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Finding the right pillow for a good night’s sleep can be hard enough, but it’s even trickier if you suffer from sleep apnea. But have no fear — we’ve compiled a list of the best CPAP pillows on the market, along with their pros and cons so you can make the best buying decision for your circumstances.
Soon you’ll be wondering how you lasted so long with a normal pillow!
Let’s find out more…
What is Sleep Apnea?
Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re well acquainted with the ins and outs of sleep apnea and likely even suffer from it yourself.
But, just in case you’re buying for someone else, here’s a quick run-down on the condition.
Around 18 million Americans are thought to suffer with sleep apnea, a chronic condition that causes shallow breathing and even pauses in the breath while you sleep — occasionally lasting for numerous minutes.
There are two major types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) happens when your airways become blocked or even collapse during the night, restricting your breathing. Sufferers of OSA will usually also snore.
Central sleep apnea, meanwhile, is a neurological condition where your brain doesn’t correctly communicate with your breathing muscles.
As you might imagine, sleep apnea could be dangerous if left untreated and is thought to contribute to further medical conditions like:
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased risk of heart problems, including arrhythmia
- Obesity and diabetes
It will also decrease the quality of your sleep and make you sleepy and irritated the next day — not ideal.
Despite being such a common condition, it can be tricky to get a diagnosis for sleep apnea — mainly because your doctor is unable to observe you sleeping. Most sufferers choose to invest in a sleep study that will highlight the issue and its severity.
What is CPAP?
CPAP is one of the most popular therapies used to manage mild and moderate sleep apnea. It’s an acronym that stands for ‘continuous positive airway pressure’.
Sufferers of sleep apnea are required to wear a machine every night to bed, which ensures that the patient’s airways are kept open, allowing for normal breathing throughout the night.
Your doctor will program the level of air pressure you need to ensure continuous airflow all night from your CPAP machine.
In addition to using a CPAP, many people with obstructive sleep apnea also choose to sleep on their sides to help relieve their condition.
This is known as positional therapy.
Not only does side sleeping increase comfort levels when you’re strapped to a bulky CPAP machine all night, but it helps to increase airflow and reduce the likelihood of snoring and sleep apnea events.
This is where CPAP pillows come into play.
Wedge pillows for sleep apnea will elevate the head and prevent airway obstruction, meaning a reduction in sleep apnea episodes and an improvement in sleep quality.
As a serious medical condition, it’s important to find the best pillow for sleep apnea. To make the decision process easier, we’ve reviewed some of the most popular products available that are specially designed for CPAP therapy.
Best Pillow for Sleep Apnea Reviews
Not only is this arguably the best pillow for sleep apnea on the market, it’s also an incredibly comfortable and supportive pillow besides.
Filled with buckwheat hulls and shredded foam, this is a plump pillow that you can adjust to your desired comfort levels for side, back and stomach sleeping. Its three-layer shell also allows you to create a nook for your CPAP mask, suit your sleeping position and minimize any discomfort from the machine.
The bamboo viscose cover is a soft and breathable fabric too that keeps cool throughout the night.
- Highly versatile for any sleeping position
- Adjustable comfort levels — you can add or remove foam as you desire
- High-quality material and filling that relieves pressure points and aligns your neck
- Sleeps cool
- Keeps it shape
- 10-year warranty
- Designed by a CPAP patient
- Hulls are naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic
- Can be fiddly filling the pillow with the hulls and foam
- Quite heavy
Proudly made in the USA, this is another of our favorite CPAP pillows.
The innovative butterfly designs supports an array of different sleepers — whether you prefer to lay on your back, side or stomach — and can easily relieve any discomfort from your CPAP mask. It allows ensures that your spine and neck are kept in alignment.
This pillow also comes with a super soft pillow case too — bonus!
- Made in the USA with US sourced materials at medical grade standards
- Reduces soreness and red marks from your CPAP machine
- Prevents leakage from your CPAP machine
- Comes with an ultra soft poly/cotton blend pillow cover
- Made from hypoallergenic and odor free fibers
- Very durable and long lasting
- Some people found it a little small (although the company claims it’s the optimal size to prevent hose and mask restriction)
Specially designed for CPAP users, this pillow makes life easy by enabling your mask and hose to stay in place while sleeping. The butterfly cut-outs mean that this is one of the best sleep apnea pillows for side sleepers as it allows you to mold yourself to the pillow.
The polyester fill of the pillow relieves all your pressure points, and prevents any leaks in the mask too. It comes with a super-soft cotton cover too, which you can easily remove for washing.
- Keeps hose and mask in place throughout the night
- Provides a high level of neck support
- Prevents leaks in the mask while sleeping
- No facial pressure felt from the CPAP machine
- Comes with soft, washable cotton cover
- Comparatively quite expensive
- On the firm side
When it comes to versatility, this TruContour pillow really wins the prize for best pillow for sleep apnea — with asymmetric cut outs and height adjustors, it allows for a whopping 16 different head and pillow positions.
Not only is this pillow great for stomach, side and back sleepers with CPAP machines who experience mask leaks, discomfort and poor sleep quality, but it’s also good for APAP and BiPAP users too. The cut-out areas on each side of the pillow reduce mask pressure while you sleep while the medical grade memory foam is both comfortable and supportive.
- Memory foam is medical grade for greater comfort and support
- Pillow and cover are hypoallergenic, dust mite resistant and antimicrobial
- Allows for 16 different pillow and head configurations
- Reduces mask leaks and facial pressure
- Cover is soft, removable and machine washable
- Firm without being hard
- Could be even higher for side sleepers
Featuring two hollowed areas to accommodate and tuck away your CPAP mask, this pillow allows for comfort and support without having to suffer facial pressure from the machine during the night. It’s thick, resilient and supportive, as well as suitable for all major CPAP mask brands.
The anatomically designed shape helps to improve neck and spine alignment and keep those airways open while you’re sleeping. It also comes with a quilted cover for extra comfort.
- Freedom to sleep in any position you prefer while wearing mask
- Reduces facial pressure and mask leaks
- Good for use with all CPAP, BiPAP and APAP devices
- Anatomic shape ensures proper neck and spine alignment
- Improves positioning so as to keep airways open
- Includes a padded cover for added comfort
- 5-year warranty
- It’s a little smaller than a normal pillow
- On the firm side
If you suffer from sleep apnea and wear a CPAP mask to bed every night, it’s a good idea to consider buying specialist CPAP pillows like the ones we’ve detailed above.
These bad boys will relieve any mask pressure, reduce leaks and allow you to sleep in any position you want. The best pillow for sleep apnea will also combine a high level of comfort and support for the best night’s sleep ever.
What’s your favorite of the sleep apnea pillows?
Featured image includes photo by Com Salud Agencia (CC BY 2.0 licence)