Sleep Apnea Treatment: CPAP Alternatives

Man treating sleep apnea without CPAP

If you are having difficulty adjusting to CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) treatment, there are several other alternatives to CPAP for sleep apnea. Although CPAP is the most popular treatment for this sleep disorder, there are other therapies available that may be more effective or comfortable for you.

In this section we will discuss some of the most popular CPAP alternatives, although you should always consult with your doctor before deciding which treatment plan is right for you.

BiPAP for Sleep Apnea

BiPAP, or BiLevel PAP therapy, works in a similar manner as CPAP. Instead of one single pressure, BiPAP uses two pressures – an inhale pressure and a lower exhale pressure. BiPAP is often used as an alternative to CPAP for sleep apnea when patients also present with lung issues, like COPD. Historically, it was also used for sleep apnea patients that had difficulty tolerating CPAP.  Your sleep specialist will be able to help you decide if BiPAP would be suitable for you.

Weight Loss

Weight loss can be a very effective CPAP alternative for overweight and obese patients. There is a strong correlation between weight and sleep apnea. Diet and exercise work for many patients. However, weight loss with traditional methods takes a long time and has a high failure rate. 

Bariatric surgery is an option for obese patients who are unable to lose weight through traditional approaches. However, bariatric surgery, like all surgeries, has a risk for complications, is associated with post-operative pain, and is not guaranteed to yield weight loss.

Mouthguards and Oral Devices

Mandibular advancing devices (MADs) are oral devices that resemble sports mouth guards and work in the same way as snoring mouthpieces. They are specially adjusted by sleep apnea dentists to move the lower jaw forward and open the airway wider during sleep. Many of these devices are adjustable as they are often made of plastic or silicone. Some are hinged, meaning that you can open your mouth with the device still in place.

Although sleep apnea oral appliances (OAs) can be a simple and cost-effective CPAP alternative, they may cause tooth shifting and temporal mandibular joint (TMJ) pain.

Sleep Apnea Surgery

There are multiple surgical procedures that can be performed to reduce or eliminate sleep apnea. Procedures can be grouped into those directed at the soft palate or other parts of the breathing passages, such as the tongue.

The type of sleep apnea surgery that will be most effective for you depends on the structures that are causing your sleep apnea and blocking your  breathing during sleep. In children, surgery (usually tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy) is a first-line option for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), whereas sleep apnea surgery is typically a second-line therapy in adults.

Soft Palate Procedures 

Soft palate procedures are the most common sleep apnea surgeries. They include uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) and newer procedures such as expansion sphincter pharyngoplasty or lateral pharyngoplasty, which some studies have shown to be better than traditional UPPP in some studies.

Hypopharyngeal Procedures

Hypopharyngeal sleep apnea surgeries include tongue radiofrequency, genioglossus advancement, hyoid suspension, and partial glossectomy. They can be performed alone or in combination with soft palate procedures.

Jaw Advancement Surgery

Also known as maxillomandibular advancement or bimaxillary advancement, this sleep apnea surgery is another CPAP alternative which moves the jaw forward to facilitate breathing.

Sleep apnea surgery

Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation 

Hypoglossal nerve stimulation is a newer therapy that involves stimulation of the nerve that controls tongue movement. A system is placed inside the body during a surgical procedure. When the system is turned on during sleep, stimulation of the hypoglossal nerve moves the tongue forward to open the space for breathing in the throat.

Pillar Procedure 

This outpatient surgical procedure uses inserted coffee-straw-like pieces inserted into the roof of the mouth. The result is a stiffening of this area which reduces collapse of the airway.

Other CPAP Alternatives

Adaptive Servo Ventilation

Adaptive servo ventilation is a relatively new alternative to CPAP for sleep apnea. It continuously monitors the breathing status of patients with central sleep apnea (CSA). Considered to be a form of positive airway pressure therapy (PAP), adaptive servo ventilation adjusts pressure delivery based on the detection of pauses, or apneas, in breathing during sleep.

Positional Therapy

Sleep apnea is often worse when sleeping in the supine, or back, position. There are a few simple, as well as complex, devices that aim to prevent these people from sleeping on their back. This CPAP alternative explores these different devices with the patient to find the best option for their needs.

EPAP Valve

Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure devices work by creating resistance on exhale of breath. Current devices are adhesive and stick to the nostrils like a bandage.

Oral Pressure Therapy (OPT)

This is a treatment for OSA that uses vacuum pressure to suction the soft palate towards the middle of the mouth, widening the nasal airway reducing or eliminating airway obstruction.

Continuous Negative External Pressure (cNEP) 

This is a new technology that utilizes a sucking pressure outside of the neck area in order to keep the airway open during sleep.

Finding a CPAP Alternative

Sleep apnea can be a potentially deadly sleep disorder. It is imperative that the treatment that you and your physician choose is effective for you. Every person has unique issues and not every CPAP alternative listed above will be suitable for every patient.

