CPAP Noncompliance and the Solutions

girl laying on bed black and white

CPAP Noncompliance and the Solutions

CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy is extremely successful in treating cases of OSA (obstructive sleep apnea). It’s about 99 percent effective in treating the condition and reducing the number of times per night someone stops breathing. It maintains airflow and reduces the negative health effects that OSA can have on someone.


However, recent studies have shown that many people are noncompliant to their CPAP machines. Some try using their machine but abandon the treatment altogether after a few months or a year. Some don’t even attempt the therapy at all. There are many reasons that people do this, including:

  • Noise: Most of the new CPAP machines are virtually silent, but someone who is very sensitive to noise may find it hard to fall asleep. Additionally, it may affect an individual’s partner’s sleep.
  • Discomfort: If the mask isn’t fitted correctly to a patient’s face, it can cause discomfort or even pain.
  • Nasal dryness: Some patients complain of nasal dryness after using their CPAP machine for a period of time.

Because CPAP therapy is extremely helpful, you may want to try a few solutions before abandoning the therapy altogether. There are simple and easy answers to the majority of issues that people seem to have with CPAP machines.

  • Noise: As stated, most of the CPAP machines in this day and age are virtually silent. However, if someone is a light sleeper then it’s understandable that even a little noise would keep that person awake. Earplugs have been known to be very effective in blocking out noise while a person sleeps. Additionally, you may consider extra tubing so that the machine can be placed as far away from the bed as possible. Lastly, sometimes if a CPAP machine isn’t cleaned properly, something stuck in the tubing may worsen the noise. Be sure to clean the machine regularly.
  • Discomfort: Ask your doctor to ensure that your mask is fitted properly. If no number of adjustments make you feel comfortable wearing the mask, then try different ones. There is a wide range of masks available, and each one will fit and feel differently. Trial and error while working closely with your doctor may be your answer. If the discomfort is simply from having something on your face while you’re trying to sleep, give it a little time to get used to. Try wearing the mask while you’re awake for short periods of time, like when you’re watching TV or reading a book.
  • Nasal dryness: This may be due to the mask not fitting properly. Air could be escaping through the edges of the mask and blowing into the nasal passage, drying it out. If this is occurring, be sure to get with your doctor to adjust the mask. Many CPAP machines have an attachable heated humidifier. This option can really increase the effectiveness of your CPAP therapy.  Further, you can try nasal sprays or rinses before bed that will reduce dryness.

As always, we’re here to answer any questions or concerns you have about any of your treatment options. We offer support and education to anyone experiencing OSA.  If you are experiencing issues with sleep, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.