Best CPAP Mask for Side Sleepers

As a patient with sleep apnea, finding the CPAP mask with the best size, fit, and comfort level is crucial for getting the most out of your CPAP therapy. Your preferred sleep position, whether it is on your back, stomach, or side, should be taken into consideration as you find the CPAP mask that works best for you.

I carefully researched various masks currently available to find suitable options for the best CPAP mask for side sleepers. Any of these four CPAP masks make great CPAP options for side sleepers, but you may find one more appealing than others based on your personal preferences.

Background

Out of the various types of CPAP masks, nasal masks and nasal pillows are more ideal for side-sleepers (as opposed to full-face masks). When selecting the ideal CPAP mask for side-sleepers, here are the key factors to consider:

  • Bigger masks (ie, full-face masks) can press against your pillow and also the side of your head as you sleep on your side, making them less comfortable and also possibly causing air to leak out of your mask. Therefore, smaller masks (ie, nasal masks and nasal pillows) with a less bulky frame are more ideal.
  • Air is more likely to leak out of masks that are inflexible as they press against your pillow. Therefore, masks that are made of more flexible material that conforms to the face are more ideal.
  • As you sleep on your side and your mask presses against your pillow, masks that are secure and stay on the face (eg, with straps) are preferable.
  • Masks with soft-touch buckles and cloth surfaces are more comfortable for when the masks presses against your face as you sleep.
  • A mask that fits under the nose (ie, nasal pillow) might be more comfortable compared to a mask that fits over the nose (ie, nasal mask) as you sleep on your side.

If you are a mouth breather when you sleep at night, you may either want to consider using a chin strap that will help keep your mouth closed with a nasal mask or nasal pillow, or see my recommended full-face mask for side-sleepers below in this review.

At-a-glance

My pick: The Philips Respironics DreamWear Nasal Cushion is the CPAP mask that I recommend for side-sleepers. It was designed with side-sleepers in mind, as it allows for minimal contact with the face as it cushions the nostrils, the frame has an over-the-head air entry design, and the swivel/elbow allows your tubing to move with you as you sleep during the night.

Also great: The ResMed Swift FX Nasal Pillow is also a great option as it is small, soft, and flexible to maximize comfort and prevent air leaks. As a nasal pillow, it fits more directly into the nostrils compared to the Philips Respironics DreamWear Nasal Cushion, which can cause more irritation. Also, the short tube that should be purchased with it has a swivel/elbow feature to allow for more maneuverability as you move during the night.

Best nasal mask pick: If you are a side-sleeper looking specifically for a nasal mask, the Philips Respironics Wisp Nasal Mask is the best option for you. It performs as a nasal mask should with the comfort and minimalist presence as a nasal pillow. Required accessories with this mask include the headgear, frame, and short tube.

Best full-face mask pick: If you are a side-sleeper looking specifically for a full-face mask, the Resmed AirTouch F20 Full Face Mask is the best option for you. This mask is made of soft memory foam that contours to the face, provides added comfort, and a superior seal to prevent leaks. Required accessories include the headgear, frame, and elbow.

The details

My pick: Philips Respironics DreamWear Nasal Cushion

best sleep apnea mask for side sleepers

The Philips Respironics DreamWear Nasal Cushion is my choice of CPAP mask for side-sleepers with sleep apnea. As a nasal cushion, it covers/cushions the nostrils instead of fitting directly into them the way nasal pillows do. It provides less irritation compared to nasal pillows, while also providing similar benefits as both nasal pillows and nasal masks.

The cushion is designed for minimal contact with the face to help prevent redness and irritation. It was made with side-sleepers in mind and allows for side-sleeping without having to worry about air leaks. Finally, it is affordable and also easy to clean and replace.