Talk to your doctor about these alternatives to CPAP for sleep apnea. They will be able to accurately assess the severity of your sleep apnea and provide suggestions to accommodate your comfort desires and personal needs.

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90 thoughts on “Sleep Apnea Treatment: CPAP Alternatives

  1. Kathleen Woodward Reply

    I had a sleep study done last week…no office just said moderate to severe sleep apnea….clinic called said wants another study overnight to see where they should set cpac machine as far as oxygen levels…I am confused shouldn’t they have those results ….once that is done the next day confer with cpac specialist or other alternatives…..I am still confused would like consult first on stats…not breathing or blood oxygen levels where did I start how low did the levels go … many x in an hour did I stop breathing….shouldn’t I have this consult first????

  2. Noyb Reply

    Cpap works partially on the basis of the placebo effect.
    Almost all humans snore.
    So they were going to sell you a machine before you walked in the door.
    Talk to your md about a surgical procedure or an alternative to cpap. Otherwise you’ll be dancing around this machine with constant nasal infections and sore throats for decades.

    • Nancy Reply

      You are exactly right! I’ve been struggling with a CPAP machine for almost 10 years. I have constant sinus infections when I use it. I hate it. I’d rather suffer the consequences of not using one.

  3. James Reply

    I go back a forth between cpap and Bongo but Im thinking of trying the Airlift. Anyone do it and are you satisfied?

  4. Kris bates Reply

    Please send info on the mouth guard and hypoglissal nerve stim

    • Cindy Reply

      Check into Inspire Sleep Apnea Innovations. I was diagnosed with Apnea a year ago and I can’t tolerate the masks. I just had a procedure to see if I’m a candidate, and I am! I am so happy. This treatment for Apnea was approved by the FDA in 2014. My sleep PA never mentioned this treatment and didn’t listen to me about how I was feeling. I went to an ENT and he has been a miracle to me. Cindy R.

      • Tonya Reply

        That’s awesome. I’ve had sleep apnea for 6 years. I too can not wear the mask. I’ve been waiting for 4 months for my Neurologist to find someone to do the inspire surgery. I live in MS and so far can’t find anyone. So happy it worked for you!!!

  5. Vala Reply

    Obsessed friend looking for alternative to CPAP machine.Any other procedures that are common amongst obsessed people

  6. FemaleDD Reply

    i used to wake up suffocated, and it was always the time when I was lying on my back. I purchased a ‘sleep noodle’ that attaches to one’s back and started sleeping on my left or right side. The severe chocking feeling went away, except occasional very light accidents. I do not sleep on my back anymore, the noodle prevents it.
    I have also noticed that eating (even just a little bit) right before going to bed almost GUARANTEES the chocking episode for the upcoming night. I stopped eating too.

    So to sum it up: the episodes had decreased in frequency and severity after i changed sleep position and after I stopped eating / snacking before going to bed.
    My height is 5’5″, weight 120 lbs (very slim), female 49 o.old. No other health issues present.

  7. Vic Lord Reply

    I meant to say I don’t snore on the Bongo RX and it probably saved my life because I cannot use CPAP.
    I found out about it through my primary who put his mother on it for sleep apnea. It’s a gift. Tiny and no machine.

  8. Vic Lord Reply

    I found the Bongo RX on Apria and saw it had 4.99 to 5 star rating. sells it for 199.00 but singular sleep was giving a new prescription for free if you bought yours there. My copay for an online Dr visit was 25.
    All in it cost about 230. And well worth every penny. It took one night to get use to it and now I sleep like a baby and don’t snot or wake up every few minutes. I couldn’t stand the CPAP.

  9. jamie wheeler Reply

    I’m on my second machine as I couldn’t get used to the first one but still have the same trouble I put it on I usually sit in a recliner to sleep because I can’t lay in a bed but I still wake up and rip it off because I fell like I’m suffocating and start to panic its OK while I’m awake but takes so long to drift off even after a long day at work and I am so tired it just doesn’t feel comfortable wish there was some other way

  10. Despina Klocko Reply

    i have an almost continued issue with mask seal. I am using a full face mask, but I have also used one that comes under the nose and mouth. That one is worse because when I move around, the mask ends up blocking my nostrils to some extent. I have one that is nose only, but I am a mouth breather, so that didn’t work.
    I am losing weight on a diet, but that hasn’t helped. I dread going to bed at night because things are worsening.

  11. Brenda M Bachman Reply

    I have 2 used but functional CPAP machines. Where can I donate or recycle them?

