💡 Key Takeaways
- Opt for Minimal Contact: Masks like the ResMed AirFit P10 offer minimal facial contact, making them ideal for side sleepers.
- Consider Hose Management: Masks with top-of-head hose connections, like the ResMed AirFit P30i, provide greater freedom of movement.
- Check Pressure Settings: Know your prescribed CPAP pressure settings. Nasal pillow and nasal cradle masks may struggle at higher pressures, making full-face options more suitable.
- Prioritize Comfort and Fit: Look for masks with adjustable headgear and flexible cushioning that adapt to your facial contours.
- Understand Your Breathing Style: How you normally breathe will determine whether you need a full-face mask, nasal mask, or nasal pillow mask.
Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the best CPAP mask for side sleepers! We understand how important it is to find the perfect mask that not only provides effective therapy but also ensures a comfortable and restful night’s sleep. That’s why we’ve scoured the cpap.com catalog to make your search for the ideal CPAP mask as easy and stress-free as possible.
Our team of experts has extensively researched, tested, and gathered real-life experiences to bring you the top CPAP masks specifically designed for side sleepers like you. We know how crucial it is to have a mask that stays in place, maintains a secure seal, and allows you to sleep comfortably in your preferred position. First, we’ll look at the masks we commonly recommend the most for side sleepers and what makes them great, beginning with the most minimally-intrusive mask designs and ending with some full-face options that will work for just about anyone.
Without further ado, we invite you to sit back, relax, and let us guide you through the process of finding the perfect CPAP mask to enhance your side-sleeping experience and improve your overall sleep quality.
The AirFit P10 is one of the best-selling masks we’ve ever carried. Reviewers love it for its minimal footprint and easy-to-adjust headgear, with many praising it for feeling like it’s ‘barely there at all’. This nasal pillow mask offers a combination of comfort, performance, and ease of use, and is excellent for first-time CPAP owners who may be apprehensive about wearing bigger, bulkier masks.
The P10 offers minimal facial irritation and few-to-no red marks or sore spots in the morning while the QuietAir mesh vent effectively diffuses exhaled air for a quieter night’s sleep. If you can reliably breathe through your nose and tend to change sleeping positions throughout the night, this may be the one for you.
Who It’s Best For
The AirFit P10’s lightweight design and minimal facial contact points make it an excellent option for those who may be sensitive to bulkier masks or prone to skin irritation, as well as those with facial hair. Its quiet operation is also beneficial for those who share a bed with a partner, as it minimizes sleep disturbances for both parties. Active sleepers will appreciate the AirFit P10’s secure fit and flexible headgear, which allows for a wide range of movement without compromising the mask’s seal.
Like most nasal pillow masks, the P10 starts to struggle at pressures over 15 cmH2O, and the air pressure may become quite intense. It pairs quite well with a chinstrap, though, so even if your mouth tends to fall open as you sleep, the P10 may still be a good option for you.
Bottom Line: The ResMed AirFit P10 is a top choice for side sleepers due to its lightweight design, comfortable fit, and quiet operation, ensuring a restful night’s sleep while maintaining effective CPAP therapy. It works well for those it fits, but some face shapes and sizes may be better suited to more customizable masks, as the P10’s motto is “one size fits most”.
The P30i is a natural evolution of the P10 mask, which adds a top-of-head hose connection and 360-degree spinning mount for increased freedom of movement for more active sleepers. The accordion-style hollow frame offers a flexible fit for various head shapes and sizes. While retaining a minimalistic design, the P30i is a more secure option for those who might wake up to find they’ve accidentally removed their mask in their sleep.
Who It’s Best For
The ResMed AirFit P30i’s top-of-head hose connection and minimal facial contact make it an ideal choice for those who frequently move during sleep or prefer a less obtrusive mask design. The mask is also suitable for those with facial hair, as the nasal pillows seal inside the nostrils to easily accommodate many beard and mustache styles.
Conversely, the AirFit P30i may not be the best option for those who primarily breathe through their mouth during sleep, as it does not cover the mouth and can be cumbersome to wear with a chinstrap. In general, nasal pillow masks may also struggle with pressure settings over 15 cmH2O, so the P30i is better suited to a lower average pressure.
