One of the most important parts of successful sleep apnea therapy is ensuring that you have the right type of CPAP mask. While the CPAP machine itself is essential for providing a steady flow of pressurized air throughout the night, the mask is what actually delivers the air to your breathing passages.
That pressurized air is what keeps your airways open during the night. This keeps your breathing passages from closing and cutting off the body’s supply of oxygen, which can cause dozens of sleep interruptions per hour.
While all CPAP masks fulfill the same basic function, their comfort, fit, and other attributes can vary by type. One of the most common types of CPAP masks is the full face mask. Here’s what you should know about this mask, so you can know whether it is the right option for you.
What is a Full Face Mask?
A full face mask is the largest CPAP mask size. It is designed to cover both the mouth and nose. This traps pressurized air inside the mask so that it can be inhaled through either the mouth or nose.
The mask is held in place by side straps, similar to those used for a nasal mask. Users should adjust the straps after they lay down to ensure a snug, yet comfortable fit.
Who Should Use a Full Face Mask?
A sleep specialist can help you determine which type of CPAP mask is the best for your needs. There are a few considerations that will generally make a full face mask a better option for your sleep apnea therapy:
First, full face masks are always recommended for people who breathe through their mouth when they sleep. Other masks only cover the nose — so if you are breathing through your mouth instead, your CPAP mask won’t be getting the job done. Individuals who frequently suffer from congestion due to allergies or other medical problems are more likely to breathe through their mouth during sleep.
Full face masks are also often recommended for people who need a higher air pressure setting on their CPAP device. This is because the wider surface area of the mask causes the pressurized air to not be sent to the breathing passages as directly. This can help make high pressure treatment more comfortable than it would be with a nasal mask or nasal pillows.
Full face masks provide a good seal for people who sleep on their backs. Though not the only suitable mask option for back sleepers, they are often the preferred choice.
Full Face Mask Pros & Cons
As with other types of CPAP masks, full face masks have pros and cons that are worth considering when trying to decide which type of mask will be best for you.
Besides being the preferred mask style for those who breathe through their mouth during sleep and those who frequently experience nasal congestion, full face masks can actually be a better option for people who feel claustrophobic while wearing a mask. This is because the mask touches the outside of the face, as opposed to nasal masks, which are more tightly constricted around the nose and upper lip.
Full face masks can also work well for restless sleepers, thanks to the use of extra support straps that can help keep the mask firmly in place.
That being said, full face masks do come with a few drawbacks. Some people may find the heavier weight of the mask uncomfortable. The larger surface area of the mask means there is a greater chance of air leaks if it hasn’t been adjusted properly. When air leaks from the top of the mask, this can result in dry, irritated eyes. Leaks are more likely for men who have beards, as their facial hair keeps the full face mask from forming an airtight seal.
A full face mask probably isn’t going to work well for people who like to sleep on their stomach or side. The bulk of the mask can make it uncomfortable when sleeping in these positions. It will also be more likely to get displaced, increasing the risk of a leak. Finally, those who like to read or watch TV in bed before going to sleep may find that a full face mask disrupts their view.
Ultimately, whether a full face mask is right for you will depend on your sleep habits and prescribed CPAP setting. A sleep specialist can help you determine the right size and type of mask for your treatment needs — and make adjustments if your initial choice doesn’t seem to be working out.
Get the Right Mask to Improve Your Sleep Apnea Treatment
By pairing the right mask with a quality CPAP machine, you’ll get the quality treatment you need to control sleep apnea and rest through the night.
Of course, while CPAP masks aren’t as expensive as the CPAP machine itself, they still represent a major financial expense, especially since they need to be replaced much more frequently. If you don’t have health insurance, these costs can add up quickly.
This is where No Insurance Medical Supplies can help. We offer a wide range of full face masks and other CPAP mask types, many of which are available at discounted prices off of MSRP. With free shipping on select orders and no-interest financing available on purchases of $500 and up, you can further reduce the cost of buying replacement masks and other CPAP supplies. The perfect mask — and great sleep — are closer than you might think.