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CPAP: Tips for avoiding problems

CPAP is an important treatment for sleep apnea, but it's not without its frustrations. Learn how to avoid issues with masks, nasal irritation, dry mouth and other CPAP problems.

Select a problem to view the tips:

Difficulty tolerating pressure
  • Have Sleep Center or CPAP company evaluate machine to ensure you are getting the correct pressure perscribed by your doctor
  • Turn on CPAP ramp feature
  • Wear CPAP mask while awake to become desensitized
  • Talk with your provider about the possibility of lowering or increasing your pressure
Intolerance of mask
  • Loosen mask slightly, being careful not to create a mask leak
  • Ensure that mask or pillows are positioned properly
  • Return to CPAP company for resizing
  • Use barrier (example moleskin or bandage) for irritation on bridge of nose
  • Inspect mask for defects; replace if torn or deteriorated
Nasal irritation
  • Use nasal saline spray before bed
  • Add or adjust humidifier settings for comfort
  • Speak to your provider about using a nasal corticosteroid spray
  • Ensure that humidifier is maintained and functioning properly
Claustrophobic response
  • Attend a mask clinic at the Asante Sleep Center and try nasal pillows or a sleeker mask
  • Use mask and machine while awake to become desensitized
  • Ask your provider for a desensitization appointment at the Asante Sleep Center
Difficulty falling asleep with CPAP
  • Ensure good sleep habits
  • Try not to nap during the daytime so that you will be tired at bedtime
  • Delay bedtime until very sleepy
  • Consider using the ramp setting
Dry mouth
  • Add a chin strap to prevent mouth breathing
  • Add heated humidification
  • Try sleeping on your side
  • Talk with your provider about different mask options
Unintentional removal of mask during sleep
  • This is normal!
  • Is your nose congested? (see solutions above for nasal irritation)
  • Add heated humidification
  • Add a chin strap
  • Set your alarm clock to check headgear and progressively phase out with improvement


Also in this Section

Clinical sleep educator program

  • Common CPAP Problems

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As the largest health care provider in nine counties, Asante provides comprehensive medical care to more than 600,000 people throughout southern Oregon and northern California. Our facilities include Asante Ashland Community Hospital in Ashland, Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, Asante Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass, Asante Physician Partners and additional health care partnerships throughout the region.