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Who Needs CPAP Nasal Pillows?

Sleepiness is a considerable health problem globally. In fact, according to a recent CDC report, more than a third of Americans don’t get enough sleep regularly.

One of the most common sleep disorders that often go undiagnosed. When a person has sleep apnea, their breathing is interrupted during sleep. The breathing repeatedly starts and stops as they sleep.

Left untreated, this condition can lead to severe health conditions such as heart failure, stroke, obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, and high blood pressure.

The common first-line treatment for moderate or severe sleep apnea is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy. The therapy is made possible by the use of  CPAP machines.

CPAP machine supplies pressurized oxygenated air to your airways through the tubing and a CPAP mask. The air keeps the airways open, enabling you to breathe and enjoy uninterrupted sleep.

Notably, to get quality therapy from your CPAP machine, you need to get a quality CPAP mask that is comfortable and well-fitting. An ill-fitting mask can cause air leaks, irritating your skin or eyes. Besides, a leaking mask also means you’re not getting the air pressure you need.

Various kinds of  CPAP masks offer different kinds of comfort and fit. One such kind of mask is a nasal CPAP pillow.

So, what are nasal CPAP pillows, and who should use them? Let’s find out below.

What Is a Nasal CPAP Pillow

A nasal pillow, sometimes referred to as a nasal cushion, is a small CPAP mask that sits underneath your nose but just above your upper lip. This lightweight mask with a minimal design comes with a headgear and two inserts you slip inside your nostrils. The mask also has two silicon cushions that seal to either side of your nose.

One of the notable features of the  CPAP nasal pillow is that it delivers pressurized air more directly to your airways compared to other CPAP masks.

Further, since the small mask also comes with a headgear, it stays in place even if you’re a restless sleeper.

Who Should Use A Nasal CPAP Pillow?

Nasal pillows are highly recommended for notable sleep apnea patients, as explained below.

  • Claustrophobic patients - Claustrophobic people will find the nasal pillow mask comfortable since it makes minimal contact with their face. Due to its small size, this mask also won’t obstruct their vision.
  • Patients with facial hair - If you have a beard or a mustache, you may have difficulties finding standard CPAP masks that can seal your skin. However, a nasal pillow covers a small part of your face, and since it applies the air pressure directly to your nostrils, there are no air leaks.
  • People who wear glasses - The nasal pillow mask is recommended for people who wear glasses as it doesn’t cover the nose bridge.
  • For people who prefer to read or watch television in bed - If you’re one of those people who prefers to read a book or watch TV before you sleep, then a nasal CPAP pillow is a more ideal mask as it won’t obstruct your vision compared to other traditional CPAP masks.
  • Nose breathers - A nasal pillow is recommended for patients that don’t suffer from nasal congestions or allergies and those who can comfortably breathe through the nose. If you’re a mouth breather and want to use the nasal pillow, consider getting a chin to help keep your mouth shut.
  • Side sleepers - Nasal pillows allow side sleepers to change their sleeping position without needing to readjust the mask. Also, the comfortable headgear reduces pressure and face marks for side sleepers.

Pros of Nasal CPAP Pillows

  • Minimal contact with your face
  • Providing clearer vision compared to other CPAP masks
  • No air leaks as the air is directed right into your nostrils
  • Staying in place during sleep
  • Maintaining a secure seal
  • Working well for people with facial hair, people who are claustrophobic, and those who wear glasses

Cons of Nasal CPAP Pillows

  • Nosebleeds, soreness, and nasal dryness - The direct air pressure to the nasal passages may cause nasal dryness, sores, or nosebleeds. Also, people who are not used to breathing through the nose might find the nasal pillow uncomfortable. That is why the nasal pillow is recommended for nose breathers.
  • High pressure may be uncomfortable - Since the nasal pillow mask directs the pressure directly into your nostrils, people who need higher pressurized air may find the pressure very uncomfortable.
  • Not recommended for mouth breathers - Mouth breathers who would want to use the nasal pillow should consider getting a chin strap to help keep their mouth shut. This allows the pillow to seal to the nose snuggly and also enables you to receive enough air through your nasal passages.

What Is the Difference Between a Nasal CPAP Pillow and Other CPAP Masks?

To understand the difference between a nasal CPAP pillow and other CPAP masks, let’s look at the different mask types we have.

1.Nasal CPAP Mask

The nasal mask is triangular. It covers part of the face from the bridge of the nose to the upper lip. Just like the nasal pillow mask, the nasal mask comes with headgear. However, unlike the nasal pillow, this mask doesn’t deliver air directly to your nostrils. The nasal CPAP mask is highly recommended for patients who move a lot in their sleep and those in need of a high-pressure airflow. Unfortunately, this mask may irritate the bridge of your nose, and it is also not ideal for mouth breathers.

2.Full-Face CPAP Mask

The full-face CPAP mask covers the mouth and nose. It covers a larger face area than the other masks discussed above.

The full-face CPAP mask is ideal for mouth breathers and those who require a high-pressure CPAP setting. Due to its wider surface area, the mask directs pressure less directly to the airways, making high pressurized air more tolerable.

Additionally, this mask is recommended for back sleepers as it provides an optimal air seal. The straps also offer extra support for active sleepers. The fact is that many claustrophobic people prefer this mask as it only touches the outer sides of their faces.

Unfortunately, since the full face mask has a large surface area, it's more susceptible to air leaks. This also means that in case of air leaks, patients are likely to suffer from irritated and dry eyes. Also, the mask is very bulky and makes it hard for side and stomach sleepers to use it. This mask is also not recommended for patients who wear glasses or like to read or watch TV in bed as it covers a large part of the face.

Looking at the other masks discussed above, the main difference between a nasal CPAP pillow and other CPAP masks is the contact it makes with your face. While the nasal pillow has minimal contact with your face, the others will cover almost the whole face or the entire nose. Besides, nasal pillows are lightweight, compact, and recommended for people requiring moderate pressurized air since the air goes directly to the nostrils.

Further, the nasal pillow mask is made for comfort due to the comfortable foam material and the soft headgear. It’s also made in such a way that it’s flexible as it can adapt to the tosses and turns of restless sleepers.


In conclusion, a nasal CPAP pillow is a mask that seals at the base of your nose with the help of soft headgear. The mask directs pressurized air from the CPAP machine straight to your nasal passages.

One advantage of using this mask is that it maintains a secure seal even for active sleepers. It also makes minimal contact with your face and doesn’t obstruct your vision. This mask is highly recommended for claustrophobic patients, nose breathers, men with facial hair, and those who use glasses.

Do you think a nasal CPAP pillow is the right mask for you? Well, you can get quality and comfortable CPAP nasal pillows here. You can also contact  No Insurance medical Supplies if you have questions about your nasal CPAP pillow or other mask options. 


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