Best CPAP Mask for Side Sleepers

best cpap mask for side sleepers
Written by Smiling Senior

CPAP masks are essential equipment for people living with obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. A large proportion of people dealing sleep apnea are side sleepers. Interestingly, more women than men sleep on the side. This detailed guide offers a wide-ranging examination of what CPAP masks are, what they can do and how to use them effectively especially with regard to side sleepers. It also includes comprehensive reviews of the best cpap mask for side sleepers.

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Features and Terms Associated with CPAP Masks

Throughout this guide, we will be referring to a number of features, elements, and terms unique to CPAP masks. Here is a running summary of the various features to help you make sense of what they are.

Features and Parts of a CPAP Mask

The FrameThe CushionElbow PortHeadgear
The frame of a CPAP mask is the most essential component as it is the one which houses the breathing apparatus.
This is the membrane placed beneath the frame to make the mask easier on the wearer.
This is an opening which attaches to the hose coming from the breathing apparatus’ air generator. The port is so named as it is invariably shaped into a right-angled joint, akin to the elbow.
A CPAP mask’s headgear comprises of straps and buckles used to secure the apparatus around the wearer’s head.

Terms Associated with CPAP Masks and their Meaning

ComplianceMask LeakLeak CompensationNares
CPAP therapy compliance is a term used to denote the recommended hours and number of nights the patient is supposed to wear the CPAP mask to meet the objectives of the therapy program they are undergoing. While not cast in stone, the most common definition of compliance is wearing the mask for an average of 4 hours for at least 70% of the nights in the therapy period.
The act of air escaping from beneath the cushion of your CPAP mask or out of the mouth (for someone wearing a nasal or nasal pillow mask).
If the extent of leak a mask suffers from can be estimated, then the pressure at which the air is being delivered must be adjusted to compensate for this loss. The amount by which the pressure is increased is known as leak compensation (pressure).
The opening of the nostrils

Types of CPAP Masks for Side Sleepers

There is a such a wide variety of CPAP masks available in the market that for a first-time buyer, it is easy to get stumped by the choices on offer. In this section, we will take you through a quick guide of the various categories of CPAP masks available to help you choose the one that suits you best.

Full-face CPAP Masks

best cpap mask for side sleepersA Full-face CPAP mask covers both the mouth and the nose. Additionally, it is an ideal choice for those who mainly breathe through the mouth while asleep. Normal breathers who may have difficulty breathing through the nose due to blockage or a respiratory condition can also make use of the full-face mask. For a full-face mask to function for a side sleeper, it should have a minimalist design. Moreover, the bulkier a mask is, the more likely it will be uncomfortable for a side sleeper. At worst, a bulky mask may come off the face of a side sleeper if not secured properly.

Nasal CPAP Masks

best cpap mask for side sleepers

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As you would expect, nasal CPAP masks are for those who breathe exclusively through the nose. The mask’s frame covers the nose, usually from the bridge to the upper lip section. Generally, nasal CPAP masks are considered the best option for side sleepers. They are also the variety of CPAP masks which are available in the the most when it comes to fit and sizing. Compared to full-face masks, nasal CPAP masks are far more convenient for people who love to read or watch TV while in bed.

CPAP Masks with Nasal Pillows

best cpap mask for side sleepers

Image courtesy Rachel Tayse | Flickr

The nasal pillow design of a CPAP mask is the most minimalist in design. These masks are therefore for people who are prone to feel claustrophobic for wearing breathing apparatus overnight. It is also a great fit for someone who moves around a lot over the night. Sleep specialists recommend CPAP masks with nasal pillows for people with facial hair too as it is easy to ensure that hair doesn’t get in the way of the instrument.

Hybrid CPAP Masks

best cpap mask for side sleepers

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Next, hybrid CPAP masks combine the best of full-face pillows and nasal pillows. By providing a fusion of oral and nasal interfaces on one device, designers of hybrid CPAP masks aim to offer a versatile solution for dealing with the problems of obstructive sleep apnea and respiratory insufficiencies. Hybrid CPAP masks eliminate the pressure points on the forehead as well as vastly reducing the pressure on the bridge of the nose. The end result is a much greater comfort for the wearer. Because hybrid CPAP masks lack a lot of the support straps incorporated in a full-face mask, the wearer is less likely to feel claustrophobic making this a top selection for the best cpap mask for side sleepers.

Oral CPAP Masks

best cpap mask for side sleepersAs the title suggests, oral CPAP masks are designed to deliver air exclusively through the mouth. It is not a very common design but the masks are available, especially for people who frequently suffer from nasal congestion. The masks use an oval cushion to provide a leak-proof seal around the mouth of the wearer. The air is delivered through a twin set of inlets. To prevent the air delivered from escaping through the nostrils, nose plugs are used to block the nares. While the design which produced oral CPAP masks is innovative, there is plenty of work to be done to make them completely reliable and effective.

