If you’re waking up frequently with a dry mouth or throat while on CPAP, then Dr. Avinesh Bhar – our pulmonary and sleep doctor – has some troubleshooting tips for you.


Most devices come with predetermined settings, which may not be right for you. You may increase or decrease the humidity level (amount of water vapor). Give it 1-2 days to determine if the new setting helps. Check out these videos to adjust the humidifier on Respironics Dreamstation and ResMed Airsense.

Water Tank

You should be refilling the water tank every day or every other day – if your humidifier is working right. Otherwise, your humidifier settings may be set too low or somehow not connecting to the machine. Have your DME take a look or reach out to us at Sliiip.

Room Temperature

In seasonal climates, the humidity level in the room can alter significantly. The use of air-conditioning or heaters can lead to significant loss of moisture from the machine to the mask. Climate control hose or adaptive CPAP systems may counteract the fluctuating external room environment. Other DIY options I have heard from users is to place the hose under your comforter/blanket or wrap it with an insulating material – any thick fabric should work.

Mask Fit Or Leak

The moisture through the hose can get lost as the mask makes contact with skin. It is likely you needed a better mask fit or seal. There are over 100 masks available for different facial shapes and features. Your best bet is to have your DME provide you with an alternative mask. You may also search online for a mask. Some sleep laboratories will conduct a PAP nap (covered by insurance), which is a test run of the chosen mask on your CPAP settings at their facility to assess fit and comfort.

As masks get older, the cushion (the soft plastic that makes contact with the skin) tends to lose its shape, leading to air leak and loss of moisture. You can either replace the cushion or ensure a longer cushion life by keeping it clean and minimizing facial oils (do not use alcohol-based products).

Another possible cause of mouth dryness I frequently encounter in practice are mouth breathers (I am one too). If using a nasal mask or a smaller sized full face mask (FFM), the opening of the lower jaw may allow moisture to escape. Your options include getting a chin strap for nasal masks or a better fitting FFM.


Some medications can cause mouth dryness – it is known as an anticholinergic effect. Some common medications include respiratory inhalers, and medications for sinus congestion, depression, insomnia, bladder overactivity, or dementia. This list is not exhaustive, please consult with your prescriber to reduce the dose (if you must continue the medication) or switch to a different class of medication.

Check out our video on How to manage mouth dryness on CPAP

Written by Dr. Avinesh Bhar, MD MBA


Whatever the sleep issue do not wait for it to get worse. With our board-certified respiratory and sleep doctor within your reach, you can get diagnosed and treated without leaving the comfort of home. Our online sleep specialist, Dr. Bhar believes that high-quality care only comes from a trustful physician-patient relationship.

For more information, get in touch with us today and visit www.sliiip.com, or call 478-238-3552.

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The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.