How can I make my CPAP machine more comfortable?

This question was asked in Park Ridge, New Jersey on 03/18/2013.
I face several problems when using CPAP. I want to stop the frequent stressful dreams that I seem to have when using CPAP. I also cannot control my throat dryness when using the CPAP machine with maximum humidity settings. How can I make CPAP more comfortable while still getting effective treatment for sleep apnea?

Doctors Answers (5)

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 3/22/2013

Making your CPAP more comfortable should begin with your company which supplied the unit. Also, your sleep physician should be able to address issues such as dry throat. There are adjustments to the CPAP which should be addressed. The newer CPAP units have humidifiers which heat the air from the water to match your throat temperature. There are mouth washes and other oral applications which may help. Chewing a vitamin D or E gelatin capsule and swishing it in your mouth will protect against a dry mouth for a few hours. Just swallow the gelatin liner. Are there leaks through the mouth. Try a chin strap or full face mask. The dreams are another matter. It is good to have them but if they are disturbing talk with your doctor about medications which can suppress them.

SomnoDiagnostics, Inc.
Answered on: 3/22/2013

Adjusting your mask or replacing the mask would help. If you are exhaling through your mouth that could contribute to dryness. Verify that your humidifier is indeed working optimally and consider a full face mask or nasal interface with chin strap.

Courtney Whitney, DO
Answered on: 3/19/2013

It sounds like your sleep apnea might not be effectively treated or that you need to work on a more comfortable mask/machine combination. For those that continue to struggle to get comfortable with CPAP, BiPAP is a very helpful answer. BiPAP can feel much more comfortable than CPAP since the machine cycles back and forth between inspiration and exhalation as you breathe in and out. The extreme dryness is an indicator of mouth leak usually. If you are already on a full face mask then heated tubing can really help deliver more moisture to you. A download of your current machine would be a very helpful first step to better analyze what could be going on. Working with your sleep doctor and a clinical specialist is really most important in your situation.

Timothy J. Delcambre, DDS, MHA
Answered on: 3/19/2013

If you have adequate teeth to support an oral appliance, this may be used in place of the CPAP machine. You need an evaluation be a trained dentist to find if you are a candidate. If not, the get with the sleep center to help with your CPAP.

Robert C. Jones, M.D.
Answered on: 3/19/2013

The fact that you are now having more vivid dreams may be an indication of better quality deep sleep now that the apnea is treated. If the content of your dreams is of concern, being evaluated by a psychologist that specializes in sleep might be a good idea. Regarding the dryness, It is advised that you go and see a therapist at the CPAP equipment provider or sleep technologist at your local sleep lab to help you figure out a solution.