If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend that you use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. A CPAP machine helps keep your airways open when you sleep. The machine is connected by a tube to a mask that you wear over your nose and sometimes your mouth as well. Although using a CPAP machine may seem difficult, the therapy is worth the effort. Read on to learn more about how a CPAP machine can help you. Understanding CPAP A CPAP machine is prescribed to people who have obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea causes the airways to collapse or become blocked during sleep. When air squeezes through the blockages, it can cause loud snoring, breathing issues, and a serious disruption in sleep. A CPAP machine combats sleep apnea by using mild pressure to keep the airways continuously open. When increased air pressure from the machine flows into your throat, it prevents your airways from collapsing. Getting the Right Fit When it comes to CPAP machines, one size does not fit all. The CPAP can be used with different kinds of breathing masks. Not only will a health professional recommend a face mask that’s right for you, they’ll fit you with the right level of air pressure. This may be done at a sleep center. It’s important to have just enough air pressure flowing through the mask. Adjusting to Therapy A CPAP machine can take some getting used to. You may feel a little strange sleeping with a mask or breathing in pressurized air. If you’re having trouble, start by wearing the mask for only an hour at night. Then, slowly increase the time. This can help you get used to wearing it. Many people take from a week to a month to get used to their CPAP machine. Once you’re comfortable with it, it is important to use your CPAP whenever you sleep, even during naps. Without consistent use, you won’t reap the benefits. Troubleshooting Problems Talk with your doctor about any issues with your CPAP machine. If you’re having trouble sleeping with the mask on because it’s uncomfortable, the mask may not fit your face properly. Trying out a few different masks until you find the right one can help. If you can’t sleep because you feel like your nose is stuffed up when you wear it, your doctor may prescribe a nasal spray. Addressing problems like these with your doctor will help you feel better sooner. Focusing on the Benefits Although using a CPAP machine cannot cure sleep apnea, it can greatly improve or even eliminate some of these symptoms. Some of the many benefits of CPAP include: Better overall feeling and mood Decreased blood pressure (or prevention of high blood pressure) Fewer complaints from your loved ones about snoring Increased attention and productivity Improved concentration and memory Less daytime sleepiness Let yourself experience all the benefits of a good night’s sleep by learning how to use your CPAP machine. And don’t give up if you’re having problems. In addition to talking with your doctor, ask about sleep apnea support groups in your area. It may help to talk with others who are going through the same experiences.