CPAP machine

A good night sleep can be a simple remedy for many things including illness and bad moods. But for many Australians, getting a good night sleep can be difficult to achieve night after night.

Many things can contribute to a bad night’s sleep, however, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is one of the most common sleep related breathing disorders and if, left untreated, can severely impact your health and quality of life.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OAS)?

According to the Australian Sleep Health Foundation, OSA is diagnosed when patients have “repeated episodes of partial or complete obstruction of the throat during sleep”1. These obstructions can cause snoring and even breathing to stop for micro periods of time, impacting sleep.

OSA is prevalent within Australia. A study conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, found that there were 39,472 hospitalisations in 2018-19 with a prinicipal diagnosis of OSA and, based off Medicare Benefit Scheme data, 133,000 patients received a diagnostic sleep study in 2019 representing a rate of 6.7 per 1,000 Australians aged 18 and over.2

So, with many Aussies suffering with OSA, what can be done about it?

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy and how it works

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is a highly effective treatment for OSA, providing relief and improved sleep quality to OSA sufferers. CPAP machines provide sufferers with a constant flow of air through a mask worn during sleep, preventing airways from becoming obstructed during sleep.

However, it’s not as simple as putting on the mask and nodding off to dream land. Using a CPAP machine can take some time to get used to and we have some tips to ensure you get the most successful sleep you can, night after night.

Tip 1: Make sure you have a comfortable and properly fitting mask

Having a correctly fitting CPAP mask is essential to achieving a good night sleep. A poor fitting mask may cause discomfort, air leaks and even skin irritation.

The best way to make sure you have the right mask it to work with your CPAP supplier. At Western CPAP, we have the knowledge and experience to navigate the range of face shapes, sizes and structures and find you a mask that will be the most comfortable fit.

People breathe and sleep differently. Whether you sleep on your side or on your back, and breathe through your nose or mouth, this can influence the type of mask that would suit you best.

The correct mask is generally a balance between comfort and the quality of the seal it makes with your face. To make sure you have the right mask for you, we offer a two week mask trial so you can try as many masks and sizes we offer until you find the best fit. You are not alone, we will work with you to find your best fit.

Tip 2: It’s going to feel weird in the beginning – Practice makes perfect

Many people initially found wearing a mask difficult when COVID hit, but over time people got used to it. Adjusting to the CPAP mask and machine may feel foreign in the beginning, but if you persist with it, then you will adapt to it.

It’s quite common to experience initial discomfort, including feelings of claustrophobia or difficulty acclimating to the airflow pressure. However, there are things you can do to make the transition easier.

Begin with wearing the CPAP mask during the day for short periods of time. This allows you to get used to the pressure on your face. Then you can try wearing the mask with the machine on during the day. Gradually, you will build tolerance to be able to use the mask and machine throughout the night and you’ll notice significant improvements in your sleep quality.

Tip 3: Maintain Consistent Usage

Just like taking medication consistently will yield the best result, using your CPAP machine consistently will enable you to reap the full benefits of CPAP therapy and get a good night sleep.

Aim to use your CPAP machine every time you sleep, including naps, to ensure continuous relief from OSA symptoms. Skipping CPAP sessions, even occasionally, can lead to a resurgence of symptoms and hinder your progress.

If you are finding it extremely difficult to use your CPAP machine, then contact us and we will be able to help point you in the right direction.

Tip 4: Address mask discomfort quickly

If you experience discomfort or irritation while wearing your CPAP mask, don’t ignore it. This will only give you a reason to not use your CPAP machine and continue to experience poor sleep quality.

Instead, contact us as soon as you can and we will work with you to try and pinpoint the source of discomfort and find a solution. Whether it’s experimenting with different mask styles and sizes or incorporating mask liners or nasal cushions to alleviate pressure points and reduce skin irritation, we can work with you to find the best combination to help you get that good night sleep you crave.

Tip 5: Optimise your sleep environment and practise good sleep hygiene

Creating a conducive sleep environment and practising good sleep hygiene can complement CPAP therapy and enhance its effectiveness. The best way to do this is:

  • Switch off electronics an hour before bedtime, providing your body and mind time to unwind.
  • Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and dark to promote relaxation and minimise disturbances.
  • Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows that support your head and neck.
  • Consider using white noise machines or earplugs to mask disruptive sounds (including the noise of your CPAP machine) that may interfere with sleep.

By optimising your sleep environment, you can maximize the benefits of CPAP therapy and start enjoying more restful nights.

Tip 6: Keep your CPAP equipment clean

Proper maintenance of your CPAP equipment is essential for both hygiene and performance.

  • Regularly clean and sanitise your mask, tubing, and humidifier chamber to prevent the build-up of bacteria, mould, and other contaminants.
  • Use mild, fragrance-free soap and warm water to wash your mask components daily and replace disposable filters as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • You may also consider investing in a CPAP cleaning device, such as a UV sanitiser or ozone cleaner, for thorough disinfection on a periodic basis.

While CPAP therapy may seem daunting in the beginning, implementing these simple tips can significantly improve your experience and sleep.

Our goal at Western CPAP is to help you find the best solution for your sleep issues. Regardless of whether you have been diagnosed with OSA or just have a suspicion that something may be wrong, give us a call or come and see us and we can help you begin your journey to a better night’s sleep.