So you’ve recently been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea and after the diagnostic process have been prescribed a CPAP Machine by your doctor. This solution to your health condition gives you hope for a better night’s sleep and an overall improvement in your long term health. However, if you’re like many newbies to CPAP therapy, you may be wondering why your symptoms haven’t improved or even worsened upon use.
We want to encourage you to not lose heart, as there are things you can do to get comfortable with your machine. Becoming educated on your treatment and staying compliant will be key to getting the rest your body needs. We have created a list of the most common CPAP concerns to new users and our recommended solutions.
Symptom: “I can’t get used to wearing the device.”
Solution: There’s no reason why you have to wait until bedtime to put on the mask. Practice getting your body used to the feeling of the mask at different points in the day. Think of this as training for a sporting event or learning how to play an instrument. Take baby steps to build that muscle memory, so come show time, it feels natural. Once you’ve practiced wearing the mask, move onto taking naps with the device and stick to wearing it all night.
Symptom: “My mouth/nose is so dry.”
Solution: Sometimes this can happen if you sleep with your mouth open. This can increase mouth dryness. We recommend getting any of the following items to reduce dryness in the mouth or nose: a chin strap, a full-face mask or a humidifier specifically designed for CPAP machines.
Symptom: “I accidently remove the mask in my sleep.”
Solution: There could be a variety of reasons why this is happening. If you are able, try to identify why you subconsciously take the mask off. You may need to alter the type of mask you are wearing to find a better fit for your face shape, or change the elevation of your sleeping position. Another solution might be to set an alarm throughout the night to ensure that you still have the mask on. You can space out the alarm more and more as you become acclimated to the device.
Symptom: “I can’t seem to tolerate forced air.”
Solution: Training your body to accept forced air can be an adjustment. If you are finding this to be a persisting issue, you may want to consider a device that automatically increases the pressure while you sleep.
Many of these symptoms can be alleviated by making sure you have a mask that works best for your preferences and face shape. There are a variety of options available that we would be happy to help you find.
Moreover, we can’t stress enough the importance of sticking with CPAP Therapy. It can take time to adjust, but small changes can help you to get the full cycle of sleep that your health requires. Staying compliant and remembering why you’ve committed to your long term health can help you stay the course in your sleeping journey. Change won’t happen overnight! If you’re still having issues after trying the above tips, reach out to our experts for a consultation.
Rosita LouPosted on January 08, 2019
Most of the time my mouth and nostrils become too dry by early morning. I live in a relatively dry area (southern California) on a hill. I do have a humidifier in the bedroom, besides the CPAP humidifier. On certain days, the humidifier in the bedroom indicates 44% humidity, and I have set the CPAP humidifier to 86 degrees F, and humidity indicator to the highest level (8), and I still wake up with overdry nostrils and mouth. I do use a chin wrap, but it often slips loose.
Di HueyPosted on September 07, 2019
I feel so much worse in the morning. I am not bothered by the sound or the mask; my mask fit has been 100% and my AHI has been between .1 and 1.4 for the entire length of use (according the machine stats).
It’s been two weeks. I am so exhausted, and cry all the time because I feel so awful. I have had a horrible headache since day 1 and just can’t get any rest.
CathyPosted on September 23, 2019
While I never got consistently good ahi scores, my leaks were 0-3…. I bagged it after a month
Headaches were horrible every day I was on it. My naturopath suggested that since I have Lyme disease, it could be like I was in hyperbaric chamber with much oxygen. Oxygen kills Lyme bacteria and perhaps it was a reaction to the flood of die off.
Either way, I opted for a extra strong breathe right strip, something called Mute which I get at cvs or Walgreens to open nasal passages and taped my mouth to stop me from mouth breathing.
I wake up far more refreshed and no headaches lasting all day
Cpap is not for everyone esp those with mild osa
ChrisPosted on December 05, 2019
2 days into my new “routine” and I am right there with you. Not quite to the crying point, but extremely frustrated. The headache is nearly unbearable!!
Heather BlauweissPosted on August 14, 2020
See a neurologist specifically for headaches. They can give you medications for imidiate relief!!!
LilyPosted on October 07, 2019
It’s a relief to read your post, Di. I have also recently begun using a CPAP machine but have ended up feeling so much worse during the day and I just don’t understand why. During the first week and a half, I was getting up quicker in the mornings which was great but over the 2 weeks following that, it has become a very different story. The readings on the machine suggest everything should be ok but I feel absolutely awful, even more sleepy than usual, and can’t concentrate on anything for longer than 10 minutes. So much so that I’ve taken a couple of days off work to try to rest. I have also been tearful, which I hadn’t actually linked to this but I guess it makes sense! Looking forward to a catch-up at the hospital next week as I’m at a loss about what to do to feel better. Ideas welcomed!
