Sleep and breathe better with CPAP humidification

In autumn and winter the air outside gets cooler, and in some places it also gets a lot drier. You may begin using central heating to keep your home warm and cozy, which also contributes to drier environments. Continual breathing of dry indoor air can cause itchy skin, sore throat and dry sinuses, and for people with respiratory issues such as sleep apnoea, dry air can exacerbate the problem,(1) resulting in poor sleep.

CPAP humidifiers and sleep apnoea

It’s not just dry air that can affect your breathing at night. If you use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy to combat sleep apnoea you may experience dry mouth or throat. This occurs because your body may not be able to provide sufficient moisture to humidify the airflow created by the CPAP device.

When you breathe without CPAP, your nose will act as a natural humidifier; it warms up the air you inhale so that it’s more comfortable for you to breathe. However, when you inhale air coming through a CPAP machine, it may need its own humidification because it’s entering your upper airway faster than your nose can warm it. This is especially true if you live in colder or drier climates and/or require high CPAP pressures.

The good news is that using humidification along with therapy can reduce dryness and nasal congestion and make you more comfortable while you sleep. ResMed’s heated humidifiers add moisture and warmth to the air delivered by our devices, reducing the symptoms of dryness and congestion and helping you enjoy better quality sleep.

There are a few types of ResMed humidifiers you can introduce into your CPAP treatment depending on the device you have.

Humidification for the ResMed AirSenseTM 10 AutoSetTM

The ResMed AirSense 10 AutoSet (Complete Device Kit) is a premium APAP device that comes equipped with an integrated, easy-to-use HumidAir™ humidifier and ClimateLineAir™ heated tube. These work together to maintain the temperature of the humidified air as it passes through the tube and reduce CPAP humidification rainout.

If you already have an AirSense 10 without humidification, you can purchase the HumidAir humidifier and ClimateLineAir heated tube individually or together with the HumidAir kit.

Humidification for the ResMed S9 AutoSetTM

You can also add a humidifier if you have an older S9 AutoSet device. The H5i™ including climate control for the S9 AutoSet is designed to easily integrate with your device to provide you with comfortable, constant temperature and humidity levels while you sleep.

Humidification for the ResMed AirMiniTM 

The ResMed AirMini travel device, when used with an AirFit™ N20 nasal mask or AirFit P10 pillows mask, includes HumidX™ our waterless humidification system. HumidX delivers all the benefits of humidification without the hassle of changing water every day.

For dry and high altitude environments where humidity levels are low, such as within aircraft cabins, we also have HumidX Plus.

If you are already using an AirMini with HumidX, you can purchase replacement HumidX and HumidX Plus from the ResMed Official Online Shop.

So as the seasons change and the temperature and humidity drop, don’t let the increased dryness impact your shut-eye. With a humidifier integrated into your PAP therapy, you can breathe easy and rest well.

AirFit P30i & N30i CPAP masks earn good design awards!

We’ve had some great news recently: two of our latest CPAP masks, the AirFit™ N30i nasal cradle mask and the AirFit P30i nasal pillows mask, both received Good Design Australia Awards in the Product Design category for achieving the highest level of design and innovation.

Selected from among nearly 700 entries, the nasal AirFit N30i and nasal pillows AirFit P30i are the first ResMed masks with a tube-up connection, allowing wearers to move and sleep in any position. Both masks fit at least 90 percent of wearers with only two frame sizes each.

Overall, this is a robust piece of design that has been perfectly executed,” said the Good Design Awards Jury. “Care and detail were taken in the material selection for comfort and ease of fitment. They’re good examples of the understanding of the user in the context, and a very sophisticated tooling technique for the spring hinge that accommodates different head shapes, and also the soft nose piece.”

The 30 Series masks are just the latest of ResMed’s Good Design winners; in 2017, ResMed earned four awards for its AirFit N20 nasal maskAirFit F20 full face mask, and AirTouch™ F20 full face mask with memory foam cushion, plus AirMini™, the world’s smallest CPAP machine1.

