Position-Specific Considerations When Choosing a CPAP Mask

Position-Specific Considerations When Choosing a CPAP Mask

Lots of Australians have sleep apnea, a breathing disorder treated by a CPAP machine. Many people assume that because CPAP therapy requires the use of a mask, CPAP users must sleep on their back because a mask is too bulky to allow them to comfortably sleep on their side or stomach.

However, some CPAP masks are bulkier than others and there are a variety of designs to choose from. Some CPAP users are required to use only one specific type of cpap mask, while others can select a mask that best accommodates their prefered sleeping posture.

When selecting a CPAP mask, it’s critical to adhere to the recommendations of your sleep doctor. Talk to them first to see if your prefered mask type will work for you before making a switch. Because of their unique designs, not all CPAP users can benefit from the same mask.

Position-Specific Considerations When Choosing a CPAP Mask

Full-face, nasal, and nasal pillow masks are the three most common types of CPAP masks. Comparatively, nasal masks are the smallest option, while full-face masks are the bulkiest because they enclose the nose and mouth as well. Because they only enclose the nostrils and don’t have a rigid frame, nasal pillow masks are the most discrete option.

Sleeping in a position that presses on the CPAP mask is not only uncomfortable, but can also reduce the mask’s ability to seal and reduce the effectiveness of your treatment. The headgear for a CPAP mask, such as the buckles and anchor straps, can also be a source of distraction if they are too rigid or made of hard plastic. 

The mask’s footprint (length, width, and depth) and the headgear’s contact point with your face are both important factors to think about when selecting a CPAP mask. The objective is to find a mask that works while still allowing you to have a good night’s rest.

Masks for Side Sleepers Using Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

If you suffer from sleep apnea, one of the best things you can do is switch to sleeping on your side, where gravity won’t be able to push against your airway like it does when you’re on your back or stomach. Side sleepers have it rough when it comes to finding a comfortable CPAP mask.

People who sleep on their sides may find comfort in using a nasal pillow mask, which has a low profile and sits slightly above the pillow. (Some people who sleep on their sides actually press their face into the pillow, but nasal pillow masks usually still maintain their seal.) 

Many side sleepers also find success with nasal masks, which can be worn over the nose or just the bridge. Best models have not only good seals, but also cushioned, adaptable headgear. While these additions do help, a CPAP-friendly pillow may still be necessary for side sleepers who have trouble with even a nasal mask’s bulk.

Masks for Back Sleepers Using Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

Sleeping on one’s back is the most mask-friendly position for CPAP users, as even full-face masks can be worn comfortably. Because of the CPAP mask’s design, sleeping on one’s back may be the most comfortable position; however, this position also increases the risk of airway collapse. 

If your doctor knows you sleep on your back and hasn’t suggested you switch positions, you should be able to use any mask that meets your needs without any discomfort. Also, it’s much harder to lose your mask if you sleep this way, though some people have trouble with one-strap headgear while sleeping on their backs.

CPAP Masks with Stomach Sleepers in View

People who sleep on their stomachs have a few extra considerations when shopping for a CPAP mask because this position is so uncommon. Many masks leak air and are uncomfortable to wear in this position. Your mask’s size may also require you to hold your head in an awkward position, which can put strain on your neck and awaken pain or stiffness in the morning.

It is for these reasons that a nasal pillow mask is required for most people to sleep on their stomachs. Nasal pillows are great for this because of their low profile; you won’t have to worry about it falling out of your nose or causing you discomfort no matter how you choose to sleep. 

Nasal pillow mask users, like everyone else, need a pillow large enough to hold the device. There are masks with tubes that rest along the temples; this can restrict airflow, depending on how you sleep and how firm your pillow is.

How to Go About Purchasing a CPAP mask?

Both CPAP machines and masks are medical devices that can only be purchased with a valid prescription. Nonetheless, you can get a CPAP mask from a number of different sources. It is still common practise for online pharmacies to ask for a valid prescription, which is verified through a fax or photo upload. You will be able to make a purchase once your prescription has been validated.

The best CPAP machines and CPAP masks are typically found at online retailers, though brick-and-mortar medical equipment retailers are also common and may be more convenient if you need a mask immediately. 

Finally, the variety of CPAP masks sold by sleep clinics and specialists is often quite small. While buying from a sleep clinic will likely increase your costs, doing so will allow your doctor to more accurately monitor your progress.

Proper Mask Fit with the Help of a CPAP Pillow

Your sleep specialist should guide you in selecting a CPAP mask, as not all CPAP patients are candidates for every type of mask. When using a CPAP machine, a mask can restrict your ability to sleep in your prefered position. A CPAP pillow may alleviate this problem. 

These pillows have a unique shape that makes them ideal for sleeping with a mask, even when lying on your side. Also, some models provide additional cervical support to keep your mask in place and alleviate neck pain.

More to read: Common Causes of CPAP Mask Leaks and Their Simple Solutions