  12. Lisa Morine Reply

    I have been on a sleep apnea machine for 5 years now and I have changed my mask so many times it drives me insane but I I would love to try something different other than a mask if there was they had us this they said they had a surgery that they could do on you and I don’t know if I want to try that

  13. Charles Durrett Reply

    76 yr old male, not over-weigh, tonsils removed. Used CPAP with nose billows for 5 years. Waking up a night puffing air. Changing sleep position doesn’t help. Not sleeping well. Suggestions?

  14. JOSEPH GRECO Reply

    this was extremely interesting indeed ! my mom had sleep disorder from 63 – 82 years old ! my mom found that that
    the one that has distilled water worked much better for her ! the one with the water makes her throat feel much more
    moist in the morning ! plus to every day once you wake up to was it with ivory dish soap & rinse it for a long time with
    warm water ! plus every second day make sure to change the filter ! this way you feel much cleaner & gives you a
    much better sleep ! this gave us feel with all these very important steps ! this gave my mom a much longer life & for
    us to see & have her for more years indeed !

  15. Vicky Reply

    I started with a new CPAP alternative called Bongo Rx and I am doing really well with it. My doctor was reluctant to write the prescription because it was just FDA cleared, but he was good enough to do a little research on it. It’s a stent device with EPAP that is reuseable. I was prescribed CPAP 4 years ago and I just cannot use it. I’ve tried everything. It took me a night or two to get use to sleeping with the Bongo device, but I have to tell you that I have never had better sleep or sounder sleep in my life. My husband says he has only heard me snore one time in the 6 moths I’ve been using it and without it, I snore horrifically. Thank goodness there was an alternative to CPAP for me. I have a wrist worn pulse oximeter that I wear once in a while to keep a check on myself and so far I’m doing terrific.

    • Grace Lasko Reply

      So you are taking a prescription drug instead of using the CPAP machine? I can’t stand using the machine and I’m hoping to find some kind of prescription drugs I can take. Please tell me what you can about it, where you get it from, how it works and how it helps you. Thank you ever so much.

  16. Srivari Reply

    Quality posts is the key to attract the people to visit a website, that’s what this web page is providing. Keep sharing helpful articles.

  17. Helpful info Reply

    Enlargement of the tonsils and adenoids can cause a muffled voice, snoring with pauses in the breathing (apnea) and “Darth Vader” type breathing during the day.

  18. Babs Reply

    70 years old slender female with no health concerns other than mild high BP
    I have severe sleep apnea (was a surprise to find this out!). Did the at home sleep study and then the sleep study at the sleep lab place. Doctor prescribed BPAP and basically said wear it or suffer the consequences of a 40% increased possibility of death by stroke or heart attack. Gee, thanks doc! I hate the machine, dealing with claustrophobic feelings. Tried several masks and now the nasal headgear. It’s all overwhelming – nearly impossible to get comfortable enough to doze off, and then wake after an hour and rip it off. Seriously considering not using the machine at all

    • Danna Reply

      I’m a female close to you in age (68). I’ve used BPAP with a full facial mask for 4 months due to severe Central Sleep Apnea. I hated it with a passion when I started and struggled terribly to adjust to it. I was convinced I could never adjust to it due to feelings of claustrophobia, stuffy noise, problems with mask leak, facial discomfort, etc. I set a goal to use it at least 4 hours per night which I couldn’t do initially. But I continued to experiment how to adjust the mask to make it more comfortable, changed masks to find the best fit for me, and used the mask a couple to a few hours per night. I slowly increased the usage hours over time (yes, sometimes I ripped it off in frustration). But it got a little better and I increased the time I wore it slowly and incrementally. It took about 3 months to reach a point that I was relatively comfortable with it. I could see the positive results from the daily reports (from 55 events per hour to less than an average of 5). I now average wearing it 7-1/2 hours per night and sleep well most nights. I still dislike wearing it but I adapt to it a little more each time I wear it. (Note: I have an adjustable base bed. I found adjusting the head of the bed helps me to breathe easier.) My advice is to keep using it but set realistic expectations. Don’t try to wear it all night at first. Two hours is better than nothing. Increase slowly over time. Realize it takes months, not days, to work up to a full night‘s usage. But hang in there. The health benefits are worth it.

      • Babs Reply

        Thanks for your feedback. I’ve packed up the BPAP machine with the idea of returning it tomorrow, as I’m so frustrated with it. The intake of air is causing very painful gas problems, I’ve tried various masks and nasal pillows, used the chin strap but cannot find a comfortable sleep position. I had already invested in a very expensive Tempur Pedic bed with adjustable base and tried sleeping [email protected] nearly 45 degree angle. Not. Retain all this aggravation is really worth it. I’ve researched the other options available.

