A Lapse in Sleep Apnea Therapy Is the Beginning, Not the End


Nobody's perfect. If you've dropped the ball on your sleep apnea therapy, don't beat yourself up. Instead, see this as an opportunity to start your journey again, addressing the issues that made you stop, so you can have success this time around. It's the beginning of a more permanent solution, not the end. Here's a look at why lapses in therapy can happen and what you can do to stay on track the next time around.

Symptoms of Non-Treatment


If you stopped your treatment, certain symptoms may re-emerge. These include feeling sleepiness during the day, loud snoring, waking up gasping at night, headaches in the morning, feeling irritable or becoming forgetful. These are all signs that you really need to start up your treatment again.


Below are some of the main symptoms that cause people to stop their treatment. Many of these involve issues with a CPAP device that can be fixed. If you can resolve these problems, you'll have a better chance of sticking with your treatment.

Dry Mouth or Nose


Some people may stop their treatment because their mouth gets dry while they're sleeping with a CPAP. One possible solution is wearing a chinstrap to keep your mouth shut while sleeping. Switching from a mask that covers just the nose to a full-face CPAP mask might help as well.


Allergies or congestion can make the problem worse and lead to a dry mouth or dry nose. You may need to take allergy medication, a decongestant, or use a Neti pot so you can breathe through your nose more easily.


A dry mouth or nose can also be caused by a mask that doesn't fit properly. If it's too small or too big, air might leak out. Ask a supplier to check your fit and don't be afraid to ask to try a different mask.

Difficulty Sleeping


If you're having trouble sleeping with a mask on, you're not alone. Maybe you move around a lot in your sleep. There are many masks out there that allow for almost all kinds of sleepers. Finding the right one for you is key.


You may also find that the air pressure is making it difficult to sleep. Ask about a machine that gradually increases pressure so you can gradually ramp up your air pressure, making it a bit easier to fall asleep.

Noise from the CPAP


You or your partner might find that noise from the CPAP is keeping you awake. If you're using an older model machine, try a newer model. Many new models are nearly silent.


A loud device might also be caused by an air filter that's blocked or not clean, or a device that isn't working properly. Ask your supplier to check. If everything's fine, try wearing ear plugs or use a fan or white noise machine to block the sound.

Mask Discomfort


Some people don't tolerate a mask well. They may get skin irritation, sores, or even bruises. These problems often point to a poor fit, a worn out cushion that needs replacing, or another issue. Don't be afraid to ask for replacement cushions or to try a different styled mask that you'll tolerate better. Some masks cover the full face, some just the nose, and others have nasal pillows for comfort.

Feeling Like the Treatment's Not Working


It's possible that you quit simply because you felt like the treatment wasn't working. This was probably because your pressure wasn't set correctly, your mask didn't fit right, or your machine wasn't working properly. Ask your supplier for help.

Try Positional Therapy


Positional obstructive sleep apnea (POSA) happens when you only experience apneas when you are sleeping on your back. Treatment for POSA does not usually require use of a CPAP device or mask. Talk to your doctor about wearing a device that prevents you from rolling onto your back while you sleep.

Dangers of Untreated Sleep Apnea


Remember, untreated sleep apnea can lead to dangerous daytime sleepiness and an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, heart attack, or stroke. That's why it's so important to restart your treatment, even if you've lapsed for a while. It's not too late to start again, and your body will thank you for it.

Our site can best be viewed with the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome or Firefox.