Choosing between CPAP nasal mask or CPAP full mask

by Mike
(North Carolina)

Just started using CPAP nasal mask about a week ago.

After I get it set, it seems to hold a seal for about 4 hours and then it loses it.

I have readjusted it multiple times on each night. After an hour or so of reseating it, I generally go ahead and get up and start getting ready for work. It makes my day long.

Only once have I been able to stay in the mask without issues for more than 4 hours. I initially thought that something was wrong with the clock. I did not feel a great improvement, but not having to fuss with the mask was a bit of relief.

I am trying to decide if I need to switch to a full mask or is this just a matter of sticking it out. I have read about the night and day differences on the internet and would greatly like to experience it.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Thank you


It seems that your CPAP mask doesn't fit properly, but I don't understand exactly what happens when you have the issue with your mask. Do you have leaks? Do you feel uncomfortable with the mask? Is the mask moving a lot from the main seating?

How did you choose the CPAP mask? You have to make sure it's the right size for your face, so it means you need to test many masks before choosing one.

Maybe your mask is too large or too small. Because the mask sizing can vary from brand to brand, and even within manufacturers, it's important to try on different masks to know what size is appropriate for you.

Furthermore, when you choose the mask, you have to consider the facial features, such as:

  • the surface area of the upper lip - the base frame of nasal mask should not touch the top lip,

  • the length of the nose,

  • the the width of the nose base and nose bridge,

  • the distance between eyes,

  • the size of the head (the circumference).
The CPAP full face mask is mainly used for patients who are mouth breathers, and is usually difficult to adapt if you don't like to have something that is covering your face.

Presuming you have the right CPAP mask for your face, you have to know how to fit and adjust the mask properly before sleep:

  • start the CPAP machine and lay down in bed in your normal sleeping position,

  • place the mask on your face but leave the straps loose,

  • now, slowly pull the straps (remember that your CPAP machine is ON and delivers air through the mask). Stop to pull the straps when you feel you have a good seal. Don't continue further. You don't want to have the straps too tight to your face.
Here are more tips about fitting the mask:

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

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