  19. Rick Reply

    I’ve been using CPAP for years. My comments aren’t for everyone reading this but this works for me, sorta.
    I hate CPAP but without it I choke up and have a terrible night and wake up just exhausted. I have thought about surgery… to many potential risks and hope for some kinda of a breakthrough to become the new “Gold Standard”. Especially nervous about surgery because after surgery the situation may be worse. I was going to a doctor that recommended that my machine be on CPAP mode which is constant pressure. That was not a good idea at least for me. Didn’t work very well as it was hard to exhale but I stayed with it for awhile. Finally switched to AutoPap and that made the difference. Helped a bunch. My new doctor wanted this mode for me anyway. One thing the sleep study does is check your oxygen level through the night with an oximeter. I have got my own Oximeter which doesn’t cost that much. As best as I can recall > 91 is where you want to be. You can load the results on your computer and see how your doing. The greater the pressure on your CPAP the more oxygen your getting generally speaking. A sleep study would confirm what you need. I’m between 11 and 16 with AutoPap on. I use a Resmed airsense 10 machine now (very nice) but have used others also. I think they can all do about the same thing if they are the latest machine. I like the mask which is a Fisher Paykel ESON, a nasal mask. It is so quiet with a filtered exhalation valve plus I use 3m paper tape to seal my mouth at night and fold over 1 end of the tape to easily remove it. 1” wide tape I think. If I lay on my back and even on my side I will breath out my mouth. A no no. I tried a mask that covered my mouth but my cheeks would inflate. Wow is that annoying. Don’t know if this is what happens to others but for me, “forget that”, I have tried a nasal pillows mask. Used that quite awhile but I like the ESON better. Here’s a thing I do to keep the lines off my face when I wake up which is caused by the strap… especially the strap that goes across my forehead with the mask support which puts a light dent in my forehead. I use Velcro across the straps with the soft side on your face. Why the manufactures don’t offer this padding as part of their product beats me. Maybe they will now. I know this modification may alter the mask a little but I don’t see much change in functionality if any. I get a good seal from the mask itself. I also use a small round pillow behind my back to keep me on my side. This keeps me from rolling on my back which will cause me to choke up. As a kid I found I couldn’t sleep on my back and had terrible nightmares when I did. I may have had sleep apnea as a kid. I Read that apnea occurs in children and is associated with nightmares so children can and do use CPAP for apnea also.

    Back to the surgery. I heard that there’s a doctor in Switzerland that performs surgery and is successful. Wouldn’t that be nice. Haven’t heard much more about that for awhile.
    So I am on this site tonight to see if there is anything new out there that works. By the way I have tried some of the dental device items that you can order on the internet. There’s lot of them. Not comfortable for me. Would like to try the tongue stimulation thing but not sure I’d qualify as the tolerance level for CPAP has to be at nearly impossible from what I’ve heard.
    Hope some of this brings some relief to those who may be struggling. I know everyone is different and these suggestions may or may not help. Get a sleep study done and see an ENT Or other sleep specialist that specializes in Sleep as this is a good place to start or re-evaluate if necessary.

    • Mary Reply

      Rick, There is a surgery that has recently been approved in the States. It is a device inserted in your chest and a wire attached to a nerve that stimulates your tongue. My ENT in Colorado has done 4 of them. Medicare said they would pay, then denied the claims, so they aren’t doing them now.

  20. Jo Reply

    I’ve got several issues going, I do sleep on my side, but I’m like to bury my head and dig in for the night, can’t do, might strangle myself with hose, so I try not to move around, and also my nose itches so much, having to take it off to scratch, now if not enough I get headaches, i really don’t look forward to bed time, but I keep trying, it’s just not natural to have a hose attached to your nose, good luck guys

  21. Robert Reply

    I can’t use the CPAP I was given. I’ve tried everything. I snore so badly that my wife sleeps in the kids room. I just ordered that Rx thing. it should arrive tomorrow. It cost me 250 bucks, but if it worlk, it’s worth a million dollars. That’s all I can say.

  22. B Hawkins-Williams Reply

    Hi everyone! I’m 6 weeks new to the cpap machine being claustrophobic learning to use the cpap not ready to leave this world want to live many, many more years. I’m writing this because for many years I ‘ve been unable to take a nap during the daytime hours for many years, but since using the cpap every day I need and do take a nap or even what you may call sleep is this normal to anyone using a cpap that’s a little frightening to me since its been so long since I’ve been able to sleep during the daytime even if I’m very tired, plz someone tell me if this is normal or if I may have something else going on that I don’t know about. My first appointment to see the doctor since using the cpap is in about two more weeks, thx for any thoughts or suggestions.

  23. Mel Passmore Reply

    Would like to know if the 2 in 1 anti-snoring & air purifier was a good alternative?

