For those suffering from sleep apnea, a major decision they will have to make involves what type of CPAP masks they will use. Your sleep specialist can recommend a particular style to start off with, but what you decide to use in the end is completely up to you. Ultimately, your choice will depend on your sleeping style and what you find the most comfortable.
Sleep apnea sufferers use a nose CPAP mask most often. This looks like a small triangular mask held on by a series of head and neck straps. One reason this style is so popular is because it only covers a small amount of your face. Because all of the air goes through your nasal passages, it can cause extreme nasal dryness. As a result, you may find that the application of saline solution and a humidifier helpful. Some patients find the nose system makes them breathe through their mouth. However, the addition of a chin strap solves this problem.
Nose And Mouth CPAP Masks
Very similar to the nose-only style, the nose and mouth or full face style covers exactly that — the nose and mouth. Many sleep apnea patients select this style because it eliminates the problem of accidentally breathing through your mouth. It stays in place snugly with the help of headgear straps, which take time to get used to for most wearers.
Some find them too difficult to use because they are either active sleepers, wear glasses, have facial hair, or have a different face shape. This requires them to tighten the straps to the point they are uncomfortable to wear. More often than not, this happens because of a CPAP mask that is the wrong size.
A fairly new model to the market, this style suits those who breathe through their mouth while they sleep. Rather than using straps to stay in place, this has a special mouth insert similar to a mouth guard. Unfortunately, this style isn’t for everyone. Some find the mouthpiece triggers their gag reflex. Others who suffer from bruxism or have had oral surgery will also be unable to use this type of device.
Nasal Pillow Apparatus
Sleep apnea sufferers will often choose to use a specially designed pillow rather than an actual mask. These use two small nasal inserts that go into your nostrils and connect to the machine via the pillow. Since they do not have additional material that sits against your face, this is an excellent choice for those with latex allergies as well as those with facial hair. A similar style has two small nasal tubes that wrap around your ears rather than attaching to a pillow.
These examples of CPAP masks and equipment are just a small sampling of the various styles available to sleep apnea patients. To find the one that will work best for you, consider your specific needs to narrow down the number of available choices. Then, you can try a few different types to find the one that suits you best.