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Will A Humidifier Help My Sleep Apnea?

August 3, 2021


Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is the most prescribed treatment for sleep apnea patients. CPAP machines work by helping to keep your airway open, improving respiration and overall sleep quality. They’re highly effective but can also result in uncomfortable side effects, especially for first-time users.

CPAP therapy reduces moisture in the nasal airways, often leading to issues like dry throat, cracked lips, nosebleeds, and nasal infections. Although they can be discouraging, the solution to these adverse effects is often more straightforward than you might think. You’re likely familiar with humidifiers for your home. However, using a CPAP humidifier can offer many benefits for your sleep apnea as well.

How Do CPAP Humidifiers Work?

If you’re having trouble adjusting to CPAP therapy, you’re not alone. Many people complain that using their CPAP machine causes one or more of the following problems:

  • Runny nose and nasal stuffiness
  • Dry or burning nasal passages
  • Scratchy, dry throat
  • Congestion
  • Nosebleeds
  • Dry mouth

The reasoning behind these issues is actually quite simple. For most of these patients, their symptoms resulted from breathing in dry, pressurized air through their CPAP machine while they were sleeping. Most people prefer to sleep in a cool bedroom for optimal comfort. However, that cool air is often the culprit behind these drying effects.

Essentially, the temperature of your bedroom is the same as the air in your CPAP mask. Because of this, you may end up breathing in dry, cold air throughout the night and waking up with a scratchy, dry nasal passage in the morning.

CPAP humidifiers were designed to replace moisture in the nasal airways and help maintain sufficient warmth and humidity. When you use a humidifier with your CPAP machine, the air retains more moisture, resulting in added comfort and improvement in sleep apnea symptoms.

Types of CPAP Humidifiers

There are several types of CPAP humidifiers, each with its own advantages. Some CPAP machines come with a humidifier already connected. These built-in humidifiers only work with the specific machine they are designed for, but there are also external or standalone humidifiers for a more versatile option.

External humidifiers tend to take up more space but have broader compatibility, so they work with many different CPAP machines. If you choose an external humidifier, you’ll have the option of either a heated or non-heated version. Heated humidifiers are the most popular choice, delivering warm, moist air into your nasal passages and providing relief from dryness and irritation.

How We Can Help

At Advanced Homecare, we offer a wide variety of supplies to help manage your sleep apnea symptoms. If you need essential sleep apnea accessories, contact us today to learn more about our replacement supply program and other CPAP services. 

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