The Absolute Best Pillows For Sleep Apnea And CPAP Machine Users

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Selecting a pillow to suit the needs of a person who suffers from sleep apnea, uses a CPAP machine or has trouble preventing them from snoring during the night can be difficult, as there are issues at play that cannot be fixed simply. However there is an alternative in the form of a special pillow designed for sleep apnea (and CPAP users).

Sleep apnea pillows should help to alleviate some of the issues but are not necessarily the solution to the problems of snoring and sleep apnea. They do offer a lot of features that can assist the problem and are widely recommended as aids to other forms of assistance in the form of sleeping masks, CPAP machines or respiratory devices.

It should be mentioned that consistent issues with sleep apnea should always be investigated further by visiting your doctor or local general practice. This can help to pinpoint the route cause and also assist in the process of improving the situation for the person who is currently being affected by it.

Features To Consider When Buying A Sleep Apnea or CPAP Pillow

There are a number of different features to be on the look for when selecting the best pillow to assist with sleep apnea,comfort while wearing a CPAP machine or heavy snoring. 

Essentially you want to focus on features that assist with these issues but not forget the ones that also improve the quality of your sleep as well as the methods in which the pillow is used. These sleep apnea pillow features are as follows:

  • Pillow Design
  • Overall Comfort
  • The Price

The design of the sleep apnea pillow is perhaps the cornerstone of how it works. You can’t have a pillow that will combat sleep apnea or snoring that is not shaped or designed in a specific way, otherwise it is just simple pillow that is the same as every other pillow out there which does not aid your symptoms or increase your comfort.

These pillows are designed with this goal in mind and are created with specific precision to ensure that they provide some form of assistance. It is however slightly confusing sometimes when trying to determine which the best design for the pillow is and which the best is for you.

Sleep Apnea Pillows Are Best for side sleepers

These special pillows are mainly designed for side sleepers and resting while laying on your side. This is done at your own benefit, as this allows for better respiratory airflow. As a result, it is recommended that you avoid sleeping on your back, as this can affect the way in which you breathe during sleep and negatively affect the impact of the apnea pillow.

Comfort is another area of which you will want to be sure your sleep apnea pillow ticks all the boxes. It is infinitely more difficult to get a good night’s sleep when you are not comfortable, and a lack of comfort can also prevent you from being able to breathe properly when using the sleep apnea pillow.

Most specialized pillows will use memory foam as part of the main material used to keep them in top condition. The memory foam helps to give the pillow a soft and secure feeling whilst also providing optimum support for your head, neck and spine whilst you rest on your side, as well as allowing for a sleeping mask to be worn as well.

Price is another feature that you should consider. In some cases you can find sleep apnea pillows that range upwards of $100, although in most cases these are very specific and specialized pillows. You should aim for a price of around $50 to get a good even spread of features available as well as value for money.

It is also wise to consider the available sleep apnea pillows that are offered alongside certain sleeping masks. In some cases the pillow is designed to complement the mask and this would be a better item to select with a mask as opposed to purchasing a different sleep apnea pillow that is separate from the mask.

What Are Some Top-Rated Pillows To Consider?

Here is a selection of a few pillows that would help to achieve the features mention previously in what to look for in a pillow designed to assist in the symptoms of sleep apnea. While you can purchase quality pillows for sleep apnea at Walmart or Bed Bath & Beyond, we recommend Amazon. Some are designed with a special sleeping machine (like a CPAP) in mind, however they are still great pillows regardless of whether or not you have a CPAP machine. They include:

EnduriMed Large CPAP Comfort Pillow - Memory Foam Contour Design Works with Face Masks

Designed mainly for sleep on your side, this pillow helps to prevent pain from arising in the morning because of its shape, which offers much better neck and head support through the night when you sleep. If you wear a mask when sleeping (the one designed for sleep apnea), it also helps in making your sleep much more comfortable.

BICOR Sleep Apnea Pillow

Comes with a custom pillow case to ensure that it remains clean whilst in use, the design is simple and efficient, which cradles your head and offers proper support whilst you are sleeping. This in effect makes it much easier to sleep and much less uncomfortable. Additionally it is machine washable, ensuring cleanliness and hygiene.