    • John Reply

      So, my sleep apnea is somewhat unusual in that I get “stuck” on the exhale. I believe that is why my CPAP does not work so great for me. Even with the CPAP I will stop breathing on the exhale. I imagine this is because the CPAP is pushing air in while I am trying to push air out. I’m wondering if anyone else has this experience and if so is their a solution to this problem. Thanks – John

      • E Thorn Reply

        I used CPAP a few years ago and had the same problem and it would wake me up every time I fell asleep because I would stop breathing. Sleep neurologist didn’t take that very seriously, so I even videotaped myself. Still, there was no relief, so I stopped trying after about 2 months. I was exhausted.

        Will be going in for another sleep study soon… hoping for better results this time.

  24. K Smith Reply

    I just had sleep study & tech said CPAP will probably be recommended. I tried for 2nd half of night. Both face mask & nose mask are horrible. Claustrophobia sets in right away. Also I cannot wear my glasses with either one, so watching tv or reading to help sleep is out. Is there anything you can wear with glasses & without claustrophobia?

      • Rita Reply

        I have a nasal pillow by Phillips that makes it possible to wear my glasses. I was skeptical at first because there is only a slit for the air no pillows that fit into the nostrils but it really works. I’ll try to find the name for you.

        • Rita Reply

          DreamWear fit pack at Amazon. Com. Only $38.00. You do have to buy headgear seperate, not much more. Highly recommended.

  25. N kenyon Reply

    I was diagnosed with mild sleep apnea, and they ordered a CPAP machine, I’m a mouth breather, and as much as I tried I cannot get used to this machine at all. Total fail . I have to find another method or just desl with the possible outcomes.

  26. Annick Reply

    I have always snored like a truck and was always so tired. While at the the hospital for something else, the nurse at night would hear the loud noise so I was told that I would get a lovely visit with a respiratory therapist for a test with a machine, who then later sent me to a sleep clinic, that had me do a 2 night home test with another machine, and with all that, surprise…they said that I needed the commomly beloved CPAP machine. Ahhh that machine… I said to myself there is my little sleep savior… my neighbor loves his, he wakes up rearing to go. So I’ll love mine… life’s looking up… look out people….I’m going to be ready to go! Well, tried out a heck of a lot of masks at home and in the clinic because of not fitting right and as one said it’s also because of the unusually high gauge of my prescription. O.K. Finally got the mask problem resolved. Got used to the machine after a little a while… used it religously every night for months, then a couple years….and wait for it….guess what…I’m still tired. I told the clinic about it a few times and they said, well it happens, there are exceptions…I told myself, great. That’s without saying about the lovely strap lines that I carry often on my face for a few hours during the day. It has been 6 years now that I use that darn thing (off and on during the week since 4 years (more tired in the morning when I use it then when I don’t, go figure)) my blood sugar went down and my high pressure went down. But I do wish that there would be something less expensive (medical, so of coarse it costs a lot & always spending for having to replace the parts) and less time consuming (relentless cleaning) and would make me finally not tired anymore.

    • Jan Reply

      I had the same experience. I actually was looking forward to using a CPAP, but it was very frustrating. Part of the problem was the company that my doctor sent me to for the equipment. They were impossible to work with. In addition, I ended up getting less sleep with the CPAP and then when I twisted my back and had pain there plus the pain from the CPAP, I had to give it up. I’m looking into the Inspire program (an implanted device that is new on the market), and also looking at mouth appliances that my dentist could make. I’ve been told that my sleep apnea is severe, so I don’t know if the mouthpiece would be an option. Sure hope it is.

      • Jess O. Reply

        I’m about at the point to throw this darn machine out the window! I can’t stand it. I feel like I lose more sleep with it because I tend to wake up feeling like someone is pressing a pillow on my face. I just recently have seen an ad about the Inspire program. I am really thinking about talking to my doctor about that program.

  27. Fri Z. Reply

    Can snoring devices and sleep apnea oral appliances totally get rid of my sleep apnea? Or do you need another treatment as well?

    • Vic Lord Reply

      It depends on how bad your apnea actually is and what kind it is. Get a sleep test. I was able to get an at home sleep test for 250.00 that told me what I needed to know. Google it or call your healthcare provider

  28. Tammi Lindskov Reply

    I’m having major issues with thread machine. I’m more tired now that m using it then I’ve ever been!!! I feel Smothered and unable to breath out!! I wake in the middle of the night in a dead panic ripping it off my face!!!!

    • Jess O. Reply

      Me too. I’ve tried about 3 different masks and NOPE still can’t get used to it….Going on 6 months. Look into the INSPIRE program. I recently have seen ad about it.

  29. Deb Reply

    Had sleep study bout two wks ago and told have sleep apnea. Supp’d get CPAP soon but didn’t like when they slapped in on me at 3am in hospital…don’t think going to like now any better! What are some other alternatives not as obtrusive?

  30. Jenny Reply

    I have just been diagnosed with severe apnea (60 occurrences/hour) and was fitted yesterday for my machine. Tried three masks and within five minutes was experiencing vertigo (which i have a history of). Was so lightheaded, dizzy and nauseous that I left without a cpap machine and felt terrible for the rest of the evening. Anyone else have this problem and what did you do?

