When You’re Considering Quitting, Consider These Solutions (Part 1)
I wonder if you are considering quitting CPAP. Perhaps you’ve had enough, and you are tired of feeling anxious while wearing it. The high leaks dry out your eyes, and the noise, well, neither you nor your bed partner are fans. Oh, that’s right, one more thing, those lines on your face...aren’t good for your appearance.
If you’re like most sleep patients I’ve talked with, you didn’t sign up and excitedly come to the sleep center. Be honest, a doctor persisted in asking you or a spouse “encouraged” you to come.
How did you end up here?
You had a sleep study
The reason they wanted you to come is we pay the doctors to refer you, and your spouse finally wants a good night of sleep. Okay, okay, I made that up, but truth be told, the doctor thinks, and your spouse probably knows, you either snore or have pauses in your breathing.
As for you...you have no idea if you do. I mean, you’re asleep and completely dependent on someone else’s view.
You were prescribed CPAP
Then before you can say 1, 2, 3, you were diagnosed with sleep apnea, and now every night you’re stuck dealing with CPAP. For a lot of PAP users, they feel the immediate impact of CPAP, and they cruise right to perfect comfort level, but it doesn’t work that way for everyone.
Certainly not you, and now you’re at a crossroads...quit and allow sleep apnea to affect your health. Or stick with it and hope it gets better. Let’s be honest, quitting is easier but not nearly as effective. Before quitting, try a few of my suggestions and see if they help.
Measure your CPAP progress
In my experience, I think good habits are easy to give up early in the process. Maybe you’ve heard this if you stick with something for at least 30 days, you are likely to tether yourself with it going forward. I think that idea could reign true for PAP users as well.
I think it’s really important to measure your progress with CPAP in the first few months of wearing it. Ask yourself these questions: “Do I feel less anxious using it this week than last? Am I sleeping with it longer than the night before?” These questions and similar questions can help you measure your progress and encourage you to continue with the process.
Take small steps
To climb Mt. Everest takes time and small steps. What I mean is, no one can jump straight to the top, and I know what you are thinking, “No kidding, genius!”
In a similar fashion, every challenge works the same. CPAP is no exception. Try to wear it for 4 hours a night for the first week and 5 hours for the second week and so on and so forth...
Try different CPAP masks
Sometimes it’s easy to think the CPAP and the mask are one. So, for example, you may mutter to yourself, “I hate CPAP.” But if I gave you a different mask, your experience could change and CPAP becomes more tolerable. Did CPAP change? Nope. The mask did. Perhaps that’s all you need.
Ask yourself these questions: “Am I struggling with the air pressure, or does the mask feel uncomfortable?” Sometimes there are other categories outside of our initial thought process that can help us determine the real problem and find a real solution. If you find it’s the mask you are struggling with, contact your local DME (durable medical equipment) company for different styles of masks.
If these solutions aren’t helpful, don’t worry. Check out part 2 for more ideas to help you stick with CPAP!
How do these first few solutions sound to you? Helpful? Please ask your questions or feel free to comment below.
Do you experience CPAP mask leaks?