Millions of people in the United States suffer from sleep apnea, a breathing disorder that is commonly treated with a CPAP machine. There are several misconceptions about CPAP treatment, including the belief that patients must sleep on their backs because a mask is too heavy and cumbersome for them to sleep on their side or stomach. However, CPAP masks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and some are more cumbersome than others. While some CPAP users are required to wear a specific mask type, others are allowed to pick a mask based on their preferred sleeping position and how they want to sleep..
A CPAP mask should always be selected in accordance with the recommendations of a sleep specialist. Make an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist to see if your preferred mask option is a good fit for you. CPAP masks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and not all masks are suitable for every patient.
How does CPAP work?
For those with obstructive sleep apnea, the American Lung Association recommends the use of CPAP.
While a person sleeps, they must wear a mask that is connected to a machine that pumps air into their lungs. The mask is held in place by straps.
The use of a CPAP machine can help maintain a constant airflow into the lungs of the user. Maintaining a clear airway is made possible by the device’s air pressure, which prevents it from collapsing.
Sleep apnea is not cured by CPAP equipment. They help alleviate symptoms, but they don’t address the underlying issue.
CPAP machines and accessories are typically purchased from medical supply firms.
People with the following conditions may not be able to benefit from CPAP therapy:
- A coma or inability to breathe on one’s own facial burns is not considered a medical emergency.
- those who have recently undergone surgery on their face, throat, or stomach.
- vomiting and stomach cramps.
What are the different types of CPAP masks?
Full-face CPAP masks, CPAP nasal masks, and CPAP nasal pillows are the three major types of CPAP masks.
Full-face CPAP mask
A series of straps secure a full-face CPAP mask in place over your nose and mouth. This is the heaviest and most cumbersome mask on the market, and it’s made for mouthbreathers only.
CPAP nasal mask
The plastic shell of a CPAP nasal mask fits snugly over your nose. You may sleep in practically any position you like with this brace because it’s strapped to your body securely.
CPAP nasal pillow
Only your nostrils are covered by a CPAP nasal pillow. For those with sensitive skin or a lot of facial hair, this mask is great. If you suffer from claustrophobia, a CPAP nose pillow could help.
What are some of the factors that affect the fit of a CPAP mask?
Your CPAP mask’s fit can be affected by a variety of factors, including:
- Your nose’s size and shape.
- The dimensions of your head, including its form and size.
- So, you’ve got a beard? (and the amount).
- In the event that you have dentures.
- Regardless of whether you use your mouth or nose to inhale.
- Your sleeping position.
- The helmet, straps, and mask are composed of this material (i.e. plastic, silicone).
It’s also critical to think about how much you move while you’re asleep. An adjustable mask is necessary if you sleep on your stomach or if you toss and turn regularly.
How to Choose a CPAP Mask Based On Your Sleep Position
Full-face, nasal, and nasal cushion masks are the most commonly used CPAP devices. If you’re looking for a more compact option for a full-face mask, go no further than a nasal mask. There is no hard shell on a nasal pillow mask, making it the least obtrusive.
The tight seal required by CPAP masks means that sleeping in a position that puts pressure on the mask is more than just a pain – it can also reduce the effectiveness of your treatment. The headgear on a CPAP mask can also disrupt sleep, especially if it has stiff anchor straps or hard plastic buckles. Both the size of the mask (length and width, as well as depth) and the position of the headgear on your face should be taken into consideration when selecting a CPAP mask. It’s important to pick a sleep mask that’s both functional and comfy.
CPAP Masks for Side Sleepers
One of the greatest postures for treating snoring is to sleep on your side rather than on your back or stomach, as this avoids gravity from affecting your airway. There aren’t many options for CPAP masks for side sleepers.
