How do you use the bathroom with a CPAP machine?

    CPAP is an important treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, but it may be frustrating at first. Learn how to avoid uncomfortable masks and other common CPAP problems.

    By Mayo Clinic Staff

    Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is a common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. A CPAP machine uses a hose connected to a mask or nosepiece to deliver constant and steady air pressure to help you breathe while you sleep.

    Common problems with CPAP include a leaky mask, trouble falling asleep, a stuffy nose and a dry mouth.

    But if a CPAP mask or machine doesn't work for you, you have other options. And most CPAP masks can be adjusted to help make them more comfortable.

    Here are 10 common CPAP problems and what you can do about them:

    1. The wrong size or style CPAP mask

    Work closely with your health care provider and the CPAP supplier to make sure you have a CPAP mask that fits properly. People have different face shapes, so the right mask style and size for someone else may not work for you.

    • Try a different mask. A range of CPAP masks is available. For example, some feature full face masks that cover your mouth and nose, with straps that stretch across your forehead and cheeks. These may make some people feel claustrophobic, but they work well if you prefer to breathe through your mouth during sleep. They also provide a stable fit if you move around a lot in your sleep.

      Other masks feature nasal pillows that fit under your nose and straps that cover less of your face. These can feel less cumbersome.

      Nasal pillows may work well if you wear glasses or read with the mask on, because some don't block your eyes as much as full face masks do. However, this mask style may not be an option if you move around a lot in your sleep or sleep on your side.

    • Pay attention to size. Most masks come in different sizes. Just because you're a certain size in one mask doesn't mean you'll be the same size in another. CPAP masks are usually adjustable.

      Ask your doctor or CPAP supplier to show you how to adjust your mask to get the best fit. Manufacturer product instructions also can help show you how to do this. A properly fitting mask shouldn't be uncomfortable or cause pain.

    2. Trouble getting used to wearing the CPAP mask

    First, try wearing just the CPAP mask for short periods of time while you're awake — for example, while watching TV. Then try wearing the mask and hose with the machine turned on during the day while you're awake.

    Once you get used to how that feels, start using the CPAP machine every time you sleep — including during naps. Only using the CPAP machine every now and then may delay getting used to it. Stick with it for several weeks or more to see if your mask and pressure are right for you.

    3. Difficulty tolerating forced air

    You may be able to overcome this by using a machine with a "ramp" feature. This setting allows you to start with low air pressure. The machine then automatically and slowly increases the air pressure to your prescribed setting as you fall asleep. Your doctor can adjust its rate.

    If this feature doesn't help, talk with your doctor about changing to a machine that automatically and constantly adjusts the pressure while you're sleeping. An example is a bi-level positive airway pressure (BPAP) machine that delivers more pressure when you breathe in (inhale) and less when you breathe out (exhale).

    4. Dry, stuffy nose

    Check to make sure your mask fits well. A leaky mask can dry out your nose. If you have to tighten the straps often to prevent air leakage, the mask does not fit properly.

    A CPAP machine that features a heated humidifier, which attaches to the air pressure machine, can help. You can adjust the level of humidification. Using a nasal saline spray at bedtime also can help ease a dry, stuffy nose.

    5. Feeling claustrophobic

    Practice using your mask while you're awake. First, just hold it up to your face without any of the other parts. Once you're comfortable with that, try wearing the mask with the straps.

    Next, try holding the mask with the attached hose on your face, without using the straps. Turn on the CPAP machine, perhaps with the ramp feature turned on. Next, do this using the straps too. Finally, try sleeping with the mask and machine on.

    Relaxation exercises, such as progressive muscle relaxation, may help reduce anxiety related to CPAP use.

    If you're still feeling claustrophobic, talk to your doctor or CPAP supplier. It may help to get a different size mask or try a different style, such as one that uses nasal pillows.

    6. Leaky mask, skin irritation or pressure sores

    A leaky or an ill-fitting mask means you're not getting the full air pressure you need, and you may be irritating your skin. The mask can also direct air into your eyes, causing them to become dry or teary.

    Try adjusting pads and straps to get a better fit. If the mask fits over your nose, make sure it doesn't sit too high on the bridge of your nose, which can direct air into your eyes.

    You may need to ask your CPAP supplier to help you find a different size mask, particularly if your weight has changed a lot. Or try a different style mask such as one that uses nasal pillows. If you develop skin deterioration or sores, such as on your nose, tell your doctor promptly.

