I just started wearing a device at night to treat obstructive sleep apnea. How soon can I expect my symptoms to improve?

Most people start seeing a decrease in morning headaches, dry mouth and daytime sleepiness within a few days after starting positive airway pressure (PAP) treatment.

Because the device you're wearing prevents your airway from being blocked, you should notice immediately that you no longer wake up gasping or choking. Your partner might also mention that you have stopped snoring.

What obstructive sleep apnea symptoms take more time to improve?

Some issues take a little longer to improve, such as memory problems and controlling high blood pressure. The key is to stick with your PAP therapy treatment. The more often you wear your PAP device, the faster your symptoms will resolve.

Do I need to wear my PAP device all night long?

It's important to wear your device the whole night — rather than taking it off after a few hours — to maximize its effectiveness.

What happens if I don't treat my obstructive sleep apnea?

Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and car crashes from drowsy driving. Sticking to your treatment plan relieves symptoms such as snoring and reduces your risk of developing severe heart health issues and other life-threatening conditions.

Once my symptoms go away, can I stop wearing my PAP device?

It may be tempting to wear your PAP device less frequently once your symptoms get better. However, skipping a few nights of PAP therapy can undo the progress you've made. Obstructive sleep apnea treatment is not temporary. It's important to make therapy a part of your everyday lifestyle.


Eric J. Olson, M.D.

Aug. 14, 2020 See more Expert Answers

See also

  1. Medication-free hypertension control
  2. 6 surprising signs you may have obstructive sleep apnea
  3. Alcohol: Does it affect blood pressure?
  4. Alpha blockers
  5. Ambien: Is dependence a concern?
  6. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  7. Angiotensin II receptor blockers
  8. Anxiety: A cause of high blood pressure?
  9. Bedtime routines: Not just for babies
  10. Beta blockers
  11. Beta blockers: Do they cause weight gain?
  12. Beta blockers: How do they affect exercise?
  13. Blood pressure: Can it be higher in one arm?
  14. Blood pressure chart
  15. Blood pressure cuff: Does size matter?
  16. Blood pressure: Does it have a daily pattern?
  17. Blood pressure: Is it affected by cold weather?
  18. Blood pressure medication: Still necessary if I lose weight?
  19. Blood pressure medications: Can they raise my triglycerides?
  20. Blood pressure readings: Why higher at home?
  21. Blood pressure tip: Get more potassium
  22. Blood pressure tip: Get off the couch
  23. Blood pressure tip: Know alcohol limits
  24. Blood pressure tip: Stress out no more
  25. Blood pressure tip: Watch the caffeine
  26. Blood pressure tip: Watch your weight
  27. Caffeine and hypertension
  28. Calcium channel blockers
  29. Calcium supplements: Do they interfere with blood pressure drugs?
  30. Can low vitamin D cause high blood pressure?
  31. Can whole-grain foods lower blood pressure?
  32. Can't sleep? Try daytime exercise
  33. Central-acting agents
  34. Choosing blood pressure medications
  35. Coffee after dinner? Make it decaf
  36. Counting calories
  37. Diuretics
  38. Diuretics: A cause of low potassium?
  39. Do you know your blood pressure?
  40. Does obstructive sleep apnea increase my risk for Alzheimer's disease?
  41. High blood pressure and exercise
  42. Foods and sleep
  43. Free blood pressure machines: Are they accurate?
  44. Home blood pressure monitoring
  45. Headache
  46. High blood pressure (hypertension)
  47. High blood pressure and cold remedies: Which are safe?
  48. High blood pressure and sex
  49. High blood pressure: Can you prevent it?
  50. High blood pressure dangers
  51. How to get used to positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy
  52. Hypertensive crisis: What are the symptoms?
  53. Improve obstructive sleep apnea with physical activity
  54. Insomnia
  55. Insomnia: How do I stay asleep?
  56. Insomnia treatment: Cognitive behavioral therapy instead of sleeping pills
  57. Isolated systolic hypertension: A health concern?
  58. Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
  59. L-arginine: Does it lower blood pressure?
  60. Living better with obstructive sleep apnea
  61. Making sense of obstructive sleep apnea treatments
  62. Medications and supplements that can raise your blood pressure
  63. Menopause and high blood pressure: What's the connection?
  64. Not tired? Don't go to bed
  65. Obstructive sleep apnea
  66. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  67. Pillar procedure
  68. Polysomnography (sleep study)
  69. Pregnancy and obesity
  70. Prescription sleeping pills: What's right for you?
  71. Pulse pressure: An indicator of heart health?
  72. Resperate: Can it help reduce blood pressure?
  73. Septoplasty
  74. Shortness of breath
  75. Skip booze for better sleep
  76. Sleep deprivation: A cause of high blood pressure?
  77. CPAP masks
  78. Stress and high blood pressure
  79. Tonsillectomy
  80. Tracheostomy
  81. Valerian: A safe and effective herbal sleep aid?
  82. Vasodilators
  83. How to measure blood pressure using a manual monitor
  84. How to measure blood pressure using an automatic monitor
  85. Obstructive sleep apnea: What happens?
  86. What is blood pressure?
  87. Weightlifting: Bad for your blood pressure?
  88. What's your high blood pressure risk?
  89. White coat hypertension
  90. Wrist blood pressure monitors: Are they accurate?