    • Mike Reply

      My buddy had immediate vertigo after testing CPAP. Turns out he had continuois inflamation in his ear canal caused by food allergies. He stopped eating grains and other triggers, and his vertigo is gone.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Thinkin about buying a cheap cpr manaquin and putting my cpap machine on it.That way i can sleep at night , and let my new buddy that has sleep apnea sitting in recliner all night take my treatments for me while I sleep.Ive been trying like hell since last summer. I just cant do it. End of story.Now i have tree polin issues that drive me insane now!!!!!!! I really dont think i have sleep apnea. But go figure. So im going to ordeer jr. To take my treatments for me

      • Gina Lingenfelser Reply

        You gave me a good hearty laug h that I’ve been needing with your write-up. So funny. I can not use those machines neither. There has to be a better way. I’m going to try the mouth pieces that come from a Dentist. I know they are not cheap.

  31. Mike Reply

    This is an interesting discussion. I’ve been using CPAP for about 20 years and found that a lot of adjustment is necessary to make it work well. I couldn’t use it more than two days at first then my sinuses plugged with what seemed like the worst sinus infection ever. Totally felt swollen and dry inside and my eyes were irritated.
    The nasal pillows were the worst for me. My DR. suggested Afrin but that made it worse. I finally found out about using heated water for humidity It wasn’t common then) and that solved most of the problems. They now have heated tubes as well as the humidifiers. I sleep on my side so there is a lot of strap adjustment before I finally get to a good seal. As a new mask breaks in it seals better. There are gauze-like doughnuts (Remzz) that go between mask and skin that help seal also. If needed I just use a gauze bandage, peel a layer, and make a hole for my nose. Works fine for me. I have to use CPAP or I’m miserable but I’ve learned to keep trying things until I get a solution and that with enough use I can get used to about anything. Good Luck!

  32. Denise Jones Reply

    I have been using the machine off and on for about 11 years now and I hate it, I am a light sleeper I can hear the air going through the hoses the face mask irritates my skin and the nose pieces cause my sinuses to dry up at night, I was told by my ductut yo use nose spray before I go to bed with the machine who wants to do that every night so I just don’t use it I sleep with my table fan running, I have thought of the mouth piece but with my health insurance I have a 700 copay so I am looking into just the nose piece I saw on the internet have anyone tried it and we’re successful

  33. Sandie Reply

    After a few years of waking up with a headache most mornings my neurologist suggested I have a sleep study done. Result was sleep apnea. Now no morning headaches. It did take a while to get used to the CPAP but it was worth it. After reading more on sleep apnea my current goal is to lose 20 pounds to see if that reduces the apnea. I would love to sleep without the headgear again but it beats waking with the headaches.

  34. Don Lief Reply

    At age 88, I’m about to start using a CPAP device for a trial period. The greatest disincentive for me are the strong recommendations to clean everything–everything–frequently. Some parts of the system even daily. This is not mentioned in the various comments above. How onerous is the cleaning task? It strikes me that it’s as disruptive to one’s daily life as using the CPAP at night.

    • PC Stratton Reply

      I’m approaching 72 and have been a call equip user for 5yrs+. Cleaning is not a big deal. I rinse my equipment with white vinegar and distilled water weekly. Rinse it with distilled water, let it dry before bedtime. I have had no respiratory problems.

    • DMZABO Reply

      Hey buddy it’s not that bad . Just plain old soap and water. Dawn dish liquid works for me. Plus they have a few different cleaning devices that do it for you. But they are somewhat pricey. But it’s worth it if you can stick to it. You’ll feel so much better in the daytime. You can do it.

  35. Coan C Reply

    Like all of the people above, I too had problems for the entire time I used my CPAP. I was diagnosed by a doctor who prescribes CPAPs as if he’s using a rubber stamp. Everyone who sees this guy gets a CPAP. I used a CPAP for 9 years, reluctantly. I hated the machine and I hated the noise and the wind and the hose disconnecting during the night, and the weight of carrying the machine while traveling. Not to mention, I hated HAVING to sleep on my back. I used it, because without it, I was worse off.
    When I heard about a study being conducted by Johns Hopkins, I immediately contacted them to find out about details.
    I was lucky enough to be selected to participate in ImThera’s trial of their Aura 6000 device. What a Godsend!
    Now, without a CPAP, I am getting the best sleep of my life.
    I’m still in the trial and I’m still being followed, but the results so far are extraordinary. I’ve gone from 38 Apneas per hour to 2 per night. I get better, more restful sleep. I don’t wake up my wife, and I don’t need to carry 10 Lbs of CPAP with me wherever I go, and now, I no longer have to sleep on my back.
    In my opinion, if you are examined and have the right physiology and are willing to try, Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation is the single best solution for Sleep Apnea.
    It works for me and I would do it again.

