Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Quick Tips

Your Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device is one of the most effective treatments for obstructive sleep apnea, but only if you use it. Research shows that the first month of using your CPAP is the most important - and it's the time you're most likely to become overwhelmed or frustrated and stop using your device.

The experts at Beaumont can help. With the CPAP Clinic at Beaumont's Sleep Evaluation Services in Macomb, registered sleep technologists will provide you with:

  • mask fittings to ensure comfort
  • tips on adjusting to using your CPAP
  • solutions for mouth breathing problems
  • options for ramp and pressure relief
  • answers to your questions about using your CPAP

Note: Our technicians cannot change prescribed medication settings.

Our sleep experts can help you achieve the best fit for any type of mask:

Full-face mask - Generally the largest mask, the full face mask surrounds the nose and the mouth, giving you the freedom to breath through your nose, your mouth, or both.

Nasal mask - Considered the "middle-of-the-road" mask, the nasal mask surrounds only the perimeter of the nose. It seals well when you lie on your back or sides, and it can be used with a chin strap to keep oral leaking to a minimum.

Nasal pillow cushion mask - The smallest mask, the nasal pillow cushion mask seals against the inside edge of the nostrils, giving you the most freedom of motion and sleep positions. It's the ideal mask for patients who have facial hair, since it seals against the nostrils not the face. This mask can also be used with a chin strap to keep oral leaks to a minimum.

Quick tips for comfort

  • Adjust your mask in front of a mirror so you can see it centered on your face.
  • The mask should be snug, but not excessively tight.
  • Tighten the mask straps in pairs, first at the top then the bottom.
  • If the mask is too tight, it can wrinkle the rubber and cause leaking.
  • To assess a mask leak, attach the tubing at the prescribed pressure and lay in bed.
  • Try to fix the leak by lifting the mask off your face and setting it back in place, or tightening the mask so that it's secure and no air can be felt escaping at the perimeter.
  • Your mask cushion should hover over the nose and not be crushed against it.
  • Before cleaning your mask, mark the headgear for quick resizing.
  • Keep the exhalation ports unobstructed to ensure proper carbon dioxide discharge.
  • Keep tubing out of the way by running it over your head. This will also reduce tension and pulling at the mask.
  • Reduce condensation in the mask and tubing by sleeping with the hose under the covers or by using a hose cozy for insulation.

For full-face masks only: The mask should be placed under your lower lip and rolled up over your nose for proper placement and fitting. If your nasal passages feel pinched or your jaw falls out from under the mask, the mask may be too small.