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Readers Respond: Top Ways to Overcome the Problems with Using CPAP to Treat Sleep Apnea

Responses: 46


Updated May 15, 2009

From the article: Learning to Live with CPAP
It is not uncommon to have troubles tolerating continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) when you first start using it. Share your experiences on how you managed to overcome the problems tolerating your CPAP to treat your sleep apnea.

Can't Stay Awake During the Day

I've had my CPAP for 4 months now. I am able to keep it on for 4 - 5 hours per night. I feel worse each day now as I get up with migraines,very tired, and can't stay awake.I feel drugged. Does anyone else have this problem? My sleep doctor has moved my appointment up from Oct. to Sept..... thank goodness. I am hoping for some help.
—Guest JoAnn


Spent 6 year's ttrying adjust to cpap. Finally gave up. Have asthma also.however last weeks double neck discetomy has raised the stakes. Been a tough 1st week so I dug to the unitp p couldn't sleep at all with so much gasping just saying hello on my first cpap night in several years
—Guest enovey@cruzio.com

Recently Diagnosed

The most important thing is the Right fit of your mask, and if you're having problems like sores or leaks of any kind discuss it w/ some- one. I started using it recently, I'm having diffulties with fit but for me I like the full mask Quattro; No sores and less anxiety, now only 2xs/wk emergency wake ups either by my husband or myself jolted out of sleep. It feels like my heart jumps out of my chest and I must go for walk; I'm aware it's strange but that is what feels like. High blood pressure, snoring, starlted and being over-weight. By Cutting out table sugar was really tough it took 14 wks with stevia but now on coconut sugar or monk fruit. I had to understand, what was in the food that I was consuming (other names of sugar and sodium) and chemicals. Start a excercise plan, go slow and see what works for you; detox yourself from food triggers, less caffeine for me it's been huge struggle however, it better in the long run.
—Guest Ctp2236

No difference to me

I have had my CPAP for maybe two weeks and it has made no difference whatsoever. All these people say they feel better but I feel nothing different. And I still sleep as long as before; right thru my alarm. I wonder why it is so ineffective? Maybe I'm still breathing thru my mouth even though I use a chin strap?
—Guest Katie

Alternative to CPAP

I saw an alternative method to solve obstructive sleep apnea (http://re-em.dyndns-ip.com/health). Anyone tried it and can recommend it?
—Guest Tom

And Again

Cant make it all the way through a night without pulling off m my mask or having weird nightmares. And if I don't use it, I have panic episodes where I know I'm not breathing. I hate the whole situation! I do not want to die in my sleep, so I will keep at it. It also makes me panic about death death every time I go to bed...
—Guest Panicing Again


I have had my CPAP for over 10 years. I take things off of my face when asleep. This includes 5 different types of masks. I also have 24/7 O2. I have been known to remove it during sleep. My SPAP is set at a high pressure which makes it hard on my sinuses. I have sinul medication and saline sprays and ointments. Keep getting sinus infections and thrush. I ama mouth breather and have tried sever chin straps to keep my mouth shut but I wake up the my Quattro FX in my mouth - no seal and a very dry mouth. I suffer from severe dry mouth and even with the heated humindification I wake with my tongue platered to the top of my pallate. I have to removethe mask and rehydrate my mouth. I am experiencing severe gum loss with the potential of tooth loss. My pulmonologist is the director of the sleep study center and I have had several sleep studies. No questionthat I have OSA. I see where Fisher-Paykel has a mask that coves under the chin. I amtempted to try one more time.

Shut my mouth

I use a nasal pillows mask, and my mouth tends to open during sleep. That releases the CPAP pressure and leaves my mouth and throat dry. Solution: I use one segment (ca. 1.5 inches) of Johnson & Johnson "Secure Comfort" Tape across my lips to seal my mouth shut. I can breathe through it if needed, and rip it off painlessly in the morning. It's very comfortable and economical. Occasionally I get a roll that doesn't have good perforations between the segments, making it impossible to tear off cleanly. Then I have to cut it with surgical scissors. A small inconvenience.
—Guest Just Ducky

Stick with it, it will change your life!

I was very claustrophobic initially, but after finally falling asleep and waking up feeling better than I had in years...I was hooked. Adjust your mask, try different pressure, etc...keep at it! It will add years to your life!
—Guest Brian

1st Month User

It does take some getting used to but I feel way better now that I'm using it. I have been clamping the hose under my pillows so it stays out of the way. I still need to do some adjusting. Thinking about trying the recommendation for a hose holder. Main problem right now is getting used to the pillows. They seem to be irritating my nose some. I like them a lot better than the mask that moved everytime I tried to sleep on my side.
—Guest Mr. Snuffleupagus

Hang In There

10 yrs. ago I tried one out-total bust since the technology was not there yet. ^ mos. ago I was proerly fitted with an almsot totaly silent machine. The best advise my resp. therapaist gave me was "don't quit". Walk up the time on it over a few weeks. He was right! One hr turned into my first night of interruped sleep in a long time. No-its not perfect, but its the a real key. My snorting wake up scared me and for you pro footbal fans...the greatest D End in history, Reggie White died becaue he had a CPAP and refused to wear it. Stay with it...it really works!
—Guest Not Scary

Am claustrophobic

I am claustrophobic and I tried everything I could to get over it and use my cpap but it just didnt work. Have had my second sleep study, different Dr who is starting my out on oxygen and then going to try to work into a bipap. I also cannot stand the pressure cant breathe.
—Guest Kim

CRAP 2yrs and hateing it

I would be happy to just die in my sleep, what more could you ask for!
—Guest Gary

CPAP hose holder

The hose holder is the biggest blessing. Look for it on the internet.
—Guest Bev


I tried using the cpap for two and a half months. I did not get any better sleep since I had to adjust my mask every time I moved even a millimeter. I even tried a full mask and then a nasal mask only. I finally told my doctor I was tired of being tired all day long since the mask needed adjusting too often. I told him I was getting better sleep without the cpap. I have fibromyalgia and I don't get much deep sleep anyway--the cpap compounded my tiredness and flared up my fibromyalgia due to not getting enough sleep. So I took my cpap back. My problem is that I only get 73% of oxygen when in rem sleep. I will take my chances without cpap. If the doc finally finds something that works I may consider it.
—Guest pamel

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