What should I do if I have trouble sleeping with a CPAP machine?

This question was asked in Kendall, Florida on 08/09/2012.
After a sleep study session I was told I sometimes stop breathing for up to 8 seconds, is this a long time to stop breathing or is this average? I did not used to wake up with a headache before using a CPAP machine but I do now and I wonder if I really need one. Also trying to fall sleep with the mask is giving me insomnia, up to 2 hours trying to fall asleep.

Doctors Answers (5)

Syed Nabi, M.D.
Answered on: 8/10/2012

Most people when started on CPAP have trouble tolerating the CPAP machine. Usually i tell my patients to give it some time. Use it as much as you can. Sometimes a sleeping pill helps. Other times changing mask or pressure can do the tick. If nothign works, then perhaps switching to a BIPAP machine. Consult with your sleep doctor and they can help you figure out how to resolve some issues.

Farhad Sigari, MD, FACS
Answered on: 8/10/2012

The best place to start is the company that supplies the CPAP machine and accessories. There is a good chance that you can try a different type of mask that is not as bothersome. If you can't find a solution with their help, you might want to see an ENT that is experienced in Sleep Apnea and can recommend different therapies (nonsurgical and surgical).

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 8/10/2012

Having difficulty tolerating CPAP is fairly common. Often, desensitization is required and can be arranged through the company which supplied your CPAP. Also, look into the new PAP-NAP program. At time, the settings on the CPAP need adjusting. Apnea for 8 seconds is not very long. We often use sleep aides for the first few weeks to help with CPA tolerance.

Gary K. Zammit, Ph.D.
Answered on: 8/10/2012

Although period of no breathing (apnea) lasting 8 seconds in duration do not meet the formal duration required to score them as "apneic events," they are still significant depending on the number of events that occur during sleep. This is something that requires follow-up with your physician. The headaches and sleep disruption may suggest that your CPAP pressure is not optimal, or that you need follow-up assessment and refinement of your treatment plan. There are many things that your sleep specialist can do to remedy these problems, from re-adjusting your CPAP pressure to recommending other appropriate treatments.

Richard J. Schumann Jr., MD
Answered on: 8/10/2012

You need to consult with your sleep specialist to trouble shoot problems with sleeping and the mask. The use of a sedative for a short time to help you get used to the mask may be of benefit. Further help with a respiratory therapist in a PAP nap scheduled in the lab will help work out further problems with mask compliance and insomnia.