Side sleeping positions can somewhat limit your options for CPAP treatment. It’s also important to understand different types of these devices to know which one would fit you. How to make sure you’re getting the best CPAP mask for side sleepers?

This article reviews some of the best equipment for treating sleep apnea and tells how to maximize its effectiveness.

Are you curious to learn more? Then, keep reading!

What does CPAP mask do?

Statistics for sleep apnea in the US.
Approximately 1 out of 12 Americans suffer from OSA

CPAP (“continuous positive airway pressure”) is a personal treatment device for patients with sleep problems. It provides a steady stream of air pressure to the wearer’s airways to make breathing easier during sleep.

These masks are a popular way of CPAP therapy, which can help over 22 million US citizens who suffer from sleep apnea. It is also useful for mouth breathers and side sleepers who want to increase their sleep quality.

Side sleeping and CPAP therapy

According to statistics, about 28% of adults sleep on one of their sides. It’s actually one of the optimal ways to lay in the bed during the night. Do you know why?

Keeping the back straight makes you less like to snore or wake up with back pains. Additionally, sleeping in this position can improve your gut health. With that said, it’s important to position your body appropriately to get the most out of your sleep (more on that – later).

However, side sleeping has some downsides as well. It can lead to shoulder or joint pains in the morning. Also, this position makes it a trickier to undergo CPAP treatment.

For example, full face masks won’t fit the majority of side sleepers. A mask like that would create pressure against the side of the patient’s face, which would make it quite unbearable. That’s why it’s good that there are other viable solutions.

Now, what is the best CPAP mask for side sleepers? Let’s find out.

Best types of CPAP devices for side sleepers

Statistics for best CPAP mask types
Most popular types of CPAP masks

There are three main types of devices for CPAP treatment. Let’s look at them up-close.

Full face mask

The full-face device connects to the wearer’s face and sends airways to both mouth and nose. It’s useful for people with severe sleep apnea and those who tend to breathe with their mouths.

As mentioned, this type of apparatus isn’t ideal for side sleepers or people who move a lot throughout the night. Furthermore, it has to fit you perfectly in order to be effective (otherwise, the air could leak from the gaps between the face and the mask). 

Nasal mask

Nasal equipment is the best CPAP mask for people who prefer side sleeping. As the name suggests, it provides airflow only to the wearer’s nose.

It’s much more comfortable to wear this mask during the day because it’s much lighter and more compact than a full face mask.

Nasal pillow

Nasal pillows are the most compact solutions for CPAP therapy. These devices deliver moderate air pressure, while the size makes them ideal for people who toss around a lot during sleep.

Don’t want to get rid of the facial hair? Then, this tool would be the best choice if you want to prevent air leaking.

How to use CPAP mask for side sleepers?

Sleeping with a CPAP machine requires some time to get used to it. However, some things can help you get to adjust faster. 

For example, it’s essential to pick the right type and size of the mask (full-face or nasal device), so you can get the best seal and maximize the treatment effectiveness.

Still feeling too much discomfort? Then, you can practice wearing the mask before going to sleep. A few hours before bed for a couple of days are sometimes enough to adapt to them.

Also, take the time to look at some additional accessories and appliances. Many side sleepers benefit from liners, creams, straps, or extra cushions – they make wearing the CPAP machine far more bearable.

What is the best CPAP mask for side sleepers?

At this point, you should know what kind of facepieces work best for side sleepers. Now, let’s look at the best CPAP masks out there.

  1. ResMed AirFit N20

Features:

  • Nasal mask
  • Doesn’t obstruct vision
  • Minimalistic design
  • Magnetic clips for more effortless adjustment

ResMed AirFit N20 is considered of the best nasal CPAP masks for side sleepers. It has extremely soft cushion, which reduces the pressure on the face to a minimum.

This facepiece is also flexible and highly adjustable. The magnetic clips allow you to adjust the mask to the desired position quickly, as well as to take it on and off in a single click.

  1. ResMed AirFit P10

Features:

  • Nasal pillow
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Easy to clean
  • Comes with 3 pillows (small, medium, and large-sized)

ResMed AirFit P10 can deliver when every other CPAP device fails. It’s an incredibly small and lightweight device that fits nearly everyone. AirFit P10 is also one of the most comfortable nasal pillows out there.

Feel free to toss and turn however you want – ResMed AirFit P10 won’t interrupt your sleep in any way. It also doesn’t limit your vision, which makes it’s comfortable to wear even outside of the bed.

