One week with a CPAP/APAP

Well, it’s been a week.

The first night, I only ended up getting about three hours of use because the mask first came completely off.  Then, after I woke and put it back on, it kept slipping off my nose so large chunks of time didn’t “count”.  Three out of six hours.  I woke up with my nose sore.  The thing had counted something like eight events per hour, and ran the pressure up to like 18 cm (near the 20 cm maximum of the unit).

Since that time, some adjustment of the straps (I had them positioned badly) helps keep the mask in place while not being near so tight.  The unit stays on through the night.  I don’t wake up during the night as often and usually that’s just a matter of roll over and go back to sleep.  I think maybe something about wearing the mask suppresses my natural tendency to turn over when the side pressing against the mattress gets sore and it’s the soreness that wakes me.  Overnight pressure when I check the thing is 11.5 cm.  Leak rate was 16 l/m which is fine.

And last night the “apnea events per hour” was zero.

So what does this mean for me?  Well, first off, my sleep is still being interrupted.  The “waking up to turn over” thing.  I wake up with a sore nose.  It’s like when you have a severe cold and your nose gets very tender from frequent rubbing with tissues.  And my nose always seems dried out.   I tried running the unit humidifier all the way to maximum, enough that I got water dripping at the joint in the hose making my pillow wet, but my nose still felt dry in the morning.  I’ve backed off a bit on the humidifier setting figuring I’d just have to live with it.

On the other hand, before I used the CPAP, I’d sit in the office trying to work and my eyes would start to close and my head to droop. I’d catch myself, get back to work, then it would happen again.  This went on from mid-morning until I finally went to bed.  Every day.  I’d fight it off with caffeine, lots and lots of caffeine (can’t stand coffee, can barely tolerate tea, so this meant lots and lots of diet cola).

That stopped, from the first, rather unsuccessful use of the CPAP.  I was actually awake and not fighting to stay so during the day.

I’m better able to focus and concentrate at work.  And, this is the big one, my writing productivity is up.  I’ve never been a particularly fast writer and I’m still not, but I’m putting out about twice as much copy per day as I was doing before.

Overall, I am very pleased.  Some of the issues that I’m still having I’m hoping will improve with time (the nose soreness).  But, apparently, a good night’s sleep is worth some discomfort.


6 thoughts on “One week with a CPAP/APAP”

  1. I’ve been on the machine for over twenty years. I have found that adding a drop or two of -high quality- (DoTerra is what I use) peppermint oil or lavender oil makes a difference with my sinus aching. Other people have had good results with some of their blends. It doesn’t take much, start with one drop added to the machine’s humidifier.

    I don’t have anything to do with DoTerra other than being one of their customers. I do like their products.


  2. Old-style masks were nearly airtight, and if you were sensitive to CO2 buildup, they felt like they were smothering you, no matter how much pressure they were holding. Modern masks deal with CO2 buildup by having far too many vent holes, which allow so much air to blast through that your nose gets chapped even at maximum humidity.

    Put a piece of tape inside the mask to block off about half the holes and see if it helps.

    If you have air leaking around the perimeter you might need a different brand of mask. Most of them seem to use a “standard human face” model taken from someone who looks like a ferret.

    The masks that cover your mouth as well as your nose are a lot easier to deal with than the nose-only ones.

    If your machine uses an SDcard for data storage, you can download the “SleepyHead” software (it’s free) and view the data.

    If you’re using a Resmed machine, most later ones have built-in cellular modems and tattle to Resmed’s web site. I had a problem with that, and opened mine up and disabled the modem. I was quite reluctant to take the new machine after the DME casually mentioned they could log in remotely and observe my sleep. They guaranteed they were the only ones with the login and password. And then I found out Redmed was getting the information automatically… I don’t like being lied to.


    1. You mentioned your beard in an earlier message; despite the eye-rolling and hand-waving at the DME office, there’s no perceptible leakage around my beard.

      My main problem is that the forehead piece of every mask I’ve tried is designed for someone whose forehead slopes back at a sharp angle; even with the pad adjusted all the way forward, the masks just barely seal at the area at the top of my nose. (technically called the “nasion”, I just looked it up) since the top of the mask is levered out from my forehead.

      You’ll also find most masks have only a shallow curve at the bottom, so they press hard against the center of your upper lip or jaw and tend to leak at the edges. I don’t have any noticeable prognathism of the lower face, so their “standard head” must be really flat-faced, except for the sloping forehead.


  3. WRT drying of the nasal tissues – there are a couple of approaches that are useful on that, both can be had online:
    1) Ponaris nasal emollient. Originally developed for the space programme (breathing dried-out recycled air,) it’s a mix of botanicals that will help moisturise everything again, and smells nice.
    2)NeilMed NasoGel. Essentially a gelled normal saline with some minor harmless additions.

    Both may be readily applied using a cotton swab – wet the swab with whichever you’re using, and roll it around the inside of the nostril to coat.

    (I’m not on CPAP/BiPAP/APAP – I just have chronic rhinitis/turbinitis from having had my face shattered in 2005, and I have to mainline Sudafed every night to go to sleep. Tends to dry things out…)


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