Sleep technology has made leaps and bounds since the days when you were stuck with one kind of CPAP mask. There's plenty of variety to make it easier to find the mask that really fits. But with choice comes confusion. Where should you start?
There are a few basic designs, according to AAST:
- Full-face CPAP masks fit over your nose and mouth.
- Nasal masks go over your nose, leaving your mouth free.
- Nasal pillows also cover only your nose, but they're smaller and lighter than nasal masks.
You've got options for the cushioning that goes against your face, too. Common materials used on CPAP masks include foam, gel, cloth, or silicone, AAST notes.
Different masks for different folks
Personal preference is important when choosing sleep technology, but the most important thing is that your mask works for you. Your sleep position and breathing influence the kind of mask most likely to be a winner.
If you breathe through your mouth, you might choose a CPAP mask that fits over your nose and mouth or the oral mask design. If you sleep on your side, you'll need headgear that keeps your mask in place as you turn, says Medical News Today.
Comfort is an important criterion for choosing a sleep apnea mask. If your mask bothers you, you're less likely to wear it. But function is critical. Because CPAP masks work by delivering a steady stream of air to keep your airways open, it's important that your mask doesn't leak. If it does leak, and you can't solve the problem by adjusting the fit, you might consider switching to a different kind of mask, the American Sleep Association says.
Finding the perfect mask
Once you've found the CPAP mask that works for you, expect to do a little maintenance to keep it snug and comfortable. It may take some time to find a mask the right mask, but it's worth it. If you are struggling with your mask, reach out to your Sleep doctor or home care provider. The payoff is a good night's sleep. And who doesn't want that?