Continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP therapy is an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. In this treatment, a CPAP machine is used to blow pressurized air down your throat. The pressure in the air will keep your airways open when you are asleep by preventing the muscles behind your throat from collapsing. You will therefore be able to breathe without any difficulty and your quality of sleep will greatly improve.
For CPAP therapy to be effective, you need to have a good mask that is comfortable and one that fits well. There are a wide variety of CPAP masks available and you therefore need to select one that is suitable for you.
Why Use CPAP masks?
CPAP masks are important in CPAP therapy as they allow you to breathe in the pressurized air in order to keep your airway open. You can opt to use a full face mask, a nasal mask or a nasal pillow. A full face mask covers your mouth and nose and is therefore suitable if you normally breathe in through the nose and mouth in your sleep.
The nasal mask on the other hand is worn over the nose and the pressurized air from the machine surrounds the nose before you breathe in. The air therefore does not enter directly into your nostrils. The nasal pillow however sits on the upper lip and the two pillows are inserted on the edge of your nostrils. The pressurized air therefore enters directly into your nostrils and this mask is ideal if the pressure that is used during your therapy is low.
Which CPAP Mask Is Best For Side Sleepers?
If you are a side sleeper, a nasal pillow will be ideal for you. Once the mask is fitted in your nostrils it creates a good seal which does not allow the air to leak. This contributes to the effectiveness of the treatment. You can also use a nasal mask if you are a side sleeper. It is a good idea to use an apnea pillow when sleeping on your side to help keep the mask in place. The pillow is designed to accommodate the tube in order to give you the comfort that you need during therapy.
A full face mask is not suitable for a side sleeper as it will end up sliding which will cause the air to leak and this will affect the effectiveness of the therapy. You can however use the full face mask comfortably if you normally sleep on your back.
Which CPAP Masks Are Best?
The best CPAP masks for you will depend on your sleeping position, your breathing patterns and whether you feel anxious when using the mask. If you normally breathe through your nose, you can comfortably use a nasal pillow or a nasal mask. However, if you normally breathe through both your nose and mouth, then a full face mask may be a better option.
You can however still use a nasal mask or nasal pillow if you normally breathe through your mouth by tying a chin strap to keep your mouth shut. If your doctor has recommended a high pressure for your therapy, a full face mask would help so that you do not feel uncomfortable when breathing in the high pressured air.