Bottom Line: The ResMed AirFit P30i is an excellent choice for side sleepers due to its top-of-head hose connection, minimal facial contact, and ability to accommodate movement during sleep, ensuring a comfortable and effective therapy experience.
The AirFit N20 is a stable and more traditional nasal-style CPAP mask that completely encompasses the nose. It has convenient magnetic headgear clips for easy removal and a flexible short tube that lends itself to reduced hose drag and easier position changes. The headgear is secure, yet very low-profile, and side sleepers often praise its soft cloth frame and flexible construction. The AirFit line’s InfinitySeal cushion is particularly helpful for side sleepers, as it helps maintain a secure seal even if your pillow pushes on the edge of your mask cushion.
Who It’s Best For
The ResMed AirFit N20’s combination of a reliable seal, comfortable fit, and flexibility make it an ideal choice for those who need a secure mask fit but struggle with maintaining a proper seal while sleeping on their side. The mask is designed to accommodate various facial features and sizes, making it a versatile option for those who have had difficulty finding a mask that fits comfortably.
While it may be slightly bulkier than some nasal pillow masks, the AirFit N20’s comfort and reliability make it a top choice for side sleepers. It can be cumbersome to wear with a chinstrap, though, so it isn’t recommended for those who need their mouth to breathe.
Bottom Line: The ResMed AirFit N20 offers a comfortable fit and reliable seal with more security than a nasal pillow mask. Its InfinitySeal cushion adapts to various facial contours and movements during sleep, providing a secure and reliable seal no matter your sleeping position. The flexible frame and plush headgear further help to help keep the mask comfortable all night long.
A different take on nasal masks, the N30i rests under the nose rather than covering it for a less-claustrophobic feeling. It has a top-of-head hose mount for excellent freedom to move and change positions throughout the night, and is a smart choice for bearded wearers, too. Its unique design allows for minimal facial contact while still retaining a secure fit similar to that of the P30i. In fact, the P30i and N30i use the exact same frame, which means the cushions can easily be swapped between the two, giving you the choice between secure nasal pillows or a more comfortable nasal cradle cushion.
Who It’s Best For
The ResMed AirFit N30i’s unique design features cater specifically to the needs of side sleepers by providing minimal facial contact, flexibility, and a secure fit that allows for ease of movement during sleep. This mask is also an excellent option for those who prefer a more open view, as it will not obstruct your line of sight. If you like the concept of nasal pillows but find them to be a bit too invasive, the N30i may be a good option for you.
The ResMed AirFit N30i is an ideal choice for side sleepers thanks to its unique design which allows for minimal facial contact, flexible tubing, and a secure fit that adapts to a wide range of face shapes. This mask provides comfort, ease of movement, and an effective seal, making it a top pick for those seeking a CPAP mask specifically designed for side sleeping.
For side sleepers that prefer a full face mask, the F30 is a good place to start. Traditional full face masks that cover the nose entirely tend to dig into your face when lying on your side, so we recommend a hybrid design like the F30, which covers your mouth while merely resting under your nose. This design allows for a more stable headgear fit, while the crown strap atop the headgear allows for a more personalized-fit feel. With its innovative minimal-contact design, the AirFit F30 provides an optimal balance of comfort and performance throughout various sleeping positions when compared to standard full face masks.
Who It’s Best For
The ResMed AirFit F30’s minimal-contact design and quiet operation make it an excellent choice for those who value a clear line of sight and tend to move around while sleeping. For those who rely on their mouth as much as their nose to breathe, the F30 is a smart choice, especially if you’re prone to feelings of claustrophobia with masks that cover your nose or use a forehead support bar.
Bottom Line: The ResMed AirFit F30 is an excellent CPAP mask for side sleepers due to its compact design, minimal facial contact, and quiet operation. It offers the security of a full face mask while reducing sore spots and red marks from the bridge of the nose. The ResMed AirFit F30 is designed to minimize facial contact and discomfort for side sleepers who prefer or require a full face CPAP mask.
Last but certainly not least, the AirFit F30i is an evolution of the F30 mask which adds a hollow frame and top-of-head hose mount that caters to active sleepers. It also features very stable headgear and can easily deliver therapy air through just one side of the hollow frame, allowing you to sleep on whichever side you want, whenever you want.
