Nightly compliance with CPAP is key to eliminating the symptoms of sleep apnea. The most common form of this sleep disorder is obstructive sleep apnea, where a collapse of the upper airways results in frequent breathing cessations. Each time this happens the body is prompted to awake for air.
It is estimated that over 18 million Americans experience sleep apnea. Without the correct treatment, disorders like obstructive sleep apnea can increase the risk from heart disease, stroke and diabetes. One of the main treatments is CPAP therapy. However, some people don’t easily adjust to the therapy and its equipment.
The following are 7 accessories which make it easier to use CPAP, helping you receive better nights of sleep.
CPAP involves the delivery of pressurized air through a mask worn overnight. Getting used to the mask can be the biggest hurdle for some people. A correctly fitting mask can actually be very comfortable, but there is no denying that wearing a mask while you sleep can feel a little odd to begin with.
If you are struggling to get used to the feel of the mask on your face, a mask liner could be an ideal solution. A mask liner is a soft piece of material which sits between your skin and the mask to create a comfortable barrier.
Another benefit of a mask liner is it absorbs facial oils and moisture. This can help reduce skin irritation and red marks, as well as prolong the lifespan of the mask.
Sleeping in your favorite position while wearing a mask can also be awkward for some people, particularly if you move around a fair bit in your sleep. A standard pillow can cause the mask to shift when you move, leading to air leaks that reduce the therapy’s effectiveness.
CPAP pillows are designed to make sleeping in your favorite position easier when wearing a mask. The pillow will accommodate both the mask and the hose position, helping you achieve better sleep. The pillow also helps prevent air leaks from a mask shifting or being completely removed when you turn over while sleeping.
Most CPAP machines have the option for a humidifier. The purpose of a connected humidifier is to add moisture to the air you inhale. The air delivered through your mask comes from ambient room air, and without moisture can lead to a dry mouth when you wake.
A dry mouth can feel uncomfortable and may also result in bad breath and other oral issues. Adding moisture to the air with a humidifier can also help ease congestion, further promoting the conditions for better sleep.
Any pressure due to sinus congestion could also see you awake with a headache. Morning headaches are one of the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. Using a humidifier helps keep the sinuses clear of congestion, allowing you to awake with a clear head.
Heated tubing helps control the temperature of the air you breathe during sleep. This may help you better absorb moistened air and prevent a dry mouth or a sore throat. Heated tubing can also reduce condensation levels.
As well as being unpleasant and a cause of irritation, if dryness becomes excessive it can lead to inflammation. The danger here is inflammation is linked to an increase in airway resistance, which could have an impact on the effectiveness of the treatment course.
Keeping your equipment clean is key to avoiding a buildup of oils, dirt and bacteria. Most people will clean their equipment regularly using warm water and a mild antibacterial dish soap. However, this can still leave oils and dirt on the cushion of the mask, which can increase the risk of air leaks and skin irritation.
This is where disposable mask wipes become useful accessories. They are quick and easy to use -- and will wipe away oil and dirt deposits on the mask cushion. A quick rub-down of the mask cushion each day with a mask wipe will leave the mask clean and fresh when you sleep and prevent any musty smells from developing.
While regularly cleaning all your equipment is vital, don’t make it a chore. Negative feelings about cleaning can result in less-frequent and less-effective cleaning. Mold and bacteria can build up, neither of which are good when inhaled. Sanitizing machines allow you a hassle-free way to clean all your equipment parts.
While you may still wipe your equipment down regularly, introducing a sanitizing machine into your cleaning regime helps reduce the risk of a build of bacteria and contaminants which could cause an infection. Sanitizing machines are designed to disinfect your equipment parts and remove 99.9% of all germs. Place your mask and tubing into the chamber and let the sanitizing machine do its work – it’s just that easy.
These accessories can address issues and make your sleep apnea treatment more comfortable and manageable. It is important to find solutions to any problems experienced with CPAP, as even a single night of non-compliance can see a return of your sleep apnea symptoms.