CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines deliver a steady stream of pressurized air as you sleep, keeping your airway open, to help with sleeping disorders. CPAP machines ensure that you get enough oxygen throughout the night, leading to improved sleep quality. They are commonly used to treat sleep apnea, a condition where the airway is obstructed.
Improved sleep quality significantly lowers the risk of a wide range of medical conditions, including type II diabetes, heart disease, and depression. CPAP machines also boost mood and energy levels, helping you stay focused and concentrated throughout the day (1).
CPAP machines can help slow aging, reducing wrinkles and hair thinning. They can also help prevent or slow the progression of age-related cognitive decline.
Furthermore, CPAP machines can lower the risk of hearing loss due to snoring (2).
They can also improve sexual function and increase libido (3).
There are few risks associated with routine use of a CPAP machine. However, you may experience some side effects, especially in the first few days of using the machine.
1. CPAP machines can increase energy during the day. One of the main side effects of sleep apnea is fatigue during the day. It disrupts your natural sleep patterns, reducing the quality of rest, and leaving you tired the next day. Sleep apnea also restricts oxygen flow, which can leave you feeling fatigued (4).
CPAP machines allow you to return to your normal sleeping patterns, reducing the number of times you wake up throughout the night. Since you won’t have any breathing pauses, the total amount of time you sleep will increase (5).
This leads to more energy and less fatigue, as well as a better mood.
They also ensure that your body gets enough oxygen throughout the night, which is important for maintaining energy levels and avoiding fatigue.
2. CPAP machines can lower the risk of diabetes. Diabetes is a medical condition where the body cannot regulate levels of insulin and sugar in the blood. Over time, this can lead to heart disease, obesity, strokes, and vision loss (6).
Sleep apnea affects how the body breaks down sugar and converts it to energy. It can lower insulin sensitivity, which significantly increases the risk of developing diabetes. It also leads to higher resting blood sugar levels, which is another risk factor for diabetes (7).
CPAP machines prevent sleep disturbances that can affect insulin, helping keep blood sugar at healthy levels. Although they will not treat diabetes, CPAP machines may be able to lower the risk of developing the condition.
3. CPAP machines can help prevent snoring. Snoring is caused by a constricted airway, which prevents normal breathing as you sleep. Many people with sleep apnea snore, as they have severely constricted airways.
CPAP machines keep the airway open, which man help minimize snoring throughout the night.
Reduced snoring can prevent sleep disturbances throughout the night, and also make it easier for your partner to get a full night’s rest.
4. CPAP machines can help reduce the risk of depression. Diminished sleep quality increases the risk of a wide range of mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression (8).
It can also lead to mood changes, irritability, and restlessness. CPAP machines improve sleep, increasing the amount of rest you get during the night. This reduces the risk of depression and gives you more energy throughout the day. It also boosts mood and can help prevent anxiety.
Increased sleep also means that you’re more likely to exercise, which also reduces the risk of depression.
5. CPAP machines improve heart health. People with sleep apnea are significantly more likely to have heart issues. Breathing difficulties prevent the body from getting enough oxygen and can lead to changes in blood pressure.
These alterations in blood pressure increase the risk of developing cardiovascular conditions such as heart disease and congestive heart failure.
CPAP machines keep the airway open throughout the night, ensuring that the body receives a steady stream of oxygen. This prevents sudden changes to blood pressure, easing the strain on the heart (9).
6. CPAP machines can lower risk for strokes. Strokes occur due to a blockage or rupture in the vessels supplying blood to the brain. A wide range of cardiovascular problems are linked to increased stroke risk.
CPAP machines regularize breathing during the night, improving oxygen flow throughout the body and preventing sudden changes in blood pressure. This lowers the risk of developing cardiovascular problems, which in turn lessens the chances of having a stroke (10).
7. CPAP machines can reduce the frequency of car accidents. Diminished sleep quality leads to lower energy levels, as well as slower reflexes. Sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of car accidents, and conditions such as sleep apnea can severely disrupt sleep.
CPAP machines increase the amount of sleep, preventing waking throughout the night. This significantly lowers the risk of being involved in a car accident.
8. CPAP machines can lower medical expenses. Sleep apnea increases the risk for a wide range of different medical conditions, including type II diabetes, heart disease, and depression. All of these conditions can lead to costly medical expenses. They also tend to be chronic, so medical expenses may continue for years.
CPAP machines are one of the most effective ways of improving sleep quality if you have sleep apnea. They lower the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and depression, potentially saving money down the road on medical expenses.
