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Do Sleep Apnea Pillows Really Work

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How Do Cpap Pillows Work

Anti-Snore Pillows: Do They Actually Work?

The cutout sections of a CPAP bed pillow allow the mask exhalation ports to remain open, providing uninterrupted therapy air and helping to avoid seal disruptions. Seal disruptions occur when your head is pushed up against a standard pillow, and your mask is shifted out of place. As a result of the cutouts or dimples, you can move around while receiving quality sleep.

The material of a CPAP pillow also aids in its effectiveness. CPAP pillows with memory foam help to comfortably support your head and neck throughout the night. Memory foam also helps alleviate neck and spinal pain by providing sturdy support. Fiber-filled CPAP pillows give you the comfort youre looking for while also supporting your head.

What Is A Cpap Machine

CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, and is a therapy that is considered the best choice for treating sleep apnea that has continued to be problematic despite other supportive airway choices. A CPAP machine is a small machine that has a motorized fan that draws air from from the room, pressurizes it, and delivers it in the supportive setting you have programed it for.

It also includes a humidification chamber that provide warm, moist air to soothe nasal passages and upper airway to help avoid drying, discomfort, and swelling- all problematic causes to snoring and airway obstruction. The airflow is gently forced into your airways through the night through a flexible hose that attaches to a mask that covers your nose and mouth. The machines try to accommodate all sleep positions, and allow for movement with the use of long, flexible hoses and other materials, but care must be taken not to pinch or cut off the airflow as you sleep- hence why certain positions are recommended, as are pillow specifically designed for CPAP machine compatibility.

See related article: All About the CPAP Machine

Does Sleeping With The Head Elevated Help Sleep Apnea

Some individuals with sleep apnea find that sleeping with their head elevated does improve sleep quality. A study published in 2017 found that a slight elevation of the upper body significantly improves OSA severity without interfering in sleep architecture. This sleeping position can be achieved with the help of a wedge pillow for sleep apnea or an adjustable bed.

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What Aggravates Sleep Apnea

Medical conditions. Congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and Parkinsons disease are some of the conditions that may increase the risk of obstructive sleep apnea. Polycystic ovary syndrome, hormonal disorders, prior stroke and chronic lung diseases such as asthma also can increase risk.

Choosing A Pillow For Sleep Apnea

Do Cool Gel Memory Foam Pillows Really Work?

When shopping for a pillow for sleep apnea, your first consideration should be whether you need it to accommodate a CPAP mask or not. If the answer is yes, youll need a specialized pillow that has an indentation for your mask and its tubing.

If you dont use a CPAP device, the next consideration is whether you prefer to sleep on your back, side, or stomach. Sleeping on your back can worsen sleep apnea symptoms, but some people simply cant fall asleep in any other position. If this describes you, you might find relief with a pillow that elevates your head like one with a wedge design.

Stomach sleepers should look for a soft pillow, while side sleepers need firmer support.

If possible, look for a company with in-home sleep trials, so you can test whether the pillow helps with your symptoms, fits with your mask, and lets you sleep comfortably.

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Sleep Apnea Pillow Construction Details

As mentioned previously, most sleep apnea pillows are made from memory foam or another foam type. The density is usually firm or medium-firm, though sleepers who usually prefer softer pillows may find that firm pillows with deep molding are still very comfortable.

Since memory foam can sleep quite warm, some manufacturers include vents or cooling gel foam.

Most memory foam pillows arrive with a slight odor, though this almost always dissipates quickly once the pillow is aired out. Although sometimes unpleasant, this off-gassing is non-toxic and nothing to be concerned about.

What Is A Cpap Pillow

A CPAP pillow is a bed pillow that is created to be used with a CPAP machine for those with sleep apnea. CPAP pillows have a unique shape and design when compared to standard pillows, featuring cutouts or dimples to accommodate for your CPAP mask and hose. Designed for side, stomach, and back sleepers, CPAP pillows help prevent mask leaks and pressure point soreness to allow you to move around at night. By reducing mask leaks, you will keep your pressure levels where they are designed to be and increase the benefits of your CPAP therapy.

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  • Chen WC, et al. Treatment of snoring with positional therapy in patients with position obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Scientific Reports 2015 11: 18188.
  • Souza FJ, et al. The influence of head-of-bed elevation in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep & Breathing 2017 21: 815-820.
  • Salvaggio A, et al. Gel pillow designed specifically for obstructive sleep apnea treatment with continuous positive airway pressure. Journal Brasileiro de Pneumologia 2016 42: 362-366.
  • Kushida CA, et al. Cervical positioning for reduction of sleep-disordered breathing in mild-to-moderate OSAS. Sleep & Breathing 2001 5: 71-78.
  • Should You Get A Wedge Pillow

    CPAP Pillows: Do You Need A CPAP Pillow? Should You Get One? FreeCPAPAdvice.com

    If you suspect that your sleeping position is behind your snoring episodes or helps to aggravate them, you should consider picking up a wedge pillow. These cushions offer one of the easiest ways to incorporate positional therapy in enhancing your sleep quality.

    Nevertheless, with snoring, figuring out underlying causes on your own can be tough.

