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A Tale of Two Masks
I've been a midnight jet fighter pilot (as my husband calls my mask) for almost 6 months now. When I did my sleep studies I slept best with a full face mask. I got the same one when I picked up my equipment from the DME. I used this mask for 4+ months and although it had issues, i.e. leaks, I was fine with it. What is especially odd is that I'm a stomach sleeper and full face masks aren't normally good for people who sleep on their side and stomachs.

I am also a mouth breather because I have a badly deviated septum and congestion problems. I thought I would never be able to sleep with a nasal mask.

However after about 3+ months I noticed that I don't sleep with my mouth open when I sleep on my right side or right cheek smashed into the pillows. My mouth opens when I sleep on my left side, which is only about 20% of the night. I thought if I got a chin strap, I might be able to get a smaller mask. After almost 5 months of cpap therapy I went to my DME and asked to try a Mirage Activa LT. They didn't have one in my size but they had a Mirage Micro that fit my face, or more specifically my nose quite well. I bought it with a chin strap and took it home to try immediately.

The chin strap needed the help of wide elastic band safety pinned on to stop it from sliding off but the the nasal mask worked quite well for the nap. And there were no leaks. No leaks!!! For those of us with full face masks and who wiggle often throughout the night, leaks are hard to avoid.

I slept for 2 nights with the nasal mask and had no problems. The third night my husband asked me a question as I was getting ready for bed. The nasal mask was already on my face and the feeling of air gushing out of my mouth when I talked was so uncomfortable, I ripped the mask off my head. I never had that feeling with the full face mask. Granted, my husband couldn't understand anything I said to him when I wore the full face mask but that's not important here. A night or two later I started coughing from a dry throat. Wearing the nasal mask made me aware of every cough because the air would escape out of my mouth and it was a very unpleasant feeling. Once again, I never had that feeling when I coughed with the full face mask.

Later that night I was coughing here and there but the feeling was so uncomfortable I took my mask off my nose and put it on my forehead. I'm sure my forehead appreciated the blowing air while I slept for 2 additional hours. This was the first time in almost 5 months that I slept without my cpap therapy and also the first time I wanted to and needed to take my mask off while sleeping.

Now I sleep with both masks but not at the same time!!! Too-funny If I can't breathe well before going to bed or if I have a dry throat I'll use the full face mask. If I can breathe well before going to bed and haven't coughed at all, I'll reach for the nasal mask. I no longer use the chin strap because I can't tolerate the feeling of the air coming out of my mouth. If I'm on my "bad side" I'll put my fist under my chin to keep it shut until I roll back over to my good side.

Until I had this experience, I never understood why people would take their masks off in the middle of the night. Now I know.
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The longer you wear it, the more used to the air out of your mouth you get. I can carry on a conversation while wearing my nasal pillows and only sound like a have a slight cold. In the beginning, I could hardly talk at all with it on.

But I am glad you are finding solutions. That's very empowered of you. Here, take a cookie.
Apnea Board Moderator

Breathe deeply and count to zen.


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Its the same with me started with full face mask just by accident tried the SoftGel nasal mask plus a chinstrap which surprising works quite well with minimal leak and for the first time slept right through without having to fiddle with the mask all night. Later find out the Activa LT cushion fit on the frame as the SoftGel and since than Activa LT became my favorite mask its lighter than the SofGel and just float on my face. I didn't like the Micro much as it kept whistling at the elbow and the positions of the exhaust vents but yet again everyone is different.
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If the face fits, wear it. Too-funny

Long live the Quattro Bigwink
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