Who It’s Best For
The ResMed AirFit F30i’s minimal contact design and top-of-head connection provide greater freedom of movement and reduced facial pressure points, ensuring comfortable and effective performance for just about anyone that breathes through their mouth during sleep. For those with beards, the F30i manages a pretty secure seal for a full face mask, though this may not be true at higher pressure settings or for those with large or bushy beards. The open line of sight also creates a better experience for those who experience feelings of claustrophobia and is a nice touch for those who wear glasses or like to read or watch tv before bed.
Bottom Line: The ResMed AirFit F30i is an excellent choice for side sleepers due to its minimal contact design and top-of-head connection. It allows for greater freedom of movement and reduced facial pressure points during sleep compared to traditional full face masks. Thanks to its low-profile design, the cushion is less likely to snag on your pillow, reducing leaks and improving your ability to sleep through the night.
Why We Picked These CPAP Masks and What You Should Consider When Choosing an Ideal Mask for Side Sleeping
In picking these masks, we looked for options that were minimally intrusive and had designs made with active sleepers in mind. Starting with the most minimal mask designs, we think the nasal pillow masks listed above are some of the best options around for side sleepers. Recognizing that some will prefer the more secure fit offered by a nasal mask, or won’t like the feeling of nasal pillows, we went on to recommend some nasal-style masks that are popular with side sleepers. And finally, recognizing that not all side sleepers can just breathe through their nose full time, we wanted to include our favorite low-profile full face masks for side sleeping to ensure that anybody can find a good mask fit.
Finding a mask that supports side sleeping is important not only because you should only consider masks that fit well to your breathing and sleeping style, but also because side sleeping is generally better than back sleeping for most people with sleep apnea and leads to fewer apnea events and a lower AHI.
Are There Benefits to Side Sleeping With a CPAP Mask?
When it comes to using a CPAP mask, your sleeping position can significantly impact the effectiveness of your therapy. Research has shown that side sleeping can be highly beneficial for those with sleep apnea, as it helps to keep the airway open and reduces the likelihood of obstruction. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that side sleeping reduced the number of apnea events by up to 50% compared to back sleeping.
Improved Airflow and Reduced Apnea Events
As mentioned above, side sleeping can help keep your airway open, leading to improved airflow and reduced apnea events. This means that you’ll experience fewer interruptions in your sleep and wake up feeling more refreshed and energized.
Better Sleep Quality
With fewer apnea events and increased comfort, side sleeping can lead to better sleep quality overall. This, in turn, can improve your daytime alertness, cognitive function, and overall well-being. It also reduces GERD symptoms and can offer better spinal alignment, too!
What to Consider When Choosing a CPAP Mask
1. Mask Design and Minimal Contact
Side sleepers require a mask with minimal contact to avoid discomfort and maintain a proper seal throughout the night. Look for masks with a low-profile design, such as nasal pillows or minimal-contact nasal or full face masks. For example, the AirFit P10 Nasal Pillow and the DreamWear Nasal masks are both excellent options for side sleepers due to their minimal contact and lightweight design.
2. Secure and Comfortable Fit
As a side sleeper, you need a mask that stays in place and maintains a good seal, even when you change positions during the night. Look for masks with adjustable headgear and flexible cushioning that can adapt to your facial contours. The AirFit F30i Full Face mask is a great example of a mask that offers a secure and comfortable fit for side sleepers.
3. Hose Connection and Management
For side sleepers, a mask with a well-designed hose connection is essential to prevent tugging and ensure a comfortable night’s sleep. Masks with a rotating swivel or top-of-head hose connection, such as the DreamWear series of masks, can help reduce the chances of the hose getting tangled or causing discomfort during sleep.
4. Noise Level
Regardless of your preferred sleeping position, choosing a quieter mask is always a good idea, especially if you sleep with a partner. Opt for masks with a quiet venting system to minimize noise and ensure a peaceful night’s sleep for both you and your partner. Most modern CPAP masks have modern mesh diffuser vents that drastically quiet exhaled air and Resmed does a good job at quieting the night throughout their AirFit line of masks.
5. Your CPAP Pressure Settings
Of course, knowing your prescribed pressure settings is important to choosing a CPAP mask as well. If your pressure setting is under 12 cmH2O, congratulations! You can use just about any mask you think will work for you. If your pressure is 15 cmH2O or higher, you’ll likely start having issues with nasal pillow and nasal cradle-style masks, so it’s better to opt for a full face mask or nasal mask that completely encompasses your nose rather than resting beneath it.