Suzanne RousePosted on November 17, 2019
I felt much better the first few months after CPAP. Suddenly a few months ago I started feeling like I did before CPAP. Machine has been checked, data good, have tried a diff mask that’s full face in case opening mouth…nobody has any answers. I admit I have not been good about cleaning my equipment, and I know that can affect it, but I find it hard to believe that could make this huge difference. (I have Fibromyalgia and a host of other medical problems and have ballooned up in weight this summer).
Jacqueline HarmonPosted on January 30, 2020
I have been getting used to the CPAP since last May 2019. While my energy is always low, I sleep much better and longer without the machine. Because I suffer with chronic allergic rhinitis and a blocked nostril flare-up at bedtime, I feel suffocated by the forced air. The nasal mask I am using leaks and my mouth won’t stay closed. That wakes me up. When the warm forced air turns to cold, it jolts me awake, gives me insomnia, sinus irritation/congestion, and bowel issues, which cause me to take the next day off from work. I am going to try using a full mask with a chin strap before giving up the CPAP completely. But the CPAP hasn’t been helpful, so far.
Dennis piercePosted on February 04, 2020
Had a CPAP just 2 weeks.
Today did heavy work dismantling an armchair to get it out the doorway.
I was shattered.
Out of breath and tired every couple minutes or so.
Getting on for 80 so not a lot of stamina but feel a lot worse than usual now.
Lenora L TenneyPosted on July 21, 2020
Overall, feeling worse on Apap for mild sleep apnea. But I feel that I need to make this work as I had severe desaturations as low as 73 and most of the desats were 81 to 89. also, I have palpitations (no diagnosis there) but they have improved during my attempts at apap. any thoughts? should I continue apap for the severe desaturations?
Bryan SmithPosted on August 24, 2020
After completing my sleep study, I spent the night the hospital on a CPAP and woke up the next day feeling AMAZING! Then I got me a CPAP machine and i wake up feeling terrible! Far worse than before! But people want to tell me it takes a month or months to get used to it. Then why did I use it 1 night at the hospital and felt great the next day, and can’t seem to feel great now using mine? It is NOT uncomfortable to me. I don’t take it off at night in my sleep. I sleep the whole night with it. And i have zero air leaks? Now I am wondering if the whole “it takes months” excuse is just a money Scheme because after so many days, the machine cannot be returned. I hear some saying after 10 months they are still feeling bad… obviously, if I can feel better after 1 night on the machine at the hospital, something is not right with my machine, or setting, or SOMETHING!!! Wish i knew what to do.
JPosted on August 29, 2020
What a waste of a page… answer some of the questions and concerns here posted by people in real need. Aren’t you the professionals on this?
Thomas smithPosted on September 21, 2020
I have been using CPAP for almost 3 months now and has not helped me at all. I have perfect scores every morning on the Resmed app but that means nothing as I continuously sleep for a few hours then the machine wakes me up every night somehow air blowing in my eyes, noisey machine, dry mouth, etc … and can’t go back to sleep but the doctors all say oh give it time. Well after 3 months it obviously is not the answer. It’s just a money maker for them and the machine companies.
Heather ClarkPosted on November 22, 2020
When I came home with the ResMed that I had rented for 4 weeks,
I couldn’t wait to get to bed that night.
What a relief it was to sleep right through the night and to wake up feeling refreshed. I didn’t have any problems at all with the mask or the pressure.
I was very happy with the ResMed. I didn’t mind the noise at all. It sounded like two very comforting things to me, rain on my roof and my cat breathing next to me. I loved it.
Then my sleep therapist talked me into buying a Fisher & Paykel CPAP.
I felt ok for the first 3 weeks but then slowly began to deteriorate. I feel worse now that I did before I started using the CPAP.
When I am sitting quietly reading or watching TV, I feel so tired that I have microsleeps that last for a few seconds. My head will jerk back as I suddenly wake up.
If there is a problem with the machine Fisher & Paykel will replace it with a new one but what I really want is the ResMed back again.
It’s very disappointing to go backwards and I worry about what all of this excessive sleepiness is doing to my health.
MaryPosted on December 04, 2020
So was there any answers as to why you feel worse using cpap? Any? After doing all that you are supposed to do, WTF. Answers please, respitory and neurologist give it time your numbers are great, ok is 3 yrs enough time?
Not HappyPosted on May 10, 2021
Do the people who write these articles ever actually have to use the cursed machines? I can’t afford less sleep or more miserable nights. CPAP is garbage. I’m tired and cranky (clearly), the straps are itchy, I have had 3 masks so far and I have to stay awake to keep the dang thing positioned right. Pure garbage, and no solution offered except “keep wearing it.” You wear it and tell me how you feel. You couldn’t get enough college to find me a decent answer. I’m wasting time and money and life on this CRAP.
