One of the most important things to consider when buying a CPAP machine is the CPAP mask that will go with it. After all, while the CPAP machine produces the pressurized air that helps stop sleep apnea episodes, the mask is what actually delivers that air to you.
Because of this, ensuring that you have the right mask fit is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that your sleep apnea therapy is successful. Here are a few factors to consider when making a CPAP mask selection — particularly when deciding between a full face mask, nasal mask, or nasal pillows.
Air Pressure Settings
Your air pressure setting can have a bigger impact on mask selection than you might think. For those with relatively low air pressure settings, any mask option can work. Nasal pillows are a popular selection for individuals with low pressure settings because their design minimizes air leakage.
At higher air pressure settings, however, this direct flow of air into the nostrils could become quite uncomfortable — actually contributing to nasal dryness or nosebleeds. If you require a higher air pressure setting, it is recommended to use a nasal mask or full face mask instead. Because the airflow is more indirect, breathing feels more natural at high settings.
How you sleep may also play a role in which type of mask is best for you. For example, some people sleep with their mouth open. For such individuals, a full face mask is strongly recommended, as they will often breathe through their mouth during the night. This is also true of individuals with allergies or other medical problems that can make it harder to breathe through their nose. Alternatively, some people will use a nasal mask and a chinstrap that helps to keep their mouth shut.
Do you toss and turn during your sleep? This could make it easier for a full face mask to come loose during the night. For those who move around a lot in their sleep, nasal masks and nasal pillows are generally recommended. The smaller size of these masks also make them a good option no matter what position you sleep in.
Full face masks, on the other hand, are best suited for more “stable” sleepers who primarily sleep on their back. However, extra straps can help keep such masks in place when necessary.
One element of choosing a CPAP mask that is often overlooked is the size of the mask. CPAP masks are not “one size fits all” — though some manufacturers will include multiple cushion sizes with their masks so you don’t need to worry as much about sizing.
The proper mask fit will keep your mask from being too tight or too loose. A mask that is too tight could cause significant discomfort and irritation of the skin, while a mask that is too loose will likely experience air leaks.
To determine the right size for your mask, you will need to take a few facial measurements. For a nasal mask, measure the length of your nose from top to bottom and its width from side to side. For a full face mask, you’ll measure the distance from just beneath your lower lip to the bridge of your nose, as well as the width of your mouth.
Write down these measurements so you can reference them against the mask manufacturer’s sizing chart. Choose the size with specifications that are the closest match for your face measurements.
When you receive your mask, keep the straps loose when placing it on your face. Then, lay down in bed and gently tighten the straps. The fit should be snug, yet comfortable — without leaks.
Of course, your personal preferences are another important factor in picking the right CPAP mask. For example, some people like to watch TV or read in bed after they have put their CPAP mask on. For such individuals, a full face mask isn’t a good choice because it can obstruct their view. These masks also make it harder to wear glasses. In this case, a nasal mask or nasal pillows would be a better choice.
Some people experience feelings of claustrophobia when wearing a full face mask. Nasal pillows are generally the best solution in such situations because of their lighter weight and the minimal amount of material that actually touches the user’s face. At the same time, however, some may find having nasal pillows inserted directly into their nostrils to be uncomfortable.
If you are having trouble adjusting to the first CPAP mask you get, don’t fret. Consult with your sleep specialist to determine if another type of mask would be better suited for you, or if you simply need to make some adjustments to your current mask.
Get the Mask You Need From Help Medical Supplies
No matter what type of CPAP mask seems best suited to your needs, you’ll find a great fit here at Help Medical Supplies. We offer a wide range of full face masks, nasal masks, and nasal pillows, as well as additional accessories such as mask cushion replacements.
We don’t just offer a wide selection of masks — many of these CPAP products are available at discounted prices off MSRP to help make your treatment more affordable. Combined with free shipping and available financing for more expensive purchases, and it’s never been easier to afford the equipment you need even if you don’t have insurance coverage.
The right mask can make all the difference for your sleep apnea therapy. Place your order today and start enjoying the high-quality sleep you deserve.