6. Personal Preferences and Sleep Habits
Lastly, consider your personal preferences and sleep habits when choosing a CPAP mask for side sleeping. Are you a restless sleeper? Do you prefer a certain type of cushion material? Understanding your unique needs and preferences will help you find the perfect mask for a successful and comfortable CPAP therapy experience.
The Bottom Line: Finding the right CPAP mask for side sleepers means you should seek minimalistic masks with few touchpoints, flexible frames that adapt to different positions, and spinning tube connections, preferably at the top of the head. Always try to choose as minimal of a mask as you can depending on your breathing style. By taking these factors into account and exploring the recommended masks mentioned in this article, you’ll be well on your way to a comfortable and effective CPAP therapy experience as a side sleeper!
Tips for Finding the Best Fitting CPAP Mask
- Know How You Breathe: Understanding your breathing style is essential when looking for the best-fitting CPAP mask. Some sleep with their mouth open and don’t breathe through the nose, while others breathe through the nose only and don’t breathe through the mouth at all. Your breathing patterns will determine whether you need a full face mask, nasal mask, or nasal pillow mask.
- Use Fitting Guides or Buy a Fit Pack: Every CPAP mask has a printable guide that when compared to your face, indicates what size mask cushion you should buy for that specific mask type. Every mask and brand does things differently, so be sure to find the sizing guide specifically for the mask you’re interested in. You should be able to locate the buying guide for each mask on its respective CPAP.com product page near the size selection menu. Alternatively, we recommend buying a fit pack each time you’re trying a new mask, as it will include every available cushion size so you can feel the difference between them and choose what’s best for you.
- Consider Your Budget: CPAP masks come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and price points. Determine your budget before you start shopping, and keep in mind that investing in a high-quality mask can improve your overall therapy experience. Cheaper masks can work well, too, but may degrade faster or simply won’t provide the same level of therapy success, robbing you of restful sleep, increased energy levels, better mood regulation, and more of the benefits of CPAP therapy.
- Try Before You Buy: If possible, take advantage of mask fit finders or free return insurance policies offered by some CPAP mask retailers. This allows you to try different masks and find the one that fits you best without any financial risk. CPAP.com offers free return insurance on every mask via our 30-day satisfaction guarantee so that you can try any mask you’re interested in without having to commit to a mask that doesn’t work for you.
- Ease of Use: While it isn’t necessarily high on the list of importance, you should also be mindful of how complicated your mask will be to take apart and clean, as you’ll need to clean most of it every single day after use. The simpler the design, the fewer parts there will be that need to be disassembled and cleaned, and if anything breaks, the parts may be harder to track down if your mask has more of them.
Types of CPAP Masks for Side Sleepers
As a side sleeper seeking CPAP treatment, finding the right mask can make all the difference in achieving a comfortable and effective therapy experience. In this section, we’ll explore the different types of CPAP masks specifically designed for side sleepers, and discuss their unique features and benefits.
Nasal Pillow Masks: Minimal Contact and Maximum Comfort
Nasal pillow masks are the best choice for side sleepers because of their minimal design and reduced facial contact. These masks feature small cushions that seal just inside of the nostrils, providing direct airflow and reducing the chances of leaks caused by movements and position changes. Some highly recommended nasal pillow masks for side sleepers include the ResMed AirFit P10 and the Philips Respironics DreamWear Nasal.
Nasal Masks: A Balanced Option for Side Sleepers
Nasal masks typically cover the entire nose and are held in place by headgear, though nasal cradle-style masks like the N30 mentioned above have become more popular in recent years. Regardless of style, nasal masks offer a good balance between comfort and stability for side sleepers. Traditional nasal mask cushions are designed to provide a secure seal without excessive pressure on the face, while cradle-style cushions are meant to mimic the performance of nasal pillows while retaining a less-invasive feel. The ResMed AirFit N20 is a highly recommended nasal mask for side sleepers due to its adaptive cushion technology and flexible frame.
