a calendar with a man using his CPAP machine every night

Learning to Adjust to CPAP

Last updated: March 2023

If you’ve been following my journey, I left off with receiving my new machine. Now it’s time to start using it. I was in my early 20s at this time. Let me preface that everyone’s experience is different when starting on CPAP.

When I first tried CPAP as an 18-year old, I never gave it an honest chance. Now that I was in my early 20s and hopefully a little mature, not that I’ve ever matured (hopefully, my humor comes across there), it was time to get serious about my health. My sleep apnea got to the point where it was really affecting my daily living.

Getting used to ramping

Getting used to CPAP wasn't an easy experience for me. I would start with the ramping function. For those not familiar with ramping, it’s when you can lower the pressure on your CPAP and have it gradually increase over a set time to the proper pressure. I would lay in bed for what seemed like an eternity, constantly hitting the ramp button.

Commiting to trying every night

I had some nights where I was able to fall asleep with my CPAP and other nights that I would lay for an hour and a half and not fall asleep. That was usually the max I would go before I would abandon the CPAP that night. This went on for about a month before I actually started adapting to wearing the CPAP on a nightly basis.

Forging new habits

I want to emphasize that I tried using the CPAP every single night. Even if I had 2 or 3 nights in a row where I would lay for my hour and half time limit. I never stopped trying to use it during that initial month.

I know for myself that I have a hard time adapting to new things or ways to do things. The CPAP was no different for me. I have read that habits form after 21 days. After a month, it definitely became easier. I think using a CPAP every night is a learned habit.

When did I notice a difference?

I started noticing a difference in the way I felt almost immediately. On the nights that I was able to fall asleep and use the CPAP through the night, I benefited by feeling more alert the following day.

I didn’t experience any struggle to stay awake while sitting at my desk at work. Waking up feeling refreshed was a great feeling. I also didn’t feel the need to hit the snooze button on my alarm clock. These benefits were all the motivation I needed to continue to use the CPAP, even during the adjustment phase.

Start CPAP sooner rather than later

I wish I started using my CPAP during my college years. Not using it negatively affected me during those years. I had a hard time studying and sitting through lectures without fighting to stay awake. We all know we can’t change the past.

I hope my story resonates with younger people who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. If you’re in your teens or early 20s, don’t make my mistake. Start using CPAP as soon as possible. It can make a huge difference in your life.

Did you have a hard time adjusting to CPAP, or are you going through a hard time now? Do you have any tips for others struggling to adjust? Tell us more in the comments!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The SleepApnea.Sleep-Disorders.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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