The Best CPAP Mask for Side Sleepers: Top 10 Picks

Here is the best CPAP mask for side sleepers top ten list. The ten have been selected to ensure variety for as diverse a selection of people as possible. The listing from 1 to 10 has been done for convenience rather than ranking.

1. ResMed AirFit P10 Frame System with Dual Wall Pillows

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The AirFit P10 is a design improvement on the ResMed Swift FX. According to the manufacturer, this nasal pillow mask is designed to deliver 40 more minutes of sleep per night compared to its predecessor. As a mark of its innovative profile and irrepressible performance, the AirFit P10 received the RedDot 2014 Award, receiving all round plaudits for its outstanding, user-friendly design. Could this be the best cpap mask for side sleepers? Owing to its ultra-lightweight design and flowing, unobtrusive performance, it is an ideal choice for women and those who love to read before bedtime. Furthermore, on your search for the best cpap mask for side sleepers, consider the AirFit to be a top selection.

  • Considerably quieter than comparable masks in the same class
  • Minimal facial contact guarantees all-night comfort
  • Woven mesh meshing directs the air unobtrusively away from you and your sleeping partner
  • Minimalist design makes it easy to put on and off
  • Snug, self-adjusting headgear
  • Three nasal pillow sets (small, medium and large) included in the package
  • The headgear is lightweight, may be a pro to some

2. Phillips Respironics Wisp Nasal Mask

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If finding the best cpap mask for side sleepers is on your to do list look no further. Fitted with frame and headgear which offer the most minimal contact with facial skin, the Respironics Wisp Nasal Mask is an ideal choice for side sleepers with disruptive sleep apnea. The nasal mask is completely unobtrusive, ensuring you have a clear line of sight whether you have chosen a book or a television program to help you transition to “slumber land”! Only the best cpap mask for side sleepers can help you achieve this. A unique feature of this nasal mask is that it is sold with two alternatives frames. The first is a traditional plastic frame that is lightweight and smooth upon the skin. The other frame is made of a fabric material. It is suitable for people with highly sensitive skin.

  • Reduced skin-to-cushion contact owing to smaller nasal cushion
  • Twin set of nasal frames offer choice and comfort options
  • Considerably more lightweight than competing designs
  • Very flexible attachments
  • Multiple sizes available
  • While the headgear is made of soft, comfortable materials, the buckles are less comfortable

3. ResMed Mirage Liberty™ Hybrid Mask Complete System

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Designed to guarantee the user reliable performance, this hybrid CPAP mask comes with a dual set of nasal pillow walls. The trampoline action of the nasal pillow ensures the pillows move independently, ensuring the instrument adjusts intuitively around the user’s nasal contours. Don’t make finding the best cpap mask for side sleepers a difficult endeavor. There is no need to wear a chin strap because the mask’s flexible dual-cushion design helps secure it in place and provides for jaw movement as well. To ensure the mask releases easily from the breathing apparatus, it is fitted with a quick release elbow.

  • No chin strap required
  • Quick-release elbow ensures effortless detachment
  • Ultra quiet performance
  • No contact on the forehead or nasal bridge guarantees all night long comfort
  • Custom air vents make the mask reliable and reduce noise
  • Choose your preferred mouth cushion and nasal pillow sizes as you order
  • Trouble free cleansing
  • Adjusting the nasal pillows is cumbersome when the mask is under full pressure

4. Fisher & Paykel Simplus Full Face Mask

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It is rare to find an effective full-face mask that is the ideal best cpap mask for side sleepers. The Simplus from Fisher & Paykel fits the bill though and does an exemplary job of it too. It is an advanced CPAP mask for all round comfort and reliable performance. The mask is effective owing to a series of innovative technologies including Fisher & Paykel patented RollFit sealing technology as well as ErgoForm headgear components. It was developed in collaboration with the world’s leading specialists in the area of sleep apnea and patients undergoing sleep therapy.

  • Fully ergonomic frame allows a clear line of site whichever sleeping position is adopted
  • Adjustable frame suits all face sizes
  • Combination of stretch and non-stretch panels ensure mask doesn’t slip off during sleeping hours
  • Easily cleanable frame and breathing apparatus
  • Minimal pressure on the bridge of the nose for all night long comfort for the wearer
  • The Velcro fasteners can become cumbersome

5. ResMed Mirage FX for Her Nasal Mask Complete System

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Designed specifically for women wearers, the Mirage FX for Her by ResMed (also promoted as Swift FX Bella), is a nasal mask which scores highly in many contexts. It offers a veritable combination of lightweight comfort and long-term reliability. Sold with a lightweight, compact frame to fit easily around the head, the mask will endear itself to women wearers owing to its openness and comfort.

