Changing your starting pressure could make a huge difference. Everyone is different of course but for me, I felt like I was suffocating with initial pressures of 4 cm and a slow ramp. This went away with adjusting the starting pressure to 8 cm and decreasing the ramp up time. Now that I'm used to a cpap and need a very high pressure, my initial setting is set even higher at 15 cm.
Hello, Kbowie78. Welcome to the board.
All of the advice given above will help you get started.
When I first started out I had the same problem you are. I found by restarting the ramp feature I could usually get back to sleep. If restarting the ramp didn't work I would get up and read a few minutes before going back to using the CPAP.
When I started using nasal pillows, I found I would sometimes knock them out of position causing either a large leak or flow restriction when I rolled over. By gently pulling them away from my face and resettling them I can get them positioned where they belong again and resolve the problem.
WELCOME! to the forum.!
When I switched over to a FFM, I just had to work through it. For a while, I went back and forth between the F&P simplus full-face mask and the Resmed AirFit P10, but after a while, I had to completely get the other masks out of my drawer so I wouldn't give in and use the pillows mask instead, I have finally crossed over to the FFM and haven't looked back.
I wish you much luck in getting through this problem so you can get better sleep.
Hang in there for more suggestions and much success to you.
Welcome to ApneaBoard Kbowie78!
Masks are such an individual thing. Look through the supplier's list at the top of the page and spend some time visiting each one's web site. Some offer mask return policies.
Not everyone is suited to using nasal pillow masks. People who open their mouths at night also referred to as mouth breathers need a full face mask as trish6hundred was talking about. There are also nasal masks which cover just your nose. Another one you might want to take a look at is the DreamWear as it rests just under the nose covering just the nostrils and the hose connection is at the top of the head which is great for keeping it out of the way (out of sight-out of mind).
Easing yourself in to help overcome claustrophobia is a great idea. A lot of CPAPer's have some degree of claustrophia probably due to being oxygen deprived for so long until diagnosis. Keep plugging away. OpalRose's suggestion of wearing it while awake and gradually getting more used to it is a great idea.
Don't give up. The benefits of being properly treated for your sleep apnea far outweigh the difficulties adapting and all you will go through to get comfortable with it. And it might take many months to get comfortable. Keep persevering, it's worth it!
APNEABOARD - A great place to be if you're a hosehead!!
EVERY ACCOMPLISHMENT BEGINS WITH THE DECISION TO TRY!
Make you are relaxed and breathing easily before putting on the mask. I find reading a bit does this.
When I did the sleep study, they used an auto PAP for the titration to determine the best pressure. It started with the ramp but I guess it shot up to whatever pressure it needed as soon as there was an apnea event. The problem was I had (have) severe apnea, and the AHI was around 45, so basically one every minute or so. On the first try, the pressure changes kept waking me up, and each time I felt like I was being increasingly suffocated. About 20 minutes in, I called in the technicians in kind of a panic. They just said that's the way it is. They restarted the machine, and the second time I was able to stay asleep.
I was afraid it would be like that at home, too.
BUT, when I finally got my own machine, it was set to a constant pressure of 13 and I was too lazy to change it to auto PAP. It felt a bit weird having that much all at once, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be (it also has the expiration breath relief thing, which helps a bunch, and I really love my Sleepweaver fabric nasal mask, which helps make the pressure seem workable). And because there were no sudden pressure changes, I had no problems going to sleep and staying asleep. First night. Zero problems. AHI was something like 2.5 and it's never been higher. Most nights now it's zero point something. I'm happy.
By the way, that exhalation relief thing I think might be more important with constant PAP so it's easier to exhale through the nose and not the mouth. You might still need a chin strap to help with that though.
Mind you, I've only been in this for less than a month, but I was afraid of the suffocation thing and claustrophobic feeling of the mask too. I might try out the auto PAP a bit later, but at present I kind of enjoy being able to sleep well so don't really want to bother with it.
So, to sum up, maybe you could try changing the setting from auto to constant and start at a medium pressure. Hopefully your doctor gave you a constant pressure number? If you can get to sleep and stay asleep, you won't have the feeling of suffocation and the claustrophobia will probably go away too since you'll start associating good things (like sleep!) with the mask.
Don't know if that will help, but good luck.