Restful sleep is an integral part of good health. Most people need 7 to 8 hours of sleep to function optimally. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you may also struggle with CPAP machine side effects. CPAP devices have been the standard of care for sleep apnea for decades. However, if the associated side effects bother you, you may not use your device as needed. Let’s look at how to solve common CPAP machine side effects.

Don’t Wait to Find Help

While the CPAP may help you sleep better, you might choose to stop using the device as prescribed if you face problems associated with its use. Untreated sleep apnea is dangerous. Without treating your sleep apnea, you can face serious medical issues. According to Sleep Apnea Statistics, untreated obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of:

  • Heart failure by 140%
  • Stroke by 60%
  • Coronary heart disease by 30% (1)

If you deal with CPAP side effects, it’s essential to resolve your issues so that you will use your device regularly for good sleep. If the side effects prevent you from using the machine entirely, it may be time to look at a different solution for your sleep apnea, such as a new FDA-approved medical device for treating sleep apnea without the mask and hose. 

Before throwing in the towel, consider these common CPAP machine side effects and possible solutions. 

Air Pressure Issues

Hard to Breathe Out: Sometimes, people feel like they have to push to breathe out. The exhale portion of your breathing may feel too difficult. If this happens, see your doctor to adjust the air pressure for your CPAP device. There is another option similar to the CPAP called the BiPAP. The BiPAP can change the air pressure on the exhale portion of your breathing.

Swallowing Air: You may feel bloated or have gas when using your CPAP nightly. To help with this problem, see your doctor to adjust the air pressure for your CPAP device. When the pressure is too high, it can cause excess air in your body system.

Headaches and Dizziness: Your body may initially react to a CPAP machine with dizziness or headaches. This is sometimes just your body’s way of responding to a new routine. However, if the problem continues, let your doctor check your CPAP’s air pressure to ensure that you are getting enough, but not too much pressure. 

Mask and Hose Issues

Uncomfortable with the Mask: Some people can’t fall asleep easily wearing the mask and hose. It feels awkward and restricts movement as you try to snuggle in and go to sleep. Many people like to sleep on their side or in other positions, but it can be challenging to settle in and relax with the mask and hose. Some people also feel smothered with something on their nose. Even though the device provides the oxygen they need, the covering of the nose is too uncomfortable for sleep. 

Air Leaks: You may feel like your CPAP is not doing anything for you. If you don’t have a properly fitted mask, air can leak out. When this happens, the CPAP lacks the air pressure needed to prevent sleep apneas. You’ll need to see your doctor for a different type of mask or one that fits better and adheres more closely to your face. 

Quality of Air

Mouth and Nose Issues: Some people complain about their nose or mouth feeling dry or getting frequent nosebleeds. Others suffer from a stuffy nose. Often, adding a bit of humidity to your room can help your nose handle the constant air pressure of a CPAP device.

Burning Lungs

If your lungs also feel dry or uncomfortable, you may need warm humidity to help your body adjust. Starting use of a CPAP has an adjustment period, but if your lungs remain uncomfortable after a few days, try a vaporizer that provides warm steam in your room.


Sinus and Lung Infections: If you catch more sinus or lung infections while using your CPAP, you may need to clean your CPAP more often. Phillip’s recently recalled some CPAP devices because debris broke off the masks and went into patients’ lungs. Always look at the manufacturer’s advice for how to clean your CPAP so that you prevent issues.

Skin Inflammation: CPAP masks must fit snugly so that the air doesn’t leak and reduce pressure. Sometimes, the repeated wearing of the CPAP mask for hours each day can irritate the skin around your nose and mouth. If this happens, use a lubricant on your skin before applying the mask each night. Also, treat your skin during the day when your mask is off. 

We Can Help

At Enticare, our team includes Surgical Providers, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Audiologists, Hearing instrument specialists, Respiratory therapists, and Sleep technicians. We all work together as a team to find the source of your sleep problems. Our experience as sleep specialists allows us to see possible solutions for any sleep problems you face. We can help you work through any side effects related to CPAP use or find an alternative that works for you. Contact us today and find out how we can help you sleep well and wake up refreshed again.

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