This nasal cushion comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large. To use it with your CPAP machine and tubing, a mask frame, headgear, and elbow/swivel are required (and are sold separately).

cpap mask frame for side sleepers
Mask frame

The mask frame (available in small, medium, or large) fits over the top of the head and around the sides of the face to help keep the nasal cushion in place under the nose. The tubing connects at the top of the head and feeds air bilaterally down the sides of the frame on each side of the face to the nasal cushion. This frame was designed specifically for side sleepers and is easy to clean and replace.

best cpap headgear for side sleepers
Headgear

The headgear is designed to connect to the mask frame. It fits around the back of the head to keep the mask and frame in place as you sleep on your side during the night. The elbow or swivel attaches at the top of the frame and connects to your CPAP tubing. The swivel feature provides maneuverability as you change sleeping positions during the night, and it has a quick-release connector that makes it easy to detach from your tubing.

cpap elbow connector
Elbow

The manufacturer, Philips Respironics, has an additional accessory, the DreamWear fabric wraps, that you can wear with this mask to help you feel more comfortable as you sleep. These wraps are made of a very comfortable and soft material and help to prevent pressure marks and irritation on face from the mask and/or frame.

Pros and cons reported by customers

ProsCons
Great for side-sleeping (no pulling
or adjusting)
Will not work for mouth breathers
unless a chin strap is also used
No leaksWhistling/squeaking/white noise
during use
Comfortable

Also great: ResMed Swift FX Nasal Pillow

best nasal pillow cpap mask for side sleepers

The ResMed Swift FX Nasal Pillow is a great nasal pillow option for side-sleepers. It is soft and lightweight and fits in the base of the nostrils. It is also quite flexible, fits to the contours of your face no matter what position you sleep in. These features help to minimize marks or irritation to the face and prevent air leaks.

The nasal pillow comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large. To use it with your CPAP machine and tubing, you’ll also need the headgear and short tube (which are sold separately).

best cpap headgear for side sleepers
Headgear

The headgear connects to the nasal pillow and straps over the top and back of the head to keep it in place. It has adjustable velcro straps around the back of the head for optimal, comfortable fitting.

cpap short tube
Short tube

The short tube attaches to the nasal pillow and connects to any size CPAP tubing. The CPAP tubing therefore fits in front of the nose, unlike the Philips Respironics DreamWear Nasal Cushion which fits to CPAP tubing on top of the head. The short tube also has an elbow/swivel feature, so your tubing moves with you as you move around at night.

Like Philips Respironics, the manufacturer of this nasal pillow, ResMed, also has soft wraps that help the mask and headgear fit more comfortably on your face and minimize irritation/marks.

Pros and cons reported by customers

ProsCons
Works exactly as expectedWill not work for mouth breathers
unless a chin strap is also used
Lasts for 7+ monthsSome report the pillow is too stiff
so does not seal well at the nostrils
Cheaper on Amazon than through
insurance/at doctor’s office/from
local supplier

Best nasal mask pick: Philips Respironics Wisp Nasal Mask

best nasal cpap mask for side sleepers

For side-sleepers who are looking exclusively for a nasal mask, the Philips Respironics Wisp Nasal Mask is the best choice for you. It offers the performance of a nasal mask with the same comfort and minimalist presence of a nasal pillow. It is small and unobtrusive and is designed seal optimally around the nose to prevent air leaks.

This mask comes in a variety of sizes, including petite, small/medium, large, extra large. To be able to use it with your CPAP machine and tubing, the accompanying headgear, frame, and short tube will also be required.

best cpap headgear for side sleepers
Headgear

The headgear provides all-around support as it straps around the top and back of the head and sides of the face. It has multiple adjustable straps where it connects to the frame around the cheeks. The frame connects to the nasal mask and holds it securely in place over the nose. It is made of fabric to provide additional comfort and minimize marks and irritation on the face.

cpap mask frame
Frame

Finally, the short tube attaches to the nasal mask in front of the nose and connects to your CPAP tubing. The short tube features an elbow/swivel to allow the CPAP tubing to move with you as you sleep.

Pros and cons reported by customers

ProsCons
More affordable pricing on
Amazon
Will not work for mouth breathers
unless a chin strap is also used
Small and easier to sleep withSome report nose feels squished
when side-sleeping
No leakageMust be careful to select the right
size

Best full-face mask pick: ResMed AirTouch F20 Full Face Mask

full cpap mask for side sleepers

For side-sleepers who are looking exclusively for a full-face mask, the Resmed AirTouch F20 Full Face Mask is the best choice for you. This mask/cushion features UltraSoft™ memory foam that forms to the face and provides extra comfort. Additionally, it is both lightweight and breathable while also providing a secure seal around the face to prevent air leaks.

