If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you may wonder what your treatment options are. If you have already made lifestyle changes with little to no success, your next choice may be to get a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. You may be concerned about what it is and how it works; after all, with tubes, a mask, and the machine itself, being able to get a good night’s sleep could seem impossible. But once you understand the components of sleep apnea machines, that elusive sleep is actually just around the corner.
The goal of your CPAP machine is to send a gentle yet constant stream of air through your airways to keep your throat from collapsing, which disrupts your sleep. To do this, your CPAP consists of the following major parts:
- The motor: The motor of sleep apnea machines is a small compressor that draws in air and adds light pressure to clear any obstruction in our airways while you breathe. The air intake component has a filter, which you can replace, that screens out particulates. More modern machines have humidifiers to moisten the air to prevent dryness. Best of all, the motor is very quiet – you may forget it is even on!
- The hose: The hose delivers the pressurized air from the motor to the mask that you wear. While the diameter of the hose can vary based on the machine, most hoses are about 6 feet long.
- The mask: To get the air into your body, you need to wear a mask. To promote comfort, you can find masks in different sizes and shapes to fit most variations in facial size. There are three main types of mask: nasal pillows, nasal masks, and masks for your entire face. You may need to try several different masks until you find the one that gives you the best sleep.
Once you have a CPAP machine, the most important factor is using it! It may look daunting, but as with everything, once you start using it, you will get used to it. Not using it can actually cause your symptoms to come back. Get acquainted with your CPAP machine, and you will begin to feel well rested sooner than you realize.