Did you know that not everyone wears a full-face mask or that there are multiple CPAP mask options to choose from? We believe in finding what works best for you and feels most comfortable. That’s why the professionals at Advanced Respiratory Care Network wanted to explain below how to decide what CPAP mask is best for you!
First, what types of masks are there?
Great question! The Sleep Foundation states, “The three most common CPAP mask designs are full-face, nasal, and nasal pillow masks. Full-face masks are the bulkiest, as they cover both the nose and the mouth, while nasal masks cover only the nose. Nasal pillow masks are the least obtrusive, as they cover only the nostrils and do not have a hard shell.”
What side do you sleep on?
Yes, your sleeping position plays into what mask will be best for you. Side sleepers may find nasal pillow masks or nasal masks easiest to sleep with. Side sleeping is also the best position for those with sleep apnea, as gravity impacts your airway less than when you sleep on your back or stomach.
If you sleep on your back, a full-face mask can easily be used. The nasal pillow and nasal masks are also a fine choice in this position. Finally, if you sleep on your stomach, this can cause air leaks which means nasal pillow masks are the best option for you due to their low profile.
What facial features do you have?
Think about your facial features and what may work best for you. Do you have dentures? What is the size/shape of your face? Do you have lots of facial hair? Do you have frequent nosebleeds? How long or wide is your nose? Answering questions specific to yourself will allow you to find the best option.
What feels most comfortable?
You will want to try out the masks to see what feels best, as everything will feel uncomfortable at first. And don’t be afraid to switch if you still do not like the mask you have. Are you easily claustrophobic? Then maybe choose a nasal mask over a full-face mask. It's also important to be fitted correctly – and continue tightening the straps as you use your CPAP each night as the straps can loosen which makes the treatment less effective.
Have you thought about accessories?
There are many accessories that make compliance easier and help with any mask you choose. Headgear can secure the mask and make it more comfortable, as some have Velcro you can use to easily adjust. If you are finding yourself breathing through your mouth, you may need to try a chinstrap. There are mask liners, pads and cushions to help with comfort along with humidifiers to add moisture and lessen discomfort.
We hope this helps you find a CPAP mask that suits you best! As always, we are here to provide the CPAP masks, machines and supplies you need as well as the knowledge and testing to diagnose your sleeping concerns. We are happy to help get you breathing better.