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Choosing the Best Pillow for Sleep Apnea

Written by Sabrina Wilson and updated on September 24, 2018
Best Pillow for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a kind of sleep disorder in which breathing is suddenly interrupted during sleep. When this happens, the rest of the body and brain is being starved of oxygen. And we’re not just talking one single time every now and then. Some people who suffer from severe cases of sleep apnea stop breathing several hundred times per night.

This disorder is thought to affect more than 20 million Americans alone, with more than 80% of cases left undiagnosed. And if left untreated, sleep apnea will increase the risk of death considerably. If you’re someone who suffers from sleep apnea, don’t suffer in silence as there are a number of things that can help.

Aside from seeking proper medical attention, many sleep apnea sufferers use aids to ease their symptoms and help them get a better (and safer) night’s sleep. One of those items is a decent pillow. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the things to consider when buying a sleep apnea pillow as well as share with you 5 of the best (in our opinion) available to buy at the moment.  

What to Consider When Buying a Pillow for Sleep Apnea

As you can probably imagine, sleep apnea can be a very traumatizing experience for the individual suffering from it. But hopefully, with the help of the right pillow, that experience will happen a lot less. The following are a few of the main things to bear in mind when shopping for the right sleep apnea pillow for you:

Style

While all pillows essentially do the same thing, they do come in different shapes, sizes, and styles. And what may be really comfortable for one person, could be completely uncomfortable for another.

So, one thing to bear in mind when it comes to the best style of pillow for you is what kind of sleeper you are. If you’re a side sleeper you may want to consider a pillow that elevates your head yet still allows them to place their arm underneath their head while they slumber.

Wedge pillows are great for those who sleep on their back. These pillows are very commonly used and the way they work is by creating a wedge under the sleeper’s back in which to help elevate the head, increasing air flow as a result. They also work wonders at keeping both the jaw and tongue in the correct position.

Another style of sleep apnea pillow you are likely to come across is the cervical pillow. These pillows are quite firm and provide a lot of neck support. And, they’re suitable for most types of sleepers.

Size

Sleep apnea pillows vary in size, particularly across different styles. While there’s no real ideal size to aim for, make sure the pillow you do choose is wide enough for you to lay your head when sleeping on either your back, side or stomach. You also want to ensure that if using a CPAP machine it won’t interfere with it in any way. 

CPAP machines 

CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. And quite often, people who suffer from sleep apnea use these machines to ensure they receive an adequate amount of oxygen while they slumber.

Thankfully, manufacturers have recognized the need for pillows that are effective when used with these machines, and there are many different designs available especially for this purpose.

So, before you make your purchase, if you are going to use a CPAP machine, make sure that the pillow is one that’s ok to be used with it and will not hinder the performance of the machine in any way.

Traction 

A good sleep apnea pillow is one that doesn’t move around too much while you sleep. This will ensure your body remains properly aligned while sleeping. If you have a pillow that has weak traction you are likely to move around a lot while sleeping, disturbing your sleeping posture.

Foam or Filling

As a general rule of thumb, foam sleep apnea pillows are the better option for people who are overweight as they tend to be more firm and can support heavier weights than filled pillows.

Memory foam pillows work well as they’re soft enough to mold to your head, yet firm enough to spring back when not in use. And, most are hypoallergenic, meaning you won’t have to worry breathing in any allergens either.   

Latex foam pillows are also a good choice as they too support the relevant pressure points and help keep your body nice and aligned. They also mold to your head like memory foam pillows. 

  • Q: How does a sleep apnea pillow work?

    A: The simple answer is that these pillows work by helping to open up your airways by getting your head and body in the correct sleeping position. They also help to keep the neck and spine in an aligned position.
  • Q: Can people who don’t suffer from sleep apnea still benefit from using these pillows?

    A: Absolutely. As well as helping to reduce breathing problems, sleep apnea pillows help to improve one’s sleeping posture by aligning the back and neck correctly. They also align the stomach, helping to reduce both heartburn and acid reflux.
  • Q: How do I know if a sleep apnea pillow is doing its job?

    A: You should feel the benefits of the pillow almost immediately. The following day after using it, you should feel more rested as the pillow should reduce the number of sleep apnea events.

Best Sleep Apnea Pillow Reviews

Quick Take: OUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR Pillow for Sleep Apnea