There are several factors to consider when you choose a CPAP mask, including your sleeping position. For example, the best CPAP masks for side sleepers are often different than those for back sleepers. Pressure on the side of your face from your pillow can cause certain masks to shift and create a poor seal. In addition, the position of straps and tubing on some masks can cause discomfort for side sleepers.
Whether you're a new or long-term CPAP user, you've likely been told how much compliance, the consistency with which you use your machine, can impact the efficacy of your therapy over time. According to CPAP usage research, poor mask fit and mask leaks (when air escapes from the mask due to a poor seal) are two of the most common complaints with CPAP therapy that lead to non-compliance. Another study found that 24 percent of patients saw improved compliance following efforts to improve mask fit and comfort, among other variables.
With compliance so important for effective therapy, it's crucial to find a comfortable mask with a secure fit. To help, we've compiled a list of some of the best CPAP masks for side sleepers and organized them by the three most common types of CPAP masks: nasal pillow, nasal, and full face masks. Click on one of the headings below to see the best masks in a particular category or keep reading to see the full list.
For side sleepers, CPAP nasal pillow masks are commonly recommended since they are smaller in design and have fewer seal points. This generally makes them more comfortable while also reducing the likelihood of air leakage if you move during the night. Here are three of the best nasal pillow CPAP masks for side sleepers.
First on our list, the ResMed P30i features a streamlined frame design that rests comfortably along the contours of your face to create a secure fit throughout the night. This minimalist design makes it easy to go about your typical nightly routine – reading, watching TV, and more – without obstructing your line of sight. If you or your partner are light sleepers, ResMed's QuietAir vent technology keeps noise at or below 21 decibels. Best of all, the hose attaches to the mask at the top of your head with an elbow swivel joint, keeping it out of your face during the night as you move. The hose can also be quickly and easily disconnected if you need to get out of bed and don't want to take off your mask.
Another popular choice from ResMed is the Swift FX Bella. This nasal pillow mask features a flat strap design that secures behind the ears and includes padding along each cheek to ensure maximum comfort, especially for side sleepers. The design eliminates the need for headgear which can disrupt or irritate hair for some users and, like the P30i, keeps sightlines clear for reading and watching TV. Unlike the P30i, tubing on the Swift FX Bella runs out from below the nose instead of over the head. However, the connector pivots and tubing can be extended or contracted like a slinky, so it's easy to adjust it to run over your shoulder or to another position that's comfortable.
Our first entry on this list from Philips, the DreamWear Nasal Pillow Mask offers a very similar design as the ResMed P30i and comes in three frame sizes. Like the P30i, the tubing connector is at the top of the head and pivots, allowing easy adjustment to keep it out of the way as you sleep. The open face style allows an open line of sight, while the gel nasal pillows create a comfortable fit to reduce the likelihood of irritation. It's worth noting, however, that the mask can shift more for active sleepers due to a slightly different nasal cushion design compared to the P30i.
Like nasal pillow masks, nasal masks are a popular choice for side sleepers due to their small, lightweight designs. Nasal masks create a seal around or beneath the nose rather than in the nostrils, making them a good option for those who need higher pressure settings or experience irritation with a nasal pillow cushion. Here are three of the best nasal CPAP masks for side sleepers.
Price: $84 - $115
Moving into our nasal mask recommendations, the ResMed AirFit N30i is a great option for all the same reasons as the P30i. The frame construction offers a secure fit, while the swiveling tube connector at the top allows more freedom to sleep on your side with the tubing positioned how you'd like. The same open design makes it easy to wear glasses, read, and watch TV as well. The key difference is the nasal cushion in place of the nasal pillows. The cushion sits under the nose and covers less of the face than a traditional nasal CPAP mask, making it a great option if you prefer a nasal style mask.
Another great Philips Respironics option is their DreamWisp Nasal Mask. Featuring a similar frame shape as the N30i, the top-of-head hose connection and obstruction-free view are carried over as well. Where the DreamWisp stands out is with magnetic headgear clips to make set up and disassembly easy, plus a second exhalation vent to reduce noise. All of these features make it a great mask if you're an active sleeper or either you or your partner are light sleepers.
Just as the N30i offers a similar feature set as the P30i, the DreamWear Nasal Mask offers similar features as its nasal pillow counterpart. A lightweight construction, integrated air delivery in the frame, an unobtrusive design, and a pivoting tube connection at the top of the head are all still present, making it a great side sleeper CPAP mask option. Like the N30i vs. P30i, the distinction comes down to your preference between a nasal and nasal pillow mask. The DreamWear Nasal Mask also fits under the nose instead of over, making it more comfortable by eliminating pressure points and irritation on the bridge of the nose like traditional nasal CPAP masks.
While they're less intrusive and more commonly recommended for side sleepers, nasal and nasal pillow masks aren’t a viable option for every CPAP user. Full face masks cover both your mouth and nose, making them the best choice if you breathe through your mouth while you sleep or have frequent allergies or nasal congestion issues. Here are two of the best full face CPAP masks for side sleepers.
In general, full face masks tend to be bulkier and have a much larger surface area to seal since they cover both the mouth and nose. As a side sleeper, these characteristics can lead to discomfort and air leakage, respectively. Fortunately, the AirFit F30i from ResMed addresses both issues. Like the P30i and N30i, the F30i has a lightweight, slim design that follows the contours of your face and uses soft materials to reduce discomfort if you sleep on your side. The mask seals below the nose and below the bottom lip, maintaining a small profile to provide visual freedom and eliminate pressure points on the bridge of the nose common in other full face masks. The top-of-head swiveling tube connector returns as well, making it easy to keep the tubing away from your body during the night.
Rounding out our list is the third variant in Philips' most popular line, the DreamWear Full Face Mask. It offers all the features you'd want in a good CPAP mask – slim profile, open sightlines, top-of-head tubing connector – which also makes it a great mask for side sleepers. Like the F30i, the mask itself secures under the nose and below the lip with a smaller design than traditional full face masks, meaning there's less surface area to seal and a lower likelihood of leaks during the night as you shift in your sleep.
Ultimately, the best CPAP masks for side sleepers are those that combine helpful features like over-the-head tubing with a secure and comfortable design that helps promote compliance and a good night's sleep. While the masks on our list share many of the same features and are great options for side sleepers, we recommend talking with your doctor to determine which type of mask – nasal pillow, nasal, or full face – is best for you. If you already have a mask you like but struggle with discomfort and leaks because of your pillow, consider trying a dedicated contour CPAP pillow to give your mask more room to move. For any specific questions about the masks above or any of our other CPAP mask options, reach out to our customer service team and we'll be happy to help.