10 Solutions to Solve Common CPAP Mask Problems

Sleep Apnea is one of the most debilitating yet hidden respiratory conditions. It’s bad enough not being able to breathe in your sleep, but when your mask isn’t functioning as it should, that only causes more frustrations, sleepless nights, and tired mornings afterward. So if you find you’re suffering from CPAP mask problems, then here are 10 solutions that’ll give you a good night’s sleep.

1. My mask is making a lot of noise.

Check The Fit

First, the CPAP mask should fit correctly. If your mask is loose, the sound you are hearing is the air leaking from your mask. Make sure that your mask is not too tight or too loose. You can achieve this by adjusting the nasal piece or mouthpiece to get the perfect fit.

Pro Tip: Once you have achieved a good fit, try only fastening your mask on one side to minimize having to readjust the entire headgear nightly. Another idea is to use a sharpie to mark your headgear and use it as a guide to tighten your mask the same way every night.

2. I wake up with a stuffy or running nose.

Add a Humidifier

Purchasing a heated humidifier attachment to create a warm environment that helps keep your airways moist. This is great for treating dry mouth as well as keeping your lungs in a healthy state.

Pro Tip: Adding a heated tube will bring extra comfort to your therapy and keep the moisture from causing rainout in your tube and mask.

3. I feel claustrophobic in my mask.

Change Mask Design

Some masks cover the nasal pathways and the mouth, while others only cover the mouth. If your CPAP mask isn’t sitting right and your mask’s air pressure is out, or you aren’t finding it comfortable, try a different style and see how you get on. Getting a proper seal on your mask is vital to staying consistent with your therapy reaping the benefits.

Pro Tip: If you are still struggling with getting comfortable wearing your CPAP mask, try wearing it while you are awake. Adjust to your new mask by kicking back on the couch and catching up on your favorite shows or listen to relaxing music.

4. Air keeps blowing into my eyes?

Inspect for Damage

If you have problems with air leakage around your mouth, inspect the mask for damage, including rips and tears. If you see any damage, be sure to order a replacement mask right away; so you don’t struggle any longer.

Pro Tip: Even with a well-fitted mask, there are times when natural air can leak out into your eyes. A good solution is to get a night mask that can cover your eyes. Not only will this help lessen the annoyance of the excess air, but it can also block out excess light, which can, in turn, give you a deeper sleep. 

5. I can’t get a good mask seal.

Replace or Make Adjustments

If you’re still getting a poor fit, make sure that you’re clean-shaven or have removed your makeup. Anything that could cause the seal to break between the mask and your face needs removing. You can also try a face liner to help absorb face oils and keep your mask from moving through the night.

Pro Tip: Replacing your full CPAP mask every 9-12 months can help keep your mask seal. Make sure to clean your CPAP mask daily to help get rid of any face oils or dirt that can be causing your mask to move and break its seal.

6. I wake up with red marks on my face.

Size Up Your Mask

Check the sizing of your mask. It’s possible that, for whatever reason, you’ve ended up with a CPAP mask that’s too big or too small. Whether you are new to therapy or have been with CPAP for a while, a new fitting can increase comfort and adherence.

Pro Tip: Keeping a barrier between your face and mask can help alleviate this issue. You can try out padding, liners, or even CPAP skin balm to help with skin irritation.

7. My masks keeps falling off during the night.

Try a CPAP Pillow

If you’re a restless sleeper and you find your mask comes off every time you hit the pillow, invest in a CPAP Pillow. These have special cutaways that allow you to rest on your side with the mask in the cutout.

Pro Tip: Consider longer tubing to help you gain more range of motion and not feel restricted by your CPAP mask and machine. There are multiple length options available, as well as tube holders to keep you from getting tangled up in the middle of the night.

8. I wake up feeling bloated/gassy?

Check Your Air Pressure

Higher air pressure settings can cause you to swallow air during the night. The excess air can lead to that morning stomach discomfort and extra gas. A quick fix might be to try switching from sleeping on your back to your side. It is also a good idea to reach out to your doctor and check if any adjustments need to be done to your pressure settings.

Pro Tip: Sipping on carbonated water can induce belching, which will help release that built-up gas. If that doesn’t work, try out a few yoga poses that can help alleviate discomfort. 

9. I keep getting sick from my CPAP.

Check Your Filter

One of the biggest mistakes of CPAP users is forgetting to clean their filters. Remove the filter and clean according to the instruction manual, and dry it before reinserting it into the CPAP machine. If you’ve had your CPAP machine a while, it might be due for a service and cleaning. Staying on top of your cleaning schedule is always a good practice to get into to prevent future issues.

Pro Tip: Upgrading to a bacterial filter that can capture allergens as well provide the cleanest air possible during your therapy.

10. I still snore while using my CPAP mask.

Try adding a chin strap

If you are still snoring after starting your CPAP therapy, it is a good idea to reach out to your specialist to check on your settings. Snoring while using your CPAP can also mean you are breathing through your mouth, which can take away the benefits of your therapy. Adding a chin strap to your mask can help keep your mouth closed and reduce air leaks.

Pro Tip: If you’re unable to use a CPAP mask for whatever reason, your doctor may recommend using an oral appliance. These fit over your teeth and are proven to alleviate both snoring and sleep apnea.

CPAP Mask Problems With Easy Fixes

Now you’ve read this article. You’ve got some new ideas and tips on fixing CPAP mask problems. Soon enough, you’ll be able to have a good night’s sleep once more.

If you’re in need of any CPAP masks or spare parts, then shop with us and order your mask supplies today!

About the Author

1800CPAP

Jason Smith is recognized by the board of polysomnographic technologists (BRPT) as a registered polysomnographic technologist (RPSGT) since 2003. He is also Director of Clinical Operations for 6 multi-state sleep diagnostic facilities including the nation’s largest 20 bed sleep disorder testing center. Jason has also been a Co-Author with two research publications featured in Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.