You purchased a brand new CPAP machine. You are excited about having a better night’s rest and more energy throughout the day. You are ready to be compliant and start this therapy! You’re confused as to why there’s a humidifier attached when you open the box...
All CPAP machines come standard with a heated humidifier. Inside you may see a water chamber usually made of plastic and will indicate the fill level necessary for optimal humidification. You’ll notice two metal plates - they will conduct heat and produce humidity for your therapy. You are able to control humidity levels by using the dial on your machine. For example, the ResMed AirSense 10 Elite would have humidity levels ranging from one to either (four is the default). The DreamStation CPAP machines have a humidity range from zero to five.
Furthermore, if you would like to control humidity levels, it’s simple! You are able to increase or decrease the temperature of the heated tube. If the temperature is lower, that will allow for more condensation and thus more humidification. If the temperature is higher, that will decrease condensation and thus reduce humidification. You will want to adjust settings based on preference as well as the environment’s level of moisture. With the ability to change both humidification settings and heated tube temperatures, you will be able to reach the most desirable setting for your comfort and therapy.
Humidification can help with CPAP compliance as it helps keep the nasal membranes from drying out. It also prevents the irritation of airways and can help reduce the amount of snoring that occurs during sleep (your sleep partner will forever be grateful for this). Some users find that humidity also reduces mouth breathing and promotes breathing through the nose during sleep. The moisture can be of larger benefit for those who suffer from allergies by soothing the throat and nasal passages.
You may still decide that humidification is not for you and that’s alright! It’s an option available if you find you need more moisture. It does not need to be used to enjoy CPAP therapy. We recommend you speak to your health care provider if you have concerns about humidification and your CPAP therapy!