A little background here: I have tried for 4-5 years to adjust to CPAP and on top of that am a light light sleeper. I was permanently under the impression that there was no way I could ever do it. And I tried many masks, settings, gave bipap a try over CPAP….you name it.
Fast forward a few years and I noticed that nasal pillow masks came out and as a nose breather I thought I’d give it a shot.
Nope! It was a dreamwear one that chafed and rubbed against my upper lip and drove me crazy. Side note: using a lotion (nipple cream of all things is the suggestion) helped a lot but I still couldn’t sleep with it for more than 4 hours.
Well, I realized that the “chafing bar” on this mask was absurd (and for the retail cost of it I assumed I was getting an amazing mask and wasn’t questioning the design) so I looked around and saw that multiple other companies made nasal pillows without the obstructive upper lip rest and my sleep doctor had some on hand and let me try them out.
While I am still working through some bugs (I was using large pillow and it wasn’t fitting in my nostrils properly) I actually had a few nights where I could sleep more than 4 hours with it. It was a miracle to me after trying all sorts of configurations and failing so much. I still don’t know 100 percent if I will fully adjust but it gives me hope and it’s much less disruptive and noticeable than the first nasal mask I tried. With sleep apnea, hope is sometimes all we have and if it wasn’t for hope and perseverance I wouldn’t be where I am at today.
If I knew about the potentially scary long term grey matter damage untreated apnea can cause I would have tried harder years ago but seeing all the reports of people not being able to adjust to CPAP leads me to believe that maybe just maybe there IS a correct combination for most and it just takes a lot of unfortunate but necessary trial and error on a person to person basis to find a setup that works for you. This is coming from someone who mostly gave up on it and went with almost every alternative (surgery) there is.
Maybe you need a chinstrap and nasal pillow. Maybe you need a heated tube (it boggles my mind this isn’t standard.) Maybe you need to try 10 full face masks.
My suggestion is finding the absolute best mask for you FIRST before going full bore on all the CPAP settings that are available: these settings will not matter if you cannot tolerate the mask you have, and there are COUNTLESS masks on the market.
Keep on trying.