We’re honoured that Good Design Australia has once again chosen ResMed products as the standard for medical device design,” said Mark Buckley, ResMed’s Vice President of sleep product development. “We continue to redefine that standard for the sake of patients’ comfort and overall health, as well as the efficiency of ResMed’s distribution partners. Their continued trust in ResMed is our greatest reward.”

Starting CPAP therapy, what about my sex life?

Getting used to CPAP and to sex again

When talking to our patients on CPAP, one of the most frequent concerns is the negative impact it might have on their sex life. This is of course understandable, but it is important to remember that one of the major symptoms of untreated OSA (Obstructive sleep apnea) is loss of energy, reduced libido and sexual function. So the benefits outweigh any possible negative association with wearing a mask to bed.

Getting set up on CPAP, it’s perfectly normal to have major concerns about how the mask, tube and machine will impact your sex life. Patients report being concerns about how it makes them look and consequently, feel next to their partner. Once you experience the benefits though, this initial concern can pass quite quickly.

It’s important to share your concerns with your loved one and if you can, try to make light of it so it doesn’t become the elephant in the room. And don’t forget you should only put your mask on when you are going to sleep, not necessarily the moment you get into bed. You can still be spontaneous too, ResMed’s CPAP equipment is designed to be simple to wear and remove.

You may well find that the introduction of CPAP may do more for your sex life than you had imagined. Remember that loud snoring can often lead to relationship problems, add to that the loss of energy, libido and sexual function and you can quickly see how treating it can have many knock on positive benefit.

And remember to remain open to intimacy and cuddles too as it is important to rekindle these little pleasures too.

Feeling the benefits of your CPAP therapy

As we mentioned, treating your sleep apnea should have a really positive impact on libido. For men, sleep apnea has been associated with low testosterone levels and erectile dysfunction. Using your CPAP regularly can help limit these side effect and with improved sleep you should also feel fresher and less irritable by day which in itself can have a really positive effect on those closest to you.

Keeping your CPAP therapy and your sex life going

All of this said though, there is still a major adjustment to get used to and it’s important that you are able to recognise the benefits as they come. People on CPAP therapy can still feel unattractive and their partners can see it as a barrier. Maintain the conversation about it and remember the mask can be removed in a flash, so there’s no reason why a normal sex life can be resumed with CPAP therapy.

It may even improve it, which is a great reason to ensure you stick with your CPAP therapy and get all the physical benefits.

Ed’s CPAP journey

Patient story – How diagnosis led to a new lease of life and 8 stone weight loss.

Ed Jones is 44-years old and is a credit analyst from Cheshire. He was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) in February 2015 and also has a heart arrhythmia. Since being diagnosed with OSA, Ed has embarked on a series of charity events raising in excess of £13,500 for charities and losing 8 stone in the process.

Tell us about your symptoms

I was permanently tired and after getting home from work, I’d have my tea and then fall asleep on the sofa within half an hour or so. I was missing out on that important family time, often ending up in bed before my daughter. The weekends were even worse, and I’d tend to nod off regularly as I was more relaxed.

What led to your diagnosis?

The lack of energy and the fact I was missing out on spending time with my daughter was becoming a problem – my wife was understandably becoming fed up. Discussions with my wife and my father had led to me booking an appointment with the doctor. I had a number of blood tests, but it wasn’t until I saw the 3rd Doctor that she suggested I may have sleep apnoea.

What happened next?
The doctor gave me some information about sleep apnoea and it was obvious at that point that symptoms I was suffering were the very same symptoms described in the information leaflet. As I was certain this was the case and I wanted to get treatment I didn’t want to wait for an NHS appointment so my father paid for me to go to a private sleep specialist. I was given a home sleep testing kit which I had to wear to bed for a night and within a week I received a diagnosis. It showed that I was waking up 38 times an hour, which meant that I was within the ‘severe’ category – Find out more about diagnosis.

