COPD and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (Cpap) - British Lung Foun...

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COPD and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (Cpap)


Hi Guys

I have my nice new shiny CPAP machine (full mask f20) and the first night was fantastic, however, since then I've struggled with the machine, panicky gaspy breaths are preventing me from dropping off to sleep, it's as though my breaths are not constant and the machine tries to adjust the air-flow (?) I start to breath out and there is air pressure there causing me to 'double take' my breath. (I'm finding this hard to explain (copd erratic breaths, maybe)).

On the one or two occasions I have managed to sleep with the CPAP machine, only for about 3-4 hours, I've woken up with a blocked nose and stuffy head. I have the moisture attachment and this is set to 6.

Any suggestions? Its making me panic breath just thinking about it.

13 Replies

Hi. I had a similar problem in the early days. I spoke to the nurses and they did some adjusting. It’s great now. Sorry I can’t remember what it was they adjusted. Definitely worth asking them about it. Hope it gets sorted out for you.

Hi Rayswife

Thankyou for your support and advice, I have made some adjustments, to the mask and my sleeping area (bedside table) and have just had two improved nights using the machine. As a result I am feeling more awake during the day.

Best Wishes


It took me several weeks to get used to it. Most important don’t get in a panic, you need to be relaxed as poss with your breathing. What helped me was to use it during day while awake to get used to it and then at night. I’ve got top of range machine with humidifier but still get very dry mouth, I’m afraid there’s not much you can do there but you WILL get used to it in time. Since I’ve had the machine I haven’t had a Copd flare up once, long term you will be so much better, it gives your lungs a rest. Persevere you won’t regret it.

in reply to Linjones

Likewise for me. Used during the day got me used to it. Great nights sleep now, in fact I look forward to bedtime. Although I have it piped upstairs as well, I still sleep downstairs as the stairs at the end of the day are still a challenge. Miss our cuddles, but make up for those during the day as well. xx

Hi papilon

All set for using during the day and my friend has made the bedside table and machine setup 'less scary'?

Good news is I've been using the machine the last two nights and taking peoples advice which is certainly making a positive difference.

Thank you for your support and keep up the 'downstairs cuddles', they're the best!

best wishes


Look forward to the mask. Fantastic bit of kit. Easy to use, no hassle at all. Even better, once you have it on, it does not matter whether you breathe using your nose or mouth, it works great. I now sleep so soundly. I started with the fear factor too, TBH, never ever had a problem. Just breathe as you want, use the little band pull to make it fit good. You will wonder how you ever got along without it. You definitely will not suffocate. too many holes in the mask. xx

Hi Linjones

I do have an afternoon nap, probably because I haven't been using the machine. I will definitely have some practice sessions during the day, probably the afternoon film.

I have used it the last two nights, my friend adjusted the bedside table which makes the machine look less formidable (I'll be laughing about my choice of words in a few weeks) and am preparing mentally before putting on the mask which seems to help dodge the panic.

Many thanks for your advice and support

best regards


I have been using a CPAP machine now for nearly 5 years and for the first weeks I had similar problems and always contacted the technicians who were really helpful. I took the machine back and they gave new settings (increasing pressure and adjusting the ramp). I also tried a full face mask which you have and found that much better Some prefer the nasal masks. They expect to have to make adjustments in the early part of your journey.

Like you I was diagnosed with COPD when I first started and last year was further diagnosed with Asbestosis. This gives a tight chest and as soon as I start on the machine at night, the tightness disappears along with the pain! All the adjustments were done as a matter of course by the consultant and techs

Tell the technicians about the stuffy nose and dry mouth and they will probably give you a humidifier attachment if you haven't got it already. If you have an F20 Face mask I would guess you have a Resmed machine which is the same as mine.

I still get a dry mouth which in my case is more likely to be from diabetes (Insulin dependent) and when I have a hyper I almost dry out completely. Boots do an excellent spray called Expert Dental Dry Mouth Spray which costs just under £3 and gives instant relief with one quick squirt. It has a sweetener called Xylitol which encourages salivation and protects your teeth from caries! You can also ask your GP for a nasal spray.

Good luck, the first part of journey is always the toughest. It is well worth looking up sleep apnea sites on the web. My particular favourite is and the have a Facebook page which is much easier to navigate.

Hi Bumley

Thank you for your advice and words of encouragement.

Good news, I have been using the machine for the last two nights and as you say, don't panic. I'm registered with ' MyAir' and as such I am connected with those that monitor. Not great scores but improvement is showing.

I've joined the support group '' and I am following their advice.....

"Keep Calm


Trust CPAP"

best regards


Great news Coff Coff. There are a multitude of comfort and cleaning aids on the Hope2Sleep website. My journey was a bit of a rocky road until I got the right kit and then more importantly stopped fighting it! I now find myself rocked to sleep by the ramp and get an average of 7 hours a night on the machine. Good Luck!

Iv had my rest Med for about 15 years was given new one last year could not live without it don’t give up

Hi Guys

Just thought I leave an update.

CPAP machine all good :-)

I've been through the dreaded 'pipe gurgle, rain', the pipe wheeze and all sorts of huffing and puffing from the mask seal during the nigh and I am glad to say I'm averaging about 6 hours with the mask each night, in fact I'm kind of enjoying the sensation of the pressurised air.

I feel like a new person ('ish) and my episodes are down from 67 per hour to an average of about 4 per hour.

I've still got a way to go with sleeping positions, I'm a front sleeper, face down, which is quite tricky with the mask, however, all is much better than before.

Thank you all for your encouragement and words of wisdom.

best regards


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