Sleep apnea is a dangerous sleep disorder that can lead to other more serious health issues. Fortunately, the condition can be treated fairly easily using CPAP machines, but that can come with its own set of challenges.
Many people who start CPAP treatment feel a little overwhelmed or uncomfortable with the sensation of wearing CPAP nasal pillows and masks. Fortunately, it’s possible to get over this initial discomfort and benefit from treatment.
When you first start out with your machine, try wearing the mask for short stretches of time before you go to sleep. You can wear it while reading a book or watching TV, for instance, just to get used to the feel.
Once you’ve acclimated to that, try turning the air pressure on for short periods of time. If you feel comfortable enough, start using your device every time you sleep, including naps. If you don’t use your machine consistently, you may not be able to get used to it. Try to stick with it for at least a couple of weeks before you decide if it’s the right pressure and mask for you.
If you’re experiencing claustrophobia when you try to use your mask, try to hold it to your face for short periods of time without the straps. Ease yourself in with a low air pressure setting and work your way up to using the straps. You can use relaxation exercises like progressive muscle relaxation to deal with anxiety.
If you’re still experiencing discomfort or claustrophobia with your machine, you might want to switch to a different kind of CPAP mask. A full face mask makes for a more stable fit, so if you move around a lot, it might not be a bad idea. CPAP nasal pillows simply fit under your nose and cover less of your face, and as a result CPAP nasal pillows are popular with people who want something less bulky.
If trying a few different masks doesn’t work, talk to your doctor or sleep specialist about alternative treatments.