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How to Choose the Best CPAP Mask According to Your Sleep Position

A CPAP machine is an effective treatment option for people suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and other sleep disorders.

To get good results from your CPAP therapy, you must be aware of the best position to sleep with CPAP masks.

Notably, sleeping on the side is one of the highly recommended sleeping positions for patients with sleep apnea as this position prevents gravity from interfering with your airways.

CPAP for stomach sleepers can be difficult as this position keeps pushing the CPAP mask on the face, which can cause constant air leaks. Back sleepers also have to deal with gravity when undergoing CPAP therapy, which can lead to collapsed lungs. The back position also makes it difficult to remove the CPAP mask during sleep.

Further, the patient’s sleeping posture also affects the kind of nasal mask they’ll use. For instance, a nasal pillow mask is the best CPAP mask for stomach sleepers.

On the other hand, the best CPAP mask for side sleepers is the nasal pillow mask or the nasal mask that has a more secure seal.

Back sleepers can comfortably use either full face masks, nasal masks, or the No Insurance Medical Supplies nasal pillow masks.

This article looks at how your sleeping position affects sleep apnea and also provides you with the best CPAP mask options for your sleeping position.

Why Does Your Sleeping Position Matter?

Your sleeping position is extremely important as it affects the quality of your sleep. For instance, did you know that sleeping on the side can help alleviate insomnia?

For patients with OSA, your sleeping position can improve or worsen your sleep apnea.

Notably, most sleep therapists recommend the side and the stomach sleeping positions for sleep apnea patients.

Here’s a look at how each of the different sleeping positions affects patients with OSA.

Side sleeping position – Sleep therapists recommend the side sleeping position for patients with OSA. Sleeping on the side offers the least resistance to breathing conditions. This position also promotes maximum air and blood circulation during sleep. The side sleeping posture also helps alleviate insomnia and other ailments such as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) commonly known as acid reflux. Notably, the left side sleep position is recommended for patients with mild OSA as it helps open up more breathing space. Sleeping on the right side isn’t recommended for people with GERD. However, sleeping on the right side can help reduce snoring and enhance air and blood flow.

Stomach sleeping position – Stomach sleepers are less likely to experience OSA. The reason, your tongue and other soft tissues will be pulled forward, which eliminates obstructions on the upper airways. Unfortunately, this position can be very uncomfortable, and it often causes neck and back aches

Back sleeping position – You’re more likely to snore and experience obstructive sleep apnea when you sleep on your back. This is because your tongue and the other tissues located in your upper airway will fall back to the back of your throat, causing resistance in the upper airway

Different Types of CPAP Masks

CPAP masks come in three different types.

1. Nasal CPAP Masks

A nasal mask is made up of a plastic shell that you put over the nose. The shell should be made of soft material so that it can fit comfortably on your nose area. This is the best mask for active sleepers who get out of bed or toss and turn in their sleep. It’s also highly recommended for those who struggle with nasal congestion at night.

Most nasal masks have several straps that help hold them in place.

The nasal mask is lighter than the full face mask but it covers a bigger area than the nasal pillow mask.

2. Full Face CPAP Masks

The full face mask is the bulkiest of the three masks. It covers the nose and mouth, and it’s recommended for those who breathe through the mouth.

Most people find the full-face CPAP mask comfortable as it spreads out the air pressure on a wide area. Again, this mask just like the nasal mask has a series of straps that you use to hold it in place.

3. Nasal Pillow Masks

The nasal pillow mask has a lightweight design compared to the other two CPAP masks discussed above. It only covers the nose providing a higher level of visibility and openness.Nasal CPAP pillows deliver air directly into the nostrils which minimizes air leakages.

This mask is ideal for people with sensitive skin, those who suffer from claustrophobia and people with a beard or facial hair.

How to Choose a CPAP Mask for Your Sleeping Position

When choosing a CPAP mask, one of the top factors to consider is your sleeping position.

For instance, if you’re a side sleeper you need a mask that fits snuggly on your nose to reduce the possibility of air leaks. Besides, masks with a smaller footprint like nasal masks and nasal pillow CPAP masks are ideal for side sleepers as they reduce mask shifts during sleep.

That being said, here is a look at the CPAP masks that match your sleeping position.

CPAP Masks for Back Sleepers

Back sleepers have a wide choice of CPAP masks to choose from as most masks are manufactured with them in mind. This position accommodates full face masks and nasal masks with ease. Nasal pillows are also good masks for back sleepers.

Although this sleeping position is one of the best for CPAP therapy, it's one of the worst for sleep apnea patients as gravity can lead to airway collapse.

This position also creates difficulties when it comes to dislodging most masks at night. This is why single strap masks that are fastened at the back of the head aren’t recommended for back sleepers.

So, if you’re a back sleeper, consider getting a CPAP mask that is easy to put on and take off during sleep.

CPAP Masks for Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers are rare and they also have unique factors to consider when looking for a CPAP mask. For instance, sleeping in the downward position often presses the mask on the face leading to air leaks.

Besides, sleeping with a mask in this position will often cause stress to your neck which can lead to aches and pains.

Considering these factors, the best CPAP mask for stomach sleepers is a nasal pillow mask with minimal design. Nasal pillows are small, which makes them less likely to come off or cause pressure on your neck at night.

Moreover, most nasal pillow masks compress up and down, which helps adjust the air pressure on your head.

Also, when shopping for your nasal pillow CPAP mask, choose one made of a soft material. Since the mask will be pressing down against your face, buy the one made of memory foam, gel, soft silicone or any other softer material.

CPAP Masks for Side Sleepers

Sleeping on the side is the best position for sleep apnea patients. This sleeping position unlike the stomach and back positions prevents gravity from affecting your airways.

Unfortunately, most CPAP masks are not made with side sleepers in mind which means it might take some time to find a comfortable CPAP mask if you’re a side sleeper.

Notably, since your face will always make contact with the pillow when you sleep on the side, you should buy a mask with a tight, reliable seal to prevent it from dislodging once it comes into contact with your pillow.

Considering this, a nasal mask and a nasal pillow mask are the most ideal CPAP masks for side sleepers. In addition to fitting snugly on your face, nasal pillow masks and nasal masks decrease the risk of air leaks.

Also, when choosing your nasal mask or nasal pillow CPAP mask, buy the ones with adjustable soft headgears as these will give you maximum comfort.

CPAP Masks for Mouth Breathers

As a bonus, let’s look at the best CPAP mask for those who sleep with their mouth open.

If you’re a mouth breather, you need a mask that has a wide coverage and one that can allow you to breathe naturally when sleeping. Full face masks are ideal for mouth breathers as they cover almost the whole face, and they also allow for indirect airflow, allowing you to continue breathing with your mouth even when asleep.

However, if you’re unable to sleep with a full-face CPAP mask, you can use a nasal mask or a nasal pillow CPAP mask and pair it with achin strap. The chin strap will not only promote nose breathing, but it will also protect you from a sore throat, tooth decay, and a dry mouth which are common side effects of breathing through the mouth during sleep.


Now you know the best CPAP mask for you based on your sleep position.

If you’re unable to use a CPAP mask for your sleep apnea, talk to your sleep specialist, as they can recommend other sleep therapy options.

If you’re wondering where you can buy the best CPAP masks, talk to us as we have a wide selection of quality CPAP masks among other sleep therapy solutions.


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