Sleep apnea is a complicated and multi-faceted disorder. Anyone who has it knows how hard it can be to get a good night’s sleep when you have sleep apnea. One of the things that works the best is finding the best pillows for sleep apnea available. These products not only help you get a good night’s rest, but they also remove some of the dangers inherent in sleep apnea.
In this article we will tell you everything you need to know about sleep apnea and the ideal pillows for the disorder.
You will be able to find your own pillow and know how to use it. Plus, we will give you a list of our top five picks for the best pillow for sleep apnea as a bonus.
- Details about sleep apnea
- Benefits of owning a pillow for sleep apnea
- Characteristics of the most comfortable pillows for sleep apnea
- Buyer’s Guide for choosing the right pillow for sleep apnea
- Product reviews
Details about sleep apnea
First, let’s talk about sleep apnea. This is a type of sleep disorder that effects your breathing.
Essentially, when you have sleep apnea, your breath starts and stops throughout the night. This can be annoying and just wake you up, or it can be potentially deadly condition.
There are three main types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and complex. Obstructive sleep apnea is when the muscles at the back of your throat relax and narrow and/or block your airway.
This results in snoring, choking, and gasping for breath. Central sleep apnea is a neurological problem where your brain forgets to tell your lungs to breath. Complex sleep apnea is only diagnosed when a person has both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Although anyone can get sleep apnea, there are a few risk factors. Older men tend to be at the worst risk. If you are overweight, you may also be at risk for developing sleep apnea.
Also, a family history, alcohol use, smoking, or other medical conditions can cause you to suffer from sleep apnea.
Once you are officially diagnosed with sleep apnea, you will undergo certain treatments. Most likely you will be assigned a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which will help you breathe normally throughout the night.
There is also oral appliances that keep your throat open, other airway pressure devices, and even surgery to consider. But, one of the top ways to control the symptoms of sleep apnea is with a good pillow.
Benefits of owning a pillow for sleep apnea
Pillows for sleep apnea come in a couple different types. No matter the type, they will increase your ability to breath normally throughout the night.
The two types of pillow for sleep apnea are those designed to work with CPAP machines and wedges.
As you will see in our buyer’s guide down below, wedges are a common pillow shape.
Their popularity is because they are so good at treating a variety of conditions, including sleep apnea.
The wedge shape will prop your head and neck up, which helps to keep your airway open and your breath normal.
Pillows for CPAP machines have cutouts specifically designed to hold the face mask and tubes that make up the device. They will help keep the pressure of the CPAP machine off of your face and neck as you sleep.
All of the best pillows for sleep apnea will help you sleep longer and deeper, and uninterrupted by breathing issues.
Ultimately, you will want to find a pillow that is comfortable, supportive, and works well for your specific body.
Characteristics of the most comfortable pillows for sleep apnea
So, now you may be wondering how to find a pillow for sleep apnea that fulfills all of the requirements you need to get a good night’s rest.
That’s easy. Keep reading this section, which explains the top characteristics of the most comfortable pillows for sleep apnea.
Shape wise, the best pillows will either have a wedge or contour shape.
Pillows for sleep apnea are usually best when they are made out of memory foam or another firm and conforming material.
Super soft pillows will not give you the support you need to breath correctly throughout the night.
You want to find a pillow that ideally supports you in the back sleeping position. T
here are some CPAP pillows that are designed for side sleepers. But, the American Sleep Apnea Association recommends sleeping on your back in order to keep your airway from collapsing.
If you purchase a pillow to go with your CPAP machine, it should fit your head and neck comfortably.
It should not be tight, but still provide support as you lay on it with your mask on.
CPAP pillows should also remove the pressure of the mask on your face. So, you should not wake up after sleeping with red lines from the mask.
Buyer’s Guide for choosing the right pillow for sleep apnea
Buying any pillow can seem like a daunting task. There are so many sizes, shapes, styles, and more to choose from.
And that feeling will only magnify with pillows for sleep apnea because you want a pillow that is comfortable as well as one that will treat your condition.