  36. Jim Reply

    I have to confess that I’m mildly astonished at all the negativity surrounding the CPAP machines. For people who are reading these notes before having tried any of the alternatives, let me add a more positive experience. I have been using one for about three years, and my only real complaint is the annoyance of having to carry it around when I travel.
    The machines themselves are quiet, and a little tinkering with the strap tension and mask positioning eliminates any escaping air noise. I have used both the full face mask and the pillow; the pillow is clearly preferable.

    • Ruth Wilson Reply

      Thank you for your positive spin. I am just researching for the first time about sleep apnea. My husband is fairly convinced I have sleep apnea. Just starting a potential journey.

      • Linda Johnson Reply

        I also have a positive experience. Can’t sleep without it now. Been using it for about 3 years. An occasional adjustment to the head gear and that’s it an it’s nose and mouth. Sometimes mask dry my skin out around my mouth but I just put vaseline on that part of my face and I’m good to go.

    • James Reply

      Anyone had their CPAP tested for explosives at the airport screening? Mine was and my wife tried to grab it to hurry me along during the testing. The TSA agents almost came unglued but realized the machine was mine and not hers. Looking at alternatives to avoid bomb testing my CPAP, putting it into checked luggage might be an option.

  37. Andrew Reply

    Have a look at a product called air ring, just google air ring. It’s not available yet as it hasn’t been approved by the regulators but it looks like it will be easier to use this compared to a CPAP Machine

    • David Jones Reply

      The real “alternative” is to punish the spouse with the snoring. They can’t sleep when we snore: they can’t sleep when our mask squeals. Yes, you can harm yourself, or even die from apnea. So, like it or not, use it.

  38. Pamela Gay Conley Reply

    I am allergic to the silicone in my full face mask. Do you or anyone else know of a full face mask made without silicone? I cannot use the Remzzz’s as they slip off at night and the fibers get into my eyes. Please email me if you have any information about an alternative mask. The Sleepweaver cloth mask is useless. I cannot seal it. Thanks

  39. David Reply

    I have given my full mask CPAP a chance and used it for the obligatory three months. I hate using it! I have not had a full nights sleep in three months. I hate using it ! All I hear is Darth Vader breathing all night. I hate using it! All I feel is Capt. Hook’s crocodile biting my head and face! I hate using it! In the morning my mouth is dry as Lawrence of Arabia! I hate using it!

    I really want to find an alternative. Other than a dentist making one for me, is there a mouthpiece out there that works?

    Oh……did I tell you that I hate using it?

    • Tamara Lichtenstein Reply

      Yes! (Hearing that you hate using it). Mine was prescribed a few years ago. Tried many masks, none fit well, all leaked. I really gave it a good effort, but eventually couldn’t take it anymore–which was worse: disrupted sleep from apnea, most of which I wasn’t aware of (very high apnea score though) or disrupted sleep from the medieval contraption? Yeah… Got surgery for deviated septum (the doc said this would not replace need for CPAP but would help it work better). Not better. Pulled the machine out of the closet a couple nights ago after a terrible apnea night, the kind that reminds you this can kill you. Did okay the first night but second night, last night, woke with a horribly bloody-looking eye. So I’m online discovering that eye problems go with CPAP, not just dry eye but potentially from mask pressure. What the hell…Now I have to make up fun story (instead of boring CPAP crap) to explain at work for however long I look this way. Tired and scared to sleep, not a good combination.

      • BJ Reply

        CANNOT TOLERATE MY MASK, I am allergic to the plastic and nose and lip gets blisters, then cannot wear it until the sores heal up.

      • Laura Reply

        the cpap machine has to be adjusted when you have nasal or face surgery..or lose or gain some wieght..tamara get your machine mother had blood filled eyes that really could cause you to go blind to much pressure?just a guess..but your surgeon should have told you go back do a study get it adjusted do not even bother wearing it until then …more harm than good.

  40. Oventus Reply

    Australia’s Oventus Medical has been working on a streamlined, compact solution in the form of their customizable titanium mouth device called the O2Vent. We’ve reported previously on Oventus and their collaboration with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in bringing this innovative, customized breathing device to market in Australia this year.

  41. Veronica Gore Reply

    I have had my CPAP machine for over 10 years, is there any other cures for sleep apnea instead of a machine? The straps have left wrinkles on my forehead and strap intentions. Tricare no longer covers CPAP accessories I have been ordering online and that cleaning machine is 300 dollars. I seriously think we all need proper cleaning for the mask and hoses.

    • Sylvia Robinson Reply

      Alternative cpap therapies include mouth appliance need to go to sleep dentist or sleep doctors for custom fit.

    • Anonymous Reply

      The cleaning machine only needs to be used if you are using the water chamber.