How did you get on to treatment?
Again, I was offered to go through the NHS which would have involved a wait or told that the clinic could provide equipment for me privately. I chose the latter option as I wanted to begin treatment straight away and received a ResMed AirSense 10 and began treatment within a week.

What was the impact of your treatment on your home life?
Within 24/48 hours, the impact was incredible. I had more energy, I was able to spend quality time with my family beyond struggling through work. I very quickly felt that I had got control of my sleep. I also felt reassured that there was someone checking my equipment remotely and making adjustments to my treatment to ensure I was getting the full benefit.*
*Please note that Ed Jones is a private patient with ResMed

And on your health?
I was very overweight at the time of my diagnosis and had discussed this with my doctor who advised me to focus on getting my sleep apnoea sorted before addressing my weight. Once on treatment and with renewed energy, a personal trainer friend of mine suggested that I start walking regularly. I took this advice and started with just 1-2 miles at the park and quite quickly built it up to 6-7 miles every couple of days. I immediately started to see and feel the benefits of the exercise routine and signed up to do a charity walk from Manchester to Sheffield. I also joined weight-watchers and whilst I didn’t have to make too many adjustments to my diet, the main thing was choosing less processed food which stopped me feeling hungry. In 2016 I did the Yorkshire 100k, a 100km walk which took over 29 hours to complete. In less than two years I had lost 8 stone in weight.

How are you getting on with treatment today?
I remember thinking ‘I’m not sure I can adjust to this’ when I started treatment and that, occasionally, it feels like a bit of a burden. However, when I consider that 2-3 years ago I would struggle to walk up the road compared with what I’m able to do now, it’s a good reminder to help me keep on track with my treatment as I don’t want to go back to where I was!

How have you found dealing with ResMed?
I started to use ResMed for replacement products and I now visit their clinic once a year for an annual review. They have a look at my equipment, review the data from it and we discuss my treatment. It’s such a quality service and pleasant experience and I always come away from ResMed feeling rejuvenated and enthusiastic about my treatment. Earlier this year I invested in their portable device, the AirMini and the new AirTouch F20 mask as this really helps with all the travelling and challenges I’m undertaking.

So what’s next for you?
I’m really enjoying fundraising and being able to give something back. Last year I completed a section of the Great Wall of China and I’m just about to set off to the French Alps to complete a Trek involving 3 countries in 3 days. In November I’ll be taking on the Sahara Desert – and all because of the successful treatment of my Sleep Apnoea.

And finally, what would you say to anyone starting treatment?
Listen to the experts and seek out the best advice, I cannot fault the quality of service and advice that I’ve had from ResMed.

7 Common CPAP mask problems & how to solve them

If you have a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine as a part of your sleep apnoea therapy, it goes without saying that you’ll get the most from your therapy by keeping it regular and consistent.

Consistency comes from using the machine during every sleep as instructed and keeping as close to a routine as is feasible. While a CPAP machine can offer relief and a better night’s sleep, it’s not without its minor challenges too. Most commonly, CPAP users can encounter issues with the mask. If you’re experiencing any issues with your mask, we’ve listed seven common concerns around CPAP masks, and how you can solve them, so you can focus on getting a great night’s rest.

The CPAP mask plays a major role in the functioning of the sleep apnoea machine, and as it is the only part of your therapy with direct contact to your skin, it is the one part that most people have questions about. Here, we look at all of the common mask problems and, more importantly, how to solve them so you can get the most out of your nightly treatment.

