Sleeping with A CPAP Mask and Common Problems

One of the hardest things about starting to use a CPAP machine is getting used to falling asleep while wearing the CPAP mask. It's necessary for the patient to wear a mask, so they can be sure the correct amount of air is getting pushed through the airways at all times. The CPAP mask is designed to stay in place while still being as comfortable as possible.

Durable medical equipment technicians at medical equipment companies, as well as sleep specialists will be there to help you in every step of the way in choosing the right CPAP mask for you. Here are the seven most common problems that patients run into with CPAP masks, as well as the solutions that always work.


The sensation of wearing something on your face while you fall asleep always takes some getting used to, but some people have a much harder time with this than others. Sometimes using a nasal pillow works out much better for people who can't deal with a mask strapped to their face. Nasal pillows are smaller and lighter and work much like a nasal cannula.

The Mask Doesn't Fit Correctly

You might try your mask on when you decide to buy, but then when you used in one or even several times, it feels too tight or is too loose. You don't need to deal with a mask that doesn't fit right because there's a good chance you won't get the air pressure you need. Contact your medical equipment company, and they will help you exchange it for one that fits correctly.

Having to Wear a Mask Every Night Can Get Frustrating

It's common to feel annoyed and even dread going to bed wearing a mask. It does well to think about how much your health is improving by using the equipment. You'll begin to feel much better during the day, and have fewer headaches and your memory will improve due to the increase in oxygen.

Difficulty Getting Used to the Air Pressure

Check to see if there is a “ramp” setting, which will start you out with a smaller amount of air, and gradually increase as you fall asleep, to reach the pressure you need while sleeping. If this is still an issue, ask your sleep therapist if a CPAP with C-Flex or BiPAP machine would be better for you.

Dry or Irritated Sinuses

Your sleep therapist may suggest turning up the humidifier on the CPAP. Saline nasal sprays can also be used to moisturize the nasal passages before and after using it. You should also check to make sure your mask isn't allowing air leaks, which can also dry out your nose.

The Sound

If you're using an older CPAP machine, you might be annoyed by the humming or buzzing noise it makes. Newer CPAP machines are much quieter, so you can see if you can get a new one. You might also try moving it further away from your bed.

You Bump or Pull the Tube During Sleep

Consider buying a CPAPmax to replace your regular pillow. This pillow is specially designed for CPAP users, and it features large cutouts on either side, so the tube doesn't lie across the pillow. The pillow also has a tube tether to secure the hose and reduce drag on the mask and seal disruption.

About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

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