A CPAP mask is an essential part of your CPAP therapy — after all, without a mask, you’d have no way to get the pressurized air produced by your CPAP machine to your lungs!
While many people are able to adjust to wearing a CPAP mask relatively quickly, others struggle with feelings of discomfort. Sometimes, these feelings of discomfort could tempt you to give up on your treatment altogether.
This doesn’t have to be the case. By focusing on a few basic practices, you will grow used to wearing a CPAP mask so you can enjoy effective therapy.
First Things First: Selecting the Right Mask Type
Selecting the right mask type for your needs will go a long way in enhancing comfort.
Full face masks cover both the nose and mouth, and are recommended for people who breathe through their mouth at night. These masks are also generally recommended for individuals with facial hair, as a larger mask will provide a better seal.
Nasal masks are designed to fit over just the nose. They have a lighter weight, making them a better choice for individuals who may feel claustrophobic wearing a full face mask.
Finally, there are nasal pillows, which are even more minimal in design, inserting directly into the nostrils. Though these masks provide more openness and visibility, they are generally not recommended for individuals who require higher air pressure settings.
After completing a sleep study, your doctor can help you determine which mask type is the best option based on your breathing habits, and which mask will feel more comfortable against the contours of your face.
Getting Used to Your CPAP Mask
Regardless of which type of CPAP mask you choose, it will take some time to adjust to the feeling of sleeping with a mask. If the mask feels uncomfortable, you may struggle to fall asleep.
Because of this, it is actually recommended that you practice wearing your CPAP mask during the day. Start by holding the mask in front of your face (without attaching it to the tubing), and breathe normally for about a minute. After this, connect your mask to the CPAP machine and turn it on. Hold the mask in front of your face for one to two minutes and continue breathing normally.
After this, put on the mask and headgear, and practice breathing with the CPAP machine turned on for two minutes. Make sure the headgear is properly fitted so that the mask fits snugly, but not too tightly against your skin.
Repeat this process as needed, gradually building up how much time you keep the mask on. To make this easier, it could be helpful to do another distracting activity while practicing with the mask, such as watching TV or reading. Try to work up to wearing the mask for half an hour at a time.
It may also be helpful to try using your CPAP mask for a shorter daytime nap. Try to increase the amount of time you keep the mask on for your nap — as well as nighttime. Focus on making continual progress until you are able to keep your mask on for the entire night. Have a spouse or friend serve as an accountability partner to help you stick with wearing your CPAP mask.
When to Consider a Different Mask
Remember, your mask shouldn’t feel uncomfortable or cause pain. If this is the case, you may need to adjust the straps on your headgear. A mask that doesn’t fit properly could result in leaks, skin irritation, or even pressure sores. You should inform your doctor if you are getting pressure sores from wearing your CPAP mask so they can help you address the issue.
If your mask is too big or too small, issues such as leaks and skin irritation are more likely. Leaking air could blow into your eyes, particularly if the mask is placed too high on the bridge of your nose. Any type of leak will keep your CPAP therapy from being as effective as it should be.
If you have made a consistent effort in trying to wear your mask but it still feels uncomfortable, or your sleep quality doesn’t seem to be improving, consult with your doctor. They can help you get to the roof of the problem so you can find a mask that will work effectively.
Sometimes, resolving the problem could be as simple as adjusting the fit of your mask. Other times, you may need to order a mask in a different size that will better fit your face contours. Or, you may need to try another mask type. Working with your doctor will ensure you find a solution that delivers lasting benefits.
Get the CPAP Mask You Need With Help Medical Supplies
The right mask will go a long way in improving the comfort and effectiveness of your CPAP therapy. At Help Medical Supplies, we offer a wide range of CPAP masks in various styles to help you get the right fit for your needs. Whether you prefer nasal pillows or a full face mask, you’ll be able to find a mask that works for you.
Better yet, many of our masks are available at discounted prices, helping you to save more on this necessary medical equipment. Free shipping is also available for all orders over $89.
When paired with a quality CPAP or BiPAP machine, you will be able to enjoy the high-quality sleep you need to feel rested each day.