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65: How to choose a mask when you have anxiety

cpap Jul 01, 2023
CPAP Mask Anxiety?

Choosing a CPAP mask when you have anxiety can be a unique challenge, since the mask itself can cause your anxiety to flare.  The problem is, this is NOT compatible with sleep.  

Here are some tips that may help you in selecting a CPAP mask that works for you:

Mask Type.  Look for a mask with minimal contact with your face.  I suggest a nasal pillow mask such as the ResMed AirFit P10.  There are many types of nasal pillow and nasal cradle masks.  Note that for ANY nasal mask, you will need to breathe through your nose for it to be effective during sleep.  If you need a mask that will allow you to breathe through your mouth and still get your air pressure therapy, choose an oro-nasal (or hybrid) mask that goes around your mouth and fits up to the base of your nose.  Check out the Philips Respironics Dreamwear oronasal mask or the Fisher & Paykel Evora oronasal mask.

Easy to remove.  Masks that can easily slip off or have magnetic clasps are a good choice if you feel you need to get your CPAP mask off quickly.  Practicing taking it off can go a long way to reassure yourself that you can remove it quickly.  

Comfort.  Comfort is crucial when selecting a CPAP mask. When you are first starting with a CPAP mask, the unfamiliarity of the mask materials can be a challenge.  You could try a cloth CPAP called the SleepWeaver Elan made by Circadiance.  There is also the Dream Port mask by Bleep Sleep which uses adhesive to hold the mask to your nostrils.  

Noise level.  Some CPAP masks generate noise from the airflow or the exhalation holes, which can be bothersome if you have anxiety. Look for masks that have low noise levels or features like diffusers or quiet exhalation ports to reduce noise and minimize triggers for anxiety.

No contact with mouth or nose.  The masks I’ve described above are good choices because they do not obstruct your vision, and this plays a role in feeling anxious or claustrophobic.  If you need CPAP but do not want anything touching your nose or mouth, consider the Philips Respironics FitLife Total Face.  This mask seals around the outside of your face and does not touch your mouth or nose.  You can see through it, too.  Although this is not an intuitive choice since the size of the mask is large, it does work for some people.

Remember that finding the right CPAP mask for you takes some time and experimentation.  Give yourself compassion during this period of learning to sleep in a new way, and check out our online courses for more resources that can help you get all the deep sleep you deserve.



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