If you suffer from sleep apnea and have taken steps to treat it, you’ve likely been introduced to a CPAP machine to achieve better sleep. It can take some time to get acclimated to wearing a CPAP mask, and sometimes your mask may not be a good match initially. Fortunately there are multiple options to ensure you experience an optimal level of comfort while wearing your mask.
What does a CPAP machine do?
CPAP devices provide a simple remedy for sleep apnea — pressure. In obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses and prevents the body from being able to take breaths. With the appropriate levels set on your machine, a CPAP device delivers a continuous stream of positive airway pressure, allowing normal respiration to take place during sleep.
The long-term consequences of untreated sleep apnea can be significant. The risk of issues like high blood pressure, stroke, and heart problems increases with sleep apnea. It’s essential that anyone suffering from this condition seeks treatment.
Why are people non-compliant with their CPAP machines?
There’s no doubt about it, wearing a mask strapped to your face all night long isn’t exactly the essence of comfort and luxury. When you’re used to sleeping a certain way your entire life and then you suddenly need to start wearing a CPAP mask, there can be some resistance.
Getting used to a new way of sleeping can take some time. However, if you have given it a good try and just can’t handle the discomfort, you may need to try a different kind of CPAP mask. Fortunately, there are several styles and each has its own set of benefits.
Styles of CPAP masks
Nasal CPAP masks are quite popular because they don’t cover the entire face and simply sit over the nose only. People who suffer from claustrophobia may tolerate a nasal mask much better than a full face mask.
Benefits of a nasal CPAP mask
- Easy to adjust
There are a range of styles and sizes to fit any face shape, so if you’ve had bad luck with a full face mask, a nasal mask may better suit you. The downside of nasal masks is, if you’re a mouth breather then you’ll lose some of that pressure out of the mouth and the mask won’t be as effective.
Nasal pillows are a really popular option because of how small and lightweight they are. Out of all the available choices, nasal pillows tend to be the most comfortable and tolerable. Nasal pillows work best with CPAP pressures that are on the lower end of the scale, since the pillows make a seal in the inner part of your nostrils.
Benefits of nasal pillows
- Reduces air leaks
- Good for people that toss and turn
- Great for people with facial hair
- Full field of vision when wearing CPAP
If you have a CPAP that delivers a high level of pressure, pillows probably aren’t the best option. Some people also may experience more dryness with nasal pillows since the airflow goes directly into the nostrils.
Full face mask
A full face CPAP mask covers both the mouth and nose of the wearer and creates a seal over each airway. Though full face masks are bulky, they provide the best coverage for individuals needing higher levels of pressure.
Benefits of full face masks
- Good choice for mouth breathers
- Full coverage
- Great for back sleepers
With several options to choose from, picking a mask that’s right for you shouldn’t be too difficult. If one style doesn’t work, you can easily try another!
Cleaning your CPAP mask
With nightly use your CPAP mask can harbor oils from your skin and other microorganisms. It’s important that it gets sanitized along with your tubing and other washable parts.
You have a few options when it comes to sanitizing your CPAP components. There’s always soap and water, but that is both time consuming and tedious to complete daily.
One of the best options for a thorough sanitation of your CPAP mask and parts is ozone. Ozone is a highly reactive gas made up of three oxygen atoms. This unstable gas is highly effective at sanitizing equipment and the perfect solution for daily cleaning of your CPAP supplies.
The Sleep8 is portable, convenient, and uses ozone to sanitize your equipment every day. The Sleep8 is easy to use and affordable — you’ll never want to use soap and water again!
Want to learn more? Visit our FAQs page for more information about the Sleep8 here.
Written by: Amanda Peterson