CPAP Clinic Sleep Blog

Understanding your sleep health, sleep apnea and CPAP therapy

Part Five: Top CPAP fails and How to solve them

Part Five: Top CPAP fails

and How to solve them

Being sensitive to the CPAP experience is nothing new. But there are ways to lessen the impact of CPAP therapy. Read on because we dug deeper and found more practical solutions so you can remain compliant.


My nose is running or stuffy after I wear my CPAP mask!

This is a common seasonal issue and can be taken care of with a few key details.

First, check if your CPAP device comes with a heating option with the attached or attachable humidifier.  Usually runny nose and/or stuffy nose symptoms can be alleviated with the use of the CPAP humidifier.  Experiment with low to high humidity settings to suit your needs, such as level 2* for one night, level 3 the next night and so on. Notice when your stuffiness and/or runny nose is eased.  By paying close attention, you can find what setting works well.

If the above suggestion doesn’t work, possibly use a nasal saline spray before bedtime to prevent your nose from over-drying.

And of course, make sure that your mask is actually fitting well because a leaky mask can dry out your nose.

If a runny nose is taken care of, other not-so-fun developments can arise. So, let’s talk about the CPAP mask experience again and another issue, claustrophobia.


How can I feel less claustrophobic when I’m wearing the CPAP mask?

The approach described below is either a simple set of solutions or is a process of uncovering a deeper reaction to CPAP. Proceed and be sure to document your experience so you can consult your doctor, if needed.

Here are a few key tips to de-mystify claustrophobia:

  • While you’re awake, practice by first just holding the mask up to your face without any of the other parts attached. Once you’re comfortable with that, try wearing the mask with the straps. Part one of this series discusses mask acclimation tips.
  • Try holding the mask with the hose connected to your face, without using the straps for short periods of time. Make sure you have the hose attached to the CPAP machine at a low-pressure setting (with ramp feature turned on). And, of course, wear the mask with the straps for short periods of time while awake. After you’re comfortable with that, try sleeping with it on. See part one of this series for a strategic approach.
  • Relaxation exercises, such as progressive muscle relaxation, such as Theta meditation, Approaching CPAP therapy this way also may help reduce your anxiety.
  • If you’re still feeling claustrophobic, talk to your doctor, sleep technologist or CPAP supplier as there are more mask options in today’s CPAP supplies market than ever. It may help to get a different size mask or try a different style.

This is part five of an ongoing series.


Call 1.877.430.2727 for help.

Written and Edited by Bill Bistak B Sc.,SEO/SEM Spc, CRT

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