Take the heat out of sleep – 16 ways to sleep well when It’s Hot

Well it looks like the hot weather is sticking around for a while which for most of us is great news, but with the long days at this time of year there’s little respite, even at night.
In the UK we’re not famed for our stinking hot summers and whilst the vast majority enjoy it whilst it’s here, we’re inevitably left out of practice and thus ill-prepared for a long, hot spell.
We’ve all experienced those unavoidable nights where we find ourselves tossing and turning amongst the sheets, hot, sticky and restless – it’s not much fun.
Interestingly the temperature of both our bodies and our surroundings can also have an impact on the quality of rest we get each night, too? Heat doesn’t just make it hard to fall asleep – it also impacts on how well we sleep.
Quality sleep is crucial for good health and wellbeing, so it’s important to get the conditions right.
To assist you, we have compiled this blog to provide with some handy tips to keep your cool and rest easier.

16 tips to keep the ideal room temperature

(1) Keep your windows open If your room is warmer than outside, which can often be the case, leave the windows open during the night to let in a fresh breeze. Night air tends to be cooler throughout the early hours of the morning, and the fresh air circulation can help keep the temperature down by preventing your room from becoming stuffy.

(2) Avoid blankets Some people need the comfort of a blanket over them, but a wool blanket or feather duvet can make you sweat throughout the night. This can disrupt your sleep as your body struggles to drop its temperature.

(3) Buy breathable bed linen Light-weight, quality bed linen is breathable and a real bonus in hot weather as it won’t trap your body heat. The less heat that remains, the easier it is to feel cooler and more comfortable as you drift off to sleep.

So save the polyester, silk and satin sheets for colder nights or special occasions!

(4) Freeze your sheets – yes seriously! This takes some planning and may be for the real extremes, but unusual as it may sound, this is our tip number 4: fold your sheets into a plastic bag and pop them in the freezer as you brush your teeth before bed. Don’t leave them there for too long, but long enough to cool them right down and then place them onto your bed to provide you with temporary relief as you try to settle down for the night.

(5) Invest in a good mattress A high-quality mattress often can dissipate your body heat much more effectively than other alternatives, helping your core reach the ideal temperature for the best night’s sleep.

(6) Anti-snuggle zone We’re fans of a cuddle before bedtime, but beware falling asleep in your embrace! Getting too close to each other will share body temperatures and hold the heat between you for much longer, making it harder for your temperatures to drop to the optimal point for a better sleep.
Keeping further apart is probably a better solution when trying to keep cool.

(7) Keep pets off the bed This may be alien to serious pet fans, but the less bodies in a room, the lower the temperature! This especially applies if your dog or cat jumps up and takes a share of the bed. Their added heat can make it harder for your body to cool to the right temperature for the best sleep.

(8) Stay Hydrated You hopefully don’t need reminding, but.. drinking a glass of chilled water before bed keeps your body hydrated and cool, and replenishes any loss of water due to sweating.

(9) Have a cold shower If you’re really roasting hot, before you’ve even hit the hay, getting under a cold shower can take the heat out of your skin, help drop your core body temperature and rinse of any sweat before entering into the sheets, clean and comfortably.

ResMed CPAP

(10) Cold Compress Comfort If you’re still struggling with heat, grab an ice pack from the freezer, wrap it in a tea towel and place it in the bed wherever it feels comfortable. Even better – use your ‘hot’ water bottle! Just fill it with water and pop it in the freezer for a bed-friendly solution.

To get more instant relief, place the pack around your pulse points on your wrists, neck, elbows, groin, ankles and even behind your knees. The cold will get transported quickly around your body, and you’ll notice the difference almost immediately. Try and avoid falling asleep with it in one position though.

(11) The good old fan Air conditioning is a luxury but fans are an inexpensive alternative. Using them throughout the night to keep circulating the air can draw heat out of the room and even push it out of the open window assuming you adhered to tip 1.

You can go to more extreme measures by placing a bowl full of ice cubes in front of the fan. The breeze will slowly distribute the melting cold vapour from the surface of the ice, generating a cooling mist.

(12) The damp towel An oldie but a goodie to help your body shed some extra degrees at night is to simply moisten a towel or cloth, and either place it on your forehead or body. Just don’t saturate the towel to avoid soaking your mattress and sheets.

