Mask Fit

Last night was my 3rd night on the CPAP. I woke up feeling great this morning. Except that the bones around my nose were sore. Then I remembered that I did wake up at about 3am to adjust things.

At my initial appointment, I chose the Mirage FX nasal mask. I knew I didn’t breathe through my mouth while I slept, and having 2 “pillows” wedged in my nostrils didn’t seem at the time like it would be comfortable.

What I discovered early this morning was that the combination of having the velcro straps set too tightly + sleeping on one side or the other caused the mask to press into my maxilla bones – the cheek bones that flank either side of the nose. It felt and looked a little swollen.

So, as counter-intuitive as it may be, my takeaway from last night is that the max should fit as loosely as possible. That is to say, just tight enough to reliably prevent air leaks from around the perimeter of the mask. Any tighter than that, and it makes for more discomfort than necessary, and potential skin soreness and irritation around the nose. My CPAP machine gives me a happy or frowny face for mask fit, so I used that as an objective gauge of what “leak” means. However, you’ll know if you have a leak if there’s air whooshing out the side of the mask.

As always, your mileage may vary. I’m still in the honeymoon period with the CPAP + nasal mask, but I may switch out to the nasal pillow if the mask fit/discomfort doesn’t normalize. But it’s too early to decide that now.

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