    Hence, even if you see considerable gains with a wedge pillow, we recommend you do a sleep study to pinpoint the exact issues behind your snoring episode. With the result of this study, you can settle on a more comprehensive corrective strategy.

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    Your Mattress Matters Too

    To get a good night’s sleep, you also need a proper mattress that suits your size and sleep style . Though Consumer Reports does not currently test pillows, we do test innerspring, foam, and adjustable air mattresses and have well over 100 models in our mattress ratings.

    Can’t decide which type you want? Read our comprehensive mattress buying guide and you’ll be ready to shop.

    Best Pillows For Use With A Cpap Machine

    • Very much supports stomach sleeping without inhibiting the mask
    • Cradles head and neck for back sleepers
    • Very adjustable for side sleepers
    • May work for some stomach sleepers
    • Helps with migraines
    • Excellent support of airways to reduce snoring
    • Great for combo sleepers
    • Can be used for leg elevation as well
    • Supportive of CPAP machines
    • Fully adjustable to all sleep positions
    • Washable
    • Reduces pressure points from mask
    • Excellent neck and head support
    • Works with multiple mask styles

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    Sleep Innovations Memory Foam Contour


    This is another sleep apnea pillows for side sleepers. It is contoured with a dent in the middle. Much like the Endurimed, this has one side higher than the other to accommodate those who have different comfort requirements.

    It is made of memory foam and so will shape to fit your head. The price very good but some users have complained that it does not quite offer the firm support that they were expecting.

    It comes with a five-year limited warranty against manufacturers defects, but you have to return it to the company yourself so that means you pay for shipping it back if you need to.

    Contour Living Cpap Pillow 20

    Sleep Apnea Pillows: Do they Work?  Sleep Under Cover
    • Price: $$$
    • Type: Foam
    • Good for: Side sleepers

    Sleeping on your side can be challenging if youre using a CPAP device and mask. The Contour Living CPAP Pillow 2.0 has center and side cut-outs that help accommodate a side sleeping position when youre wearing a mask.

    You can also adjust the pillows height and flip it over to reveal a cooling mesh design.

    Side sleepers report having success with this pillow. They say they rarely have to readjust their mask during the night anymore.

    • Type: Adjustable memory foam
    • Good for: Side sleepers using a CPAP machine

    Anyone can use the Lunderg CPAP Pillow thanks to its two-side design. However, its especially suitable for side sleepers using a CPAP machine for sleep apnea.

    Reviewers say the cut-outs accommodate their masks, allowing them to sleep a lot better than before they got the pillow. Side sleepers report not needing to adjust their mask while using the CPAP pillow.

    A few people do complain that the pillow is too firm for their liking. However, you can adjust the firmness by inserting a memory foam layer.

    Read Also: Can Nasal Strips Help Sleep Apnea

    Benefits Of A Pillow For Sleep Apnea

    Putting it simply, a pillow can help a huge amount with sleep apnea by improving your sleeping position and posture. For instance, if you are a back sleeper then a normal pillow may lead to your tongue falling back into your throat while you are sleeping, causing breathing problems. The correct posture can be achieved by a wedge pillow which can prevent this from happening, counteracting gravity.

    CPAP design pillows such as the EnduriMed CPAP Pillow are great for side and front sleepers who may experience sleep issues if using a normal pillow. Using a CPAP mask can be really uncomfortable, but a pillow with space to accommodate this and which can mold to the shape of your face is hugely beneficial.

    There are schools of thought which say that all sorts of benefits come from using elevated pillows such as wedge pillows. The posture this creates can be better for your spine, relieve pain, stop acid reflux and more.

    Can Cpap Machines Help Treat Copd Asthma Or Other Lung Diseases

    While CPAP has been proven to be an effective sleep apnea treatment, PAP therapy is also used to treat other conditions as well. BiPAP is often used in a hospital setting to treat COPD with good results. When asked about CPAP as a treatment for asthma, Dr. Phillips commented, Its not established for treating asthma, but there is a big overlap between Sleep Apnea patients and asthma patients, probably because obesity is a risk factor for both of them.

    Do CPAP machines really work? Yes, all the evidence, as well as patient testimonials, point to the fact that CPAP offers an effective treatment for sleep apnea. The correct settings, a properly fitting and comfortable mask, and using it regularly are vital to seeing the results you want.

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    Stop Snoring And Sleep In Comfort

    What some bed partners would give for anti-snoring aids and a specially designed pillow seems to answer the call. Anti-snoring pillows attack a sleepers urges to snore in a couple of ways. Most chronic snorers are back sleepers, they fall asleep on their backs, mouth wide open, jaw relaxed and dropped backward, and tongue slipping to the back of the mouth and blocking the airway. When your airway is blocked in this way while you sleep you snore.

    Most people who snore are not the ones suffering sleep deprivation or chronic insomniaits the spouses, significant others, and bed partners who must troubleshoot the problem.

    Along with anti-snore nasal strips and mouth guards, the crop of snore pillows rounds out the anti-snore arsenal.