Side sleepers who can accept the low profile of a nasal cushion mask may find it an attractive option. Nose pillow masks frequently preserve a seal even when side sleepers press their faces on the pillow during the night. Side sleepers might also try nasal masks, which cover the entire or part of the nose. These are the most effective types because they have superior seals and comfortable, easily-adjustable headgear. However, side sleepers may still need a CPAP-friendly cushion in order to accommodate the heaviness of even a nasal mask despite these qualities.
CPAP Masks for Back Sleepers
CPAP users who sleep on their back can choose from a wide variety of masks, as even full-face masks can be used comfortably in this position. Gravity can cause airway collapse while resting on your back, thus it’s not recommended for those who use a CPAP mask. As long as your doctor is aware that you sleep on your back and hasn’t advised you to switch positions, you should be able to use any mask that’s effective and meets your other requirements without much difficulty. If you’re a back sleeper, you’ll have a harder time removing your mask because of the position.
CPAP Masks for Stomach Sleepers
People who sleep on their stomachs have special issues when selecting a CPAP mask because they are the rarest sleepers. When worn in this manner, most masks press against the face, resulting in irritation and air leaks. If your mask is too large, it may pull your head into an uncomfortable posture, putting strain on your neck and maybe resulting in pain or stiffness the following day.
Most people are unable to sleep on their stomachs unless they use a nasal pillow mask because of these issues. Nasal pillows are perfect for this because of their low profile, which means they are less likely to become dislodged or cause discomfort as you sleep. If you’re going to utilize a nasal pillow mask, you need make sure that your pillow can accommodate the mask itself. In addition, depending on your sleeping posture and the stiffness of your pillow, some masks feature tube positioning along the temples.
Best CPAP Masks for the Side Sleeper
Side sleepers should use nasal pillows and nasal CPAP masks because they allow for movement and flexibility while minimizing facial contact. It is easier to keep the mask in place using a nasal cushion or nasal mask because they have a smaller footprint. If you sleep on your side and breathe via your mouth, consider using a chinstrap, a nasal cushion, or a nasal mask with a chinstrap to keep your airway open.
There is a risk of the pressure needed to keep the airway open changing when sleeping on one’s side. If this is a concern for one’s sleep position, then switching to an auto-adjust CPAP machine may be an option.
Best CPAP Mask for the Fetal Position
In the fetal position, your knees should be brought up to your chest, just as you’d expect. A flexible CPAP mask is typically required for fetal sleepers. For the fetal position, soft-to-the-touch buckles and textile surfaces, and masks that fit under the nose rather than over, are excellent possibilities.
The flexible chamber in the Swift FX Nasal Pillow CPAP Mask keeps the mask in place even when you move from side to side while sleeping. They have dual-wall flaps for added comfort and support as you sleep. In comparison to a standard full-face mask, this one is far more discrete and allows you to move around much more freely at night.
Best CPAP Mask for the Log Position
The log position has you lying on your back with your arms by your sides. Log sleepers, like fetal sleepers, necessitate a soft mask that won’t fall out of place under the weight of a pillow. While this position may be ideal for sleeping, it’s important to keep in mind that additional pressure may be imposed on the face due to the lower position of the arms. This just emphasizes the importance of using a soft nose mask with no rough edges or surfaces that could cause irritation or leaks when you’re trying to sleep.
The AirFit P10 Nasal Pillow Mask is lightweight and pleasant because of its simple design. With the QuickFit elastic headgear, there are no velcro tabs or clips needed for a secure fit. It’s less obstructive than traditional mask equipment, and it helps log sleepers avoid facial markings.
Best CPAP Mask for the Yearner Position
With your arms stretched in front of you, you’ll be lying on your side with your head propped up on a pillow. The side of your face may be compressed if you sleep in this position. As a result of this, the “arms out front” sleeping technique alleviates some of the strain. Almost any mask that works well in the fetal or log position will work well for the yearner as well.
