Relief from Fear of Failing CPAP compliance
Tips for continuing your Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy
So you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, then you jump through many hoops to get the right prescription, but now that you are “all set” for CPAP therapy you find it is a big-pill to swallow, as one might say, especially with air being forced down your throat 8 hours a day.
Let’s face it, CPAP compliance is difficult! Sleep Therapists know it is easier said than done, so they have shared some useful CPAP tips and tricks to help you have a better nights rest without cutting off the nose to spite the face, (or your long-term health).
A good fit
Darth Vader makes it look so easy, and he seems to always have his mask on, so why do you feel challenged keeping your mask on just through the night? You have been prescribed or fitted for a mask that should work well with your sleeping behaviours and facial structures. And you have been educated about proper use of the equipment and regular cleaning. So, why is it leaking? Weight-gain/loss is a common reason as it may no longer contour to your face the same as it once did. Also, facial hair and standard bed pillows are notorious for interfering with a good seal. Consider resting your head on a pillow designed for CPAP users, and/or use a gel mask leak sealer to bring yourself better sleep without need to join the darkside.
Keep on keeping it on
Getting used to the mask, the machine, the bedtime routine takes time. It is understandable if, at times, you just want to take the mask off in frustration, as it is supposed to be the thing that helps you sleep, not wake up! However, be careful that you don’t create a new restless sleep pattern to remove the [enter your own expletive] mask regularly. Try to keep it on a little longer each night as you adjust to the change of sleep progress.
Note your progress – (there’s an app for that)
Most likely your machine keeps track of your compliance, and the latest models even share it wirelessly with your sleep therapist. When you track your own progress daily you will be more motivated to succeed. Non-medical devices can help you track your sleep like wearable fitness trackers or smartphone apps. ResMed, a popular brand in sleep therapy, has an app named myAir™ which is a support program to help you track your sleep therapy that works in conjunction with their latest CPAP models. In iTunes, iPhone users will likely like Sleeptracker 24/7 which is currently rated 4.4 out of 5 stars. Of course a good old-fashioned pad of paper & pencil work well. Note the time you head to bed, the time you wake up, and most importantly how you’re feeling—not even an app can do that, yet!