Jumpstart Better Sleep: Starting Up Your CPAP Therapy Plan

If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, your doctor has likely prescribed CPAP therapy. CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy is the most common and effective treatment for sleep apnea. While the mask and machine may initially seem daunting, starting CPAP therapy is easier than you think with the proper preparation and guidance. With time and patience, CPAP can transform your sleep and overall health. This article will provide tips to help you jumpstart your CPAP therapy for better rest.

Getting Familiar with Your CPAP Equipment

Before using your CPAP for the first time, examine the different components and how they work together. Your CPAP setup will likely include the following:

The CPAP Machine

This is the central unit that pumps air through the mask. It has settings to control the air pressure that your doctor will prescribe. Newer CPAP machines are hushed.


Flexible plastic tubing connects your mask to the CPAP machine to deliver the air.


The mask fits over your nose or nose and mouth to deliver the pressurised air. There are many mask options like nasal, full-face and nasal pillow masks.


Headgear straps keep your mask securely in place while you sleep. The straps should allow for adjustments.

Spend time handling your equipment and understanding how the attachments work. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for care guidelines and troubleshooting tips. Watch instructional videos for your machine if available. The more acquainted you become with your CPAP equipment, the more comfortable you’ll feel.

Adjusting Air Pressure

Your doctor will prescribe an air pressure setting for your CPAP based on your diagnosis. This air pressure is measured in centimetres of water (cm H2O). The necessary pressure ranges from 4 cm to 20 cm typically. Starting at a lower setting allows you to adjust to the airflow. The pressure can gradually increase until your apnea is effectively treated. Keeping a diary can help you track symptoms and pressure preferences. Work closely with your doctor to tailor the settings to your needs.

Finding the Right Mask

The type of mask you use can significantly impact your comfort and CPAP compliance. Nasal masks that cover just the nose are the most popular option. Full-face masks covering the mouth and nose work well for those who breathe through their mouths at night. Nasal pillow masks have small air tubes that fit under the nostrils. Talk with your medical supplier about samples of different masks to find the best fit. Make sure it seals well but does not leave marks on your face. Give yourself time to adjust to wearing your mask each night.

Preparing Your Bedroom

Optimising your sleep environment will make CPAP therapy more relaxing:

  • Keep your bedroom dark, calm and quiet
  • Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows
  • Use an adjustable bed frame to elevate your upper body
  • Have a small nightstand for your CPAP machine nearby
  • Make sure tubing and power cords don’t trip you up
  • Try using an essential oil diffuser or sound machine

A serene, organised bedroom minimises obstacles to CPAP compliance.

Establishing a Soothing Routine

It takes most CPAP users 1-2 weeks to get used to therapy. Having a calming pre-bed routine can make this adjustment period easier:

  • Put on your mask before turning off the lights
  • Do relaxing stretches or meditate before bed
  • Read something positive or listen to soothing music
  • Avoid electronics before bed
  • Keep tissues by your bedside in case of nasal congestion
  • Go to bed early while getting used to CPAP

Making CPAP part of your nightly ritual will help you associate the mask with rest. Be patient with yourself during the initial adjustment phase.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

CPAP therapy comes with a learning curve. Try these tips to troubleshoot common problems:

  • Dry mouth/throat – Use a humidifier, drink more water, and use nasal sprays/saline.
  • Mask leaks – Adjust headgear straps, check mask fit and seal, and try another mask size or style.
  • Skin irritation – Alter the headgear position and apply protective skin barriers.
  • Nasal congestion – Use saline sprays/rinses, add a humidifier, and try a nasal steroid.
  • Anxiety about the machine – Give yourself time to get used to CPAP and use relaxation techniques.

Don’t give up. Talk to your equipment supplier or doctor for guidance tailored to your situation. Resmed payment plan can help with affording your CPAP equipment.

The first weeks of CPAP therapy require patience and a problem-solving mindset. The tips above will help kickstart your CPAP routine for more restful sleep. With time, you’ll start waking up feeling refreshed and energised. Sweet dreams!

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