CPAP users, tell me some stories

I did the same as you. Hated it, came back to it 3 years later.

The big change for me was switching to the nose pillow rather than the face mask. It works well and feels much less intrusive.

Monitoring my usage on the website was a fun little game that kept me interested. After a while the whole affair became so routine and automatic that I don’t even think about it anymore. It’s a big life-changer for me.

Yeah, I don’t understand the “can’t burrow” issue. That’s one of the things I like best about the CPAP, on cold nights, I can pull the covers all the way over my head, and use the CPAP as a snorkel. It’s amazing how much warmer that makes you!

16+ year CPAP mask wearer here. I am a mouth breather and can only tolerate a full-face mask. I use RESMED products (AirSense 10 machine and AirFit F20 mask.) I took to it right away, which I know isn’t the most common scenario. The only real tips I can offer is to make sure the mask and headgear are the right size. I use daily cleaning wipes to keep my mask fresh. I change my mask cushion about every 3 months or so. I sleep like a baby…

As far as getting up in the night, some masks have better “quick release” options for the mask. The AirFit F20 I use has magnets. Very easy to take off and put back on.

One of the old guys I work out with said he has the same problem re: getting up in the middle of the night to pee. The AirFit N20 (only goes over your nose) has a “quick release” between the nose and the hose that you pop off, and you keep the whole headgear on. You just go about your business and come back to bed and simply pop the hose back on your nose.

Before I got my CPAP I was getting up to pee around 3 or 4 AM. I haven’t gotten out of bed to pee since I got it.

As for being able to use it on the first night - no way! It took me a week or two, lots of crying - very upset because I desperately wanted it to work. I finally got it, though.

This is encouraging, thanks.

(I assume “I haven’t gotten out of bed to pee since I got it” does not mean you have to change the sheets every morning. :slight_smile: )


I started using one about a year ago, and it’s been great. Less sleepiness in the evenings, I don’t get “sticky airway” syndrome (wake up choking in the night; godawful). Nice humidified breathing air in the winters, etc.

The way the CPAP is fitted to your face can make a huge difference. Story:

My mom also started at the same time, but she stopped using hers almost immediately. Why? Well, they all fit differently. Mine uses nose pillows and goes directly into my nose, and the straps are around the back of my head. Unfortunately, my mom’s CPAP is fitted for her mouth and nose, because apparently she often breathes through her mouth when asleep. (This is determined during sleep studies.) And she has some severe soreness with her neck, probably a slipped disc, so wearing the strap around her neck was so painful she stopped using the CPAP. I tried to urge her to get a different style of fitting, but it just might not work for her. It is really up to her, working with her sleep specialist to fix this issue.

But…not being able to sleep fully at night is no doubt contributing to her near-the-bursting point of stress that she’s experiencing now (due to a lot of issues). It worries me.

I believe that using the CPAP allows you to sleep and reset your body hormones as you’d like them to. It could reduce stress and even change how much water your body is retaining, which may mean less urinating in the night. There probably isn’t a direct cause–>effect here, but I believe they may be related.

Yeah @Mean_Mr.Mustard note that I’m a woman of child-bearing age and also a Type 2 diabetic so my reasons for having to pee at 3 AM might be different than what makes a man have to get out of bed to pee. I don’t know if a CPAP would be a cure-all for having to pee at night.

The real reason CPAP was invented and it’s greatest benefit,

That is, of course, the image I always have in my head.

Except the monsters are usually my cat looking to get fed at 5AM.

I hated my apap when i got it. It was really hard to exhale as you said, but they suggested I wear it for awhile when watching tv or reading to sort of get acclimated to it. Now I cant sleep without it. I still like to wear it when watching tv or reading before bedtime because I have a lot of sinus congestion and I feel like i am breathing better. I wear a full mask because of the sinus issues, it was little claustrophobic at first.
I had to replace my machine because it stopped working in the middle of the night. They supplier had to have a new prescription and the sleep clinic wouldn’t do another prescription without another sleep study. I told my Endocrinologist (who sent me for the original study) that I was not going to do that as the experience was so bad. (the apparatus they strapped on me was actually painful and they were abusive to me because of that). And I would rather die than try that again Somehow he got a new prescription sent in, I got a new machine and all is good. I saw recently that you can buy machines and supplies at CVS now. Same price as when I buy from Apria health care on line.

It’s been several years since I’ve used CPAP (I lost 55 pounds which pretty much cured my apnea), but I was never that comfortable on my side – the pillow pressed the mask into my face or forced it sideways a bit, so I’d unconsciously end up on my back again after a while during the night.

I’m comfortable with the covers at neck level. I’d feel suffocated - perhaps unreasonably - with the covers over my face. So my shoulders would get some of the cold that snuck through from the rest of the room (me and then-wife were dedicated “cool room, warm covers” sleepers) since lying on your back you can’t tuck the covers around your shoulders completely. So wearing a shirt helped that a great deal. I don’t know why this is mysterious.

When I got my first CPAP about 16 years ago I was given a nasal mask and shown how to wear it. I was not told there were any other mask options, nor was I told what to do if I had any problems using it. Fortunately, I adjusted to sleeping with it easily. I’m a dedicated side sleeper (although occasionally I will wake up on my back) and the only “difficulty” I ever had was getting the hose positioned so I wasn’t lying on it.