With its soft fabric material, the SleepWeaver Advance Small Soft Cloth Nasal Mask is well-suited to yearning sleepers who need an extra-soft nasal mask. Even when it comes into touch with your pillow, the cushion helps maintain a seal by inflating with air. In addition to being comfy and reducing facial marks, the lightweight and breathable fabric makes it great for side sleepers.
Best CPAP Masks for the Back Sleeper
All three types of full-face masks, nasal pillow masks, and nasal masks are suitable for back sleepers. Choosing a CPAP mask that is easy to put on and take off at night is an important consideration when looking for one.
Best CPAP Mask for the Soldier Position
When you’re in this position, your arms are extended out and parallel to your legs as you sleep. Those who sleep on their backs should order a mask that is designed to keep the headgear system away from the back of their heads. To avoid stumbling over straps, buckles, or any other annoyance, it’s best to sleep on top of a mattress.
It’s up to you whether or not the ComfortGel Blue Nasal or Full Face Mask is best for army sleepers based on your preferences.
The headgear is attached to the top of the head, lowering the risk of discomfort when resting on your back. The stability selector on the ComfortGel forehead pad makes it simple for soldiers to fine-tune their mask’s fit. Additionally, it keeps your head raised, which is critical for soldiers with sleep apnea who need to keep it that way.
Best CPAP Mask for the Starfish Position
There are only a handful of people who practice the starfish stance, which entails resting on one’s back with one’s arms raised out around the pillow. Any back-sleeping mask can be used by starfish sleepers. Remember that starfish sleepers frequently move their arms around during the night, therefore any mask type that is as minimalistic as possible helps to limit the risks of tangles.
The DreamWear Nasal Mask, like the ComfortGel, has a headband that secures to the top of the head. To minimize mask tangles, the CPAP hose is placed above the starfish sleeper.
Starfish sleepers may experience discomfort from the back of the straps as a result of this design. The DreamWear frame allows for easy airflow to the cushion, resulting in a more comfortable experience. If one side of the frame is obstructed, air can flow only via that side.
Best Masks for the Stomach Sleeper
When used in conjunction with a CPAP cushion, a nasal pillow mask with minimum contact points and a top-of-head hose connection is perfect for stomach sleepers. It’s easier to sleep with a CPAP pillow since it features indents or gaps for your mask and hose to rest in. If you sleep on your stomach and breathe through your mouth, consider using Somnifix or a nasal cushion or mask with a chinstrap.
Best CPAP Masks for the Freefall Position
5% to 7% of the population sleeps on their stomachs with both hands on their pillow. Despite the fact that stomach sleepers are a rare breed, there are CPAP masks specifically made for them. Nasal pillow masks, which inflate on their own and often feature a simple design for enhanced comfort, are one alternative to consider. Stomach sleepers may benefit from the use of a high-quality gel or memory foam pillow.
Freefall sleepers may rely on the DreamWear Gel Nasal Pillow Mask for a secure seal and relaxation. The gel insert in the gel nasal pillow maintains a tight seal while providing comfort for each nostril.
Air may easily flow into the nasal pillow thanks to the mask’s hollow structure. Freefall sleepers who sleep on their stomachs benefit from a frame design on either side of their heads.
Tips for Choosing the Right CPAP Mask
At the medical supply store where I picked up my CPAP machine and tried on masks, I had to decide which one was the most comfortable for me.
I failed to consider one drawback of the selection procedure. For the sake of experimentation, I was seated in a chair and donning various masks to determine which one was the most comfortable. Because they are meant to be comfortable, this wasn’t a problem.
I didn’t give any thought to how the mask would effect my sleep habits. Having a location to test the mask in my sleep posture would have been ideal.
Nasal pillow mask for stomach and side sleepers
As a stomach sleeper, I was able to select a mask that worked best for me. Fortunately, I did so. Those with facial hair may benefit most from this nasal pillow mask’s ability to maintain a tight seal. This mask, in my opinion, is the greatest for stomach and side sleepers, but not so wonderful for back sleepers.
