Getting used to your therapy device

Getting used to your therapy device is an important stage in your sleep apnoea journey. Whether your treatment involves continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), automatic positive airway pressure (APAP) or bilevel therapy, you'll probably have questions about adapting to treatment.  Some of questions most frequently asked about getting used to PAP therapy can be found below.

Why is my therapy device shutting off at night?

There could be a number of reasons for this. The following suggestions should help you to identify and resolve the problem:

  • Check that your device is turned on and that your mask is properly adjusted. If you're not sure how to adjust your mask, you might find our FAQs on Mask Fitting helpful.  Indeed, if you experience high leak and Smart Start/Stop is turned on, it's possible the device is stopping automatically because of the leak. Check that the power plug is fully and correctly inserted in the device. When it is correctly inserted, the power button will light up.
  • Ensure that no blankets or other objects are covering the power supply unit or the device.
  • Check whether the filter is blocked. If it is, replace the filter.
  • Check that the therapy device's lid is properly closed. If you're using a humidifier, make sure the humidifier lid is also closed and 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.
  • Check whether there's a message on the screen. If there is, follow the instructions to clear the message or contact your care provider or equipment supplier.
  • Try unplugging the device, then plugging it in again.
  • From time to time there may be power disturbances that cause the device to power down. Check to see if there are other devices that may have powered off at the same time (eg, alarm clock).

If none of these suggestions work, you should contact your care provider or equipment supplier for advice.

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

Try using a humidifier. Using a PAP therapy device or other sleep apnoea therapy device can sometimes lead to drying and congestion of the throat, nose, and mouth. This is because the airflow generated by the machine is often greater than what your body is accustomed to humidifying on its own. Humidifiers and heated tubes can increase the amount of humidity in the air you breathe in, which can help to reduce these symptoms and make therapy more comfortable.

Talk to your healthcare professional about a nasal decongestant. If you have nasal allergies and congestion, you might breathe through your mouth during the night. This dries the throat and mouth and can negatively affect your sleep apnoea therapy. A nasal decongestant or antihistamine could help to alleviate this issue.

Talk to your doctor or equipment supplier about chinstraps. If you have a dry nose and mouth during your sleep apnoea treatment, it might be because you are opening your mouth when you are asleep. A chinstrap could resolve this issue by keeping 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 ensures you receive your treatment whether you breathe through your nose or your mouth, could be the answer.

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

All of your machine settings should be set according to the relevant user guide information, and should be discussed and confirmed with your doctor or sleep specialist, who will be able to consider the following solutions:

  • Try using the "Ramp" option on your therapy device. The Ramp feature is designed to make therapy more comfortable. It helps you ease into therapy each night by setting your device at a lower pressure than prescribed and slowly ramping up to your full therapy pressure over a maximum of 45 minutes. Using Ramp means your machine has more time to reach your prescribed therapy pressure and you have more time to comfortably fall asleep.
  • Try using an APAP (automatic positive airway pressure) therapy device. If your pressure needs vary throughout the night, one of ResMed’s AutoSet™ therapy devices might be a good choice for you. These devices automatically adjust pressure throughout the night to suit your unique breathing needs.

  • Try the EPR feature. Therapy devices built on ResMed's S9™ platform have an Expiratory Pressure Relief (EPR) feature that decreases pressure as you exhale. This can make breathing out feel more natural and comfortable.
  • Remember, it takes time to get used to treatment! It takes a while for most people to get comfortable using a PAP machine and mask every night. Wearing your mask with your therapy device 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 device, contact your care provider or equipment supplier for more tips and advice.

How can I stop bloating?

Some people may experience bloating when using a PAP device, 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 healthcare professional. Together, you can consider the following solutions:

  • Try to avoid swallowing air. If you're new to sleep apnoea therapy, you may be swallowing air rather than breathing normally. Swallowing air can cause bloating. Try to breathe as normally as possible when using your therapy device.
  • Try using an APAP (automatic positive airway pressure) therapy device. If your pressure needs vary throughout the night, one of ResMed’s AutoSet™ therapy devices might be a good choice for you. These devices automatically adjust pressure throughout the night to suit your unique breathing patterns. By providing less pressure when you need less pressure, an AutoSet machine can help to reduce bloating. Discuss this option with your doctor who can then provide advice about any changes to your therapy.  

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

If you have nasal allergies and congestion, you might breathe through your mouth during the night. This 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, machine or other therapy device). With this in mind, you can also try using an APAP (automatic positive airway pressure) therapy device.

ResMed's AutoSet devices are designed for people whose pressure needs change throughout the night, and automatically adjust therapy pressures to suit your unique breathing needs. This can allow for a lower overall pressure. Discuss this with your sleep specialist.

If none of the above help or apply to you, please visit your healthcare professional to have your treatment reviewed.

Where should I place my device? Can I put it under my bed?

You should place your sleep device on a stable bedside table. It should not be placed in a drawer or on the floor when in use. Make sure the area around the device is dry and clean and clear of bedding, clothes or other objects that could block the air inlet or cover the power supply unit.

How often should I replace the filter? And how do I do that?

Under normal conditions, we recommend that you should replace Standard air filters and Hypoallergenic air filters at least every 6 months. However, you should replace your air filter immediately if it is damaged, torn, or becomes blocked by dust or dirt.

Please refer to the user guide for your device for instructions on replacing the filter. You can download the user guide at the Support section of this website.

I want to save power. Do I always need to power my device?

To save power and energy, we recommend you use the Power Save mode that you can activate by pressing the Start/Stop button for 3 seconds. If you still wish to unplug your device, please wait at least 2 minutes after the end of your therapy.

If you are being telemonitored, please contact your healthcare provider as they may need you to leave your device plugged in for your data to be sent.

What is EPR? When should I change it and how?

EPR means Expiratory Pressure Relief. EPR reduces the work of breathing during exhalation, providing a gentler pressure that naturally adapts to your breathing cycle.

According to what your care provider has set up, you may be able to change the level of relief you need if you feel you need more comfort during exhalation.

Do you have a question about getting used to CPAP that isn't addressed here? Click here to submit an online inquiry.

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