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CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. It is a mask that keeps your airway open as you sleep by providing you with a steady stream of air.
If you are using a CPAP as treatment for a sleep disorder, read through these 12 rules first, courtesy of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
1. Begin using your CPAP for short periods of time during the day while you watch TV or read.
2. Use the "ramp" setting on your unit so the air pressure increases slowly to the proper level.
3. Use CPAP every night and for every nap. Using it less often reduces the health benefits and makes it harder for your body to get used to it.
4. Newer CPAP models are virtually silent; however, if you find the sound of your CPAP machine to be bothersome, place the unit under your bed to dampen the sound.
5. Make small adjustments to your mask, tubing, straps and headgear until you get the right fit.
6. Use a saline nasal spray to ease mild nasal congestion.
7. Take a nasal decongestant to relieve more severe nasal or sinus congestion.
8. Use a heated humidifier that fits your CPAP model to enhance your breathing comfort.
9. Try a system that uses nasal pillows if traditional masks give you problems.
10. Clean your mask, tubing and headgear once a week.
11. Regularly check and replace the filters for your CPAP unit and humidifier.
12. Work closely with your sleep doctor and your CPAP supplier to make sure that you have the machine, mask and air pressure setting that works best for you.