How long does it take to get acclimated to CPAP?

by JT Thompson
(Denver, CO )

How long does it take to get use to using the machine and acclimating my body?

I have been on it now for 7 days and I must admit I do feel much better.

I find myself getting into a normal sleep pattern and wanting to go to sleep around 8:30 - 9:00 PM.

My body was so use to being strung out that I was never able to fall truly asleep and when I was so exhausted I would literally pass out around 1 a.m.

I can feel my body changing in that I had over compensated so long that it appears to be fighting the changes that my APAP is inducing.

My lungs have not had this much of a workout in a long time.

I feel good but I also feel I have ran a marathon.

My chest muscles have expanded and I feel as though I have lifted weights for hours. Is that normal?


Some patients get used to CPAP quickly, from the first day of use. However, most of us have problems adjusting at first, even when everything is going right.

The air pressure, and the fact that you are probably breathing more deeply because of it, could be stretching the chest muscles more than they are used to being stretched.

Secondly, because now you're sleeping so much better, without tossing and turning in bed, this can put additional strains on your back, or your chest (it depends which side are you sleeping on). In this case, the quality of your mattress is now more important.

Furthermore, if you sleep on your back with both arms in front of your chest, this can cause to force the air into the chest, stressing the muscles. Opening up your chest area by sleeping on your back with your arms at your side will help eliminate the pain.

So, if the cause of your chest muscles is from CPAP (muscle pain from breathing out against the CPAP pressure), you will probably get used to it in a few weeks to 6 months.

However, there is something that you should know... Sometimes the chest pain comes from another source, not from CPAP machine.

The chest pain can also mimic heart problems, like a heart attack. You probably know that sleep apnea may cause heart muscle damage if is left untreated for a long period of time.

Did you know that pericarditis - an inflammation of the pericardium (the sac that contains the heart) - has the characteristic of the chest pain?

So, only to eliminate the unnecessary worry, please speak with your primary care physician as soon as possible, to check your heart.

More about this subject on the page about CPAP chest or lung pain.

Let's face it, when we are diagnosed with sleep apnea we are worried. But you feel much better than before, so this is the best news I've heard for today.

However, try not to worry too much, and continue using your APAP machine every time you sleep or nap.

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

Comments for How long does it take to get acclimated to CPAP?

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Jan 29, 2016
Mask on mask off
by: Anonymous

I cannot keep my mask on. I wake up and it's in the floor by the bed! How can I keep myself from tearing it off at night?

May 03, 2017
by: Don

Have tried using Bipap machine for a month and never have been able to fall asleep even at sleep lab when first diagnosed with sleep apena. I lay in bed for 5-7 hours but never sleep. Feel like I am on speed. Best nights sleep in almost a month was with 10mg of valium. Sleep people keep telling me I'll get used to it. I say yea right if it doesn't kill me first. Wife is ready for a divorce as I am becoming like a bear with an abscessed tooth. Unhappy in Texas.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Help For Sleep Apnea.

Share this page:
Enjoy this sleep apnea page? Please pay it forward. Here's how..

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.