Jan 27, 2022 by PrimeClean
Yes, it is very much possible to make sleeping with CPAP (more) comfortable. Year after year CPAP industry is recording the highest production and sales since it started, it is recognizing the sleep apnea patients' needs and it is no longer only CPAP devices as a therapy. Nowadays we have many accessories created to help with CPAP therapy discomfort issues. CPAP pillows, humidifiers, heated hoses, CPAP mask strap covers, mask gel… We have listed 10 CPAP accessories that will help you sleep more comfortably!
Getting used to CPAP therapy (breathing pressurized air, wearing CPAP mask, sleeping with limited movement and/or sleep position, hearing CPAP machine…) can take some time. We already wrote about CPAP therapy discomforts and how to deal with them, and in that article, we mentioned some accessories as part of the solution.
Let’s first see why it is important to have a quality sleep… According to “Johns Hopkins Medicine” sleep expert and neurologist Mark Wu, M.D., Ph.D., “Sleep is a period during which the brain is engaged in a number of activities necessary to life — which are closely linked to quality of life". So it is not enough to just sleep 6-10 hours, it should be quality sleep. However, many things influence our sleep quality (we wrote about it here, outside stimulants, bad pre-sleep habits, and some medical conditions), and for CPAP patience, sleeping with CPAP equipment can be a significant factor.
How does CPAP equipment influence sleep quality? Let's start with what parts does CPAP equipment has actually… Every PAP machine contains 3 main parts: a motor/compressor (the machine itself), a hose, and a mask. Other parts are air filter(s), humidifier (in some models), mask straps, tubing connectors, hose connectors (some of the other parts might not be listed with all machines, but mostly it is the ones we mentioned). Having all that on, or attached to yourself, while (trying) to sleep, obviously can be discomforting…mask and mask straps can irritate your skin, sleeping only on your back can cause back-pain issues and frustration (if used to side sleeping), dry airways, getting tangled in the hose, musty smell from dirty equipment… There are quite a few issues, and we listed 10 accessories you could use to get rid of these issues, and improve your comfort and sleep quality.
One of the most common issues new CPAP therapy patience might have is the change of sleeping style. This is especially noticeable for side sleeping. Wearing a CPAP face mask (especially a full face mask) connected to a CPAP machine via tube/hose makes sleeping on a regular pillow a bit challenging (hose can get tangled, mask moved, or just pressed much harder onto face causes discomfort). CPAP pillow is specially designed to suit the needs of CPAP users. It has curves and cutouts created to fit the CPAP mask and hose position. The pillows are often with memory foam, more than one layer of hardness, different heights, and widths.
We always recommend PrimeClean® CPAP Pillow as the best cpap pillow for side sleepers. Created from the latest-technology materials, and users’ experiences and suggestions; the memory foam construction conforms to the contours of the face providing a firm yet soft support. The curved bottom edge allows the shoulder to rest naturally and the slight center recess promotes proper head and neck alignment. It features a soft outer pillowcase that is easy to remove for cleaning, so it is easy to keep it clean and sanitized.
CPAP mask gel has a double function, it helps to prevent air leak, and prevents face irritation caused by friction between mask and skin. The gel is placed on patients’ skin and it creates a thin film barrier so that the edge of the mask (the part of the mask in contact with the skin) is in contact with the gel. Some gels contain Aloe Vera to naturally hydrate and restore dry skin.
Chin strap is designed to keep the mouth closed while using a nasal or nasal pillow mask. The pressurized air delivered from the CPAP machine can cause the mouth to open (this can especially happen if prescribed a higher pressure setting), and this further leads to “air leaks” that significantly reduce the effects of CPAP therapy, also cause waking up with a dry mouth and feeling tired. An extremely dry mouth and throat may be uncomfortable or painful, and chronic dryness may affect the health of your gums and teeth, per Verywell Health.
Designed to prevent discomfort caused by CPAP mask straps, strap covers are a simple yet highly effective accessory that in all its simplicity "gets the job done". Usually made of breathable, soft, anti-allergenic material, it is an accessory that is simple to apply and use.
PrimeClean® CPAP Strap Covers provide a perfect solution to mask strap skin irritations. Using 2 intelligent materials that hold skin moisture: cool you down when it's hot, provide warmth when it's cold, keeping your skin cool in summer and warm in winter.
With the newer CPAP device models, the humidifier is usually already a part of the equipment (for some models it can also be added as an accessory in case your CPAP doesn’t have one).
The air passing through CPAP comes from the room air, and after it goes through the air filter and the (cold) hose, it might be too dry. We mentioned before issues that dry air can cause, so it is something to avoid if possible. That's where the CPAP humidifier comes as a top solution. CPAP users can add moisture to the air with a CPAP machine that has a humidifier.
An alternative solution is to have a humidifier machine (separate, not a part of the CPAP machine) and keep the air in the room humidified enough.
The heated hose maintains the warm temperature of the air; it goes from the humidifier’s water chamber up to the mask. A heated hose (tube) added to the CPAP with a humidifier improves humidification efficiency and thus positively affects the dry air issues.
Another big benefit of the heated hose is preventing condensation that sometimes collects on the inside of the regular hose (in case there is a temperature difference between humidifier and hose); water created and collected in the hose due to this condensation process can slide into the mask and eventually in the nose or mouth, an issue called the “rainout” …and heated hose helps prevent this by maintaining the warm temperature of the air within the tube.
Alternatively, in case you don't have or cannot get the heated hose, you can try a CPAP hose cover. It is a knitted fabric tube that fits over the hose to keep the warm hose temperature and thus warm the air passing through it. An additional benefit of the CPAP hose cover is that its soft material helps avoid the rough and plastic feel of the hose when touched.
Active sleepers probably have a problem with the CPAP hose… Luckily, hose management systems are the solution. A tangled hose can affect airflow from CPAP machine to mask, they can keep waking you up… A solution is to use a hose holder. A hose holder can be a small stand (next to your pillow, or next to the bed, or above the bed), to hang up your hose and thus keep it straight and away from your face, all the while not limiting your movement during sleep.
Not cleaning CPAP equipment regularly or properly, is dangerous for your health! Mold, bacteria, viruses, fungi…all sorts of germs just love moist and warm areas, which CPAP mask and tubing are. Musty smell from your CPAP equipment indicates that it is not sanitized properly or frequent enough.
Best practices suggest that using automatic ozone sanitizer is overall the best solution (time-saving, highly efficient, budget-friendly solution). We recommend using PrimeClean® CPAP Sanitizer. Our new N105 model is an upgraded version of the previous model, with longer battery life on a single charge, better and nicer material, timer display.
PrimeClean Sanitizer kills 99.9 percent of germs, without introducing moisture into the process since more moisture could then become a breeding ground for more germs. Also, with Sanitizing bag with Ozone Filter, it is designed to safely use ozone, rather than sending it directly out into the room. The PrimeClean takes the daily hassle out of cleaning your CPAP equipment, you simply press the only button on the device and walk away…the whole sanitation process is done within 30 minutes!
Advanced Sleep Medicine Services, Inc. (sleepdr.com) Dr. Said Mostafavi, suggests that CPAP users suffering from nasal congestion consider that allergies may not be the cause. A less known cause of nasal congestion will affect some CPAP users 6 to 12 months after starting therapy. Because many sleep apnea patients are mouth breathers (due to sleep apnea), when they start using CPAP therapy, they suddenly start breathing through their nose.
Aromatherapy is known as a medicine for hundreds of years… It creates a calm and relaxing experience, a pleasant feeling of essential oils stimulating our sense of smell and activating “good hormones”, and even can act anti-inflammatory. It can help new CPAP users get used to their therapy and use CPAP equipment faster, by using cognitive distraction. Simple use of lavender scents will help relax, distress, and fight insomnia, tea tree, and eucalyptus oils have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties…
However, CPAP aromatherapy must be practiced only in a safe way! At any time, it is not recommendable to put essential oils directly in your CPAP machine, on the air filter, in the hose or mask, or in the humidifier. Dr. Randy Horwitz (the medical director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine) states that even a small amount of essential oils droplets, if inhaled directly into the lungs, can cause lung irritation, and that is something that in some extreme cases might occur while using in the CPAP device.
A proper way to use aromatherapy in CPAP therapy is to put the essential oil on diffuser pads that should be put around the CPAP machine and thus intake the air with the fragrance.
Yes, sleeping should be a pleasant activity…not only for the feeling rested in the morning part but also for your mental and physical health. Getting used to CPAP therapy is not an easy process, and to make things worse, many patients cannot get used to some parts of it, ever. But, as we mentioned, there are many solutions for almost any CPAP therapy issue or discomfort. And as you can see from our list of 10 accessories that will help reduce the discomfort, mostly the solutions are cheap and effective!
But even if there isn’t a solution for the discomfort issue you particularly have, for sure you're not the only one and the CPAP industry will very soon find the solution for that as well!
Embrace your CPAP therapy, enjoy your sleep.