(13) Loosen those pyjamas Loose, soft cotton pyjamas can help keep you cooler by dissipating the heat, similar to the way that the cotton sheets do. They allow for air flow and breathability, while absorbing excess sweat from your skin, even better, if you’re one for wearing your birthday suit, then this is one less layer to think about.

ResMed good sleep

(14) Use your lights sparingly It’s not only good for conserving energy, but most if not all light bulbs give off some sort of heat that we just don’t want when trying to get a good night’s sleep. It stays lighter much later during the hotter months, so take advantage and try to keep light usage to a minimum.

(15) Unplug before bed Similar to turning off the lights, it’s equally beneficial to turn off the electronics too. Devices like your smart phone give off heat and light that both aren’t conducive to getting a quality night’s sleep. So put them away and let yourself drift more peacefully.

16) Body position Stretching out across the bed with your arms and legs wide is a really simple and easy way to keep your temperature down by increasing air circulation around your limbs and reducing sweat.

AutoRamp for the AirSense 10 AutoSet and AirMini

ResMed’s AutoRampTM with sleep onset detection is provided with the ResMed AirSense 10 AutoSetTM and ResMed AirMiniTM devices.

AutoRamp is activated automatically to deliver a low start pressure, which helps you fall asleep with ease, then using its sleep onset detection capability, it responds by comfortably ramping up to your prescribed pressure the moment it detects you’ve fallen asleep.

So, how does AutoRamp know when you fall asleep?

Your AirSense 10 or AirMini will know you’re asleep within three minutes. That’s because the moment you turn on your device, AutoRamp is looking for three things:

a) 30 breaths of stable breathing (roughly 3 minutes)
b) 5 consecutive snore breaths
c) 3 obstructive apneas or hypopneas within 2 minutes

Once any of those signs occurs, AutoRamp steadily ramps up your air pressure at a slow, comfortable rate until you reach your prescribed level.

No matter when you fall asleep, AutoRamp makes sure you reach your prescribed pressure no later than 30 minutes after you turned on your machine. This ensures that you get effective sleep apnoea treatment, based on research that on average, most people on CPAP fall asleep in 20–25 minutes.1

With lower pressures while you’re awake, and a steady, comfortable ramp-up to keep you and your partner sleeping, AutoRamp is one of many features in the AirSense 10 AutoSet and AirMini, designed to make your treatment more comfortable.

If you want to know more about AutoRamp for your ResMed device, talk to your sleep clinician or call our UK team on 0800 917 7071.

CPAP Humidification and Rain Out

Unfortunately, some obstructive sleep apnoea patients using CPAP may experience nasal congestion and dryness of the nose and throat and this can compromise their acceptance of their treatment.

This dryness may occur if there is insufficient moisture in the the air flowing from your CPAP device. The problem can get worse in the UK’s colder months as we reach for the central heating controls which creates a drier home environment. Fortunately, this situation can be improved with the addition of CPAP humidification.

Heated humidification offers greater flexibility

There are two categories of humidification – warm and cold.

Cold or “passover” humidification consists of a water chamber that allows air from the CPAP to “pass over” the water before entering the CPAP tube thereby creating a humidified air stream. Although this set up is effective if you have low pressure CPAP settings or live in a warmer climate, it may not always be optimal as the air can become too cold for you to tolerate.

With a heated humidifier, moisture and warmth are added to the air delivered by your CPAP device. Because you can adjust the level of heat, heated humidification offers greater flexibility and may reduce your more severe symptoms. With the improved comfort, you’re also more likely to increase your treatment compliance and use your CPAP for longer periods.

In addition, if you suffer from hay fever in the summer months, a runny streaming nose and/or congestion, CPAP can exacerbate these symptoms. In these cases, heated humidification may also help to relieve your nasal irritation and aid your continued use of your CPAP.

