Those with sleep apnea know the wonders CPAP therapy can do for your night’s rest. But you need an effective, well-fitting CPAP mask to deliver the air from the machine to your airways. Unfortunately, the conventional full-face mask isn’t suitable for everyone. Luckily, there are other types of CPAP masks, including nasal pillows, that may be more comfortable for certain patients.
Here, we’ll explain what CPAP nasal pillows are and why you should choose this mask. We’ll also suggest some nasal pillows for you to consider.
What are CPAP nasal pillows?
There are three main types of CPAP masks: full face, nasal, and nasal pillow.
Full-face masks cover your nose and mouth, creating a seal over both airways. Nasal masks only cover your nose from the bridge to the upper lip, and nasal pillow types only cover your nostrils using the nasal pillows.
CPAP nasal pillows are cushions that fit at the base of your nostrils and seal in place. They come with a stretchy strap that goes around the back of your head, creating a mask. They’re the least invasive CPAP mask option, making them a great choice if you tend to feel claustrophobic.
Why choose CPAP nasal pillows?
Nasal pillows are ideal for sleepers who breathe through their nose. Most of your face is unobstructed while wearing a nasal pillow mask, providing you with a full field of vision so that you can wear glasses, read a book, or watch TV.
Nasal pillow masks are also ideal for people who sleep on their side or stomach. Plus, for those who toss and turn, they stay in place better than other mask types. The mask’s minimalist nature also prevents facial irritation or redness if you sleep on your side.
You may also benefit from nasal pillows if you have a lot of facial hair, which may prevent a full-face or nasal mask from sealing properly, leading to leakage.
However, nasal pillows work best on a low or medium setting on your CPAP machine. On the high setting, a lot of air is blown through the two nostril cushions, which are relatively small, at once. The airflow might feel a little aggressive and may cause discomfort in the wearer.
Furthermore, mouth breathers may also have trouble with CPAP nasal pillows since they only deliver air to the nasal airway. Mouth breathers who still want to try CPAP nasal pillows can get a chin strap that’ll keep your mouth closed while you sleep.
If you suffer from nasal congestion or allergies, CPAP nasal pillows may augment the problem. They can also cause nasal irritation and dryness, as well as nosebleeds.
Pros and Cons of CPAP Nasal Pillows
Here are some additional pros and cons to consider regarding CPAP nasal pillows.
CPAP Nasal Pillows to Try
Now that you’re informed on the benefits of CPAP nasal pillows, you’re ready to choose a mask that’s right for you. If you have no idea where to start, here are some CPAP nasal pillow masks to check out.
This mask comes with three sizes of nasal pillows to fit a wider variety of people. It also has a 360-degree swivel elbow for maximum mobility as you toss and turn. It’s compatible with most CPAP machines and is designed to reduce noise while it delivers air to your nasal airway.
This nasal pillow mask by ResMed has a minimalist design to reduce facial irritation. In fact, you may barely feel like you’re wearing a mask. The mask is designed to provide you with a snug fit to hug the curves of your face. Its nasal pillows have dual-wall flaps with a flexible cushion that will maintain its seal, providing stability for side sleepers.
This mask is a great option for active sleepers as it’s designed to remain in place. Featuring soft adjustable straps, this mask’s AirPillow Seal inflates and creates an air pocket, helping to prevent leakage by sealing around the nose. The Brevida’s design incorporates a washable diffuser to reduce noise and air draft, while also featuring blue highlights, to make frequent use of this CPAP nasal pillow mask an easy part of your routine.
Using CPAP nasal pillows is a great alternative to masks that may cover too much of your face. The cushions should seal comfortably in the base of your nostrils to keep the air flowing throughout the night, and they don’t obstruct your view, allowing you to fall asleep while watching your favorite show.If you’re an active sleeper, mouth breather, or you like to sleep on your side, CPAP nasal pillows are your best option. However, try them out beforehand to ensure you find them comfortable.
Damon Wiseley is a Registered Respiratory Therapist and Certified Pulmonary Function Technologist.