General Question

keobooks's avatar

Does anyone have experience sleeping with a CPAP machine?

Asked by keobooks (14276points) May 19th, 2011

I am very likely going to be prescribed one of these machines in the next two weeks. After looking at the pictures, I’m a bit intimidated. I don’t know if I could fall asleep with all of that gear on my face. Has anyone here used a CPAP machine? Did it take long to get used to? Any tips or tricks for getting used to it?

I don’t think I get a choice in which one I get because of the way insurance companies seem to work, but if I do get some sort of choice, I’d also like to know which type worked better or worse for you.

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16 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

I had no problem getting used to it. I use the nasal cushion type. It works fairly well, although the machine has taken to making high pitched notes and there are other strange noises. I like it, though. I have fewer colds and fewer dry mouths and fewer blocked nasal passages. I suppose I have stopped snoring, too. I’ve also stopped with the breathing pauses.that used to scare my wife so much.

My wife also likes it for the white noise it makes. I don’t know why the squeals don’t bother her. She has better hearing than I do.

In any case, I don’t think you can do anything other than put it on in order to get used to it. I don’t see why you should have any problem.

During your sleep study, did they try more than one kind on you? I would use the nasal cushion type if you can. It covers the least amount of your face.

creative1's avatar

My step-father has one and he said the hardest thing was getting used to the sound but when he slept with it he said he hadn’t slept like that in years so soundly without getting up. A good night sleep is well worth the machine.

JasonsMom08's avatar

My husband uses one and he says it’s not too hard to get used to. You may have to try several mask sizes until you find one that fits well and doesn’t pinch the bridge of your nose. My husband had to try three different ones but his doctor says that is normal. The sound at night is super quiet I barely hear it. I think I benefit more from it than my husband as I get a better night’s sleep without his snoring!

wundayatta's avatar

@JasonsMom08 That’s what my wife says, too.

keobooks's avatar

This is so great to hear about the positive results from it. My sleep study starts June 2, and I’m fairly certain that I’ll qualify because I’ve been scaring my husband. He says my snoring is really loud and then it just… stops, and then after a long pause, I gasp. I’ve woken myself up a few times a night from it and every since I got pregnant and still afterwards I actually feel more tired after I sleep. I’ve been sleeping more and more and feeling less rested.

I’m looking forward to the sleep study, but I’m really nervous about the machines. I roll around a lot and I fear I’d get tangled up in the scuba gear. It also looks so big, bulky and uncomfortable. But it seems that nobody is complaining. So perhaps it will be the same for me.

WasCy's avatar

I used one for a few months, and it wasn’t too hard to get used to. My then-partner had no problem with it, either (she said). But my problem with it came about because I couldn’t be bothered to do all of the various cleanings that were required for the air hose, so… I eventually caught pneumonia from it (because of my own failings, to be sure, but I wouldn’t have caught pneumonia at that time of year otherwise – and I’ve never caught it any other time in my life). Before I was even fully recovered from the pneumo I had packed the thing away, and I haven’t used it since. That was about five or six years ago.

The girl went away, I lost weight and the kids moved out of the house. I’m sleeping like a baby again without the machine.

Neurotic_David's avatar

Without meaning to scare anyone, and just in an effort to provide perspective . . .

My father was told by his pulmonologist to use the machine. He was not comfortable with the idea, and procrastinated using it. Two weeks later, he died in his sleep from an infarction caused by pulmonary failure.

If you are told to use the machine, please please please use it as soon as possible.

Sunny2's avatar

My husband has been using a C-PAP for over 10 years. Before we got involved with the machine, I realized that when my husband was NOT snoring, he wasn’t breathing at all. He had the sleep tests and began using the machine. As @JasonsMom08 said, I got a decent nights sleep because the snoring wasn’t waking me like it had before. And he was sleeping much better too. There will be some adjustment on your part too. You may have to sleep on your back. Breathing through the tube is kind of like breathing while using a scuba mask. But as @Neurotic_David says, use it as soon as possible. I know of a physician who simply wouldn’t use it. He lost a lot of weight and the apnea went away, but it was too late. He died.

keobooks's avatar

That’s another reason I wanted to rush to take the sleep study. I just had a friend post that a friend of hers just lost his wife due to untreated sleep apnea. I didn’t know her, but she was 10 years younger than me and not too much heavier than me. I don’t want to go like that—I have things to do and I don’t want my daughter growing up without me.

srmorgan's avatar

I began using a CPAP in 1993 after years of my wife complaining about snoring.

The technology has changed dramatically for the better. The old machine had a pressure setting and that was it. Now there are machines that watch your pressure, self-adjust based on your breathing patterns, save data to an SD card that can be uploaded to your PC and tracked by your physician. Phenomenal improvement.

The same for the facial gear. I still use a full facial mask because I am used to it but as others have pointed out, the nasal pillows are a lot less intrusive.

One consideration is whether you need a humidifier element. Some people find that the airflow from the CPAP dries out the membranes in your nose, mouth and throat. I have never had that problem and in fact have found that the machine will sometimes clear up the stuffy noses that I tend to get in the winter.
The machines are so compact now. I used to travel on business every month and I bought a compact unit, not paid by insurance, to take with me. Made it easier to sleep in those unfamiliar hotel rooms. It was especially useful on trips to Europe and helped avoid some of the effects of the time change because I slept and did not wake up 200 times a night as I had before I bought the machine.

You will get used to it. You will see and feel an immediate difference, no more yawning in the afternoon, no sleeping through meetings and no complaining bed-partners.


keobooks's avatar

Thanks so much for all your replies. My appointment is June first! I am excited to do it. It will sort of be like a vacation because I get to spend all night and all day there. I’m hoping I get to leave the floor and walk around because the hospital cafeteria is actually really nice at this place. My husband will be taking care of the baby all day for the first time by himself. If only I could get a massage and a pedicure, I’d feel like I was at the spa!

Anyway, if I do indeed need the machine how long does it usually take to get one? Will I have to wait a few weeks? Will I come home with one?

wundayatta's avatar

A day as well as a night? I only had a night, and a shortened one at that. They got all the information they needed in about four hours. I didn’t sleep much. I think they sent me home around six in the morning.

It took a while before they brought me back for a fitting. A few weeks, I would guess.

keobooks's avatar

Ahh. I go in at 8PM and then they wake me up early and I have to stay until 4PM and take naps.

keobooks's avatar

I just got my results from the sleep study. I have severe sleep apnea. I’ll be making an appointment tomorrow to be fitted for equipment. I have no idea what that equipment will be.

I should also mention that I found out why they made me stay the second day and take those naps. It was to check for narcolepsy. Not the full on plop down in the middle of the road kind, but I guess if your sleep apnea is really bad, you take mini 5 – 30 second naps whenever you aren’t active. I had to lay down for 20 minutes and then tell the tech whether I fell asleep or not. I thought I stayed awake for most of the sessions, but apparently, I was constantly falling asleep for about 5 – 15 seconds at a time and had no idea.

Sunny2's avatar

You will be so relieved to get a decent night’s sleep! Good luck!

keobooks's avatar

I just got back from my follow up sleepover. AMAZING. I did wake up a lot because I kept kicking off the wires and the general “WTF is this thing on my face” a few times. But I feel amazing. I gget my machine monday.YAY

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