CPAP ‘Rainout”

One of the problems that may sometimes occur with heated humidification is ‘rainout.

In cold weather, as the warmed, moistened air moves down the hose, it is cooled and can condense in the tube and mask. This is known as ‘rainout which can produce gurgling noises in your tube as well as water condensation on your face.

There are several ways to help reduce the risk of ‘rainout’:

  • Always have the device and humidifier positioned lower than the bed
  • Close the bedroom window, turn the humidifier down or raise the temperature in the bedroom at night, to lessen the difference between the room temperature and the hose
  • Tuck the tube under the bedclothes to keep it warm
  • Insulate the hose by covering it with a tubing wrap. Custom made ones can be purchased from ResMed or alternatively you can make your own by wrapping a towel, scarf, bubble wrap or aluminium foil around the tube

ResMed humidification solutions

If you have a ResMed AirSense 10 AutoSet™ device, an earlier ResMed S9 AutoSet, and/or an AirMini™ Travel device, find out more about the available ResMed humidification solutions here.

You can call ResMed customer service team on 0800 917 7071 or fill the form here. One of our trained and experienced team will be happy to advise you.

Are hay-fever or allergies affecting your CPAP use?

Hay fever, otherwise known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, is an allergic reaction to airborne substances such as pollen that get into the upper respiratory passages – the nose, sinus, throat – and also the eyes. It affects around one in four people. Symptoms that may be caused by the allergy are: itching eyes, sneezing, nasal stuffiness, nasal congestion and drainage, and sometimes headaches.

Hay fever usually occurs in spring and summer, when there is more pollen in the air. Trees, grass and plants release pollen as part of their reproductive process. Mould and fungi also release tiny reproductive particles, called spores.

People with hay fever can experience their symptoms at different times of the year, depending on which pollens, spores or dust mite are causing the allergy.

The human body has its own humidification process that protects the respiratory system. Every time a person takes a breath, the nose, pharynx (behind the nasal cavities and mouth) and trachea (in the throat) add moisture to the air so that it does not dry out. As the air passes further into the airway, it becomes warmer and more humid. By the time it reaches the lungs it is at the ideal temperature and humidity. When you exhale, your nose conserves moisture by recovering about a third of the water present in each exhaled breath.

This moisture is then used to humidify the next inhaled breath. With allergies and colds the nasal passages may be blocked causing people to breathe through their mouths and therefore the natural humidification through the nose, which is responsible for two-thirds of humidification, is bypassed. This starts a vicious circle because nasal symptoms trigger mouth breathing and mouth breathing aggravates nasal symptoms.

Heated humidification with CPAP greatly decreases the symptoms of nasal congestion, dry nose and throat. The humidifier replaces moisture in the nasal cavity which has been lost due to mouth breathing.

Sometimes nasal stuffiness due to rhinitis, sinusitis, or allergies can be relieved by prescription nasal sprays or medications. These may make it easier to breathe during CPAP treatment. However, many patients have found that they can discontinue the use of nasal medications either after changing to heated humidification or after adjusting their humidifier to the proper level to relieve the dryness of the nasal and oral cavity.

Minimising exposure to allergens like pollens and dust mite can be useful in controlling allergic symptoms.

Tips for controlling your allergic symptoms:

  • Use hypoallergenic filters with your humidifier
  • Keep windows and doors closed during heavy pollen seasons.
  • Rid your home of indoor plants and other sources of mildew.
  • Change feather pillows, woollen blankets, and woollen clothing to cotton or synthetic materials.
  • Enclose mattress, box springs, and pillows in plastic barrier cloth.
  • Use antihistamine and decongestant as necessary with medical advice.
  • Observe general good health practices; exercise daily, stop smoking, avoid air pollutants, eat a balanced diet, and supplement diet with vitamins, especially vitamin C.

Read more about humidification here

This blog post contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website. The views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, practice, or other institution with which the authors are affiliated and do not directly reflect the views of ResMed or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates.