It’s understandable if your brain spirals after receiving your sleep apnea diagnosis. The thought of using something foreign on your face every night could make anyone uneasy. Fortunately, following this beginner’s guide to using a sleep apnea machine, you will better understand what you should know before buying a machine and what to expect during your treatment.
The first concern you may have is how the machine’s noise will affect your sleep. When you turn on your device, the sound it makes can be jarring initially. One way you can prepare yourself for this massive change is by listening to different sounds as you try to fall asleep. A fan, white noise machine, or having a TV on at a low volume may seem strange if you usually don’t sleep with one of them. So, if you can successfully fall asleep with this minor change, the transition to a CPAP machine should be simpler, and you might have something you can rely on to drown out the noise of the device.
Another key component of using your CPAP effectively is assessing what you do in your sleep. While you may not always know what you’re doing after you’re conked out, you should have a clue whether you flop around like a fish out of water. If you aren’t lucky enough to sleep as stiff as a board, you will need a mask that allows for tossing and turning, which narrows down your choices.
In a perfect world, everyone who uses a CPAP machine should try to sleep on their side. Doing so will open your airway more, whereas sleeping on your back or stomach will impede your breathing, thwarting your treatment.
Knowing how you sleep and your habits before your new CPAP machine guarantees the best results. Otherwise, you might veer down a road that leads you to the wrong mask or a machine that’s too loud. If you can’t fall asleep for those reasons, your CPAP treatment will be for naught.
Become Best Friends With Your Mask
There are three types of CPAP masks: nasal, nasal pillow, and full-face. Each of these masks has its benefits and downsides, depending on the questions you answered previously. One factor all three have in common is that you must acclimate yourself to them as much as possible, or else wearing one will always be a struggle.
Transitioning to the new mask may be the most challenging aspect of CPAP treatment. When you first begin, it’s not unusual to wake up in the middle of the night and rip your mask off. While that might help in the short term, it makes your life more difficult as time goes by. Using a CPAP machine is a long-term solution, so you must do everything you can to adjust accordingly.
When you wear your mask while doing other things like reading a book, watching TV, or scrolling through your phone, you’ll notice that it will almost feel like a part of you. Therefore, it will no longer trouble you when it’s time to turn off the lights and fade into dreamland. `
Cleaning the Components
Wearing your CPAP mask and using your device is only half your battle. Because if you don’t care for and clean the machine, you will weaken the treatment and put yourself at risk. There are things you’ll want to do every day, while other tasks you can do weekly.
Let’s start with your daily chores for your mask. Your cleaning regimen starts by unplugging the machine and disconnecting the mask from the tubing. The mask has three parts (cushion, frame, and headgear). Over your kitchen sink filled with soap and warm water, wipe away any excess facial oils from the previous night’s rest. After thoroughly cleaning it, place it on a towel to air dry.
Your next objective is the humidifier. You might also multitask when you clean your mask and grab your humidifier, considering you’re repeating the same process of unplugging, disconnecting, wiping, rinsing, and letting it air dry. A clean humidifier is essential, or the air you take in might not be warm or clean. Any signs of discoloration in the humidifier are a red flag, requiring you to replace it as soon as possible.
In addition to the daily cleansing of your humidifier, you’ll also have a weekly assignment. You’ll give your humidifier a spa day by performing a more detailed and lengthened deep clean. Every week you should soak the humidifier in a bath of one-part water and the one-part white vinegar. Let it soak for 20 minutes before rinsing it with warm water. Retrieve the humidifier and lay it flat on a towel away from direct sunlight, allowing it to dry naturally.
The other weekly cleaning job is for the CPAP tubing. Follow the familiar steps of disconnecting, soaking, rinsing, and laying it out to dry. Your tubing doesn’t require any special treatment but knowing there’s no need to include it in your daily routine takes some of the load off your shoulders.
The last nugget of information you need to know about using a CPAP machine is that it’s imperative that you never skip a night of treatment. This will only work if you’re consistent with your sessions every night. Skipping therapy can delay the adjustment time and make it even more challenging to acquaint yourself with the device. It may be harder to notice the improvements initially, leading to frustration. But you must trust the process.
Any method to keep yourself motivated to continue with your therapy is worth exploring. It could be something as simple as a picture of your family nearby, reminding you each time you grab the mask that you’re doing it to prolong your life to spend as much time with them as possible. You could also have a checklist of goals you hope to achieve during your treatment. A common goal many share could be losing weight in hopes that you won’t have to sleep with a mask for the rest of your life. Whatever your “why” is, make sure it encourages you for the long haul.
This beginner’s guide to using a sleep apnea machine gives you a more practical outlook on things than the science behind it. It’s more vital to know the best ways to introduce it to your nighttime routine and how to clean it than anything else.
If you were recently diagnosed with sleep apnea and are unsure what device is best for you, CPAPnation is here to help with our discount CPAP machines. CPAPnation provides all CPAP users with what they need, including cleaning supplies and various mask options. Our goal is to not only assist you in controlling your sleep apnea but to do so at an affordable price.