It’s important to remember that a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) device can be effective in treating sleep apnea, but only when it’s used. To that end it’s important to get a comfortable CPAP mask – because, if the mask isn’t comfortable you will tend not to use it.
So when shopping for a mask, the first thing to look for is adaptability. The best CPAP masks will have adaptable fitting options built into their design. For instance, a good nasal pillow mask will come with different sized cushions to fit different sized noses. The Respironics OptiLife nasal pillow mask is a good example of this.
Adaptability applies to the mask straps as well. All masks need straps to secure them to and around the head, face, and chin but not all masks have optional slots for those straps to feed through. The best CPAP masks will have these different attachment points. After all, all faces are not alike and everyone doesn’t have the same preferences either. Being able to more the straps around a bit and not just tighten or loosen them is very useful.
Another feature to look at when comparing CPAP masks is the weight of the mask itself. Every mask has a certain weight to it but generally speaking, the lighter the mask, the more comfortable it will be to use. So you should look for something that’s feels as light as possible. It will take less time to accommodate your sleeping habits to a lighter mask than a heavier one.
A third feature to consider is how flexible or moveable the sleep apnea mask is. In other words, when it’s attached, can it accommodate different sleeping positions? We all move around at night and toss and turn a bit so it’s important for the mask to keep up. In particular, will the mask support you sleeping on your side and twisting to the other side? The last thing you want to do is wake up because you’ve pulled the mask loose.
The CPAP mask is the “personal” piece of your CPAP therapy. It has to fit not only your face, but your life as well. Take some time to look over several masks and don’t be afraid to “test drive” one or more before you settle on what works best for you.