Finding the most appropriate CPAP mask style to treat your sleep apnea can be confusing. Everyone has a different facial shape, comfort level, and prescribed pressure setting meaning that no single mask is perfect for every sleep apnea sufferer. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy can be delivered via nasal pillows, which form seals at the base of your nostrils, full face masks, providing greater coverage, or nasal masks. CPAP users often find that nasal masks are the most appealing because they provide a greater freedom of movement than the full face mask but can handle a much higher pressure setting than nasal pillows .

The Anatomy of a Nasal Mask

Nasal masks are the most popular choice for CPAP users. At, you’ll notice that even after deciding that a nasal mask is right for you, you’ll still have to narrow down your choice by brand. ResMed, Fisher & Paykel, Philips, and Circadiance all offer quality nasal masks to suit your needs.

Most nasal masks are set up in a similar fashion. Headgear made from a soft fabric encircle your head and keep the mask snug against your face. The nasal portion includes a replaceable gel or cushion piece connected to the mask and oxygen port. It’s at this point that you may notice holes in the top or sides of your mask. If you’re sleep apnea treatment is intended to increase the amount of oxygen in your system, won’t those little holes make treatment impossible?

Is the Air Coming From My Nasal Mask an Air Leak?

Understanding the purpose of the small holes at the top of your nasal mask is an important part of therapy and safety. These openings are intended to vent out the potentially damaging by-product of breathing known as carbon dioxide. If you inhale too much of the carbon dioxide you’ve breathed out, you’ll reduce the oxygen in your blood and may succumb to carbon dioxide poisoning. Early signs of carbon dioxide poisoning include dizziness, headache, or flu-like symptoms. If you’re worried about any of these symptoms, get outside into the fresh air and seek medical care as soon as possible.

To prevent carbon dioxide poisoning,  ensure that these ventilation holes are always left uncovered. Some nasal mask users are tempted to cover these holes because they wrongly believe them to be an air leak or caused by high pressure. Others cover them because they’re sometimes loud or blow air against their eyes or partner’s face during the night. To combat these issues, try ear plugs at night, use eye drops in the morning, or wear an eye shield or swimming goggles during the night.

Quality CPAP Masks for More Comfort

When you decide which mask style and brand is right for your treatment, visit a reliable online sleep apnea supply retailer like This online storefront is ran by a group of respiratory therapists and health care practitioners who are committed to solving your sleep apnea treatment issues. They’re passionate about finding the perfect CPAP machine system for every customer and will get your shopping, whether for a nasal mask or otherwise, off on the right foot.