Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that affects a significant number of men and women every year. The disorder is characterized by frequent interruptions in breathing during sleep. Those interruptions lead to overall disturbed sleep and generalized fatigue and cognitive attention issues. When sleep apnea is left untreated and is long-running, it can contribute to serious health problems.
The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea or OAS. People who suffer from OAS experience blockages in their airways while they sleep – blockages that stem from relaxed muscle tissue around their airways. For those who suffer from this particular form of sleep apnea, a treatment exists that can maintain an open airway and relieve the interruptions. These treatments are called CPAP treatments. Sleep Health
The treatments themselves involve a CPAP machine pumping compressed air through a tube and into a CPAP mask that the OSA sufferer wears while they sleep. The air pressure keeps the airway open throughout the night and the apnea effects are avoided.
Once an apnea sufferer has discovered CPAP therapy and decided to follow its course it’s important to choose the right equipment for the therapy and the most important piece of that equipment is the CPAP mask. The CPAP mask is the key device in the therapy chain. The mask needs to fit not only the contours of your face but it has to fit your sleep habits as much as possible too.
The first question to ask is do you tend to breathe mainly through your nose or through your mouth when you sleep. If you primarily use your nose, then you can choose a CPAP nasal mask or a CPAP nasal pillow mask. These masks connect either around your nose or directly to the nostrils of your nose. On the other hand, if you use your mouth more when you sleep, then you’ll need a CPAP full-face mask that covers both the nose and the mouth.
Next you’ll need to consider the fit or how the mask is strapped on. Are around-the-head straps the most comfortable or is a combination of head and chin straps better. How the mask straps on determines how secure it will fit on your face and ultimately how effective it will be. It also determines how much free movement you’ll have as you sleep and how comfortable you’ll be.
I’d recommend that you work with your doctor or clinic/hospital to try out more than one CPAP mask. Getting some experience with different masks gives you a better perspective and a better understanding of what works best for you.