So you’ve just been diagnosed with sleep apnea and you’ve been told by your doctor that you have to use a CPAP mask every night, in order to treat this condition.
Needless to say, you’re probably feeling a little nervous and apprehensive about this and you’re worried about a number of things: is it worth it wearing that big mask? Will my partner still want to be intimate with me? Am I going to have to deal with red marks all over my face for the rest of my life?
Like any big change in life, it is normal to have apprehensions about this and it is okay to be worried about what is to come. But what is important it focusing on the positive aspects of this: in this case, your ability to get a much better sleep at night.
Here are five tips to help you adjust to your new CPAP mask:
- Take your time selecting a mask! Most people who buy eye glasses don’t usually go with the first pair they see, they take their time to try on many pairs, until they find one that is just right. A tip from the Mayo clinic suggests that you place a new mask on your face without any straps. Once it feels comfortable, add the straps and then see how you feel.
- Try wearing just the mask around the house for a few hours to get used to it. If you still feel some anxiety, try to practice some relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing.
- Start small: if the idea of forcing air down your airway makes you cringe, try using your mask on the lowest air pressure setting to start, and increase it as you become more used to the mask.
- Keep moisturized! It is very common for CPAP users to experience a dry mouth or nose when they wake up, especially in the winter months. Let’s face it: it’s not a comfortable or pleasant feeling to have a dry mouth. Try to use a nasal spray before you go to bed, or think about getting a humidifier for your CPAP mask.
- If it feels weird at first, resist the urge to discontinue it after just one night. Remember that this is a device that could very well be saving your life, and your quality of sleep will get much better with time! Do not hesitate to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.