Sleeping Positions, Sleep Apnea, and Masks: What You Need to Know

Written by
Jason Smith RPSGT
Published on
July 28, 2022 9:17:27 AM PDT July 28, 2022 9:17:27 AM PDTth, July 28, 2022 9:17:27 AM PDT

If you sleep less than 6 hours every night, you could be 48% more likely to die of heart disease. 

Like diet and exercise, sleep is vital for good overall health. Sleep apnea can make it hard to gain quality rest, especially if you struggle to get comfortable in bed. 

Are you aware of the best sleep position for sleep apnea? Not sure how to sleep with a CPAP machine? 

Learn more about sleeping positions and sleep apnea here. You and your partner will rest easier! 

Sleep Apnea and Sleeping Positions

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes breathing to periodically start and stop during sleep. This irregular breathing can lead to sleep disturbances, fatigue, irritability, and more. Snoring caused by sleep apnea can also reduce your partner's sleep quality. 

Not every sleeping position is ideal for people with sleep apnea, as some positions restrict the airway and encourage snoring. CPAP masks can also feel uncomfortable if they aren't designed to suit your position.

Left Side Sleeper

Sleeping on your left side is actually one of the best sleeping positions for sleep apnea. Lying on the left side aligns the organs to encourage blood flow, reduce snoring, and prevent acid reflux. 

Unfortunately, sleeping on your side can be uncomfortable if you wear a sleep apnea mask. Nasal pillow masks are usually a good choice for side sleepers, as long as they maintain a tight seal when turned against the pillow. Side sleepers can also benefit from a CPAP-friendly pillow and soft, adjustable headgear. 

Right Side Sleeper

If you can't sleep comfortably on your left side, your right side is the next best position. Sleeping on either side will keep your tongue and soft palette from blocking your airway. Gravity in this position can also reduce acid reflux, which aggravates sleep apnea. 

Like left side sleepers, right side sleepers should use a soft, fitted nasal pillow mask and CPAP-compatible pillow.

Stomach Sleeper

Stomach sleeping is actually a decent position for people with sleep apnea. Gravity in this position pulls the tongue forward and away from the throat. However, stomach-sleeping can cause neck pain and may be dangerous if you tend to bury your face in the pillow. 

Sleeping on your stomach can cause discomfort and air leaks from your CPAP mask. A low-profile nasal pillow mask is best for stomach sleepers, but pillow choice is especially important. The wrong pillow can restrict air to the mask, so look for a soft, hollow pillow if possible. 

Back Sleeper

On your back is one of the worst sleeping positions for sleep apnea. In this position, gravity pulls the tongue and soft palette down into the airway, causing problems with breathing and snoring. If possible, try to change your sleeping position for improved airway functioning and less acid reflux. 

On the positive side, back sleepers can more comfortably wear any style of CPAP mask. Even full-face masks should not feel comfortable for people who sleep on their backs. You're not likely to restrict or dislodge your mask in this position, but it's still wise to look for a mask with multiple adjustable straps. 

Active Sleeper

Do you tend to toss and turn during the night? If you're an active sleeper, learning how to sleep with a sleep apnea mask can be tricky. 

Look for a CPAP mask with a compact, lightweight design and adjustable headgear for security. The ideal mask for an active sleeper will have a flexible tube that extends over the head. This will allow you to move during the night without becoming tangled or dislodging your mask. 

Experience Deep, Restful Sleep

Sleep is essential for a happy, healthy life. Luckily, you can achieve better sleep even if you have sleep apnea. Simply changing sleeping positions and wearing the right CPAP mask can dramatically improve your life! 

Investing in quality sleep is crucial for your health and happiness. That's why we make it easy to get the CPAP products you need, regardless of your health insurance situation. 

If you're ready to experience a truly restful sleep, start by browsing our CPAP machines!