I have a cold and can't breathe through my nose - how am I going to sleep with my nasal mask and CPAP?

By DebK Latest Activity October 5, 2010 at 2:22 pm Views 22,898 Replies 13 Likes 3


I slept last night without using the mask/machine and today my congestion is even worse. I came down with a cold and bronchitis over the weekend, and my ability to breathe through my nose is about nil. Any suggestions for sleeping with the masK? Should I just sleep without it until I get over this cold?

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Replies (13 replies)

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  • Phamm
    Phamm December 11, 2012 at 9:25 pm   

    I have had sinusitis over a month. I take major doses of vitamin c, 1000mg every 4 hours minimum plus a garlic capsule, gel tab, or tab also every 4 hours. If I take it just before bed, & put a little mentholatem under my nose, with my humidifier it really has helped. I like what the news letter recommended. Since I suffer with lots of allergies, I'm going to call my doctor or respiratory therapy provider & get a full face mall to keep on hand. I really like the gel madhouse masks but recently changed to Res Med Bella Loops nasal pillows. LOVE it! No more hair falling out where my straps rubbed.

  • hoob
    hoob October 14, 2010 at 4:15 pm   
    Edited October 14, 2010 at 4:17 pm by hoob

    When I'm clogged up I sparringly use Neosenphrine(sic) spray. BUT I just drop a couple of drops on my finger and coat the inside of my nose with it. That way I don't get that "I've gotta use that spray" feeling the next night. Don't know about anybody else but that stuff is addictive to me. I get the cheap generic stuff at WaLmart or sometimes they have it at the Dollar store. It works.

  • Bobo5337
    Bobo5337 October 10, 2010 at 8:21 pm   

    I have trouble sleep with my mouth closed period. I tried the cpap machine before and worked with for a while but then I just coudn't keep my mouth close and I was always fighting it so I quit using it and had a surgery to try to help it and it got better but it is still a problem. What should I do?

  • Hair Bear
    Hair Bear December 11, 2012 at 12:20 pm   

    Use a full mask that covers Mouth and Nose.

  • hoob
    hoob October 14, 2010 at 4:18 pm   

    Sometimes have the same problem. I had to buy a chinstrap, but it's hot in the summer. It does work.

  • winchester9710
    winchester9710 October 10, 2010 at 4:42 pm   
    Edited October 10, 2010 at 4:42 pm by winchester9710

    I always use the Breath Right strips. Always helps me when I have a cold or not…

  • Tracy
    Tracy October 10, 2010 at 9:01 am   

    If you normally wear a traditional nasal mask or nasal pillow masks - and find that you have nasal congestion for whatever reason…a cold, allergies… and cannot breathe well through your nose - you won't be able to use cpap…gotta be able to breathe with mask on! For me, here is nothing worse than having a cold, flu or allergies that means you have to miss a night on cpap - when you need it most too…getting a good night sleep is restorative and helps our body heal! So not sleeping when we are sick is a double whammy! Bummer!

    What I learned to do was use a full face mask on those nights. I normally wear nasal pillow masks, but I asked my doctor to write a prescription for a full face mask so I would never have to miss a nights sleep when I was sick. My insurance paid for it, but it does require a prescription…so I think we should all have a full face mask on hand just for those nights!

    Yeah, full face masks can be challenging because of their sheer size - but in today's world there are dozens to choose from. One of my favorites is the ResMed Liberty because of its small size. It's what I CHOSE after trying many ff masks on. So - ask your doc for a RX for ff mask, then visit your cpap supplier and try on several so YOU can choose which one works best for you.

    On those nights, I also find that turning my heated humidifier up a notch is helpful. I normally keep my temp setting on 1 or 2 - but when I am sick I may turn it up one notch…don't overdo it though, you don;t want to cause excessive condensation in your tubing by turning the heat up too high! Less is better, in my opinion…its not the heat we need as much as the humidity.

    I find the better my sleep, the healthier I am overall. After 20 plus years on PAP, I find I have much fewer instances of colds/flu etc…and again, when I AM sick, the last thing I want to add to it is a string of bad nights sleep!


  • snozer
    snozer November 30, 2010 at 10:23 pm   

    these are all good ideas but what i do is just take a little bit of vicks on my finger and put a dab in my nose about 30 mins before bed time it seems to unblock the snoze so the hose can blow or use a little warmer on the humid that is a very good idea. tom

  • Jeannie Holmes
    Jeannie Holmes October 8, 2010 at 2:42 pm   

    I have found that using the CPAP has helped me breath when I have a cold.

  • Avera
    Avera October 8, 2010 at 10:58 pm   

    I'm glad that you wrote that. Mine helps me when I have a cold also.

  • Avera
    Avera October 5, 2010 at 9:35 pm   

    Hello DebK,

    Always, the first thing to do is call your sleep specialist and ask them what to do. Your situation may need a doctor's suggestions due to your diagnosis.

    Meanwhile, if you have a full face mask as a spare, use that. If you don't, you need to try to clear your airway. Saline sprays usually do the trick, and vapor rubs also help. Once the airway is cleared, the cpap will help to keep it clear. Sometimes a heated humidifier will really help keep it clear. If you have nasal plugging problems, you should definately have a full face mask on hand as a standby.

    "Most patients can use the CPAP to clear up a stuffy nose. Put your CPAP mask on and turn on the machine. Slowly take a few deep breaths in through your nose, and out through your mouth for several minutes. Then, breath in and out, through your nose only for a few minutes. Your nose should clear, if not repeat the above steps again. Be sure to clean the mask after each use, to minimize the germs when sick."

    Hope this helps…

  • DebK
    DebK October 5, 2010 at 9:42 pm   


    Thank you for your response. I don't have a spare mask of any sort (been on CPAP for almost 1 year only). I'll try your method with the CPAP. It has a heated humidifier and if I can get past the "I can't breathe" panic, hopefully I'll be good to go. Thanks again!

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