Did you know that the best cpap mask for side sleepers may not be the most expensive? Also, this one comes with one of the softest and most accommodating cushions we have tested in this series. The inclusion of a reliable forehead support also serves to distinguish this as one of the most reliable nasal masks in the market.

  • Very soft cushioning
  • Intuitive to take on and off
  • Flexible forehead support makes it more comfortable
  • Easy and straightforward assembly and reassembly for cleaning and maintenance
  • Fitted with a quick-release elbow
  • Customizable headgear to suit facial contours and the wide variety of women’s hairstyles
  • The ear loops can be irritating for some users

6. Phillips Respironics Nuance Pro Gel Pillows Mask-with Headgear

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The Nuance Pro Gel pillow CPAP mask from Phillips Respironics is a world-class product made to fit around the face ergonomically. The design has been enhanced according to research in order to help sleep therapy patients increase compliance.

Interestingly, as the pioneers in the field of developing gel cushion technology, Phillips Respironics has raised the bar yet again. With the Nuance, this is guaranteeing ultimate comfort and fail-safe reliability in your search for the best cpap mask for side sleepers. To help suit a particular wearer’s choice and preferences, the mask is available with either a fabric or gel frame.

  • Fits comfortably around the face
  • Highly efficient air delivery mechanism
  • Choice between fabric and gel frame
  • Does not obstruct the wearer’s view
  • Easy and intuitive setup
  • While comfortable and lightweight, the mask’s headgear has straps made of a material

7. Aloha Nasal Pillow CPAP Mask System

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This is one of the most customizable and reliable CPAP masks from the DeVilbiss Healthcare catalog. The highly comfortable and ergonomic frame makes it easy to fit the mask on the head of wearers, both men and women. The sealing is done to ensure comfortability and reliable performance, even for the most active of sleepers.

Moreover, the mask’s uniquely designed ball-and-swivel joint, as well as a smoothly flexible hose, are easily customized in place, allowing the mask’s assembly to fit snugly along the contours of the patient’s face and hair. Many patients who make the change from other products to this DeVilbiss Healthcare mask praise its quiet operation and minimalist design as the most impressive features which motivated the switchover.

  • Bears innovative arched-track technology for reliable air delivery
  • Minimalist yet secure and comfortable headgear
  • Ball-and-swivel joint is reliable and customizable
  • Standard connectors make sure it can fit any CPAP or BiPAP machine
  • Suitable for men and women
  • Some users find the nasal inserts too intrusive for comfort

8. Fisher & Paykel Oracle Oral Mask

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As the trailblazing design for the innovative oral mask category of CPAP devices, the Fisher & Paykel Oracle Oral Mask holds a special place in the repertoire and history of sleep therapy devices. It was a welcome development for sleep apnea patients who breathe through the mouth naturally and those who have to do so because of conditions such as chronic nasal obstruction.

Second, building on Fisher & Paykel’s renowned design for frames and headgear, the Oracle is as intuitive as they come. Moreover, in terms of ensuring a comfortable fit. Also, it provides freedom of movement for active sleepers while allowing the wearer to read or watch TV without obstruction. Finally, the mask is also convenient as it requires no assembly, it is ready to be worn directly from the shipping box.

  • Very clear line of sight
  • Easy to fit on the face
  • Fitted with a series of filters which reduce noise to almost imperceptible levels
  • Functional single strap and easy to release headgear
  • Fits on the face right out of the box, no assembly or customization needed
  • Rotating adjustment dial adds stability and comfort
  • Not as intuitive to use as other masks. It takes a while for new users to get used to placing the mouthpiece correctly

9. SleepWeaver 3D Nasal Mask and Headgear

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The SleepWeaver 3D CPAP Mask profiles a new redesign meant to improve performance while ensuring better compliance for users. From the frame to the all-new headgear, the materials used are softer, very durable, and more suited to provide a custom fit for the wearer. The use of predominantly cotton material ensures the mask does not suffer fogging as is often the case with plastic masks. Moreover, the skin around the face is more likely to remain dry, ensuring greater comfort levels for the wearer. Finally, a patient using the SleepWeaver 3D Nasal CPAP Mask can comfortably don eyeglasses or watch TV without hindrance or discomfort on the bed. Keep this in mind when looking for the best cpap mask for side sleepers.