ChrisPosted on May 13, 2021
Before the cpap, I slept great and woke up feeling well rested. With the cpap, I have wake every morning exhausted, and feel tired all day. Even with a full face mask and humidifier, I get extremely dried out. Before, yeah I got dried out but nowhere neat as bad.
GeorgePosted on June 28, 2021
That’s exactly how I feel. I thought I was alone in this. Wtf is up with this?!??
Karen C.Posted on June 10, 2021
Into my second week of CPAP. I sleep wonderfully with it. Good seal, numbers good. I have never been this exhausted in my whole life! I can barely function. Truly, I’m considering taking my chances without it. I can’t live like this! My sleep doctor told me it wasn’t normal to feel that way and a cup of coffee might help! REALLY?? I am going to try sleeping without it tonight and see how I feel tomorrow. I can tell you that I am a Nurse Practitioner and will not be able to continue to practice if I feel like this every day! PS I have MILD sleep apnea but to me have 9 apnea episodes per hour seems like 9 too many, plus I have palpitations that may be a result of the OSA. They are actually worse since I’ve been on the CPAP. I feel marginally better knowing that I am not alone in feeling this bad though!
Daniel HobbsPosted on June 16, 2021
I recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea and had a tooth out so stopped using machine for 2 day as mouth was sore
Now have gone back down hill health wise
Would there been any reason for this please
Debra CampPosted on July 06, 2021
Where are the replies to these comments. Is anyone here to help??
NunyaPosted on September 02, 2021
First 2 nights I slept for 8 hours with cpap and woke refreshed for first time in years. Then every night afterward, I couldn’t bear mask and the pressure. My #hours are down to 4 a night. I am literally unable to exhale on the cpap. It forces air even when my airways arent collapsing in an ‘event’. Now during horribly exhausted days, when Im not on the cpap, i feel like air is being forced into my nose and mouth like a phantom. This has been the worst experience of my life. My doctor won’t address my issues and tells me to take a 20 minute walk during the day. What a p.o.s. quack.
Tramadol Side EffectsPosted on September 14, 2021
Nice blog. Thanks for sharing such a nice stuff on internet.
David DavisPosted on September 20, 2021
I have used the darn things for year’s and when sometimes I feel rested enough other times I am so drowsy I can’t even function and have to miss out on daily activities. It so frustrating I have migraines because of this and my.breathing has worsened. It seems the nights.I get enough sleep and have a 100%/ mask fit is when I feel the worse. Like I said I have.been using them for at least 16 years.
KevinPosted on November 03, 2021
I’m recently diagnosed with mild OSA and received my CPAP machine about a week ago. I feel horrible. All day I’m still as exhausted as I was before I started therapy. And now, I have chest pain issues including Costochondritis which I was diagnosed 2 nights ago. I literally feel like I’m about to die, and it all started with CPAP therapy a week ago. I have this fancy new machine that’s supposed to automatically adjust to my needs, but I swear it’s way off. I’m not using the machine tonight. I don’t know what to do.
BethPosted on November 10, 2021
Everyone who is having trouble with their CPAP, please go to your doctor and demand to be allowed to try a dental device or other line of treatment. The CPAP is NOT the only effective option, especially for mild/moderate apnea. You have the legal right to try a different treatment, and if your doctor tries to tell you otherwise, they’re wrong. Get another doctor.
Tom. T.Posted on December 30, 2021
Hello, I’ve had my Cpap machine a little over a year now. Have severe sleep apnea machine is set to highest settings but when I first started I felt better and rested, now I feel like I never slept. It says I’m not having many episodes a night. Why do I feel so tired then.
JPosted on January 20, 2022
Tom. T. and All –
I feel your pain. I have been using CPAP for over 25 years and have the same issues. They say the numbers are great according to the CPAP but I feel like a brain fogged zombie if there is such a thing. Nervous at times, anxious for no reason, my body wants to cry out of exhaustion, but if I feel I get a better nights sleep, which are rare, I feel these symptoms less. So I know it is sleep related, but what do I know? The doctors have the degrees and the numbers can’t be wrong, according to them.
Jeanette PilipovichPosted on May 06, 2022
I have mild sleep apnea…
CPAP machine for 4 months… I feel
SO tired..So foggy all day .. Even my vision is worse .
I still have 2-4 episodes a night. 5-6 during testing. I want to quit because I went off the machine for 4 days..I felt GREAT … Used it last night and I feel terrible tonight. What’s up?!?!
