The Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine

Masks Fitting Tips

Correct Mask Fit

Ideally your mask should be fit by a trained sleep technologist or respiratory therapist, however sometimes a mask can fit perfectly in the lab but once you get home, things change. The mask should be snug, but not so tight that it feels glued to your face. There should be some give so that, as you move during the night, the mask will shift with you to maintain the seal. For most nasal mask styles, there should be enough slack in the headgear to allow you to pull the mask about an inch away from your skin.

Fixing a Mask Leak

Most mask leaks can be fixed by pulling the mask away from the face and “reseating” the mask. If that doesn’t fix the problem, you need to find the source of the leak. Usually, if a nasal mask is leaking, it’s because the strap kitty corner to the leak is too tight or the strap closest to the leak is too loose. Sometimes the best approach to is to check the tension of the straps and try to get them equal.


Changing styles can help resolve feelings of claustrophobia. Switching to a nasal pillow style or as counterintuitive as it may sound, a mask that covers both your nose and mouth may be more comfortable. Also, try holding the mask in place with your hand for a few minutes before putting on the head gear.

Heated Humidification

PAP therapy can cause dryness and the cold air from the machine can irritate the sinuses. Adding heated humidification can reduce dryness and decrease congestion to minimize mouth breathing. However, setting the heated humidification too high can lead to excessive condensation or rain out.

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