    Best Cpap Pillow For Sensitive Skin: Breathe

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    The antimicrobial Breathe-Free Hypoallergenic CPAP Pillow With Pillowcase is specifically designed to allow you to sleep on your stomach or side, making it the best pillow for sleeping with a full face mask. It utilizes a small dimple at its center to create a pocket for proper neck alignment. The dimple is an innovative addition to the Breathe-Free Pillow that allows CPAP wearers to maintain proper support of your cervical spine and optimize airway positioning to allow for more comfortable and natural breathing.

    The pillow allows for proper body alignment, promoting muscle relaxation along your neck and shoulders, resulting in reduced muscle stiffness, tension, headaches, and pain associated with neck arthritis on your neck and back.

    The hypoallergenic CPAP pillow is also ideal for CPAP wearers who suffer from allergies. Its treated with Ultra Fresha process that controls house allergens such as mold, mildew, bacteria, and dust mites.

    Breathe-Free Hypoallergenic CPAP Pillow Benefits:

    • Full Face Mask Compatible: Stomach and Side Sleepers
    • Those With Sensitive Skin and Allergies: Hypoallergenic
    • Antimicrobial Ultra Fresh Protection to Control House Allergens
    • Promotes Muscle Relaxation Through Body Alignment
    • Reduces Mask Leaks and Optimizes Your Airway to Improve Breathing
    • Those Looking for Ideal Neck and Cervical Spinal Alignment Through the Pillows Center Dimple

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    The Best Cpap Pillows Of : Reviews & Buying Guide

      The unique shape, design, and material of CPAP pillows help your therapy move with you throughout the night. What makes the best CPAP pillows stand out are the signature cutouts to account for your CPAP mask and tubing, preventing mask leaks along the way. CPAP pillows are designed to work in different sleeping positions and can reduce the number of red marks and pressure sores that can result when using a standard pillow with your CPAP therapy. Pairing a CPAP pillow with your therapy can help you get on your way to achieving productive sleep and eliminating neck arthritis, pain, and stiffness in the process.

      Lets jump into the best CPAP pillows of 2021.

      The Best Pillows For Sleep Apnea

      Back sleeping can be a challenge for people with sleep apnea. This position promotes heavier snoring than side or stomach sleeping, and those who use CPAP therapy may feel the added discomfort of a mask placing pressure on their face. For those who still prefer back sleeping despite their CPAP equipment, the Bilt-Rite CPAP Pillow offers a few useful features to help you rest as comfortably as possible.

      Each side of the pillow features a large circular cutout designed to prevent your air mask from shifting a common cause of disruptive air leaks. The cutouts also provide enough room for any connective hose. The top and bottom are also slightly contoured to cushion the head while you lie on your back. This ensures even alignment, as excessively thick pillows can create discomfort around the neck and shoulders.

      The fill consists of polyester fibers that can be likened to artificial down, giving the pillows a plush yet supportive feel. The cover is made from a breathable polyester and cotton blend with a smooth feel ideal for people with sensitive skin. The entire pillow can be washed and dried in your household machines, making it very convenient to clean as needed.

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      Are You Ready To Start Using A Wedge Pillow

      Elevating the head and legs during sleep comes with several benefits. If you experience sleep apnea, snoring, acid reflux, lower back pain, or poor circulation, a wedge pillow is a great way to improve your sleeping posture and get better quality sleep.

      Plus, wedge pillows are widely available, durable, and budget-friendly. While adjustable beds typically cost between $1,000 and $1,500, a high-quality wedge pillow will only cost between $50 and $100.

      About the author

      Geoff McKinnen is a writer focusing mainly on the healthcare industry and has written articles on everything from foods to help you lose weight to the connection between Alzheimers and sleep. Geoffs passionate about helping readers improve their well-being to lead happier lives. Outside of work, Geoff enjoys cycling and hiking and believes that by leading a healthy lifestyle, he can help others do the same.

      Dimensions And Size Options

      Pillows for Sleep Apnea

      This is quite self-explanatory. Compare the size to your existing pillow and see what might work for your own needs. Most pillows are only available in one specific size, but our editors choice, the Relax Home Life Wedge Pillow, allow you to choose different sizes. Think about your own build, but also what you have room for within the bed.

      If you are looking to purchase a wedge style of sleep apnea pillow then you will also have to choose the height, which will impact the incline. You can usually find choices of either 12 inch or 7.5 inch heights.

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      Pillows Can Help Or Hurt Depending On Their Firmness And Your Sleep Position

      You probably know someone who won’t leave home without a special pillow, claiming that a particular bag of fluff or feathers is the key to a good night’s sleep. And that person may be on to something. “Anything that will make you more comfortable will improve the likelihood of getting a good night’s sleep,” says Dr. Lawrence Epstein, a sleep expert at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

      But the benefits of pillows don’t go much further than comfort and positioning. Sometimes pillows even hurt your health.

      Whats Your Sleep Apnea Type

      Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the most common type, is mechanical problem in which the muscles in the throat relax during sleep causing the airway to collapse.

      Central Sleep Apnea is less common and occurs when the brain fails to sent the right signals to the muscles that control breathing.

      Complex Sleep Apnea is when you have symptoms of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

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