What Are The Side Effects of Using a CPAP Machine?

This post was originally posted on May 5, 2020 and updated on Febrary 25, 2022.

A CPAP machine offers a lot of benefits from improved sleep to feeling more alert and rested during the day. Because frequent lack of quality sleep can also contribute to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, and early onset of dementia, there are long-term health advantages to CPAP therapy.

However, like any medical treatment, your CPAP machine may also have some side effects. Most of the side effects of using a CPAP machine come from the mask and the air pressure. Trying out different types of masks and adjusting air pressure are easy ways to resolve unpleasant CPAP experiences.

Types of Negative Side Effects of Using CPAP Machine

Dry Mouth

Dryness in the mouth usually occurs with mouth breathers. As your mouth hangs open your CPAP machine loses pressure leading to a parched mouth in the morning. Using a full face mask to completely cover the mouth and maintain consistent pressure during the night can help prevent mouth dryness.

Runny Nose & Dry Nose

You may experience nasal congestion or nasal dryness with the use of your CPAP mask. Airflow from a CPAP machine can be dry and eventually dries out your nasal passages. Your body may also overproduce mucous to compensate for the dryness, giving you a runny nose. Humidifiers are a great way to alleviate some of this discomfort. Selecting a CPAP machine with a heated humidifier can keep airflow through the tubing moist and warm to help prevent these side effects.

Skin Irritation

Rashes and red marks on your face are the results of a poorly fitting mask. The issue can be resolved by experimenting with different types of masks to find the best fit. Try a nasal mask or nasal pillow mask to minimize facial contact and red marks. 


The close fit of a CPAP mask can sometimes make you feel claustrophobic when you first use it. Try wearing the mask for extended periods of time until you become more accustomed to the fit. Eventually, you will find yourself wearing the mask without any issues. Also consider a nasal pillow mask as an alternative, which does not cover the mouth and nose like a full face mask and may feel more comfortable.

What are the Causes of CPAP Machine Side Effects

Air leaks are one of the most common causes of many CPAP machine side effects. Making sure that your mask fits securely and replacing cushions regularly can help prevent mask leaks. You can also reduce air pressure to prevent forced air from escaping from around the edges of the mask.

Reducing air pressure can also help with discomfort during exhalation. Ramp from a lower pressure at first and see if your breathing comfort improves.

How to Prevent CPAP Side Effects?

The best approach to managing CPAP machine side effects is to select a machine and a mask that work for you. Choose from several CPAP mask options to find one that fits comfortably. Your choice of CPAP machine also matters. 

Many machines come with heated humidifiers to help with nasal dryness. Auto CPAP machines automatically adjust pressure levels to fit your changing needs and ensure you’re receiving the lowest pressure necessary, which can help you get used to therapy more easily.If you still have questions, our customer care team is here to help and offer advice on what equipment best suits your individual needs. Give us a call 866.414.9700 or email us at contact@thecpapshop.com.

Chris Vasta


Chris Vasta

Over a 10+ year career at PHH Mortgage managing a $100 million portfolio, Chris Vasta learned the ins and outs of the business world. He learned how to establish business relationships, lead a multi-prong team, and implement strategies for long-term growth. In 2007, Vasta used that experience to transition his role into president of The CPAP Shop. Over his tenure, Vasta has been involved in everything from website design to warehouse layout. His hands-on approach with customers has evolved into an in-depth understanding of the challenges of beginning and adhering to sleep therapy. He often provides his insights on product…

147 Comments Leave new

  • Gerry Klein

    hi i feel like should i cough jnto the mask at night or take it off if i have time

    • Chris Vasta

      There are several causes of coughing, one may be caused by CPAP therapy drying your air passages. If you are not currently using a humidifier it would help to incorporate that into your therapy. If you are using a humidifier currently, try adjusting the humidifier level. Confirm you don’t have any mask leaks, and the cushion or pillows have been changed according to the recommended schedule. If you wake up with a feeling of cotton mouth, using a chinstrap or the Somnifix mouth strips will help to prevent your airway passages from becoming dry and constricted.

  • Rosa

    I am in my third month of using the Dreamstation with auto set for 4 to 12,
    and my mask has a good fit of 96-100%. I’ve tried 4 masks and am using the best one. I also use dreammapper, and have reasonable stats, My AhI is 2-3, My apneas are 0-3 and by Hypopneas are 7-22. Before the sleep study I didn’t have any of the symptoms of sleep apnea listed at the Mayo Clinic website. I didn’t even think that I snored, although I do. It never bothered me at all. The nights are terrible but the days are worse. I wake up after 8-10 hours of sleeping. It feels like I’ve slept 3 hours. Before CPAP I took 3 naps a week, setting the timer for 10-20 minutes. Now I take 3 naps a day from 2-4 hours. I fall asleep at the computer, during meetings. One month I spent 50 hours NAPPING. The next problem is DEPRESSION. Since starting CPAP, every day I’m sinking down, down, down, every day is worse than the day before. The third problem is a serious lack of focus. In one day I lost my glasses & cell phone (which I found), my bank card (never found –had to be replaced), and there’s a fence at the end of my driveway. After missing it for 33 years, with only 6 weeks on CPAP, I ran right into it! Since I hadn’t had an accident before, I had heard that sleep apnea causes accidents and after only 6 weeks on CPAP this proves that CPAP and sleep apnea causes accidents. Before CPAP, I had excellent health, normal blood pressure, excellent A1C of 4.9 for diabetes, and wasn’t on any medication. In the months before CPAP I I was a happy, energetic person and accomplished a great deal. Now I’m a depressed person with NO energy, no focus. I go to a clinic where I see a different doctor every time. All they say is, “Just keep on using CPAP” OR “You’ll die if you stop using it.”

    • Chris Vasta

      We are sorry to hear about the issues you are having. However, The CPAP Shop cannot offer any medical advice and recommends that you consult with a physician or sleep therapist on your individual care.

    • Amanda

      I feel the exact same way…i started my therapy 11/23 and the 2nd week into it i was crying over everything, even upon rising in the morning. I do not feel I am getting “Good Sleep” even though my app says GREAT JOB, YOU SHOULD FEEL BETTER SOON…. I just requested a DR visit because I am sinking into a bad depression and NOTHING has changed in my life except the CPAP. I take no medications, I am slightly overweight by 10-15 lbs…I have no energy…I dont HATE the machine or the mask…if it helps keep me alive I am all for it but whatever it is doing to my hormones or whatever, sucks.

    • Marilyn

      Try looking on line. I just started with a CPap and feel like a zombie. Dx with severe sleep apnea so CPap recommended .
      The dry mouth, weird body feeling after using may be normal after using initially, but I really encourage you to look at alternatives- they even have dental mouth appliances, like a mouth guard.
      This is all new to me though, but I really appreciated your honesty. I might also suggest that using a CPap may have messed with your perception of yourself and contributed to the downward spiral. Have you ever seen a neurologist or been evaluated for narcolepsy?
      If you were pretty great except for the napping issues it is worth a look. I wish you the best always. I’ll check back and hope to hear some good news. MSN


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *