CPAP Masks for Side Sleepers
Choosing the right CPAP mask for a side sleeper can be one of the most overwhelming tasks. It’s important to choose a mask that fits and is comfortable. It’s generally accepted that the first line of defense against sleep apnea is to use a CPAP machine, which forces air under positive pressure into the nose (and sometimes the mouth) so that the tissues in the oropharynx do not collapse, causing the typical snoring and occasional stoppage of airflow seen in this disorder.
One of the problems with CPAP masks is that some of them tend to bulky and can only be worn if the patient is lying on his or her back. People who sleep on their side instead cannot wear such bulky masks and they end up slipping off the face or interfering with the person’s ability to fall asleep in the first place. Rather than forcing them to sleep on their backs, manufacturers of CPAP devices have created special masks for CPAP users who sleep on their side.
Different types of CPAP masks
CPAP Nasal Pillow masks are masks attached to the head with an elastic band that presses two air holes to cover each nostril. The pressurized air enters the nostrils and opens up the upper tissues in the oropharynx and nasopharynx. Nasal pillow masks are perhaps the least intrusive of all masks as they do not interfere with vision and allow you to talk while wearing these devices.
CPAP Nasal masks
Nasal masks are small masks designed to fit over the nose itself with positive pressure forcing its way into both nostrils at once. They are also fairly comfortable to wear and don’t interfere with the person’s line of sight.
CPAP Full face masks
Full face masks are the best cpap mask for mouth breathers, there are many varieties of full face masks to choose from. They cover both the mouth and nose and are affixed to the face using elastic headgear which provides for a snug fit over the nose and mouth.
Some of the features of CPAP masks for side sleepers:
- The mask must not fall off the face while side sleeping
- The mask must be comfortable in all sleeping positions
- The hose must come out in such a way as to be unobtrusive to a side sleeper
- The mask must be cushioned
- The mask must show a clear line of sight so the person can watch TV on their side or back
- The mask must not be bulky
Full Face CPAP Masks for Side Sleepers
Generally, full face masks are more difficult to use by people who sleep on their side. The masks are generally too wide and prevent the side of the face from resting comfortably on the pillow. The side of the mask can open slightly, creating an air leak in the mask that defeats the purpose of the continuous positive air pressure device. Not only is it uncomfortable to fall asleep with such a mask but they often interfere with the person’s line of sight and they tend to get pushed toward the opposite side of the face, creating the air leak.
CPAP Nasal Pillow Masks for Side Sleepers
Nasal pillow masks are a type of CPAP masks for side sleepers which can easily be worn by those who sleep on their side. They are not bulky and the head gear does not get in the way of the person’s line of sight. The biggest problem with side sleeping and nasal pillow masks is that the nasal pillows just cushion the nostrils. It can be said that these nasal pillow masks only make tight contact to the face at the level of the nostrils. Moving during sleep can easily push the mask out of position so you wake up with the nasal pillow part of the mask on the side of your cheek. The contact points of the nasal pillow mask just don’t provide enough traction to keep the nasal pillows in position.
And yet, this type of mask is extremely comfortable and if you are the type of person who lies in one position once on your side, the nasal pillows will stay in place and you’ll get effective positive pressure from the sleep apnea machine all night long. Some of the best nasal pillows in the market for side sleepers are:
ResMed Quattro Air nasal pillow
ResMed Mirage Swift nasal pillow
Resmed Airfit p10 nasal pillow
Restless sleepers, on the other hand, may be up several times in the night reorienting the mask so they stay on the nostrils. What good can this type of mask be if half the night it isn’t in the correct position?
CPAP Nasal Masks for Side Sleepers
Another type of CPAP masks for side sleepers is Nasal masks which fit only over the nose and tend to be quite small. The elastic headgear is usually unobtrusive and don’t get in the way of side sleeping. When the nasal mask is properly fitted on the nose, the pressure is directed into the nostrils (both at the same time) and the individual can position themselves on their side after the nose mask is fitted. These are not bulky masks and do not involve the cheeks or the side of the face. The possibility of the mask slipping off during night time movements still exists, especially if you are a restless sleeper but the anatomy of the nose with its attached mask us usually enough to prevent slippage either toward the pillow or away from the pillow.
The best CPAP nasal masks for side sleepers include the ResMed Swift FX and the ResMed AirFit P10 although other manufacturers make similar masks to these for side sleepers, too. They are usually reasonably comfortable when worn properly and the tube comes out of the bottom of the mask leading to the CPAP machine. This means that a good line of sight is preserved and the person only has to deal with the discomfort of the hose covering their mouth during the night.
Even with CPAP nasal masks for side sleepers, there is often the need to awaken during the night to readjust the straps or move the nasal mask in such a way as to provide a more snug fit. It means that, although you may sleep better on your side with a nasal mask, you still might get disrupted sleep if the mask is not on snuggly enough.
Best Pillow for Side Sleepers
Here is a list of the best CPAP pillows for side sleepers
Contour CPAPMax Pillow
CPAPfit CPAP Pillow