Full Face Masks: For Those Who Breathe Through the Mouth
If you’re a side sleeper who tends to breathe through their mouth, a full face mask may be the right choice for you. These masks cover both the nose and mouth, ensuring you receive adequate airflow even if your mouth opens during sleep. While the AirFit F20 is a great choice for less active sleepers, its larger footprint means it is more likely to be disrupted by your pillow when side sleeping, which is why we recommend the AirFit F30 or F30i as viable alternatives.
Hybrid Masks: Combining the Best of Both Worlds
Hybrid masks are a unique option for side sleepers, as they combine the features of nasal pillow and full face masks. These masks have cushions that seal around the nostrils and a separate cushion that covers the mouth. This design offers the minimal contact of a nasal pillow mask while still accommodating those who need their mouth to breathe. The ResMed Mirage Liberty is a popular hybrid mask choice for side sleepers.
What to Consider Before Purchasing a CPAP Mask
Do You Need a Prescription for a CPAP Mask?
When it comes to purchasing a CPAP mask, you might be wondering if a prescription is necessary. The answer is yes, you do need a prescription to start CPAP therapy and purchase a CPAP mask or machine. This is because they are classified as Class II Medical Devices by the FDA, and they cannot be sold legally without a valid prescription. So, before you start shopping for a CPAP mask, make sure to consult with your doctor and obtain a prescription that outlines your specific pressure requirements.
Will Health Insurance or Medicare Cover the Cost of Your CPAP Mask?
The cost of a CPAP mask can be a concern for many people, especially if they’re unsure whether their health insurance or Medicare will cover the expense. The good news is that most health insurance plans, as well as Medicare, do cover the cost of CPAP equipment, including masks. However, the coverage may vary depending on your specific plan and the type of mask you choose.
To find out if your health insurance or Medicare will cover the cost of your CPAP mask, it’s best to contact your insurance provider directly. They can provide you with detailed information about your coverage and any potential out-of-pocket costs. Keep in mind that you may need to purchase your CPAP mask from an approved supplier in order for it to be covered by your insurance.
You should also understand that having insurance pay for your machine is more like renting it, as you have to continuously prove to your insurance provider that you’re using the machine for a predetermined number of hours each night, usually 4-6. If you don’t meet the ‘compliance standard’ your provider may reclaim the machine, leaving you out of whatever money you already gave them for it. When you shop with CPAP.com, you own your machine forever and can rest with greater peace of mind knowing your therapy isn’t at risk of being taken away.
Where Can You Buy a CPAP Mask for Side Sleeping?
If you’re a side sleeper, finding a CPAP mask that’s comfortable and effective can be a bit more challenging. However, there are masks specifically designed for side sleepers that can help you get a good night’s sleep while using your CPAP machine. To find the perfect CPAP mask for side sleeping, consider the following sources:
- Online Retailers: There are numerous online retailers that specialize in CPAP equipment, including masks designed for side sleepers. These websites often offer a wide selection of masks, along with customer reviews and detailed product information to help you make an informed decision. At CPAP.com, we do everything we can to make the buying, checkout, and support process as painless as possible and try our best to keep product pages, reviews, and guides up-to-date so you’re well-informed at every step of the way.
- Local Medical Supply Stores: If you prefer to shop in person, you can visit a local medical supply store that carries CPAP equipment. This can be an excellent option if you want to try on different masks and get advice from knowledgeable staff members, or simply see and hold what you’re spending your money on before you buy it.
- Your Sleep Specialist: Your sleep specialist or doctor may also be able to recommend a specific CPAP mask for side sleeping based on your unique needs and preferences. They may even have samples available for you to try on before making a purchase.
Remember, finding the right CPAP mask for side sleeping may require some trial and error. Don’t be afraid to try different options until you find the perfect fit that allows you to sleep comfortably and effectively manage your sleep apnea.
Helpful Tips for Side Sleepers with Sleep Apnea
As a side sleeper with sleep apnea, finding the right CPAP setup and making adjustments to your sleep routine can significantly improve your therapy experience. Below are a few additional steps you might be able to take to further dial in your experience to one that’s more comfortable, beneficial, and refreshing.
Use a Sleep Positioning Pillow
The best CPAP pillows help side sleepers maintain a comfortable sleeping position by supporting the neck and head while also accommodating masks and tubing in a way that is less disruptive to sleep, allowing the neck and spine to rest in a more natural position.
