One of the most important parts of beginning sleep apnea therapy is selecting the right CPAP mask for your needs. Regardless of the type of machine you use for your treatment, your mask can make or break your CPAP therapy.
Unfortunately, many people give up on using their CPAP machine early on because they find their mask to be uncomfortable or even make them feel claustrophobic. Of course, by giving up on this treatment, they put themselves at risk of suffering the significant long-term health problems associated with obstructive sleep apnea, such as heart disease, depression, and extreme fatigue that interferes with daily living.
By making an effort to get used to your CPAP mask, you can enjoy the quality sleep you need to feel well rested each morning. If you’re concerned about wearing a CPAP mask at night, here are some tips to help the transition go smoothly.
1. Choose the Right Mask For Your Needs
First things first: you must choose the right type of CPAP mask for you. There are three main types of CPAP masks that all users should consider.
Full face masks cover both the mouth and nose. These are recommended for people who breathe through their mouth during sleep. They also tend to provide a better seal for individuals with facial hair. However, the large size can cause some to feel claustrophobic.
Nasal masks fit over the nose for a lighter and less obstructive fit. Nasal pillows are even smaller, with a more minimal design that inserts into the nostrils. These provide better visibility than other mask options if you wish to watch TV or read while wearing your glasses. However, they are less effective for higher air pressure settings.
Most masks are available in multiple sizes to better fit the contours of your face. Speak with your doctor about your sleep habits to determine which mask type would be most comfortable and best suit your needs.
2. Understand How to Adjust Your Mask Before Wearing
Regardless of the type of CPAP mask you purchase, you can enhance its comfort by making minor adjustments to its straps before you put it on. Such adjustments can help the mask feel more comfortable and reduce the risk of air leaks.
A good rule of thumb is that the mask should feel snug, but not too tight. Your mask shouldn’t be so loose that it falls off your face during sleep, but it shouldn’t be so tight that it leaves red marks or sores on your skin.
Adjust your mask while laying down, since this is how you will be using it during the night. This will ensure an accurate fit once the CPAP machine turns on and air is flowing into the mask. If you are having trouble getting your mask to fit comfortably, consult with your sleep specialist. Sometimes, you may simply need to change to a different mask.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
Many people find that practicing wearing their CPAP mask during the day makes it easier to adjust to using a mask at night. You can practice by holding the CPAP mask in front of your face, even when it isn’t connected to the headgear and tubing. You can also practice turning on your CPAP machine and breathing through the mask, starting just a few minutes at a time. Or you could wear the mask on its own.
It may be easier to do this practice if you’re doing another activity at the same time, such as watching TV or reading a book. This way, you won’t be as focused on how the mask feels. With daytime practice, you’ll be used to wearing a CPAP mask and have an easier time falling asleep.
Having a spouse or friend hold you accountable for practicing with your CPAP mask and wearing it at night can also help.
4. Avoid Naps
Many people who struggle with sleep apnea get into the habit of napping during the day in an effort to make up their sleep debt. While it may seem counterintuitive, you should try to limit your napping when first getting used to your CPAP mask.
The reasoning is pretty straightforward: if you don’t take a nap, you’ll feel more tired at bedtime. When you’re more tired, you’re going to be less bothered by wearing a CPAP mask, and will have an easier time falling asleep. By falling asleep faster, you’ll adjust to wearing your mask more easily.
Of course, after the initial adjustment to wearing a CPAP mask, it’s okay to take the occasional nap. Just be sure to use your CPAP machine every time you sleep to ensure that you get the maximum benefits from your treatment.
Learning to Love Your CPAP Mask
While wearing a CPAP mask can feel strange or even a little uncomfortable at first, it is well worth making the effort to get used to how it feels. When you can sleep soundly while wearing your CPAP mask, you will prevent sleep apnea episodes that interrupt your nightly rest. You’ll get the quality sleep you need to feel great and stay healthy.
Even though purchasing your CPAP mask and other related CPAP equipment can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be when you buy from No Insurance Medical Supplies. We offer a wide range of top-quality masks from leading brands like ResMed and Fisher and Paykel at discounted prices to help make your treatment more affordable.
With the right CPAP mask, a great night’s sleep is closer than you might think! Place your order today.