Due to the nasal pillow’s design, it is difficult to keep a seal around your head while sleeping on your back. The hose must be appropriately positioned so that it does not tug on the mask, causing discomfort and perhaps causing the seal to break. As a result, this mask is best suited for those who sleep on their side or stomach. Keep the mask on your pillow so that you don’t have to worry about your face getting tired.
Full-face mask for back sleepers
Because it is not lying on the pillow when the hose is pushing on it, I believe the full-face mask provides superior support if you sleep on your back. For the reasons I’ve indicated, this is not a mask I’d want to wear when lying on my back. If you do, I’m not sure how this would work for you.
What about claustrophobia?
For those of us who suffer from claustrophobia, there is one more thing to keep in mind. Because of this, finding a suitable CPAP mask can be difficult, which is one of the primary reasons individuals opt not to use one. For the most part, I don’t believe there are any suitable masks for persons who suffer from claustrophobia.
If you’re an aspiring inventor, or even if you’re not, this is a lucrative venture for you to pursue. The only option I can think of is to talk to your doctor about getting some medication for your anxiety. In my opinion, using the CPAP to help you sleep surpasses the use of anxiety medication or other sleep aids.
Still having trouble? Ask for help
I hope this helps you decide on a mask or gives you some ideas on how to better manage your sleep apnea. In my opinion, the best thing for you is to use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
If you’re having problems with your CPAP mask or equipment, talk to your doctor to see if you may receive some assistance.
Where Can You Purchase CPAP Masks?
Prescriptions are required for both CPAP masks and machines. However, CPAP masks can be purchased from a variety of sources, including online. Prescriptions are still required for purchases made through online stores, and these prescriptions are typically verified through upload or fax. You will be able to purchase your medication once your prescription has been approved.
The greatest CPAP machines and masks can be found online, but brick-and-mortar medical supply stores are also popular and may be more handy if you need a mask right away. Aside from that, several sleep clinics and experts provide a limited selection of CPAP masks. If you purchase through your sleep specialist, they will be able to better manage your therapy and monitor your progress.
Using a CPAP Pillow for Better Mask Fit
There are many different types of CPAP masks, but not everyone can use all of them. Your sleep specialist should help you choose the best CPAP mask for you. In the event that the mask you’re using makes it impossible for you to sleep in the position you desire, a CPAP pillow may be able to help. Even if you sleep on your side, these pillows have a unique design that makes it easier to wear a mask, even if it is larger and heavier. In some cases, they may also provide better neck support to prevent the mask from falling out or causing neck pain.
How do I make sure my CPAP mask fits?
Because there isn’t a standard chart for CPAP masks, there’s a lot of variation in the way they fit. In spite of this, most face masks come with adjustable straps and interchangeable cushion sizes.
The first time you put on your CPAP mask, experiment with various positions. Try lying on your stomach, back, or side to see what works best for you. Sit up straight after that. Make sure the CPAP machine is running and the mask is not leaking when you change positions. To avoid headaches, adjust the straps if there are noticeable pressure marks on the mask after removal.
The manufacturer’s directions should be followed when adjusting your CPAP mask. Make an appointment with your primary care physician if you still have questions or are concerned about the fit of your mask. If you’d like, they may give you tips on how to get the best fit as well as suggestions on how to clean and maintain it.
Lifestyle changes and home remedies
There is no cure for sleep apnea, although CPAP therapy is the most common treatment.
The American Lung Association recommends the following lifestyle adjustments in addition to the CPAP machine:
- slimming down.
- Smoking cessation
- sleeping on one’s side instead of on one’s back.
- Keeping sedatives and alcohol to a minimum.
According to an article in Neurology Clinical PracticeTrusted Source, persons with mild sleep apnea may find an alternative to CPAP equipment in mandibular advancement (MA) devices.
The jaw is moved forward by an MA, which is inserted into the patient’s mouth.