    7. Difficulty falling asleep

    Wearing the mask alone for some time during the day may help you get used to how it feels and make it easier to fall asleep at night.

    Machines with the ramp feature that slowly and gradually increase the air pressure to your prescribed pressure setting as you fall asleep may make you more comfortable at bedtime.

    Following good general sleep habits also is helpful. Exercise regularly and avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime. Try to relax. For example, take a warm bath before you go to bed. Don't go to bed until you're tired.

    8. Dry mouth

    If you breathe through your mouth at night or sleep with your mouth open, some CPAP machines may worsen dry mouth. A chin strap may help keep your mouth closed and reduce the air leak if you wear a nasal mask.

    A machine with a full face mask that covers your mouth and nose also may work well for you. A CPAP-heated humidifier that attaches to the air pressure machine also may help.

    9. Unintentionally removing the CPAP mask during the night

    It's not unusual to sometimes wake up to find that you've removed the mask in your sleep. If you move a lot in your sleep, you may find that a full face mask will stay on your face better. You may have removed your mask while sleeping because you were uncomfortable. Consider trying a different type of mask that may fit you better.

    You may be pulling off the mask because your nose is congested. If so, ensuring a good mask fit and adding a CPAP-heated humidifier may help. A chin strap may help keep the mask on your face.

    If this is a consistent problem, consider setting an alarm for a time during the night so you can check whether the mask is still on. You could progressively set the alarm for later in the night if you find that you're keeping the mask on longer.

    10. Bothersome noise

    Most new models of CPAP machines are almost silent. But if you find that your machine's noise is bothersome, first check to make sure the machine's air filter is clean and unblocked. Something in its way may worsen noise. Ask your doctor or CPAP supplier how to properly clean your mask and hose.

    If this doesn't help, have your doctor or CPAP supplier check the machine to ensure it's working properly. If the machine is working correctly and the noise still bothers you, try wearing earplugs or using a white noise sound machine to mask the noise. Placing the CPAP machine as far away from the bed as possible also may help make any machine noise less noticeable. Ask your doctor or CPAP supplier if extra tubing is available and right for your machine.

    Time and patience are key to success

    Using a CPAP machine can be frustrating as you try to get used to it, but it's important that you stick with it. The treatment is essential to avoiding complications of obstructive sleep apnea, such as heart problems and excessive daytime sleepiness.

    Work with your doctor and CPAP supplier to ensure the best mask fit and device for you. Regular visits to your sleep doctor are important and can help troubleshoot any problems and adjust settings, if needed. It can take a while to find the correct settings and get used to the mask.

    With time and patience, CPAP can positively affect your quality of life and health.

    From Mayo Clinic to your inbox

    Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.

    To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

    Oct. 27, 2021

    1. CPAP. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed Sept. 17, 2021.
    2. Weaver T, et al. Assessing and managing nonadherence with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for adults with obstructive sleep apnea. Accessed Sept. 17, 2021.
    3. Choosing a mask. American Sleep Apnea Association. Accessed Sept. 17, 2021.
    4. All you need to know about CPAP therapy. American Sleep Apnea Association. Accessed Sept. 17, 2021.
    5. When things go wrong with PAP. American Sleep Apnea Association. Accessed Sept. 17, 2021.
    6. Cao M, et al. Continuous positive airway pressure therapy in obstructive sleep apnea: Benefits and alternatives. Expert Review of Respiratory Medicine. 2017; doi: 10.1080/17476348.2017.1305893.
    7. Lebret M, et al. Factors contributing to unintentional leak during CPAP treatment: A systematic review. Chest. 2017; doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2016.11.049.
    8. Johnson KG, et al. Treatment of sleep-disordered breathing with positive airway pressure devices: Technology update. Medical Devices: Evidence and Research. 2015; doi: 10.2147/MDER.S70062.
    9. Troubleshooting guide for CPAP problems. American Sleep Apnea Association. Accessed Sept. 17, 2021.
    10. Olson EJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Sept. 21, 2021.