Practice Positional Therapy
Positional therapy is a popular approach for side sleepers with sleep apnea, as it focuses on training your body to maintain a specific sleep position throughout the night. By consistently sleeping on your side, you can help alleviate sleep apnea symptoms and improve your overall therapy experience.
CPAP Pressure Settings
With the above in mind, it’s worth mentioning that your airway on its side may require a lower pressure to remain open than when you lie on your back. By opting for an APAP that automatically adjusts your pressure settings or consulting with your healthcare provider, you may be able to slightly reduce your prescribed pressure when sleeping exclusively on your side for more comfortable therapy.
Monitor Your Progress and Make Adjustments
Regularly tracking your progress and making adjustments to your CPAP therapy can help you achieve optimal results. By closely monitoring your AHI (Apnea-Hypopnea Index), leak rates, and time spent sleeping with the mask on, you can identify areas for improvement and make necessary changes to your therapy routine. Remember, consistency is key – stick with your therapy plan and make adjustments as needed to ensure you’re getting the most out of your CPAP treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions About CPAP Masks for Side Sleepers
Can You Sleep on Your Side With a CPAP Mask?
Yes, you can sleep on your side with a CPAP mask. The key is to choose the right mask for your sleep position. The best CPAP masks for side sleepers include the AirFit P10 Nasal Pillow, DreamWear Nasal, and AirFit F30i Full Face masks. These masks have minimal bulk, making them less likely to push against your pillow and disrupt your therapy. Sleeping on your side can actually improve your CPAP therapy by reducing snoring and lowering your Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI).
How Do You Wear Your Hair With a CPAP Mask When Side Sleeping?
To wear your hair with a CPAP mask while side sleeping, consider pulling it back into a loose ponytail or bun. Depending on your mask, your headgear may even have a large area to accommodate a high ponytail or bun that will be more comfortable than a lower ponytail. You can also use a soft headband or hair wrap to keep your hair in place and avoid discomfort during the night, or even consider wearing a bonnet or sleep cap under your headgear. This may, however, cause your headgear to slip off, depending on your mask style.
How Do You Clean a CPAP Mask?
Daily Cleaning Routine
Cleaning your CPAP mask regularly is essential for maintaining effective therapy and preventing skin irritation. To clean your mask, follow these steps:
- Remove the mask from the headgear and disassemble any removable parts.
- Fill a basin or sink with warm, soapy water (use mild, fragrance-free soap).
- Submerge the mask and gently scrub it with a soft cloth or brush.
- Rinse the mask thoroughly with clean water.
- Allow the mask to air dry, away from direct sunlight.
Weekly Deep Cleaning
In addition to daily cleaning, perform a deep cleaning of your mask once a week. This involves soaking the mask in a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water for approximately 30 minutes. After soaking, rinse the mask thoroughly with clean water and allow it to air dry.
How Often Should You Change Your CPAP Mask?
How often you change your CPAP mask depends on what mask type you have and what the components are. Your mask cushion or nasal pillows will need to be replaced the most frequently, typically between one and three months of use. Your headgear will typically last six to nine months, while the mask frame itself should last between six and twelve months, though this can vary depending on whether your mask uses a hard plastic, soft fabric, or flexible silicone frame.
Selecting the right CPAP mask for side sleeping is crucial for ensuring a comfortable and effective therapy experience. The first step in selecting a mask that’s good for side sleeping is to start with the most minimal design you can that’s compatible with your breathing style. Look for adaptive cushions, highly-adjustable headgear, and top-of-head hose connections with large ranges of rotation. Less complex masks are better for maintenance and you’ll want to keep facial touchpoints to a minimum as well.
You can further optimize your therapy by using CPAP pillows that better accommodate your equipment, practicing positional therapy, and monitoring your progress to keep track of possible improvements. Finally, stay curious about your therapy and how it works, and educate yourself about the variables you can change such as humidity levels, tube temperatures, pressure relief settings, ramp settings, and your mask type, as all of these will impact the quality and comfort level of your therapy!
If you want more help choosing a mask or have any questions about therapy or any of the equipment we sell, don’t be a stranger! Our CPAP experts are standing by waiting for you to give us a call or drop a message in the live chat so we can help you find the restful and restorative therapy you deserve.