  1. Phillips Respironics Wisp

Features:

  • Nasal mask
  • Lightweight and comfortable cushion
  • Minimalistic design
  • Comes in two types of versions (plastic and fabric)
  • Doesn’t limit your view

Another extremely comfortable nasal mask that causes the least amount of inconvenience. Phillips Respironics Wisp is a quiet, easy to use device with a minimalistic design. 

It comes in two versions. If you’re a side sleeper – we recommend picking the one made out of fabric. Aside from being even lighter than the plastic one, it also won’t cause any skin irritation.

  1. Fisher & Paykel Opus 360

Features:

  • Nasal pillow
  • Allows 360-degree range movement
  • Adjustable tube position
  • Great seal
  • Comes with 3 nasal pillows (small, medium, and large sizes)

Fisher & Paykel Opus 360 is maybe the best CPAP mask for people who value freedom of movement. The design makes it possible to adjust the tube to any position you want (you can even place above your head). 

Also, your body is free to move the way it pleases throughout the night – the hose will follow you without risk of getting tucked up.

Side effects: can CPAP make your lungs weak?

There are reports that CPAP can increase lung volume, which can decrease the upper airway stiffness.

With that said, no evidence suggests that CPAP machines have adverse effects on health. Actually, the results of the researches suggest the opposite.

Based on a study published in 2005 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, CPAP proves to be an efficient method of treating sleep apnea. It also prevents the collapse of the pharyngeal airway during sleep. 

How do I get rid of CPAP marks on my face?

You can easily avoid getting any marks on your face altogether. It’s easy – follow our list above to make sure you’re getting the best CPAP mask out there.

If you still notice red marks from your mask – follow these tips:

  •  Pay attention to the mask’s size. Most of the problems come from wearing an inappropriately sized mask. Even though it’s best to prevent air leakage, you shouldn’t tighten the mask too tightly around your face until it’s uncomfortable to wear. Sometimes, it’s better to try a different size.
  • Use liners, padding, and gels. This is a very popular option for people who find their CPAP machine too uncomfortable.
  • Try a different type of facepiece. Each of us has a unique face structure. Don’t torture yourself with a wearing a full-face device if it doesn’t fit you. Simply try a different type of facepiece (like a nasal CPAP mask or pillow).

Conclusion

It’s essential to choose a fitting continuous positive airway pressure device to treat sleep apnea. And if you’re a side sleeper – the best CPAP mask would be one of the nasal facepieces we look through in our review.

Do you have any additional questions? Feel free to leave them down below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the best side sleeping practices?

Adjusting your sleeping position is an integral part of the CPAP therapy. To make the most out of your facepiece, make sure to do the following:

  • line your ears with shoulders while lying on your side
  • keep the arms parallel to your sides and don’t place them above the neck
  • try reducing the strain on your back by raising the knees to the chest
  • put a pillow between your legs

What to look out for in a CPAP mask?

To make sure you are getting the best CPAP device, you should consider:

  1. Type of the mask. Full face masks aren’t the best choice If you move a lot during sleep or prefer side sleeping.
  2. Weight. Make sure to account for the weight of your device. Some of the best CPAP masks can be so lightweight it’s comfortable to use them even when you aren’t sleeping.
  3. Shape and size. Full face masks come in many sizes and shapes. A lot of people find it hard to pick the one that suits them. However, with nasal devices, you’ll have fewer things to worry about, as they don’t take up most of your face. They are also not as bulky, which makes them considerably more comfortable to wear for side sleepers.
  4. Sound it makes. CPAP devices usually have quite motors. However, it’s worth checking up the noise level before you buy one. Around 30 decibels of noise level should be ideal even for light sleepers.

What if my mask leaks?

The leakage tends to happen if you wear the mask incorrectly. There are many reasons for that. It can be that you’ve got the wrong size or that this particular mask doesn’t fit your facial structure.

Make sure the mask makes a tight seal to eliminate (or minimize) leakage. We also recommend getting rid of the facial hair, as it tends to create gaps between the device and the face.

If nothing else works – try nasal pillows and masks. These are the best CPAP devices for side sleepers that don’t cover the majority of your face, which minimizes leakage issues.

How to clean a CPAP facepiece?

One of the best things about CPAP machines is the fact that they don’t require much maintenance. What you should be concerned about instead is keeping the mask clean and replacing filters from time to time.

How should you clean this device?

  • Keep the exposure to water to a minimum even when you emptying the humidifier chamber
  • Clean the device only when the humidifier is disconnected
  • Apply warm water with soap (refrain from scented soap) and let the device dry for a few hours before using it again

When to replace CPAP mask for side sleepers?

CPAP masks are built to last for many years. An average warranty from most manufacturers and sellers stands at approximately five years. However, with proper care, your equipment is guaranteed to last significantly more (read about maintenance above).