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.

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.