Never fear, we’ve put the top factors to consider when buying a pillow down below. And, we’ve indicated the options that work best for pillows for sleep apnea
Type of Size
Good for sleep apnea.
|Small||20 inches by 12 inches||Decorations||No.|
|Standard||20-inches x 26-inches||Smaller beds||Somewhat.|
|Super Standard||20-inches x 28-inches||Dorm rooms||Yes.|
|Queen||20-inches x 30-inches||Most people||Yes.|
|King||20-inches x 36-inches||Large beds||Somewhat|
Size is one of the most important considerations you will make when choosing any pillow. You want one that will fit your body and your bed.
For example, if you have a tiny twin sized bed, you probably shouldn’t purchase a king sized pillow. And, vice versa.
The smallest sized pillows you will find in most stores will be twenty inches by twelve inches.
These are extremely small pillows that really are better as decorations. The smallest size of sleeping pillow we recommend is the standard, which is twenty inches by twenty-six inches. Standard sized pillows are very common.
The other most common sizes are queen and king. Thesse will work well for most people. However, the king sized pillow may be too large for some people and beds.
The size of pillow that is the least common is the super standard. This size measures twenty inches by twenty-inches.
They fit wonderfully on dorm room sized mattresses. But, because of their association with dorms, they are not available all the time.
Type of Size
Good for sleep apnea?
|Supporting head and neck||Yes.|
|Supporting specific body parts||Yes.|
Shape is another factor that is essential to consider when you are looking for a pillow for sleep apnea.
Rectangular pillows are the most common shape. In fact, that is why the dimensions we discuss above are for rectangular pillows.
If you are looking for a great, basic, good all around shape than go with a rectangular pillow. On the other hand, square pillows are really only good for decoration.
There are three specialized pillow shapes: wedges, cervical, and roll/bolster. Rolls or bolsters are not recommended for sleep apnea.
These shapes are typically used to support a hurt body part like the leg or arm.
Wedges and cervical shaped pillows are great for sleep apnea. Wedges elevate your head above your neck and shoulders.
This position can help keep your airways open as you sleep. Cervical pillows typically have an indentation in the center for your head.
The extra stuffing around the sides of the pillows support your neck and shoulders in most positions. CPAP pillows are typically in the cervical shape.
Type of Loft
Good for sleep apnea?
|Less than 3-inches||Stomach sleepers||No.|
|More than 5-inches||Side/Back sleepers||Yes.|
Loft describes the height of the pillow. Low loft pillows are thinner then medium or high loft pillows.
Obviously, high loft pillows will be the thickest, and medium loft pillows will be in the middle.
Loft is not a very hard concept to understand. However, it can occasionally be hard to know what loft to purchase for your specific health concerns or sleeping style.
High lofts are not always better. If you are a stomach sleeper you need a low loft pillow in order to breath.
People with sleep apnea should consider a medium or high loft pillow. These offer the most support. And, a medium or high loft pillow will raise your head, which opens your airways and helps you breathe throughout the night.
Type of Material
Good for sleep apnea?
|Reducing snoring and muscle support||Yes.|
|Providing luxurious feel and comfort||No.|
|Affordable alternative to down||No.|
|Proving a soft sleeping experience.||No.|
|Supporting and cooling.||Yes.|
|Conforming and supporting your body.||Yes.|
There may seem to be hundreds of pillow materials to choose from. In reality there are only six or seven. But, the options can be very overwhelming.
There are traditional down and feather pillows. Down synthetic pillows that provide a cheaper alternative to natural down. And then there are the new materials: buckwheat, latex, and memory foam.
While any of these materials will provide a good night sleep, if you have sleep apnea to should stay with a few pillow materials.
In general, super cushy pillows are not ideal for sleep apnea because they do not provide enough support.
Instead, opt for firmer and more supporting materials like buckwheat, latex, and memory foam.
In fact, you will notice that all of the pillows on our top five list are made from memory foam.
There is a reason for this. Memory foam is the most supporting material out there.
Plus, it will conform to your unique body shape. For sleep apnea we definitely recommend pillows made from memory foam.
|Up to $100|
|Up to $100|
|Up to $30|
|Up to $50|
|Up to $60|
|Up to $200|
Cost may have nothing much to do with helping sleep apnea, it is still an important consideration for most people.
How much you have to spend will determine the product you eventually purchase. The cost of the pillow will be governed by its size and material.
The larger the pillow, the more you will likely spend on it. The way that material affect the cost is a little less straight-forward.
That is why we have made the above chart to show you the relative prices of pillows made from each of the six materials.
Moldability is the ability of the pillow to hold its shape even as you sleep on it. This is especially important for people who sleep on their sides.
If you scrunch the pillow up as you sleep and it pops back to its shape in the morning ,then you have a very moldable pillow.
Moldability is a little hard to tell just by looking at a product. You typically have to try the pillow out for yourself.
But, some materials will be more moldable than others. These include memory foam, buckwheat, and latex.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, we recommend the following products.
Relax Home Life 7.5 inch Bed Wedge Pillow
The Relax Home Life 7.5 inch Bed Wedge Pillow is a huge hit with consumers for a reason. This wedge shaped, memory foam pillow is supportive and versatile. In fact, it will treat a variety of conditions, including sleep apnea, snoring, acid reflux, and more.
There is 1.5 inches of memory foam on the top layer of the pillow for the ultimate in supportiveness. And, the bamboo pillowcase is breathable and comfortable. All of the materials used in the pillow are high quality and will keep you sleeping soundly all night.
- Comes in multiple sizes and dimensions.
- Great for a variety of conditions.
- Memory foam interior and bamboo pillowcase are high quality and durable.
- Not great for side sleepers.
EnduriMed CPAP Pillow
EnduriMed’a CPAP Pillow is ideal for any CPAP, BiPAP, or APAP users. The cervical design of the pillow will not interfere with the mask. Instead, the pillow supports your face along with the mask, which takes a lot of the pressure off of your skin.
Additionally, the newly designed CPAP Pillow has two lofts for your to choose from. There is a high side and a medium side. So, no matter your loft preference, you just have to turn the pillow over to be comfortable.
- Cervical shape is wonderful for CPAP users.
- Two levels of loft to choose from.
- Doesn’t interfere with masks.
- Only comes in one size.
Marnur Cervical Pillow
Marnur has also designed their Cervical Pillow to support your head and neck. This pillow is ideal for a back or side sleeper. The curved areas keep your neck in the proper position as you sleep, which will help keep your airways open.
Additionally, the memory foam used in the Marnur Cervical Pillow is breathable and cooling. You will not be uncomfortable as you sleep. The two differently sized curves to choose from guarantee that you can pick the loft that works the best for your body.
- Cervical shape maintains your neck’s natural curve.
- Memory foam interior is breathable and supportive.
- Has high and low curved sides for your preference.
- Only comes in one size.
Contour Products CPAPMax 2.0 Pillow
CPAP users should also consider the Contour Products’ CPAPMax 2.0 Pillow. This product has side cutouts, which minimize leaks from your CPAP mask. Plus, the loft is adjustable. It is the first product on our top five list with an adjustable loft. You can change the loft size for whatever sleeping position you like the best.
Additionally, Contour Products has put two separate sizes on their CPAPMax 2.0 Pillow for versatility. If you want to lay on the memory foam side you can. If you prefer a more traditional pillow material and surface, then just turn over the pillow and you have that option as well.
- Side cutouts minimize CPAP mask leaks.
- 3D mesh memory foam size and traditional pillow side.
- Pillow is soft and hypoallergenic.
- Quick expensive
Lumia Wellness CPAP Pillow
Finally, Lumia Wellness has also designed a CPAP Pillow. Their product is specifically shaped so that the risk of CPAP mask leaks are reduced. The cutouts on the side prevent this from occurring. Plus, there is the CPAP hose tethering system that will keep the CPAP hose in place all night while you sleep.
The memory foam that Lumia Wellness uses is high quality and durable. It will support your body as it keeps your head and face cvool throughout the night.
- Side cutouts reduce mask leaks.
- The CPAP hose tethering system keeps the hose in place as you sleep.
- Memory foam is durable and supportive.
- Only comes in one size.
Sleep apnea can be a pain to live with since it completely disrupts your sleep. That is where the best pillows for sleep apnea come into the picture. These products will help support your head and neck so that you can rest easily. Whether you are waiting for a diagnosis of sleep apnea or already have a CPAP machine, there are pillows available for you.
After reading this article you should now know exactly what to look for in your next pillow for sleep apnea. And, remember, if you don’t want to take the time to find your own product, try one of the ones mentioned on our top five list. We guarantee that you cannot go wrong with any of these pillows.
Try a pillow for sleep apnea today and be ready to be amazed at the difference it makes in your quality of rest.