How Long Does CPAP Take To Work?

How Long Does CPAP Take To Work?

Key Takeaways

  • CPAP therapy may take some time to get used to. While it is an adjustment to your lifestyle, it is strongly recommended to stick to your new routine to get the best results from treatment.
  • Make sure you are using the proper CPAP equipment that is best for you, including both the proper CPAP machine and CPAP mask. 
  • If you are still experiencing difficulty with CPAP treatment after a few weeks, it is recommended to visit your healthcare provider. They may be able to adjust your settings to help you adjust better to therapy. 

The results for CPAP therapy can vary. The severity of your obstructive sleep apnea and your compliance all factor in. Many patients may have a rough start from discomfort with the equipment and stop therapy, which can delay progress. The more disciplined you become with your CPAP therapy, the sooner you will see results.  

How Many People Use CPAP Machines? 

It was estimated that over 22 million people suffered from sleep apnea in 2021. Manufacturers of CPAP equipment believe that there are more than 8 million CPAP users in the United States¹, with those numbers growing as awareness of sleep apnea and CPAP therapy becomes more prevalent.

How Long Does It Take To Adjust To CPAP? 

Adjusting to CPAP therapy when you first get started is the most difficult. Many patients find the mask uncomfortable and struggle with breathing pressurized air. But when patients stick to their CPAP routine, they get used to the therapy and can begin to see positive results in as little as a few weeks.

CPAP Mask Uncomfortable

One of the most common problems when first starting CPAP therapy is the discomfort of the CPAP mask. If you experience discomfort, try different types of masks to find one that works best for you. Full face CPAP masks can be best for mouth breathers. Nasal CPAP masks help patients who find the full face CPAP masks too claustrophobic. Nasal pillow masks provide the least amount of facial contact with only two cushions inserted inside the nostrils.  

CPAP Mask Fit

The fit of your mask is also important. Make sure you follow the adjustment guidelines from your mask manufacturer to ensure a comfortable and secure fit. If you need to overtighten a mask to prevent leaks, then it needs to be replaced. A poorly fitting CPAP mask can reduce the effectiveness of your CPAP therapy.  

CPAP Machine Set Up

Your CPAP machine pressure settings are prescribed by your doctor but can be a challenge for those new to CPAP therapy. If you find breathing pressurized air uncomfortable while going to sleep, you can find a CPAP machine with a ramp feature. This feature allows you to fall asleep with a lower-pressure setting. Once you are asleep, the machine “ramps” up to your prescribed setting, so you sleep through the discomfort.  

Signs That Your CPAP is Not Working

There are a few signs that your CPAP therapy may not be working. They include:

  • Gasping for air at night
  • Loud snoring
  • Morning headaches
  • Daytime sleepiness

If these symptoms persist, you may want to check to see that your CPAP machine is working properly.  In some cases, it may just be an adjustment to your settings. Your doctor can help you with that. If you have an older CPAP machine, you may need to consider getting a new one if you continue to experience problems with sleep.

How Long Do You Have to Use a CPAP Machine?

CPAP therapy does not cure your sleep apnea. You may have to use your CPAP machine indefinitely to reduce on-going apneas so you can get a good night’s sleep. However, your sleep apnea may be related to issues such as obesity, which with adjustments to your health and lifestyle can reduce apneas. You may be able to stop CPAP therapy eventually if your sleep apnea is directly related to a specific health issue.  


While obstructive sleep apnea may be something you have to live with, the good news is that non-invasive CPAP therapy is easy to use and has no harmful side effects. We may change our diet to help reduce cholesterol — consider your CPAP therapy the same way. Think of CPAP therapy as an ongoing lifestyle choice that helps you get the healthy sleep you need.  

If you or someone you know has sleep apnea, The CPAP Shop would be happy to assist you in choosing products to best suit your needs. Give us a call at 866-414-9700 today!


Chris Vasta

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes and is frequently tapped to provide reviews on new releases.