Do you ever feel like you often have difficulty focusing, are excessively tired after a full night of sleep, snore loudly, or wake up with a dry throat? These are all common symptoms of sleep apnea, a condition that halts your breathing periodically throughout the night.
Over the years, the disorder has become more well-known because of its link to detrimental conditions such as heart disease, strokes, weight gain, diabetes, and if left untreated, fatality. Generally, if you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea, your doctor will first prescribe you a CPAP mask.
Although it’s typically the most familiarly used method of treatment, CPAP is often complained to be extremely uncomfortable, bulky, claustrophobic, and more. Research has found that nearly half or more of CPAP users don’t persistently use it at night or completely stop using it overall.
If you’re one of the many sleep apnea sufferers who dislike their CPAP, you’re not alone. Find out what the six most common reasons why people hate their sleep mask.
How a CPAP Mask Works
A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is attached to a mask that’s worn over the face at night as it blows gentle air through the lungs to open up a person’s breathing airway. The mask helps sufferers of sleep apnea breathe properly throughout the night, without interruption, and allows them to achieve a full night of quality sleep.
Due to it being connected to an electronic machine, this can cause some issues for many of its users. Sleep dentist Dr. John Leitner says that some people complain that it’s simply inconvenient and they can’t take it anywhere while traveling. Others say it’s intrusive and they feel restricted while they’re sleeping.
Whether CPAP helps a sufferer obtain a better night’s sleep or not, many will result in not using it at all due to the fact that they simply don’t like the machine. Here are six of the most common complaints.
1. Air Pressure is Too Strong
One of the top reasons why people can’t comply with their CPAP is because of the air pressure. As the machine draws in the air, it pressurizes it so it can deliver an adequate amount of air through the lungs to clear any obstruction that’s preventing a person from breathing.
This air can sometimes be more forceful than expected and will make it difficult for a person to fall asleep or remain asleep. Some people are able to get used to the pressure, but many others never can which ultimately leads to them not using it anymore.
Generally, wearing anything to sleep other than your pajamas can be quite uncomfortable. Sleeping with a large, bulky mask that’s strapped around your face can be challenging to go to bed with and can really stop a sufferer from wearing it.
CPAP masks can even be a little painful for someone who is wearing it because it needs to be tight on their face so it doesn’t come off. This can be intolerable for many and is another reason why people hate their masks.
3. Too Noisy
Another criticism of this sleep treatment is that it’s just too loud. Since the machine is constantly running all night, this can prevent many from falling asleep. Some people need a dark, quiet room in order to get in a deep sleep, so having their CPAP on will definitely wake up these light sleepers.
4. Potentially Makes Teeth Crooked
This isn’t always a common problem that sufferers have to deal with when wearing their CPAP, but it can be a possibility. Dentists like Dr. Joe Thomas say that nearly 50 grams of force is enough to move teeth.
Since CPAP masks rest right on the face and apply pressure through a person’s mouth, there is a risk of potential teeth shifting. In fact, there have been some cases where patients using CPAP found that their upper incisors had moved backward.
5. Claustrophobic and Invasive
If you’re someone who hates being in tight spaces or is fearful when their body is restricted by something, then a CPAP mask will not be a method of treatment you’ll enjoy. Wearing a mask on your face while you sleep can be extremely claustrophobic and can feel quite invasive.
6. May Not Work with Nasal Congestion
Another inconvenience with CPAP is that it isn’t as successful if a person has allergies or a stuffy nose. This is a general symptom of the most common form of the disorder, obstructive sleep apnea, and can impede the machine’s effectiveness.
Finding Alternative Solutions Best for You
Living with sleep apnea is never easy. Luckily, looking for an alternative solution to help you achieve a better night’s sleep is much easier than you might think. There are many different alternatives for CPAP that offer the same benefits but eliminate all the drawbacks.
For example, a very popular alternative that many sufferers are becoming more familiar with is an oral appliance. These are small custom-made mouthguards that are worn at night and help by gently moving the jaw forward to clear the obstruction.
Additional options include holistic solutions such as aromatherapy, positional therapy, relaxation techniques, and calming music. These may not be as common but dentists like Dr. Glenn MacFarlane offer them in addition to an oral appliance.
Lastly, you can make certain lifestyle changes such as losing weight, stop smoking and drinking, or getting surgery. Whatever you choose to help you get the sleep you deserve, you’ll soon realize that CPAP isn’t your only option and you shouldn’t leave your condition untreated.