Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which the airway is blocked off during sleep. It causes a person to stop breathing or to breathe ineffectively in his sleep and this can lead to a whole host of other health problems, such as heart disease. Continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machines provide a constant blast of air all through the breath cycle to keep that airway open. A Bipap machine does much the same thing, but provides a different air pressure on exhalation. These machines take some getting used to, but anyone can learn how to set them up and use them.
Place the unit on hard, flat surface that is free of obstructions such as drapery or blankets. Keep the unit free of air conditioners and heaters that may effect the way it delivers the air to the patient. Connect the tubing to the large air outlet on the unit.
Place the sleep mask on the face snugly. It should fit, but should not be tight enough to leave a sore. All straps should be pulled to an equal tension around the face and head. Connect the tubing to the mask.
Turn on the Bipap unit. Adjust the straps of the mask until there is minimal air leakage from where the mask contacts the skin. Be sure that the air does not leak into the eyes. Position the tubing so that it flows freely and does not twist or kink. It should also be out of the way when repositioning in bed.
Find a comfortable sleep position. Breathe deeply through the nose and try to relax. If the machine has a ramp function, be sure to use it to start with a lower amount of pressure for the first twenty minutes of sleep. Relaxation and consistent use are key to getting accustomed to using a Bipap machine.
Lynda Lampert began writing professionally in 2000 with the publishing of her romance novel, "My Lady Elizabeth." Her work has also appeared in the "Pittsburgh Tribune Review." Lampert obtained an associate's degree in nursing from Mercyhurst College Northeast.