Keys to Avoiding Common Problems

The process of adjusting to your sleep apnea therapy can vary between people.  Some CPAP users adapt to the therapy very easily while others take a little more time and effort.  This extended adjustment period is completely normal.  Learning to use and live with your CPAP equipment starts with forming good habits, staying positive, and practicing.  Below is a list of common problems you might experience and the best methods to overcome these issues.

The Wrong Size or Style CPAP Mask

  • CPAPs Etc offers a complete showroom stocked with different CPAP masks. Everyone has different needs and face contours, so the right style and size varies between patients. We always recommend trying on a mask before making a purchase. Using the correct mask is essential to the success of your sleep apnea therapy.


Trouble getting used to wearing the CPAP Mask

  • The adjustment process to wearing a CPAP mask can be challenging, but remember your short and long term health is at risk without the sleep apnea therapy. Sometimes it is helpful to wear your mask while being awake allowing you to make adjustments and become accustomed to the feel. Then try wearing the mask and hose with the air pressure on, still during the daytime, while you are awake. This will gradually help you become comfortable wearing the mask and increase the chances of successful CPAP therapy.


Difficulty tolerating forced air

  • This problem can be easily fixed utilizing the ramp feature on the machine. Ramp allows the CPAP user to start at a lower pressure until they fall asleep. Once the patient is sleeping or after a set amount of time the machine will ramp up to the prescribed pressure. Other options include switching from a CPAP device to an Auto or BiPAP. Auto CPAP machines will automatically detect the pressure you need constantly throughout the night and change the settings as needed guaranteeing you get the correct pressure. BIPAP devices are for patients with higher pressures where you receive the correct pressure when inhaling, but the pressure is cut down drastically when exhaling creating a peaceful sleeping environment. This pressure relief helps you sleep easier because you do not have to fight the high pressure when exhaling.


Dry, stuffy nose

  • A CPAP device that features a heated humidifier, which attaches to the air pressure machine, can help. The level of humidification is adjustable and sometimes using a nasal saline spray at bedtime can prevent the patient waking up with a dry nasal system. Your mask should also be checked for fit as a leaky mask can dry out your nose.


Feeling Claustrophobic

  • If you feel claustrophobic, practice wearing the mask by holding it up to your face without securing the headgear. Once you are comfortable with the mask making contact with your face, try wearing the mask with the straps. Slowly acclimate yourself to the mask and pressure by wearing the CPAP equipment for a short period of time. Eventually you will be able to sleep comfortably with the mask for a full sleep therapy session. If the mask still seems to invasive, a different type of mask such as a nasal or nasal pillow mask can help. Always try on the mask before you make a purchase.


Feeling Bloated after Therapy

  • You may experience bloating when using a PAP device especially during the beginning treatment phase. Try to avoid swallowing air and breathe normally with your PAP device.


How to Travel with your CPAP

  • You need to use your CPAP whenever you go to sleep. This means that you need to be able to take your unit with you when traveling. Current CPAP machines are lightweight, portable, and not effected by airport x-ray devices. If you travel frequently, investing in a travel CPAP machine is an excellent idea as they are very small allowing your CPAP to be used anywhere.  View our travel CPAP machines here.


  • Using a CPAP machine at high altitudes can alter the unit’s performance. This problem can arise from traveling to a location that is at an altitude much higher or lower than your home. Some models have an internal pressure sensor allowing the unit to self-adjust when the altitude changes due to travel.


  • Most PAP machines can also be used outside of the United States where the voltage standard is 110v. They have internal power converters allowing them to be used with the common voltage level of 220v found in many other countries. Always consult your instruction manual before traveling to another country.


Eye Discomfort

  • In the case of your eyes becoming sore, red, or dry from PAP sleep therapy try adjusting the headgear on your mask to gain a better fit. If the problem continues due to a possible air leak, contact CPAPs Etc and we will assist you in finding a better mask that provides an improved seal. If the mask worked well when you first started, check to see if the cushion or headgear is worn-out or torn. Other possibilities for air leaks to occur happen when a mask is poorly fitted. Adjusting the straps may be a quick solution for you. If this does not help, consider purchasing a different type of mask with a cushion that conforms to your facial features.


CPAP Machine System Noise

  • Your CPAP treatment should not be louder than a whisper so it doesn't disrupt your (or a bed partner's) sleep.  In the event of your equipment making loud noises, check to make sure the tubing, mask, and machine are all connected properly preventing any air leaks.  Generally, you will be able to work out the noise from its origination point such as the mask, tubing, machine, or humidifier.  Once everything has been checked properly, then see if you notice a change in the noise.