Although they may be expensive upfront, CPAP machines can last for years and may be fully or partially covered by insurance.
9. CPAP machines can improve your sex life. Sleep apnea has been shown to reduce libido and sexual performance (11).
CPAP machines increase the amount of oxygen your body receives, as well as ensuring that you get a good night’s rest. Both can help treat symptoms of sexual dysfunction commonly seen with sleep apnea.
10. CPAP machines lower risk of hearing loss. Research has shown that people with sleep apnea are significantly more likely to suffer from hearing loss (12).
This is likely due to increased snoring, which can damage hearing over time. CPAP machines open up the airway, which can reduce or completely eliminate snoring. This protects your ears, as well as those of your partner.
11. CPAP machines can improve concentration. Reduced sleep can significantly affect your ability to concentrate throughout the day. You may struggle to function at work, as well as while reading or carrying out other day-to-day activities.
CPAP machines can improve concentration by increasing the amount of sleep you get each night. You’ll have more energy throughout the day and be able to focus on routine tasks.
12. CPAP machines can slow aging. Sleep disruptions can have a serious effect on aging, leading to wrinkles, hair loss, weight loss, and loss of muscle tone. CPAP machines help you stay on a regular sleep schedule, which significantly reduces visible signs of aging. By improving energy levels, it can also make it easier to get regular exercise, which is crucial in slowing aging.
13. CPAP machines protect your brain as you age. Lack of sleep may speed up age-related cognitive decline, leading to memory loss, slow processing speed, and speech problems (13).
Sleep apnea can also limit the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, leading to tissue loss. Although CPAP machines cannot reverse cognitive decline, they may be able to slow it. It improves the quality of your sleep, increasing the amount of rest you get every night.
CPAP machines also increase the amount of oxygen that circulates throughout the body, preventing tissue loss in your brain.
14. CPAP machines can improve relationships. Lack of sleep can take a toll on your relationships. It can cause mood swings, irritability, and anxiety, which impact how you deal with the people around you. Sleep apnea can also disrupt your partner’s sleep, which can affect their mood.
CPAP machines give you constant airflow as you sleep, reducing the number of nighttime disturbances. This leads to better mood, more energy, and less irritability, all of which help you maintain healthy relationships.
1. CPAP machines may disrupt sleep. Many people struggle to sleep the first few nights using a CPAP machine, as the mask may make them feel claustrophobic. Although this can be frustrating, most people eventually adjust to the machine after a week or so.
2. CPAP machines may cause your nose and mouth to dry out, especially if your bedroom is dry. Some machines come with a heated humidifier, which adds extra moisture to the air supply. You can also use a humidifier to increase the water content throughout your bedroom.
3. CPAP machines may cause pain. Pain and discomfort while wearing the mask are quite common, although these symptoms often go away as you use the machine more. They may also be caused by an improperly fitted mask. If you are having issues with your mask after multiple days of use, you may need to get it refitted.
4. CPAP machined may be loud. Some users may be bothered by the noise produced by CPAP machines. Although most modern machines operate at the noise level of a small fan, they can be disruptive for people who are used to complete silence as they sleep. Most of the side effects of CPAP machines will improve over time as you get used to the machine. It’s important to stay patient throughout the adjustment period and continue to use the machine as instructed by your doctor.
The exact operating instructions will vary depending on the CPAP machine, so consult the manual that comes with the machine.
Place the CPAP machine near the head of your bed, and try to keep it below the level where your head will rest. This prevents condensation from dripping down the hose into the face mask.
When putting on the mask, make sure that you have a tight seal so that air cannot escape. If the mask does not fit tightly, you may have to get it resized. Don’t tighten it too much, however, as this can cause pain and wake you up throughout the night.
When you first start using a CPAP machine, you may want to allow your body to adjust to it by using it for short periods during the day or during naps.
Use the CPAP machine every night to get the best results from sleep therapy. Although they can be used on an as-needed basis, CPAP machines are much more effective when used consistently.
Make sure to wash your CPAP mask after use, as bacteria and dust can begin to build up quickly. Use warm water with a small amount of soap, rinsing thoroughly. Dry off the mask once you’re done cleaning.
You should also clean the hose, although once a week should do. You can pass water through it to rinse it out, or take it into the shower. Hang it vertically so that any excess water will drip out.
How do CPAP machines work? CPAP machines take the air around you and pass it through a filter, increasing the pressure. A hose runs the air to your mouth, which is covered by a mask, preventing any leaks.
The increased air pressure makes it much easier to breathe, opening up your airway and ensuring that you get enough oxygen throughout the night.