When I was upgraded later the technician suggested I try using nasal pillows, and told me if I didn’t like using them I could switch back to a mask without any problem. I liked the pillows, but when I was upgraded again five or so years ago I went back to a nasal mask that was smaller than the one I had started with,and again had no problem with the switch.

In January I’m going in for another sleep study. I’m curious to see what changes,if any, are proposed this time.

My husband and I both use c-pap. The machines we use are the Resmed Air Sense 10. His for him and hers for me. I don’t have insurance currently so I bought the new Resmed F 30 mask on line. It’s a full face mask but it is designed so it doesn’t go over the bridge of your nose. There was a bit of a learning curve to get it not to leak, but once I figured it out it was great. I can read wearing it and watch tv with my glasses on.

I love c-pap. I don’t wake up snorting, or gasping. I can pull the covers over my head. :laughing:

I started some years ago with a nasal mask. It didn’t work well because my mouth didn’t stay shut, so I tried a chin strap. Ugh! The drooling rivaled a Saint Bernard. Lovely, visual I know.

Does anyone else get disgusted with those Inspire commercials that make C-Pap look like Medieval torture? Seriously, I’ve spoken to so many people who are freaked out about even trying C-pap, even though they really need it. Inspire, as it says quietly or in the small print, isn’t for everyone. Fear mongering (perhaps too strong a word) about traditional C-Pap is just reckless IMHO.

P.S. Something I meant to mention. I seem to have a unusual problem. I have a small head. This makes head gear a problem masks too really. I get the smallest available and I have to tighten them beyond what the straps are designed for. This means they stretch out and I end up adding socks … yes socks … in strategic places to make the headgear fit properly. I know right? Drooling socks. I look like a crazy old lady drooling with socks on my head. :rofl:

This is good advice and I will heed it. But for me, it wasn’t merely “hard” to exhale, it was pretty much impossible. With the volume of air rushing in I was gasping for air, feeling as though I were suffocating.

I believe I needed a settings tweak, but I got frustrated and gave up without much effort to correct it.


My brother just had surgery to correct a deviated septum so he can wear a CPAP over his nose. I’ll have to ask him how it’s going.

It literally took me over a year to get to the point where I used it consistently. I’d try it for a few days, abandon it for a couple of months, try it, abandon it, wash and repeat. But finally it clicked and the difference was quite noticeable.

Yeah, I don’t feel like a million bucks in the morning. But not only effectively no apnea or snoring, but also no dry mouth, no constantly feeling drowsy during the day, more consistent dreamscape. My sleep is still intermittent at times (though much longer intervals) and it hasn’t affected my life-long occasional bouts of insomnia. But I feel noticeably better using it to the point that I am so habituated I want it on even for a short nap. I’ve had no (or at least few) issues with it as side-sleeper per se. My biggest issue is as a lifelong restless sleeper that switches sides several times before finally going out, as there are some semi-instinctual hose logistics that have to be developed.

Drawbacks: 1.) Face-hugger full mask. Don’t love it and the straps do seem to be contributing to wearing a bald spot on my aging, thinning head. But I will very occasional breathe through my mouth while sleeping, so it’s necessary.
2.) Drooling in the mask. Only very occasionally an issue, but can be a mildly annoying one with that side-switching thing.
3.) Yanking the fucking unit off the table when rolling over and depositing a container of humidifier water on the carpet. Has happened maybe once a year when I get a length of hose trapped under me. But getting your mask yanked off and/or your head suddenly pulled will definitely wake you right up :slight_smile:.
4.) All the minor inconvenience of having yet one more appliance to pack on trips/clean/maintain/get new parts for.

But I do want to emphasize how much of a struggle it was for me to get used to at first. Some people take to them in days, but I mean it took me a long time but now I want to use it always. Just something to be aware of. It’s worth persisting with it.

I use the nasal pillows and a chin strap. I evolved to the simple single loop chin strap and it mostly works well. But occasionally it slips off my head and then I wake up with a very dry throat. I tolerate the nasal pillow well and have never had any problems getting used to the c(a)pap. I am a side sleeper. YMMV, but I like the machines.

OP check-in:

I decided I don’t want to wait for the new machine so I spent a good half hour searching my home for my original one. Once I found it (in the garage rafters!) I learned from the documentation that I got it in 2009.

I also found several masks, some in surprisingly good condition, so I started off last night with a “full” mask (nose and mouth). I struggled with it because of my previously-mentioned airflow difficulties. There was also a weird, snapping noise that I found bothersome - seems like a valve snapped close and airflow ceased when the resistance reached a certain level. And this happened frequently. Uh-oh.

So, between 10 pm and 2 am I got very little sleep, with repeated unpleasant reminders of why I failed 13 years ago resurfacing. I then switched to a nose-only mask, which I actually found surprisingly very tolerable. I slept from around 2:30 to 6:00 (my normal wake-up time) with one bathroom break interruption. So I got around 3 hours or so of honest, APAP-assisted sleep.

I don’t exactly feel like a million bucks as I type this, but I can say that I am alert and not at all tired. I’m also feeling pretty encouraged.

Looking forward to tonight’s sleep.