able to give you a prescription to help deal with an issue.  If you need to be reinstructed about something to do with the machine.  The company that set you up will be happy to come out and reinstruct you.  That is what they are paid for.  But they do not know what you need if you do not tell them.  Ask the question you never know what solutions will pop up. 

Once you have had your first week of sleep on your CPAP machine you will find that you will start to feel less tired during the day.  You might even find that some of your health issues that brought you to the sleep lab in the first place may be improving.  It might take a little work but in the end the time you spend learning to use your CPAP will be well worth it. 

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