SONA FDA-Cleared Anti-Snore & Mild Sleep Apnea Pillow

Made with cotton and designed to specifically help with snoring and sleep apnea, this pillow is filled with a soft fiber, which offers both comfort and firm support for your head. Additionally the contoured design gives much easier breathing alignment when on your side, and the pillow is machine washable to keep it clean and easy to maintain.

Key Takeaway: Sleep apnea, CPAP machine usage, and heavy snoring can be a difficult issue to deal with for all people involved both the sleeper and the surrounding people included. With the use of a quality pillow for sleep apnea, you want to ensure both a comfortable & easy night’s sleep for the user as well as peace and quiet for the people sleeping around or near the person.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. The "apnea" in sleep apnea refers to a breathing pause that lasts at least ten seconds. There are a few different types of sleep apnea, some more serious than others. If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night's sleep, you might have sleep apnea.

The Main Types of Sleep Apnea Are:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea: the most common form that occurs when throat muscles relax (usually soft tissue in the back of the throat), caused by a blockage of the airway.
  • Central Sleep Apnea: this form occurs when your brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing, causing instability in the respiratory control center.
  • Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome, also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, which occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea, this is the rarest form of sleep apnea.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea can be fairly common and can affect anyone, however there are certain factors and traits that increase probability. Different factors can increase the risk of either obstructive sleep and central sleep apnea, these factors and causes can include-

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Causes

  • Excess Weight- Obesity can greatly increase the risk of sleep apnea. Fat deposits around your upper airway can and often do obstruct your breathing.
  • Neck Circumference- People with thicker necks might actually have narrower respiratory airways, which can lead to obstructive sleep apnea.
  • A Narrowed Airway- You might have inherited a narrow throat through your genes. Tonsils or adenoids also can enlarge and block the airway, particularly in children.
  • Being Male- Men are 2x to 3x more likely to have sleep apnea than women. However, women increase their risk if they're overweight, and their risk can rise after menopause.
  • Being Older- Sleep apnea occurs significantly more often in older adults.
  • Family History- Having family members with sleep apnea might increase your risk.
  • Use of Alcohol, Sedatives or Tranquilizers- These substances often relax the muscles in your throat, which can worsen or lead to obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Smoking- Smokers are 3x more likely to have sleep apnea than people who've never smoked. Smoking can increase inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway.
  • Nasal Congestion- If you have difficulty breathing through your nose, whether from an anatomical problem or allergies, you're more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea.

Central Sleep Apnea Causes

  • Being Older- Middle-aged and older people have a higher risk of central sleep apnea.
  • Being Male- Central sleep apnea is much more common in men than it is in women.
  • Heart Disorders- Having congestive heart failure increases the risk.
  • Using Narcotic Pain Medications- Many opioid medications, especially long-acting ones such as methadone, can increase the risk of  having central sleep apnea.
  • Having Had A Stroke- Having had a stroke increases your risk of central sleep apnea.

Can Sleep Apnea Be Cured?

Sleep apnea can both be treated and cured. CPAP machines and other oral appliances work well, although it take some getting used to, to help with living with sleep apnea, but they're not cures for sleep apnea. The only sure way to rid yourself of the condition for good is to either lose weight or have surgery to remove excess tissue from the palate or throat. Surgery can have side effects, which is why it's usually viewed as a last resort.

For milder cases of sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend only lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or quitting smoking. If you have nasal allergies, your doctor will recommend treatment for your allergies. If these measures don't improve your signs and symptoms or if your sleep apnea is moderate to severe, a number of other treatments are available (such as the nightly use of a CPAP Machine and/or tissue removal surgery).

What Is a CPAP Machine?

A CPAP machine uses a hose and mask or nosepiece to deliver constant and steady air pressure. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. These machines help people with sleep apnea breathe more easily and regularly every night while they are sleeping. A CPAP machine also increases the air pressure in your throat to prevent your airway from collapsing when you inhale. It often decreases snoring (which will help your partner snooze better at night, as well!). The machine has a filter & small tank of water, which essentially works as a humidifier. 

Conclusion on Sleep Apnea Pillows

When selecting the best sleep apnea pillow for you, always keep in mind that you are the one who will be using it and from the points mentioned previously, it should be the optimum for your situation. With the above pillows listed by our team at Piles of Pillows, it should be relatively simple to select the best pillow for you to help give you the best night’s sleep.

Our personal #1 recommended pillow pick for both people with sleep apnea and CPAP machine users is the EnduriMed Large CPAP Comfort Pillow.