Authorities estimate that over 18 million Americans suffer from the potentially life-threatening condition known as sleep apnea. Treatment for sleep apnea comes most often in the form of a CPAP machine, which supplies a constant flow of air that helps to keep a sleep apnea patient breathing normally through the night.
Despite the fact that these machines provide life-saving benefits, many people find wearing a CPAP mask uncomfortable. If your CPAP mask is keeping you up at night, here are 3 things you can do to increase your comfort level in the future.
1. Start with the right mask for your sleep patterns.
To achieve the ultimate level of comfort, you must have access to the right kind of CPAP mask. Just as everyone has different sleep patterns, the types of masks that are best suited to fit your sleep patterns will vary. Many people breathe through their mouth as they sleep, so a partial mask that covers only the nasal passageways will not be efficient.
If you sleep on your stomach, you might want to consider investing in padding for your straps to avoid strap marks in the morning. Taking the time to understand your sleep patterns will help you select a mask with the best possible chance of providing you with both the comfort and constant air flow you need during sleep.
2. Consider investing in a chin strap for your CPAP mask.
Have you noticed that your tongue, throat, and mouth are extremely dry when you wake up? This could be because you are experiencing a phenomenon known as "jaw drop" during the night. When the jaw relaxes, the air pressure from your CPAP machine can cause your mouth to puff out, breaking the seal of your mask and causing air leaks.
By purchasing a chin strap for your CPAP mask, you can keep your jaw firmly in the closed position throughout the night. This should eliminate any dryness you experience in the mornings. Talk to a provider, such as Corner Medical, to purchase a chin strap.
3. Fit your mask before you turn your CPAP machine on.
Many sleep apnea patients turn their CPAP machines on prior to fitting their masks for the night. If you are experiencing discomfort when it comes to wearing your mask, putting it on before starting your machine could be a simple solution.
The air pressure from your machine could cause the mask's cushion or pillows to crease, which will prevent you from achieving an airtight seal. Your mask will move around more during the night, and you will receive less air due to leaks where the cushions or pillows are creased. Avoid this discomfort by fitting your mask first, then turning your CPAP machine on.
Living with sleep apnea doesn't have to mean you can never get another comfortable night's rest. By taking the time to select the right mask for your sleeping patterns, invest in a chin strap, and fit your mask before turning your machine on you can increase your comfort level in the future.
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