When you have obstructive sleep apnea, using a CPAP machine at night helps you get a full night's sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. A CPAP machine constantly blows high-pressure air into your nose or mouth, which helps keep your airway open. However, it's important to ensure that you're comfortable while using your CPAP machine — if you can't stand sleeping with your mask on at night, you'll be less inclined to use it.
One way that you can make using your CPAP machine more comfortable is to change the type of mask that you wear. Since the mask rests directly on your face all night, it has one of the biggest effects on how comfortable you feel while sleeping. Many people are first given a full-face mask when they first start treatment for sleep apnea. This type of mask blows air into both your nose and your mouth. A nasal mask, on the other hand, only fits around your nose. If you're currently using a full-face mask and aren't satisfied with it, read on to learn when switching to a nasal mask might be a good option.
Your Full-Face Mask Feels Too Bulky
One of the biggest reasons why people decide to switch to a nasal mask is that full-face masks can be bulky. Even though full-face masks have become slightly smaller as CPAP machines have advanced in technology, the mask is still much larger than a nasal mask. If your full-face mask makes you feel claustrophobic, you may want to switch to a smaller nasal mask. The small size of nasal masks also makes activities like reading or watching television in bed much easier, as your view won't be as obstructed as much when compared to a full-face mask.
You Frequently Remove Your Mask Accidentally During Sleep
The larger size of a full-face CPAP mask also makes it more likely to fall off of your face during the night. You're more likely to accidentally bump your arm against the mask and brush it off while turning in bed, and it can also fall off if you press it directly against the bed while sleeping on your side. Nasal masks are smaller and closer to your face, so there's less chance of you accidentally knocking the mask off of your face while you sleep.
You Wake Up With a Dry Mouth
Even when you're keeping your mouth closed while sleeping, the high-pressure air from your CPAP machine can part your lips slightly and force air into your mouth. The constant flow of air will dry out the membranes in your mouth, and you'll wake up with a dry mouth in the morning as a result. By switching to a nasal mask, you'll eliminate this problem by preventing the high-pressure air from entering your mouth during the night.
CPAP masks are interchangeable, so it's easy to try out a nasal mask with your existing CPAP machine. You can purchase new masks at any store that sells CPAP supplies, and trying a nasal mask is a good idea if your current full-face mask is causing you to forego using your CPAP machine at all while you sleep. Using your machine every night is vital for treating your sleep apnea, so it's important to find the type of mask that you're most comfortable with.