Sleep Hygiene Suggestions
CPAP Instructions and Directions
Epworth Sleepiness Questionnaire
Common Sleep Disorders

5454 Wisconsin Avenue
Suite 1725
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Phone: 301-654-1575
Fax: 301-654-5658



Care of the device and accessories

Care of CPAP equipment is simple and requires a minimal amount of time to maintain properly. It may help to think of the care as on a ‘once a day, once a week, once a month and as needed’ schedule. This information will also be discussed with you when the equipment is delivered.

  • Wash the CPAP mask daily in warm water and a mild soap. Pat dry with a clean towel.
  • Wash the tubing once weekly by taking it in the shower with you and letting a good amount of water run through it. Hang it to drip dry.
  • There is a filter in the CPAP machine. This filter will either be disposable or washable, depending on the machine delivered to you. You should check the condition of the filter once monthly and either replace, or wash it, if it is dirty. You should be supplied with replacement filters if your machine has the disposable filter type.
  • The headgear may be washed in mild soap and warm water on an as needed basis.
  • We do not recommend soaking the mask or tubing, as this can result in swelling of the plastic and distortion of shape.
  • Wash your mask and tubing daily if you have a cold.

Adapting to the CPAP device

We recognize that getting used to wearing a mask on your face while sleeping is not an easy task for many people. There is a great degree of variability in the ease with which people adapt to CPAP. Try not to put an undue amount of pressure on yourself to immediately bond with the device. We expect that this will be a process, not an immediate result! If you are only able to wear it a brief period of time at first, that’s a start. You will become increasingly more used to it with time. Some suggestions:

We understand that the psychological battle of adapting to sleeping with a mask and CPAP device is often greater than any difficulties encountered physically adjusting. Remember: Your bed partner is interested in your health and wants you to use this device. Your bed partner will be grateful for a quiet’s night sleep. No one cares what you look like while you are sleeping (except you)!

It is best to have the equipment lower than the bed level so that secretions or humidity that may condense in the tube can run downhill away from you. Many people like the machine positioned at the head of the bed. This can allow for more easily turning side to side. You can, however, have it at the side of the bed—whatever works for you.

Air leaks from the mask reduce the treatment pressure and may lead to inadequate treatment of the sleep apnea. Repositioning of the mask on the face and adjustment of headgear is the first step in dealing with this. If this doesn’t fix the problem, you may need an alternative mask or a different size. Approximately 20% of the patients require a change from the mask that they were originally studied with. You may call the office to arrange a mask re-fitting session with our daytime technologist or call the homecare company that provided your equipment. Remember that the mask should feel snug, but not tight. Over tightening the mask may aggravate leakage. If there is a white plug on the mask, it should be closed unless you are instructed otherwise. (It is a port for oxygen delivery, which is not needed in most patients.)

If you have any persistent pink/red marks on your face from the mask, please let us know as soon as possible. If you continue to wear your mask with this degree of irritation, you may end up with an ulcer/scab/scar on your face that could have been prevented with a mask adjustment or refitting. Our daytime sleep technician, Joel, is very skilled at mask adjusting and is quite available to address this issue, should it arise.

While we try to get you comfortable with a given mask the night of your titration study, changes in mask type are sometimes made, depending on your comfort and experience at home.

If you feel you are not making progress within the first 2 weeks towards being able to use the CPAP device for the entire night, please call and arrange a CPAP mask re-fitting/ desensitization session with our daytime techs so that the problems can be addressed BEFORE you throw the equipment out the window. Early intervention is critical if you are not adapting.

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Medical Disclaimer