The mask comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large. To use it with your CPAP machine and tubing, the accompanying headgear, frame, and elbow are also required.

best cpap headgear for side sleepers
Headgear

The headgear straps around the top and base of the head. It also straps around the sides of the face with adjustable, velcro straps, where it connects to the frame. The frame holds the mask/cushion securely in place over the mouth and nose.

cpap frame for full face mask
Frame

The elbow attaches to the frame and connects to your CPAP tubing. It features a swivel to allow your tubing to move with you as you sleep, and it is made with QuietAir™ technology that makes it 89% quieter and 70% gentler than previous models.

Pros and cons reported by customers

ProsCons
Does not pinch nose, leave marks,
or cause soreness
Tubing pops out or disconnects too
easily
Memory foam makes it especially
comfortable
Can tear at the nose bridge when
removing
Provides good seal without having
to strap on too tight
More expensive

Recommended CPAP Masks for Side-sleepers

 Philips Respironics DreamWear Nasal CushionResMed Swift FX Nasal PillowPhilips Respironics Wisp Nasal MaskResmed AirTouch F20 Full Face Mask
Style of maskNasal cushion that covers/cushions the nostrilsNasal pillow that fits directly into nostrilsNasal maskFull-face mask
Available sizesSmall, medium, largeSmall, medium, largePetite, small/medium, large, extra largeSmall, medium, large
Location of tubing connectionTop of headUnder noseIn front of noseIn front of nose and mouth
Required accessoriesTubing

Frame (available in small, medium, or large);
Headgear;
Elbow/swivel
Tubing

Headgear;
Short tube
Tubing

Headgear;
Frame;
Short tube
Tubing

Headgear;
Frame (comes with 1 cushion size small);
Elbow
Additional accessories for improving comfortDreamWear Fabric WrapsResMed Swift FX Soft WrapsN/AN/A
Amazon rating4.3 / 54.5 / 54.3 / 53.9 / 5
PriceClick for PriceSmall: Click for Price
Medium: Click for Price
Large: Click for Price
Petite: Click for Price
Small/medium: Click for Price
Large: Click for Price
Extra large: Click for Price
Click for Price

Closing points

best sleep apnea mask for side sleepers

With the variety of CPAP options for side sleepers, it can be difficult to figure out which CPAP mask is best for slide sleepers—especially if you have particular sleeping habits such as sleeping on your side. After extensive research, I consider the Philips Respironics DreamWear Nasal Cushion to be the best option for CPAP patients who are side-sleepers (and is on the more affordable side when it comes to these CPAP masks).

The ResMed Swift FX nasal pillow is also great, but I feel that tubing that connects in front of the face may be less comfortable for side-sleepers—compared to tubing that connects over the head like with the Philips Respironics DreamWear Nasal Cushion). It also fits more directly into the nostrils in comparison, which may be more irritating to patients.

Finally, the Philips Respironics Wisp Nasal Mask is the best choice for side-sleepers who are sure they want a nasal mask, and the Resmed AirTouch F20 Full Face Mask is the best choice for side-sleepers who are sure they want a full-face mask.

References
  1. Brooks R. American Association of Sleep Technologists. Which CPAP mask is best for your patient? Pros & cons of various mask types. www.aastweb.org/blog/cpap-masks-options-full-face-nasal-and-nasal-pillows. Published December 20, 2017. Accessed February 2019.
  2. Health Sqyre. How to find a CPAP mask for side sleepers. www.healthsqyre.com/education/find-cpap-mask-for-side-sleepers/. Posted August 1, 2018. Accessed February 2019.

2 Comments

  1. Kate Brownell

    I have been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea and it is a severe condition now. I went to consult a doctor and for symptoms, he is saying that I need to use a CPAP machine. I am also advised to sleep on my side so I will be using the CPAP mask for side sleepers to breathe without any obstruction. Thanks for sharing this information. I will be able to find the best CPAP mask now.

    Reply
    1. SelfHealthPharmacist (Post author)

      Hi, Kate. I’m so glad to hear this article has helped you with your recent diagnosis. Feel free to read the other informational articles on sleep apnea on this site for more insight.

      Reply

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