Getting used to your sleep apnea machine
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Getting used to your sleep apnea machine


Getting used to your sleep apnea machine - whether it be continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), automatic positive airway pressure (APAP) - is an important stage in your sleep apnea journey. Some of the more frequently asked questions on how to get used to therapy can be found below.

Q. Why is my machine shutting off at night?

A. A number of things could be responsible - here are the most common:·        

  • Make sure your machine is turned on.
  • Check that the power plug is fully and correctly inserted in the device. When it is correctly inserted, the power button will light up.
  • If you are experiencing high leak and the SmartStart™ setting is turned on, it's possible the machine is stopping due to this. Try turning off the SmartStart™ setting on your machine.
  • Ensure that no blankets or other objects are covering the power supply unit.
  • Check whether the filter is blocked. If so, replace the filter.
  • Check that the therapy machine's lid is properly closed (as well as the humidifier lid for applicable machines, such as the H5i™ humidifier in the S9™ device) or that the humidifier tub is fully inserted.
  • Make sure you're not using the Start/Stop button to light the LCD during the night, as this will stop your therapy.
  • If there's a message on the screen, follow the instructions to clear the message or contact your equipment supplier.
  • Try unplugging the machine, then plugging it in again.

Q. I'm experiencing a dry throat or nasal congestion while using my machine. What are my options?   

  • Try using a humidifier. Using a sleep apnea therapy machine can sometimes lead to drying and congestion of the throat, nose, and mouth because the airflow generated by the machine is greater than what your body is accustomed to. Adding a humidifier and a heated tube can increase the amount of moisture in the air you’re breathing in. This may help counteract these symptoms and make therapy more comfortable.
  • Talk to your healthcare professional about a nasal decongestant. Nasal allergies and congestion may result in 'mouth breathing' during the night, which dries the throat and mouth and can negatively affect your sleep apnea therapy. Talk to your doctor to find out if using a nasal decongestant or antihistamine may help alleviate this issue.
  • Talk to your doctor or ResMed accredited outlet about chinstraps. Sometimes, during sleep apnea treatment, people unknowingly open their mouths during the night, resulting in a dry throat and mouth. Using a chinstrap may help keep your mouth closed while you sleep.
  • Talk to your doctor about switching to a full face mask. Chronic nasal allergies or other nasal problems such as a deviated septum can make breathing through your nose difficult. A full face mask, which lets you breathe through your mouth during the night, could be the answer.

Q. I'm finding it hard to fall asleep when using my sleep therapy machine. Can you help?

A. All of your machine settings should have been determined by your doctor’s prescription. You can also consider the following solutions:

  • Try using the "Ramp" option on your therapy machine. Designed to make therapy more comfortable, the Ramp feature helps you ease into therapy each night by setting your machine at a lower pressure than prescribed and slowly ramping up to your full therapy pressure over a maximum of 45 minutes. Using Ramp gives your device more time to gradually reach your prescribed therapy pressure - and gives you more time to comfortably fall asleep. Always talk to your doctor before making any changes to your therapy machine settings.
  • Try using an automatic positive airway pressure (APAP) therapy machine. ResMed’s Air Sense™ 10, AutoSet™ and Air Sense 10 AutoSet for Her devices are suitable for those whose pressure needs vary throughout the night. These machines automatically adjust pressure throughout the night to suit your unique breathing needs. Discuss this option with your doctor before making any changes to your therapy.
  • Try the EPR™ feature. ResMed's Air Sense™ 10 therapy device has an Expiratory Pressure Relief (EPR) setting that decreases pressure as you exhale. This can make breathing out feel more natural and comfortable. Ask your doctor or ResMed accredited outlet whether EPR can be used.
  • Remember, it takes time to get used to treatment. It takes a while for most people to get comfortable using a therapy machine and mask every night. Wearing your mask with your therapy machine running during the day, for example while watching TV, may help you get used to it. Be very patient with yourself.

If you continue to experience difficulties falling asleep using your therapy machine, check out sleepvantage™ for more useful sleep apnea therapy tips and advice. Sign up for free membership and receive a host of benefits.

Q. How can I stop bloating?

A. Some people may experience bloating when using their machine, particularly when first starting treatment. All of your machine settings should be set according to the user guide information, and should be discussed and confirmed with your doctor. Subject to your user guide and a discussion with your doctor, you can also consider the following solutions:

  • Try to avoid swallowing air. If you're new to sleep apnea therapy, you may be swallowing air rather than breathing normally, which can cause bloating. When using your therapy machine, try to breathe as normally as possible.
  • Try using an auto-adjusting therapy machine. ResMed's AutoSet™ therapy machines are designed to better accommodate people whose pressure needs change throughout the night. These machines automatically adjust the therapy pressure to suit your personal breathing patterns and, in the case of bloating, help reduce the periods where the pressure delivered is higher than necessary. Discuss this option with your doctor before making any changes to your therapy.

Q. How can I alleviate ear or sinus discomfort caused by therapy?

A. Nasal allergies and congestion may result in breathing through your mouth during the night, which can dry out your mouth and throat.

We strongly recommend that you always refer to your user guide when it comes to adjusting your therapy settings, whatever the medical equipment is (mask, or therapy machine). With this in mind, you can also try using an auto-adjusting therapy machine.

Do you have a question about getting used to CPAP that isn't addressed here?  Contact our customer support on 1300 305 705 (Australia) or 0800 737 633 (New Zealand).