After such a long time suffering, you eventually got your CPAP machine. But all is not well. You just can’t get it to work right! Sleeping on your side? Well, you need to see which CPAP masks side sleepers find are most useful. Not all CPAP masks are made equally, and each mask works better in different situations.
Just because you have the right mask still does not mean it will always function correctly. There are many things that will influence the way that the system will function. You need to try to eliminate all these problems or work around them to get the maximum benefit from your system.
What is the point using it at all if you are still having the same amount of episodes without it. There is no point in all the hassle. But it really needs to work right for you and there are things that you can do to help.
Why Does It Not Work?
The main reason that the system doesn’t work is leaks. When there is too much of a leak detected, some systems can shut down completely. This may happen if you remove the mask through the night. But mainly there is just too much of a mask leak for the machine to work correctly, so you still have episodes.
The reason for this is that the pressure holding your windpipe open is not sufficient to resist the natural forces which are collapsing it. Therefore, the windpipe is able to collapse regardless of the machine being on and therapy being administered.
The other reason it may not work is if tubing between the machine and the mask are becoming kinked in your sleep. It may be that you lean on the pipe and block it that way or even wrap yourself up the tube until it goes tight! Any restriction in the supply pipe affects the flow and usually causes issues.
Take a look at my other article I wrote about do CPAP’s work? if you want to find out more.
How Do I Get It To Work?
Fortunately, all is not lost. There is no need to suffer with a system that is not working correctly for you. Just because you sleep on your side does not mean you can’t get the device to work properly for you. There are so many types of mask and other accessories designed for this, you are sure to find something that will work.
Firstly, I would try to ensure that your current mask is fitting correctly. It may just be the case it isn’t sitting correctly or becoming loose through the night as your machine increases pressure. I would try these out to ensure the mask is fitted correctly:
- Clean your face to remove oils, air dry to avoid fibers.
- Lie down and put mask on. Tighten from the top first, then under the mouth.
- Slowly manipulate the mask in a circular movement, settling it in.
- Check the straps are still snugly holding the mask, turn on machine.
- Adjust the straps until there are no leaks coming from the mask.
- Add a little extra to each strap as the pressure may increase overnight.
You do need the extra bit of tension in the mask to allow for pressure ramp up (only on certain machines) and to combat the oils the skin produces. You don’t want to be too tight though, as the mask can deform and leak. It is also more likely that you will be left with marks from the mask.
If this doesn’t seem to work for you it is most likely that you need a different mask. Even the same style of mask from a different supplier is all that you need, not every one has the same shape of face.
Mask Types For Side Sleeping
As I’m sure you may have heard there is no one mask fits all. That is why it can be so daunting to find the right mask for you. This can put many people off once they decide they are actually going to use the machine.
Most users who sleep on their sides usually find that a mask which goes under the nose works best. The pipework can be below the face so it doesn’t get snagged and pulled as much. Again, if you lie with your arms tucked into your face then the opposite would apply. Some masks have the pipework built into the frame so that it isn’t near your face at all, and exits at the top of your head.
There are even masks that are made from cloth and these are designed to be very soft and flexible. They are very resilient to being crushed and folded during sleep. These can be of great benefit to those who are very mobile in their sleep!
Other Items That Prevent Leaks
Sometimes it may not be the mask that is at fault. You may have very sensitive skin and that could cause you to be having problems. You may be developing an itch due to the straps. There are different material straps in some masks that may work better. You won’t knock your mask off while still unconscious for an itch.
There are also chin straps available in case you use a nasal pillow but start to breathe through your mouth. These help to keep your mouth shut to prevent leaks through the mouth.
In case the cause of the discomfort is by the headgear itself, there are custom cushions to pad headgear straps. The face contact points can be protected as well with special liners that prevent mask leaks, resist sensitivity and enhance overall comfort while wearing a mask.
Steps To Follow To Make It Work
It is worth your while narrowing down why your system isn’t working for you and getting it to do its job. The benefit’s you will receive in the end are so worthwhile it is worth keeping at it. You may only be a few easy steps away from getting it to work.
To recap, I would ensure that my mask is fitting correctly. Adjust it as detailed above, if it is still not right look at how it fits to your face. Is it the right size? If it seems to be the right size and is adjusted correctly you may need another mask. Try to work out how you sleep and where you may find the pipe would benefit you. This may influence the next mask design.
If you are not too sure about CPAP and want to see some other devices that may work for sleep apnea, take a look at this article about other treatments.
Always make sure your face is clean before using, to avoid the oils from your skin from making the mask leak. This also makes the sealing surface deteriorate quicker so masks will wear out sooner if your skin is oily. If your face is becoming oily through the night, then the liners may be something to think about.
Want more information on the treatment of sleep apnea? Take a look at what WebMD has to say about treating sleep apnea!
If you have experienced these machines or suffer from sleep apnea why not post a quick reply to help others with their struggle. Or even if you have used them but found something else that works better let others know about it here. On that note, I wish your all a very good night!