A sleep mask is commonly worn over the mouth, nose, or at the base of each nostril. A mask is integral to your therapy because it’s how the machine allows you to breathe properly in order to get a good night’s sleep. When a machine runs, it delivers air from the machine through a tube (usually called a hose) and connects with the face through a mask.
However, patients often complain that they still aren’t getting a restful night’s sleep after being prescribed a sleep machine. Even after going back and checking the pressure, medication, body position, and more it usually comes down to this: the single most important part of the equation is finding the best mask type and fit.
There are numerous types of sleep masks, including:
- Nasal Mask
- Nasal Pillows
- Nasal Cradle Mask
- Full Face Mask
But which one is right for you? Continue reading to learn more about finding the best mask for you.
Why is Finding The Best Mask Fit so Important?
If you can’t tolerate your sleep mask, there is no chance you will acclimate to therapy. Poor-fitting masks cause facial marks, discomfort, dry eyes, dry mouth, open sores, excessive leaking, and even hair loss. This increases the likelihood of you taking off the mask or not using it at all. This causes a whole new set of problems because you are now leaving your sleep apnea untreated which has major health risks.
However, with all of the new technology built into masks, there is no reason you shouldn’t have a comfortable mask that fills your needs.
Types of Masks
As we mentioned, sleep masks can come in various types. Traditional kinds are nasal pillows, nasal masks, and full-face masks. Non-traditional masks exist for those that need more than the traditional.
A nasal mask sits on the bridge of the nose. The nasal mask is usually held in place by headgear that connects to the frame. Irritation with a nasal mask can occur where the mask sits.
Nasal Pillow Mask
Nasal Pillow masks create a seal at the base of the nose. This mask is non-invasive and provides a clear field of vision. Nasal Pillow masks are also considered one of the most effective mask for beards.
Nasal Prong Mask
Nasal Prong masks seal and deliver air inside the nasal openings. Nasal Prong masks are similar to nasal pillows, but the prong will rest deeper inside the nostril. It creates a seal by resting against the nostril opening.
Nasal Prong masks are held in place by headgear. To prevent dryness and make sleep apnea therapy more tolerable, it is highly recommended to use heated humidification.
Full Face Mask
Full Face masks seal around your nose and mouth, with cushions usually in the shape of a triangle. They are held in place by headgear.
These masks are great for people who breathe through their mouth and don’t want to use a chin strap.
The downside of a full face mask is that they are usually bulkier because they cover both the mouth and nose. Recently, equipment manufacturers Philips Respironics and 3B Medical have both released full face masks that offer a greatly improved field of vision.
The most common reasons why you would need a full face mask are:
- You have chronic sinus issues or allergies
- You sleep with your mouth open
Some pretty cool and comfortable non-traditional masks that can help are the Tap-Pap, a nasal pillow interface with no headgear; it’s held in place with the patient’s mouth.
The SleepWeaver mask line is cloth-based and even works for pediatric patients and the Fit Life mask by Philips Respironics, is a total face mask.
Which Mask is an Appropriate Fit for You?
For starters, do you know your pressure? Are you claustrophobic? These are questions that you should ask yourself or you could be asked by your doctor. For pressures higher than 11, it is highly recommended that you do not use a nasal pillow. They are great masks but at higher pressures, they can be drying and irritating to nasal and sinus cavities.
What is the best sleep mask for high pressure? Or the best mask for claustrophobia?
At 3B Medical, we typically find that the best mask for high pressure is a full face mask, it may seem like backward thinking but let’s look deeper. Higher pressure has challenges of its own that can be intolerable without a full face mask such as the 3B Numa.
The Numa can offer a slight diffusion of air pressure and give the added benefit of allowing a patient the freedom to open their mouth, which for some relieves the feeling of claustrophobia.
This is also very helpful for patients who are mouth breathers or who experience nasal congestion, allergies or dry mouth.
What is the best mask for side sleepers?
The best mask for side sleepers is probably a simple nasal mask. These tend to be well-tolerated, are very lightweight, and are easy to use. The 3B Viva is a great option with the added benefit of a silicone gasket built-in to ensure your mask moves with you and keeps a great seal.
Want to read in bed or watch TV?
There are some great options for a forehead-less mask which allows you unrestricted vision and the ability to wear glasses if needed. Two 3B masks fit the bill here.
The Rio II, an ultra-lightweight nasal pillow interface, and the 3B Elara, a mask that is both full-face and soft and comfortable with no forehead stabilizer.
Finding a mask that suits your needs can be challenging, but it is definitely possible with all of the masks currently on the market.
Other Things to Consider When Trying to Find the Best Sleep Mask
How easy is the mask to assemble following cleaning? How does your DME company size and fit the mask to you? Does your mask make you feel confident that you can rest comfortably? Is the mask “noisy?”
All these parameters affect not only you but also your bed partner.
Mask cleaning is also a concern. Getting into all the nooks and crannies with soap and water will likely clean all visible debris. However, you might consider a rather handy unit for neutralizeion like the 3B Lumin. The Lumin will neutralize over 99% on surface areas on your mask.
The 3B Lumin Can Help
The 3B Lumin will also neutralize most household goods. It’s a true multi-purpose item, throw in your toothbrushes, baby pacifiers, and cell phones. Keeping your and home accessories germ-free has never been easier. For more information please contact us today or check out our 3B Lumin site.
The best mask is so worth the hunt, it can be life-changing and life-saving.
Don’t put yourself at risk by using cleaners that may be harmful to your health. 3B Medical created the Lumin cleaner to respond to a loudly voiced need for a safe and simple way for patients to neutralize their masks in a safe and effective way, without risking harmful ozone exposure. Our goal was to provide the only method to neutralize masks and water chambers in a very quick and completely safe manner.
Just as finding the best sleep mask and machine is integral to your health so is your maintenance of it. By using one of the Lumin devices you are guaranteed a fast, efficient, and easy way to clean your mask.
Keep fighting for that perfect night’s rest; stay healthy, faithful readers. Remember you are your biggest advocate.