    See more In-depth

    See also

    1. Ambien: Is dependence a concern?
    2. Bedtime routines: Not just for babies
    3. Can't sleep? Try daytime exercise
    4. Chiari malformation
    5. Coffee after dinner? Make it decaf
    6. Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty
    7. Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (Gastric Sleeve)
    8. Fibromyalgia
    9. Fibromyalgia and acupuncture
    10. Fibromyalgia: Linked to other health problems?
    11. Fibromyalgia and Neurontin
    12. Fibromyalgia or not?
    13. Headache
    14. Hunter syndrome
    15. Insomnia
    16. Insomnia: How do I stay asleep?
    17. Insomnia treatment: Cognitive behavioral therapy instead of sleeping pills
    18. Intermittent fasting
    19. Is fibromyalgia hereditary?
    20. Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
    21. Not tired? Don't go to bed
    22. Polio
    23. Polysomnography (sleep study)
    24. Positive airway pressure therapy
    25. Post-polio syndrome
    26. Prescription sleeping pills: What's right for you?
    27. Savella may help fatigue
    28. Septoplasty
    29. Shortness of breath
    30. Skip booze for better sleep
    31. Sleep apnea
    32. Sleep apnea and caffeine: Any connection?
    33. CPAP masks
    34. Tonsillectomy
    35. Tracheostomy
    36. Valerian: A safe and effective herbal sleep aid?
    37. CPAP: How it works


    What kills bathroom mold?
    Hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, and baking soda are three nontoxic products that can remove mold in shower areas effectively. Hydrogen peroxide is naturally antifungal and antibacterial, which makes it perfect for treating mold. Baking soda also kills mold and absorbs moisture that facilitates mold growth. more
    Do you turn off CPAP when you go to the bathroom?
    When I get up to use the toilet, should I turn my machine off or leave it running? You can turn your CPAP machine off if you need to get up to use the toilet. Restarting your CPAP machine can reset the ramp feature, making it more comfortable for you to fall back asleep. more
    Do I turn off my CPAP when I go to the bathroom?
    When I get up to use the toilet, should I turn my machine off or leave it running? You can turn your CPAP machine off if you need to get up to use the toilet. Restarting your CPAP machine can reset the ramp feature, making it more comfortable for you to fall back asleep. more
    Should I turn off my CPAP machine when I go to the bathroom?
    When I get up to use the toilet, should I turn my machine off or leave it running? You can turn your CPAP machine off if you need to get up to use the toilet. Restarting your CPAP machine can reset the ramp feature, making it more comfortable for you to fall back asleep. more
    Does CPAP weaken diaphragm?
    Some of the physiological effects noted during CPAP are hyperinflation of the lungs, stabilizing and flattening of the diaphragm, and decrease in tidal volume. more
    What is #3 bathroom?
    Three-piece bathrooms can be abbreviated as a 3-piece bath or 3pc bath on real estate listings. The three fixtures of a three-piece bath could technically be any of the following: • Sink, toilet, shower. • Sink toilet, bathtub. • Sink, sink, toilet (not likely, but technically possible) more
    Is bathroom water clean?
    Your bathroom tap water is perfectly fine to brush your teeth and to wash up. As long as you're not swallowing the water, you're unlikely to get lead poisoning. Just be extra aware of small children – when they are brushing their teeth, remind them to spit. more
    Should I turn off my CPAP machine when I go to the bathroom?
    When I get up to use the toilet, should I turn my machine off or leave it running? You can turn your CPAP machine off if you need to get up to use the toilet. Restarting your CPAP machine can reset the ramp feature, making it more comfortable for you to fall back asleep. more
    Can I use the bathroom vs May I use the bathroom?
    "Can" denotes ability. "Can I go to the restroom?" means "Am I capable of going to the restroom?" This is probably not what was intended. This distinction is often ignored in casual conversation, but "may" is both correct and more polite. more
    Is CPAP a disability?
    The Social Security Administration (SSA) no longer has a disability listing for sleep apnea, but it does have listings for breathing disorders, heart problems, and mental deficits. If you meet the criteria of one of the listings due to your sleep apnea, you would automatically qualify for disability benefits. more


    You may be interested in...

    Can I drive a uninsured car with my insurance?

    What questions do they ask in a disability mental interview?

    What does Ravenclaw stand for?

    Who is eligible for energy grant?

    Will Social Security recipients receive a stimulus check in 2022?

    Does marriage decrease a woman's life expectancy?

    Does Afghanistan have paid sick leave?

    Which is a performance appraisal technique that involves agreement between employee and manager on goals to be achieved in a given period?

    Can balls go inside your body?

    What's the highest K TV?

    Which is healthier cake or ice cream?

    How much a month is 120000 a year?

    Does Usain Bolt own Bolt?

    Why does my cat put her paws on my face?

    Which is the best Colour of Labrador?

    About Privacy Contact
    ©2022 REPOKIT