One of the most effective treatments for sleep apnea is the CPAP machine with the sleep apnea mask. The sleep apnea face mask fits over your nose and mouth (or sometimes just your nose) and forces air through your airways so that you never stop breathing during the night.
A great sleep apnea breathing mask can achieve this without being uncomfortable or cumbersome. But finding a great sleep mask for sleep apnea will take some searching. Because you need something that fits securely but is also still comfortable. So we’ve put together a quick guide with information about how to use a sleep apnea machine mask as well as some helpful sleep apnea mask reviews.
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What Does A Mask For Sleep Apnea Do?
A sleep apnea mask is one of the most effective methods for managing your sleep apnea. It is a mask that you wear over your nose and mouth (or just your nose) and it connects to a machine which pushes air through your airways at regular intervals.
The pressure of the air is enough that it can push through even collapsed portions of your breathing passage but not so high pressure that you’ll feel uncomfortable. The advantage is that you basically have a machine that is doing the breathing work for you while you sleep.
This is the best option especially for extreme cases of sleep apnea because it more or less guarantees that your body will get the oxygen it needs no matter what happens in the night.
So the job of the mask is to form a secure (but hopefully comfortable) seal around your mouth and nose so that all the air being pushed through the machine actually gets into your airways and doesn’t just leak out.
One of the main issues with a sleep apnea mask is comfort. Because it requires wearing a mask complete with head gear, it can feel a little bit cumbersome. And this is even more of a risk if you get a mask that isn’t designed well.
So in order to enjoy the benefits of a CPAP machine, you need to make sure that you invest in a mask that you will actually be able to tolerate wearing through the night. Keep in mind that “comfort” is relative here.
No gear on your face is going to feel totally comfortable through the night. However, the better ones are easy to tolerate and get used to.
Tips For Sleeping With A Sleep Apnea Mask
When putting on your sleep apnea mask, follow these tips:
- Make sure you have the right size. It needs to fit properly onto your face so it can’t be too big or too small.
- Adjust it to fit you. Put it on and adjust the straps until you can feel that the edges of the mask have formed a seal around your nose and mouth (or just your nose). But make sure it’s not so tight that it pinches or bites into your skin.
- Wrap head straps. Use a strip of cotton fabric or an ace bandage to wrap the clasps on your head straps. This is mostly important for those with longer hair. Throughout the night, your hair can become tangled in these straps so that in the morning, you might end up ripping hair out when you remove the mask. Wrapping the clasps will prevent this from happening.
- Give yourself time. It’s going to take a few days to get used to wearing anything like this sleep apnea face mask on your face. Even if you’ve got the very best mask that is the perfect size, it’s still going to feel weird and annoying for those who have never had to sleep with anything strapped to their face before. The tradeoff is worth it since you can be assured that you are breathing the whole night.
You can choose either a sleep apnea pillow mask or a full face mask. The first just goes over your nose. The second covers your nose and your mouth. There are some pros and cons for each.
For the pillow mask that just covers the nose, the advantage is that there’s less mask to deal with on your face. So it doesn’t get in the way. It also doesn’t cause dry mouth since it’s not pushing air through your mouth.
However, if you sleep with your mouth open, the air from your CPAP machine could be leaking out of your mouth rather than being pushed all the way down into your lungs. You can solve this by wearing a chin strap to keep your mouth closed. But at that point, it may be worth just getting a full face mask.
A full face mask is a good choice for people who do breathe through their mouth. Some are designed to keep your mouth closed to force you to breathe through your nose (which is better for you) while others are designed to let you sleep with your mouth open and just push air through your mouth instead.
The main downside here is that some people do complain of dry mouth when they wake up after a night of using a full face mask. This can be managed by coating your lips in Vaseline or coconut oil and then just drinking a lot of water throughout the day.
Our Top 3 Picks For The Best Sleep Apnea Mask
So you know how a sleep apnea mask works and you know how to use one. Now it’s time to learn how to shop for one! Below, you’ll find some quick expert reviews of our 3 favorite sleep apnea masks on the market today.
Fisher & Paykel Simplus Full Face Mask Frame With Cushion (Medium)
This is a very well designed full face sleep apnea mask by Fisher & Paykel.
- Ergonomic frame and cushion that make it comfortable throughout the night.
- Auto-adjusting cushion that molds to fit your face, creating a perfect seal without pinching or biting.
- 3 different cushions included so that you can further customize the size and fit of your mask.
- Super quiet air diffuser.
The cushions are really exceptional here. They use a quality material that naturally form fits to your face so that it can create a perfect seal while still staying clear of creating pressure points.
So this won’t pinch your nose or dig in to your lower lip. And since they include the different size cushions in every package, you don’t have to worry about ordering the wrong size! You choose the right size by trying out the cushions and figuring out the best fit for you!
61203 - Mirage Quattro Full Face System - Retail Packaged – Large
This is probably the most well-designed full face mask that currently exists.
- ·Comfortable design
- Adjustable dial for setting the nose grip to a comfortable level.
- Headgear already included.
- Very quiet air diffuser.
This is an extremely customizable face mask. The design fits over the chin instead of under the bottom lip so that you can open your mouth while sleeping if this is more comfortable for you. And there’s a little dial that allows you to easily adjust exactly how tight the grip on your nose is.
Believe it or not, you’ll be able to wake up without a red spot on the bridge of your nose and without strap marks on your face from the headgear! It’s really one of the most impressive sleep apnea masks available.
Amara View Full Face Mask Small – 1090622
This is a great affordable option for those looking for a small full face mask that allows you to sleep with your mouth open.
- Headgear already included
- Comfortable over the chin design
- Soft cushion creates a seal without pinching.
This is a great complete face mask with all the parts you need (except the tube and the machine). It’s well designed and still very affordable compared to other masks of this style!
Just be sure to consult the company on sizing because you can custom fit it by exchanging the cushions as you can with the first one in our list. But once you have the right size, you’ll be sleeping comfortably and breathing easy!
If you need the most assurance possible that you will be breathing steadily throughout the night, a sleep apnea mask may be your best option. This is the most powerful solution of all the devices that currently exist.
While it is a little awkward to wear gear on your face at night, the tradeoff is worth it. Get one today and realize the difference in your energy and mood when you wake up after actually getting a full night of sleep (and a full night of oxygen)!