SuePosted on June 17, 2022
1st night using machine with full face my Fibromyalgia flared up with major pain, fatigue, headache. The following week I could only tolerate 2 hours while I was awake watching TV. As soon as I went to sleep I lost my seal. Switched to nasal mask. Love this so much more as far as comfort and seal, but wake up exhausted, brain fog, Fibromyalgia flares, chest hurts, and my throat is sore. I am using it to stop snoring so husband can sleep. I also tested at 35 x per hour stopped breathing. Hate it, but I’m in this stupid contract with insurance and I have to use it. I like what a comment earlier said…CRAP!!!!
Don KempPosted on June 20, 2022
Most sleep specialists have no idea what a patient experiences using CPAP.
My issue is that my upper airways (nasal passages) are extremely congested forcing me to stop using.
I do have sleep apnea and my GP said to me that you need to persevere. In the short term he told me to use use Afrin nasal spray. I can use the CPAP therapy no but it is harmful to use Afrin ongoing.
ENT suggests an RF ablation procedure to modify my airways that are chronically inflamed and swollen. I am at a loss on what to do
UNO OnlinePosted on June 29, 2022
I have the same issues. I wake up every two hours it seems from a dream and I have pain in and under my eyes from lack of sleep. Have tried so many meds, always a side effect.
JackPosted on August 13, 2022
I am finally realizing that this is a scam. Almost 3 years, following up with my neurologist dozens of times, no answers. I manually turned everything down on my machine to the lowest levels and I’m going to try to wean myself off it. I felt way better before I started CPAP. Way freaking better.
ThadPosted on September 28, 2022
I have had mine since June 30, 2022, one night during the first week I slept well, not since. I do not have dreams when using the CPAP. I did not use it during the week of 9/12 I felt OK. I used it every night week of 9/19. Eyes puffy, horrible. Not sharp just feel like I am someone else dropped into this body and expected to function the way he did. But I don’t know everything he knew so I kind of stumble through the day.
Ralph KerrPosted on August 20, 2022
I have been using cpap machines for 20 years and I never had a problem. I cannot sleep without them. An important part on my 8-year old cpap broke, so I contacted a sleep specialist, and I got a new cpap. The pressure is much higher on my new cpap. I sleep well, but now i am sleepy all day. I will repair my old cpap and go back to it if I don’t get used to it and feel better within a few months
Rhea NewmanPosted on August 22, 2022
I have been using the cpac machine for 12 days. Wake up tried any my eyes are so swollen. Severe bags under by eyes. The bags don’t go away. I have mild sleep apnea my pressure is set on 3. I feel awful and look awful!
BettyPosted on September 01, 2022
I agree with Rhea Newman. My eyelids are swollen and my face puffy. I do not recognize myself. Today is September 1st and I picked up my Cpap machine on Monday, August 15th. On August 16th my nose was running like a faucet. Taking an allergy medicine didn’t work at all. I didn’t use the Cpap on Tuesday evening the 16th but gave it another try on the 17th. I stayed in bed for the the week, finally went to the doctor on Friday thinking that I had Covid. I tested negative for Covid and my doctor told me to take the Cpap back and to have the pressure lowered. Eighteen days later nothing has been done to the machine because to change the pressure requires my doctors written order of which was a duplication of the first order. So, after an unsuccessful trip to the facility to adjust the pressure, I was told to try and adjust…blah, blah, blah, and to comply with the insurance requirements. Scam has crossed my mind also and I am in agreement with most everyone that has posted above. I continue to feel like crap. I fear that this Cpap machine is not a healthy treatment.
EricPosted on September 25, 2022
Wow I thought I was crazy thinking I was the only the one that felt absolutely horrible after using the CPAP. I’ve used it for 5 days and feel the worst I’ve felt in my life. Its even worse than when I had a newborn baby in the house and after working a week of midnight shifts. before CPAP I felt pretty good in the mornings. But now I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck.
The Wiki IncPosted on December 09, 2022
I used to have a ginger tab and he liked to chew on the boots too. I kept a bottle of water in my nightgowns, and one shower was enough to keep me from chewing my boots.
Pattie SiriPosted on January 17, 2023
I had my sleep study, buy I did not sleep during the study. They told me I had severe sleep apnea. But now did they deduce that? I didn’t sleep for the study! I felt like I had a huge bowl of spaghetti stuck to me, they shoved a cannula up my nose and I was mortified all night long. I fee like low grade dog crap every morning, how is this good for you??
DanielPosted on February 06, 2023
I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea.Have only been using cpap for a few days.So far I feel 10x worse then before I started using it.Major anxiety which is causing me to feel nauseas and depressed.Just feel like garbage in general now.I cannot just stop using because I drive truck and I have to use it to stay compliant with d.o.t regulations or I cannot drive.