man in pain holding cpap mask

If Your CPAP Mask is Uncomfortable, Chances are it’s the Wrong Size

woman with a CPAP mask

This post was originally posted on August 15, 2012. and updated on March 4, 2022.

There are many styles of CPAP masks available for sleep apnea patients. But, they are not one size fits all. These masks must fit specifically to each individual in order for them to be effective and be comfortable. A comfortable CPAP mask is one of the biggest determinants of compliance; the more comfortable and effective the CPAP mask is, the higher the compliance rate will be. If you are wearing one that doesn’t feel right, is uncomfortable, or causes any discomfort or pain, it may be because the CPAP mask does not fit properly. You may have the incorrect size.

About CPAP Machines

The CPAP shop sells a wide range of CPAP masks from quality manufacturers such as Respironics, ResMed, Fisher & Paykel, and others.  While all masks are engineered to deliver air to the air passages to prevent apneic episodes (breathing cessation) during sleep, you must have a mask that fits properly for the CPAP machine and sleep therapy to be effective. CPAP stands for “continuous positive airway pressure". The CPAP machine, which attaches to a CPAP mask by a tube, provides gentle airflow into the air passages. Sleep apnea is a condition in which the patient’s throat closes periodically while he or she is asleep. While the stoppages of breathing only last a few seconds, there can be as many as 100 of these incidents each night, essentially waking the body each time. This leads to a daily battle with lethargy and mental fogginess for the patient.

CPAP machines have helped millions of people all over the world get a better night’s sleep. They improve their quality of life by feeling more alert and energized during the day. But if your CPAP mask is ill-fitting, you are probably not receiving the optimal treatment sleep therapy can provide.

CPAP Mask Sizing

A CPAP mask can be too small or too large or have a particular shape that does not match up well with your facial structure. Any of these issues can make the mask uncomfortable and ineffective and the user less willing to continue with therapy.  Since faces come in many different shapes and sizes, it is important to choose a CPAP mask that meets your needs and features. Depending on the manufacturer, there are a variety of styles and sizes a customer can select from.

For example, with the Respironics OptiLife mask, sizes include petite, small and medium pillows with small and medium CradleCushions, and medium and large pillows with medium, large and large narrow CradleCushions. The ResMed Activa LT comes in small, medium, large and large narrow. It also has one specific to women with an extra small available.

People with sleep apnea who are using CPAP therapy already have much to deal with. Changing a routine that has been the same for many years can be difficult. Not to mention wearing a CPAP mask all night long. There is always a period of adjustment for all CPAP users. Having a comfortable and properly fitted CPAP mask makes the transition much less bothersome.

The CPAP mask experts at The CPAP Shop can assist you in finding the perfect mask.  Just call us at 1-866-414-9700 Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. or visit our website at

Chris Vasta

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes and is frequently tapped to provide reviews on new releases.