An increasing number of people around the globe have a problem with having a good night sleep. That is to say, they have sleep apnea, or put simply, they have a temporary loss of breath during sleep. Although reasons and types may vary, a cure has yet to be found. However, treatment is indeed available. That is to say through positive air pressure (PAP) or CPAP machines.
Although PAP therapy includes benefits for sleep apnea patients, it also has its downsides. The most evident being the discomfort in sleep for the user, because of the connected hose of the device. It might just be that your CPAP masks don’t fit the way you sleep.
CPAP masks have four general types
- Full Face: This mask forms a seal that covers both the nose and the mouth. Jaws and forehead are strapped and connected at the back of the head.
- Nasal Cradle: This type covers the entirety of the nasal openings, ends above the upper lip. Straps of the jaws and head connect at the back of the ear.
- Nasal Pillow: Seals the nares, an is held in place with cushioning. Only one strap runs from under the nose to all the way around the head.
- Nasal Prong: Mask seals both nares, no cushioning. A single strap wraps around the forehead and crown.
So, what should you use?
I am a Side Sleeper
Sleeping on your side is the most common position. According to various studies and health experts, it is also the healthiest positions. Especially sleeping on the left side. The right side is a no go. It strains the stomach, liver, and kidneys.
If you are a side sleeper, there are some tips you should keep in mind before you get your CPAP mask. First is that you have the right pillow. If yours’s a high-loft (Thick) pillow, it might interfere with the CPAP, causing it to slip off or leak air. Try a medium or low-loft one instead or even a CPAP specialized pillow.
Be sure to choose a mask with softer edges. Your position can cause the straps of the mask to press on the skin and irritate it.
We recommend that you use a Full face or Nasal cradle, but with soft edges.
Anything for Back Sleepers?
After the side, people mostly tend to sleep on their backs. It should be noted that for individuals with sleep-apnea this is an unfavorable position. Breathing muscles relax the tongue also falls a little inside the throat, increasing snores and apnea frequentness.
Remember that because you sleep on your back, you are prone to move your hands around. This can lead to a problem if your mask is one of the bigger kinds or ones that has fixed elbow ports. Also, try for one with slide-down straps, rather than fasteners at the back of the head for more comfort.
The back-sleeping position is ideal for full face masks, and nasal cradles with adjustable headgear seem to be your best bet.
What about Stomach Sleepers?
Next is the face-down or stomach-sleeping position. Sleep-apnea or not, sleeping on your stomach is the worst of all positions. Most adults have more weight on their torso and stomach, which in strains the neck and lower back. But don’t worry you have not been left out.
Take note that regardless of the type of mask or its size, there will be irritation in the facial is the mask is pressing on against the pillow. The connective hose could also press against your face, neck, or chest. Unlike other position, this particular one has little manageable room. No matter what you wear, the mask will cause you some discomfort.
The nasal pillow looks like the best choice for you people. You will need to find one with softer cushioning. But it will be best to try to change your sleeping position.
But I am a Combination Sleeper?
The all-in-one positions sleeper. If you are a combination sleeper, undoubtedly you change your position often in sleep, but you are still good to go for a PAP therapy.
Try using elbow ports. Because you can’t seem to decide on one position, the elbow port will be of great use. But do go for the swiveling ports, and avoid the fixed ones. Similarly, you are also prone to interfere with your mask and connective hose with your changes. This can cause air leaking.
For your case, anything works. Find out which position do you use most in your sleep, and start there. The primary position is what you’ll be choosing the mask for.
A lot of people tend to buy the first thing they see on the shelves as the only kind that is around. Only a handful try to learn more. The former come back complaining to their doctors while the last sleep happily. You need to choose the mask according to your sleep positions. Discomfort will also ruin sleep quality. Then what’s all the effort trying to have good breathing for good sleep for.