  42. Deb Reply

    I too have been evaluated a sleep lab and told I have severe obstructive sleep apnea. The Dr. told me my only option is CPAP. I am claustrophobic and cannot tolerate the machine, even with the simple nasal pillows. I would like to look into surgery but have not found anyone with experience. For now I wear a snoring mouthpiece which stops my snoring considerably and my husband is happy.

  43. Lori Reply

    I wanted to finish off, this allows me to use a nasal pillow mask, where virtually nothing but the 2 nasal pillows touches my face, so all the inability to sleep with a mask should be alleviated.

  44. Lori Reply

    There was a lot of talk a couple of years ago on a cpap message board about 2 ways to keep your lips from opening. One was using white medical paper tape. You can find at any discount store or drug store. I use the 2″high tape, I tear it off at about 2.5 – 3 inches, and tape my mouth closed. My doctors nurse was aghast, and asked me what if I had to throw up? Well, I’ve yet to wake up with an urgent need to be sick, so not too worried about that. The other way was to use a small amount of denture cream on your lips, when its on lightly lick your lips, then press them together and hold a minute for it to set up. This works as well; if you wake up with a leak, lick the spot where air is leaking through and press your lips together again. Should hold up well for at least 8-9 hours.

  45. Barry Reply

    It seems there are no answers offered here but I’ll put in my bit anyway. I went through the tests in hospitals twice. The first was with faulty equipment. They kept waking me to fix it. So much for the results. The next was good and showed I needed help. I bought a good CPAP device then found I needed a full face mask as my mouth opens and air rushes out making lots of noise. The full face kept my mouth closed but a sinus inflammation problem blocks my nose deep inside so I can’t breath anyway. I had a sinus operation but it came back. I only need the minimum pressure anyway. I’m a “lazy” breather and often relax so much I stop breathing for a short time, even when I’m awake. I don’t snore all night or even every night. I have a gag problem so I can’t use the mouth guard style device. Any suggestions?

    • Sylvia Robinson Reply

      I have used cpap since 1987 and believe me i have tried most of them. I cannot do full face or nose mask does not seal or causes claustrophobia.the Pillows are better does not cover your face at all. And if your mouth tends to fall open get a chin strap. There is one I liked a lot the ‘tap pap’ my insurance didn’t cover it. One other things shop for headgear,some are very restrictive and you feel like that silence of the lamb guy. Look online at different cpap vendors see whats out there. your DME is probably only going to carry a fraction of whats out there.

  46. Robin Reply

    I just finished a sleep study night and the tech told me I stopped breathing so many times in one hour I was not breathing for more minutes than I was breathing. I cannot tolerate a mask strapped to my face due to my trauma history. What other options are going to help me?

    • Doug Reply

      I relate to the CPAP toleration. I have claustrophobia and I’ve tried them all and would literally rather die than wear the mask over my face or up my nose. Waterboarding would be a piece of cake rather than something over my face.

  47. Mark Reply

    Hello. I’m a sleep tech in Ohio. The mouth pieces pull your jaw forward, much like they teach in CPR classes, to pull the tissue away from the back of your throat. They only cure low levels of sleep apnea.

    Some dentists do fit them, but most do not. Also, the problem with going to a dentist is that most bill though your dental insurance, and treatment for sleep apnea may not be covered under that. You would have to pay for it yourself and submit the information to your insurance for reimbursement.

    Probably the best thing for you to do is to have your family doctor order a home sleep test. There are certain criteria (CHF, neurological disorders, and the use of certain medications, among others) that would mean a home sleep test would not work, and you might have to have an in-lab study. Then, if the home sleep test does show you have sleep apnea, assuming you are otherwise healthy, your family doctor might be able to order an “autopap” device that automatically adjusts to whatever pressures are needed to clear your airway. Again, there are certain conditions that would not allow that to work for you. If those things are possible, that could be the least expensive way to get treated.

    By far, the best way to get treatment is to go to see an actual sleep specialist and see what they recommend. That may involve in-lab sleep studies. If it does, SHOP AROUND FOR THE PRICE!!! I used to work for three labs. The independent lab charged $1900. One hospital charged $3000. The other charged $6,200- all for the same test.

    The consequences of sleep apnea are severe and possibly fatal, and what you described makes it sound very much like you have it. Start with your doctor- they can get you started in the right place.

  48. jaredh4 Reply

    Some of those options mentioned at the end of the article are still in ‘experimental’ phase. They are not common and most clinicians are not familiar with some of them.

  49. Randall Reply

    I am exhausted at night. I have an extremely tough job. I am fully self employed. I own a gutter cleaning service. I am so tired of waking up on the couch. My wife gets upset with me because of how loud I snore. I am tired of the sore throat and headaches. Please tell me which mouth piece you recommend.

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