CPAP Clinic Sleep Blog

Understanding your sleep health, sleep apnea and CPAP therapy

Move around a lot in bed? PAP therapy and mask fitting suffering? Let’s fix it. Part 3


Move around a lot in bed? PAP therapy and mask fitting suffering? Let’s fix it. Part 3


PAP therapy and mask



Moving around in bed (i.e. side sleeping and back sleeping) and working with a PAP mask can be a nuisance. Many weigh in and describe their struggles on a consistent basis in PAP forums, chat rooms, etc.

We’re examining common sleep positions and suggesting PAP mask alternatives to keep up with active sleepers.

In Part One of this series, we examined PAP mask options for back sleepers. And in Part Two, we examined PAP mask options for side sleepers.

Today we discuss stomach sleepers and the challenges of the maintaining a seal with any PAP Mask.

The PAP masks that do NOT work well with stomach sleeping include virtually all PAP masks. Here is why all PAP masks, won’t work:

  • Industry standard exhalation ports on any PAP mask get partially or completely blocked, therefore inhibiting proper air exchange for the user.
  • Impressions from the PAP mask can be present on the face and take hours to fade.
  • Invariably the mask gets moved or completely dislodged from bedding and/or the sleeping position.


PAP Masks that might work

Here are masks which have shown to work well with side sleeping (not necessarilty stomach sleeping) and why:

  • stomach sleeping with the head positioned to the side might see success with small nasal pillow masks, provided the sleeper refrains from excess movement.
  • A knee pillow can assist comfortable sleeping if side sleeping is accomplished.

NOTE: There isn’t a PAP manufacturer who claims a PAP mask can work with a face down head position successfuly and without issue.

Key Considerations and some alternatives

There are accessories that can assist (but not guarantee) the success of stomach sleeping with a PAP mask. The first accessory is the CPAP Pillow which allows for layers of the pillow to be added or removed to customize one’s sleeping arrangement. The CPAP Pillow can help make stomach sleeping successful but it is dependant on the sleeper’s movement or lackthereof. The cut-out feature of the pillow allows “space” for the PAP mask so it is not knocked off or dislodged. However, the pillow cannot keep up with “active movement” during sleep.



The alternative (or addition) to PAP therapy is the utilization of a mouth piece (typically recomended by a sleep doctor and/or ENT specialist). The mouth piece is designed to position the tongue and jaw forward so the weight of the jaw and tongue do not block or obstruct the airway. The mouth piece may or may not be used with PAP masks for a therapeutic combination effect.



Part Four of this series will explore another set of sleeping positon(s) which challenges effective PAP therapy — restless sleeping.


Call 1.877.430.2727 for help.

Written and Edited by Bill Bistak B Sc.,SEO/SEM Spc, CRT

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