Things the CPAP Machine has taught me

For just over 2 weeks I have been using a CPAP machine to help me breathe while I sleep.  It’s been an interesting couple of weeks, that’s for sure.  I’ve learned a few things about my breathing and my sleeping habits.

I had no idea whether I breath out of my nose or my mouth.

Do you know, without thinking about it, whether you breathe out of your nose or your mouth?  I had no idea, hence why I have a full mask.

It makes you really aware of your breathing.

I am so glad that I have sleep medication.  I found myself laying in bed trying to regulate my breathing on my own, because it was so much more aware of it while I had the mask on.  It turns out that I breathe in through my nose and keep my mouth open when I am sleeping.

Make sure you let your child know you will be wearing it.

I was woken from a deep sleep by a child poking me in the arm to ask what was on my face.  Let’s just say I wasn’t impressed and it took me ages to fall asleep again!

If you leave the machine plugged in all day, the water for the humidifying part will be super hot.

I wish that I hadn’t learned this one the hard way.  Having hot, heavy air blown in your face as the mask suctions on your face is really not conducive to good sleep.  Thankfully the initial heat didn’t last long because it felt like I was suffocating!

Make sure you wake up a few hours before you need to go somewhere.

I’m not sure if it’s my skin, but I have angry looking red marks across my cheeks when I first wake up and they take about an hour to go away.  The mask isn’t uncomfortable so I think that maybe my skin is sensitive.  Not to mention on a good nights sleep, I have it pressed against my cheeks for 8-9 hours.

Regularly cleanse your face.

Again, I wish I hadn’t learned this one the hard way.  I think a mix of hot nights, mask on my face all night and oily skin really played havoc with my face.  Day 4 and I had a giant blind pimple right where the mask sat on my nose.  Now pimples near your nose are bad enough, without having a mask suctioned to it as well.  Also I make sure to wash the mask every second day to help with any build up.

I really wasn’t getting quality sleep before.

Now that I am two weeks in, I have noticed a few things starting to get better.  I’ve never been a morning person, but it doesn’t take me as long to be human in the mornings now.  I’m also waking up less during the night and the panic attacks have stopped.  Although the nurse at the sleep centre did say that it was likely that my panic attacks were my bodies way of waking me when I had stopped breathing for too long.

Do you know if you breathe through your mouth or your nose?

Have you ever had a sleep test done?


12 thoughts on “Things the CPAP Machine has taught me

  1. Vanessa

    I’ve always been a terrible snorer, so I probably do need a sleep study. I’ve had scans of my head to check my sinuses & they came back clear of anything major.

  2. Grace

    I’m a terrible snorer. And it definitely affects my quality of sleep. My GP gave me a referral to see a sinus specialist and now it’s the new year, I need to get cracking and make that appointment. Good point on waking up a few hours before you need to go somewhere – I would never think about the marks it leaves on your face!

  3. Dani @ Sand Has No Home

    Glad that you are getting better sleep. My husband had terrible sleep apnoea too. I used to regularly wake him to make him breath- or stop the heinous snoring. He went to see a specialist who told him that he had very large adenoids and if he had his tonsils removed and sinuses drilled that it would likely fix the problem. He had that done early last year and has seen a vast improvement in his sleeping. He does still snore sometimes but it bears no comparison to what it used to be.
    I have no idea how I breath at night either!

  4. Angela

    So glad to hear that your sleep has improved and it sounds like some very good tips to follow if I ever need one 🙂

  5. Lara @ This Charming Mum

    I am a shocking snorer – and worse in summer when I have air con or ceiling fans going. Fresh air through the night makes a difference. But I’ve never had a proper sleep test done – and I really should. Some mornings I wake up feeling so groggy and I know it’s because the sleep quality hasn’t been ideal. I’ll be really curious to see if you keep on feeling better from this 🙂

  6. Doris

    Hi! Thanks for sharing your experience with cpap!
    I just wanted to let you know that there are products that can help with the marks on your face. One called Pad A Cheek, which are soft micro fleece covers for the straps, was invented by a fellow cpap user who went on to market her invention online. The other is a similar product, RemZzzs or Silent Night mask liners that go between the mask cushion and your skin, and not only helps with the marks on the face, but can also help provide a better, leak-free seal.

    Hope this helps!

  7. Helen

    Try using Remzees or a similar type of barrier with your CPAP. They provide a barrier to keep air from escaping while getting the moisture off of your skin. It makes a world of difference.

    Despite what we are told (they are one use only), I wash my Remzees with my white load and iron them flat to reuse. It’s time to toss them when they start to fray around the edge.

    The Quiet Ones are thicker and, for me, a little more practical. Ever get up in the dark to go to the bathroom and come back to bed, half asleep, and try to find a Remzees? The Quiet Ones have sticky tabs on the sides that keep them attached to to your mask, so no more hunting for them in the dark. They are good for about a week each. You can wash them by hand but the adhesive dissolves.


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