Beards and CPAP Machines: Solving the Problem

There's nothing more important to your body's health than plenty of sleep. But many people, despite sleeping for the recommended hours every night, wake up feeling fatigued. Undiagnosed sleep apnea is often the cause. Sleep apnea occurs when a person's upper airway muscles relax, cutting off air to the lungs. This prevents a person from entering REM sleep, which is the type of sleep that rejuvenates our bodies. Sleep apnea may be caused by a physical obstruction to the airway like relaxed muscles (obstructive sleep apnea) but it can also be caused by a failure in the brain to send the correct signals to the muscles (central sleep apnea).

Fortunately, a CPAP machine is usually the solution. This machine pipes humidified air through the nose during sleep that creates the air pressure needed to keep the airways open. However, men with beards often find these machines difficult to use because the CPAP mask needs to seal tightly around the nose and mouth for correct airflow, and this becomes problematic for men with facial hair. Fortunately, there are solutions.

Full Face Mask

One solution for bearded men is to switch from a regular CPAP mask to a full-face mask. Instead of covering the nose and mouth and resting on the chin, the full mask wraps completely under the chin. The idea is to bypass the beard completely and create that important seal on the skin under the chin. Unfortunately, it has its drawbacks. Some men find this full-face mask solution too cumbersome for comfortable sleep.

Nose Pillow Mask

Another type of CPAP mask that men with beards might consider is the nose pillow mask. Rather than covering both the mouth and the nose, the nose pillow mask only covers the nose and doesn't lay against the top lip. It's kept in place by headgear that straps around the head. Of course, this mask has a few drawbacks as well. Using just the nose requires a lot more airflow in one area than using both the mouth and nose, which some find uncomfortable. Others find that the nose pillow mask dries out their nasal cavities.

Beard Sealant

One solution that allows the bearded user to continue using a standard CPAP mask is a CPAP beard sealant. This wax-like substance can be applied to the area of the beard around the mouth to create the right kind of surface for a proper seal with the mask. Users like that it allows them to keep their facial hair and still maintain the right amount of airflow through both the nose and mouth. To learn more, visit a CPAP beard sealant supplier near you.