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

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  27. Caffeine and hypertension
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  30. Can whole-grain foods lower blood pressure?
  31. Can't sleep? Try daytime exercise
  32. Central-acting agents
  33. Choosing blood pressure medications
  34. Coffee after dinner? Make it decaf
  35. Counting calories
  36. Diuretics
  37. Diuretics: A cause of low potassium?
  38. Do you know your blood pressure?
  39. Does obstructive sleep apnea increase my risk for Alzheimer's disease?
  40. High blood pressure and exercise
  41. Foods and sleep
  42. Free blood pressure machines: Are they accurate?
  43. Home blood pressure monitoring
  44. Headache
  45. High blood pressure (hypertension)
  46. High blood pressure and cold remedies: Which are safe?
  47. High blood pressure and sex
  48. High blood pressure: Can you prevent it?
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  50. How to get used to positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy
  51. Hypertensive crisis: What are the symptoms?
  52. Improve obstructive sleep apnea with physical activity
  53. Insomnia
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  55. Insomnia treatment: Cognitive behavioral therapy instead of sleeping pills
  56. Isolated systolic hypertension: A health concern?
  57. Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
  58. L-arginine: Does it lower blood pressure?
  59. Living better with obstructive sleep apnea
  60. Making sense of obstructive sleep apnea treatments
  61. Medications and supplements that can raise your blood pressure
  62. Menopause and high blood pressure: What's the connection?
  63. Not tired? Don't go to bed
  64. Sleep apnea, obstructive
  65. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  66. Pillar procedure
  67. Polysomnography (sleep study)
  68. Pregnancy and obesity
  69. Prescription sleeping pills: What's right for you?
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  71. Resperate: Can it help reduce blood pressure?
  72. Septoplasty
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  74. Skip booze for better sleep
  75. Sleep deprivation: A cause of high blood pressure?
  76. CPAP masks
  77. Stress and high blood pressure
  78. Tonsillectomy
  79. Tracheostomy
  80. Valerian: A safe and effective herbal sleep aid?
  81. Vasodilators
  82. How to measure blood pressure using a manual monitor
  83. How to measure blood pressure using an automatic monitor
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