  • Cotton material eliminates fogging and skin irritation
  • Soft and comfortable to wear
  • Standard parts ensure compatibility with most CPAP and BiPAP machines
  • Headgear allows wearers with different facial profiles and hairstyles to don the mask with ease
  • Quiet ventilation and filter system allows for peaceful sleep
  • The cotton material means it is not as easy to clean as gel or plastic masks

10. MiniMe Pediatric Nasal Mask

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There are not many made-for-children CPAP masks you can buy online but the MiniMe will ensure your kid is more than provided for if they ever need one. Made chiefly of gel-fit material, it allows almost an infinite variety of adjustments so it can fit snugly around the contours of a child’s face. Furthermore, it is so gentle it is almost delicate. Also, the mask has an ultra-soft feel about it that will pamper your child’s skin and leave it without marks or blemishes even after hours of being worn.  Trusted by pediatric care providers around the world, the MiniMe is another nasal mask by the renowned manufacturer: Sleepnet. It is recommended for children between 2 and 12 years of age. Not all kids may need the best cpap mask for side sleepers, though.

  • Design allows for secure fit but minimal contact with skin
  • Adaptable gel material cushioning
  • Innovative headgear allows a comfortable fit for children of different ages
  • Available in 2 sizes (large and small), each with compatible headgear
  • Comes assembled off the box
  • Easy to clean and store
  • The mask’s elbow port is relatively rigid, limiting the flexibility needed for kids who are overly active in sleep

Shopping Guide for CPAP Masks

best cpap mask for side sleepersTo start, it is clear that you cannot afford to be too careful when shopping for a CPAP mask. This is especially the case when trying to find the best cpap mask for side sleepers. While there are more CPAP masks available for side sleepers than say, those who sleep on their back, this variety of choice can be a cause of confusion and even frustration.

There are so many designs with different options and features that finding the mask which suits your sleeping habits while providing flawless performance can be a big ask. To help make the process as seamless as possible, here are the seven most important considerations to keep in mind as you look for a CPAP mask that will work for you.

1. Compatibility with CPAP Equipment

All the masks we have included in this guide come with standard parts and fixtures. This is so as to guarantee that they will attach easily and securely to common CPAP machines. If you have CPAP machines with some unique operation, ensure you shop for a CPAP mask that will be compatible with the equipment. Otherwise, you may have to spend extra money buying components necessary to ensure the two systems work together without leaks. One way of ensuring that your mask is the best cpap mask for side sleepers, is to try to test one out for yourself.

2. Secure, Tight Fit

Ideally, the best cpap mask for side sleepers should be well fitting such that even when pressed against the pillow, it does not come off. As such, a good CPAP mask in this respect has a proper headgear. It is not enough that the mask fits properly around the face though. Additionally, it must be comfortable as well.

3. Flexible and Adjustable

A sleeping mask intended for someone who mainly sleeps on the side should be flexible and easily adjustable. This more than for someone who normally spends all night on their back. Inevitably, some part of the mask will be between your face and the pillow. This is why it should be flexible to ensure that no lasting impressions are left on the face. A flexible and adjustable design also ensures the mask proves comfortable all night long.

4. Allowing for Facial Hair

You do not need to shave off your facial hair to ensure your CPAP mask is comfortable and effective. However, it is important to look for a design that does not include headgear or frame components which will get entangled with your beard or mustache. Generally, facial hair is not a problem for nasal and nasal pillow types of masks as these are adequately minimalist in design. However, some hybrid, full-face and oral CPAP masks can cause you drama if you have considerable facial hair.

5. Facial Contours and Hairstyle

Almost everyone who needs to wear a CPAP mask will have a different facial and head profile. This is why the best CPAP masks are designed to offer as much convenience and adjustability to suit different wearers. Look for a headgear design that will accommodate and adjust flawlessly to your face and remain secure despite your hairstyle.

6. Accessories and Parts

As you shop for the best cpap mask for side sleepers, you also need to consider the parts and accessories you will need to make the mask as functional and comfortable as possible. Other than essentials such as the headgear and the straps you will need to consider parts such as filters, cushions, valves etc. Preferably, you should buy a CPAP mask which comes with all the essential components and as many of the optional ones in the shipping package as possible.

7. Sound Levels

While the sound made by the air delivery system of a CPAP equipment rarely rises above that of a whisper (about 30 dbA) this is still a considerable factor to bear in mind. The best cpap mask for side sleepers can help in this too. This is because the sound is considerably close to the wearer’s face. It is not just the wearer’s comfort you should consider when shopping for a CPAP mask. Furthermore, the sleeping partner may just as liable of getting their sleep disrupted by the sound made when a CPAP mask is in operation.

The Bottom Line

A CPAP mask is an essential piece of equipment for people with a host of sleeping and respiratory disorders. While it is not absolutely necessary for an average user of a CPAP mask to understand the nitty-gritty of how the masks work, it is nonetheless essential to have adequate knowledge in order to optimize their use and reap the best health benefits. Finally, this guide includes all the information, tips and recommendations you are likely to need as a user of these vital health gadgets. Have you found the information helpful? Share the content with others.

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Smiling Senior