CPAP machines are placed by the side of your bed, and they run continuously throughout the night. They have filters that keep the air clean, and some also come with humidifiers that prevent the air from drying out.
Can you lose weight with CPAP? CPAP use has been shown to help regulate the body’s production of these appetite-influencing hormones, helping those with OSA better manage their weight.
Do CPAP machines pump in more oxygen? CPAP machines increase air pressure, which means that you’ll be able to get more oxygen as you breathe. However, they do not directly inject added oxygen into the air stream. This is done by oxygen concentrators, which are machines that filter out other molecules in the air and add oxygen.
How much noise do CPAP machines make? Many older CPAP machines were known for being loud, often keeping people awake throughout the night. Fortunately, more modern machines are much quieter, with many operating at the noise level of a small fan.
CPAP machines also produce noise from the mask, which is due to air ventilation. This noise is fairly quiet and often is no louder than a whisper.
Should CPAP machines be used every night? Yes, it’s recommended that you use your CPAP machine every night during sleep therapy. As your condition improves, you may be able to use the machine less frequently. However, any changes made to your therapy should be done in consultation with a doctor.
How long does it take to adjust to a CPAP machine? It varies. Some people adjust quickly, sleeping better right away. For others, the process may take a while longer, as they have to get used to sleeping with a mask on. In most cases, you should be able to adjust after about a week. If you’re still having problems, you may need to get your mask refitted.
Do you have to use a CPAP machine forever? When asked if CPAP is forever, the short answer for most people with sleep apnea is that CPAP is the most effective treatment that currently exists. If your condition is exacerbated by allergies, treatment may help. If it occurs only during pregnancy, this too will resolve in time.
Can I sleep on my side with a CPAP machine? Side sleepers generally require a CPAP mask that stays on even when pressed against by a pillow. A mask that fits under the nose versus over it can make sleeping on one’s side as comfortable as possible.
Is it dangerous to sleep without CPAP for one night? The risk of sudden death, stroke, or heart arrhythmia due to sleep apnea that occurs during one night of failed use is likely vanishingly small. Struggling to breathe, night after night can lead to these problems. It is a long-term risk model, and not using CPAP for one night is unlikely to provoke these issues.
What is a CPAP machine used for? Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is a common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. A CPAP machine uses a hose and mask or nosepiece to deliver constant and steady air pressure.
Can I use tap water in my CPAP? When using a CPAP humidifier, it’s important to only use distilled water; even though tap water straight from the sink is probably more convenient for many CPAP users to access. However, CPAP manufacturers and clinicians recommend that patients only use distilled water due to possible contaminants in tap water.
How long will a CPAP machine last? The average life expectancy of a CPAP or BIPAP machine is approximately 20,000 hours or about seven to eight years of full-time use. That said, if properly cared for, these devices will last much longer. Many properly maintained machines will last upwards of 50,000 hours.
Do you need a prescription for a CPAP machine? Yes, you’ll need a prescription to order a CPAP machine, as well as the masks. If you have sleep apnea, speak to a doctor about whether a CPAP machine is right for you.
How long will you have to use a CPAP machine? A CPAP machine provides continuous therapy for sleep apnea. However, it does not treat the condition. Unless the underlying cause is dealt with, you’ll need to continue to use a CPAP machine for as long as you have symptoms. If you notice improvements in your sleep apnea, you should speak to your doctor before you stop using the machine. You may be able to cut back on use, but this may cause some symptoms of sleep apnea to reappear.
What does a CPAP machine do when you stop breathing? The CPAP machine delivers a constant flow of air through the tubing and a mask and into your airway. The CPAP machine creates enough pressure in your airway to hold the tissue open, so your airway doesn’t collapse.
CPAP machines are designed to improve breathing at night for people with sleep apnea. They work by creating a pressurized stream of air, which is then delivered directly to the nose and mouth.
By opening up the airway, CPAP machines can help reduce or get rid of snoring, leading to improved sleep quality. Since you receive a consistent stream of air throughout the night, you’re less likely to wake up, ensuring that you get a full night’s sleep.
Improved sleep quality is associated with a wide range of health benefits. Using a CPAP machine can reduce the risk of developing heart disease, type II diabetes, and depression.
Furthermore, better sleep will increase energy levels and prevent fatigue throughout the day. It can also reduce redness and skin irritation.
CPAP machines are safe, with few major side effects. However, it can take some time to get used to the machine, as sleeping with a mask may be difficult at first. You should also make sure that the mask fits properly, as a loose mask could cause air to leak.