Winter can be a challenging time for CPAP users, especially if this is your first winter using a CPAP machine.
One of the main functions of the nose is to warm and moisten the air you breathe. If the air is cold, the nose creates additional mucus to protect sensitive tissues and adds more moisture to the inhaled air.
If the air is too cold, this may disrupt your sleep. It can be quite common to wake up due to;
- a cold or runny nose
- cold air from the mask vent disturbing you or your bed partner
- water droplets / moisture in the hose or mask due to condensation
Remember, the CPAP machine is drawing in air from your sleeping environment, so the colder the room air is, the colder the air you breathe. If you are using a humidifier, this will warm the air very slightly, but it is likely that the air will still feel relatively cold, as the air flows quickly through your CPAP machine.
When you breathe out, the warm air from your body will meet the cold air coming in from the room. This may cause condensation to form and may accumulate inside the mask and in the hose. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as ‘CPAP rainout’. If you are using a humidifier, this adds moisture to the air you breathe and can contribute to rainout effect in the colder months.
Here are some suggestions to help you get used to your winter CPAP therapy. Try;
- closing the windows at night
- warming the room, especially near where the CPAP machine is drawing in the air
- placing the CPAP hose under the bedclothes ( body heat and blanket insulation warm the air flowing through it)
- always have the CPAP machine/humidifier lower than the bed
- changing the position of the hose so that any moisture can drain down and back into the humidifier
- reducing the humidifier setting in winter. For BMC, Luna, see this FAQ page for humidifier setting instructions
- purchase a hose cover ($35) which will help reduce the rainout
Another option is a heated hose which is designed to eliminate any moisture build up in the hose.
It may also help take the chill from the cold winter air but please remember it is not an air warmer.