CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy is a highly effective way of treating patients experiencing obstructive sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea often face lapses in their breathing patterns while sleeping. It causes poor sleep quality and daytime sleepiness.
But with the help of a CPAP machine, they can keep their airway open with positively pressurised air via a CPAP mask that snugly fits around their nose and mouth. Nonetheless, it can be quite challenging to comfortably sleep wearing a CPAP mask, particularly when you’re a side sleeper.
Side sleeping is a common sleep position among many people and it even helps in improving the sleep quality of people with apnea. However, side sleeping may obstruct CPAP therapy, as it can hamper the fit of your CPAP mask.
In this article, we’ll share with you the types of CPAP masks and how to choose the best CPAP mask for side sleepers.
What Types of CPAP Masks Are Ideal For Side Sleepers?
The best types of CPAP masks for side sleepers are the nasal mask and nasal pillow types. However, choosing the right sleep apnea masks often depends on an individual’s preferences. The side sleepers require a CPAP mask to reduce the challenges they face, like changing sides during their sleep and having their face pressed against the sleep surface. So, they cannot properly wear their CPAP.
To address these issues, side sleepers need a flexible mask with a small footprint. So, nasal pillows and nasal masks are perfect for side sleepers, as they provide a proper balance of functionality and comfort to the wearer.
Nasal Pillow Mask
This mask is compact and comes with a soft silicone pillow, which rests below the nose to fit into the nostrils while creating a seal. This mask is great for side sleepers, as it is lightweight and can withstand frequent movements while sleeping. Due to their minimal design, these masks are good for people who love to watch TV or read books in bed before dozing off to sleep.
However, these masks may not be ideal for all side sleepers. It is because these masks may be uncomfortable at pressure settings of 12 cm H2O and above. Even people with chronic nasal problems, like severe congestion or deviated septum, can do better with some other type of CPAP mask.
A nasal mask helps in creating a seal around the bridge of the nose and upper lip. However, some versions are more compact. The nasal masks work better at higher pressure settings compared to nasal pillow masks. Hence, these masks help in offering better balance to side sleepers seeking lightweight masks that may withstand higher pressures.
These masks even come in various sizes and models, making it convenient to find a nasal mask with the right fitting. However, nasal masks may not work perfectly for side sleepers with nasal problems.
There are also other types of masks to consider. One is the oral mask that covers the mouth, and the other is the CPAP full-face mask for side sleepers that covers both the mouth and the nose.
Oral masks create a seal and provide air only to the mouth. Sleep specialists rarely prescribe these masks and there are not many models for this type of mask. But they work amazingly for people with chronic nasal issues.
Full-face masks that seal and deliver pressurised air to both the mouth and the nose are also quite common. But it is quite bulkier compared to nasal pillows and nasal masks. However, full-face masks are ideal for side sleepers who require higher pressure settings or those who breathe through their nose.
Find the Best Fitting CPAP Mask
Using the above-mentioned information, one can easily choose from the available CPAP mask options and sizes for side sleepers. Adjusting the headgear and also experimenting with various masks can also help in picking the right one. Whenever trying on CPAP masks, make sure to wear them and move around the house for a while. It will help in finding a mask that is comfortable to wear during activities. Hence, side sleepers can wear them comfortably when moving during their sleep.
With any new mask, there is also a chance that you may not like its fit. So, it is best to look for packs with different fits. Such packs even come in two to three different sizes to make sure you get the best fit. No matter what type of CPAP mask you require and which position you sleep in, there is a perfect mask out there as per your requirements. Once you find the right mask for yourself, don’t forget its regular cleaning to keep it away from germs, mold, or bacteria. You can invest in an advanced UV-integrated CPAP cleaner for convenient cleaning without any hassle. Hence, your selected mask will remain germ-free with regular use.