Best Pillows for Sleep Apnea: Do They Work?

Do you wake up after a full night’s sleep feeling unrefreshed? Is your mouth dry when you get out of bed? Does your family complain about your snoring? If so, you might be suffering from sleep apnea.

The main problem with sleep apnea is that you won’t even know that you have it. What happens is that when you are sleeping deeply, the airways become partially blocked by either your tongue or the soft tissue in the throat.

Your body makes you wake up briefly so that you can take a deep breath. You go back to sleep again immediately, so you don’t remember this, but it does disrupt your sleeping pattern.

This can happen several times a night, and so it is a problem that needs to be addressed. Changing the position that you sleep in can often be an inexpensive way to get relief. According to the manufacturers, wedge pillows for sleep apnea might be all you need.

But do they actually work? We will look at this and also suggest to you  the best pillow for sleep apnea in the market right now.


Best Sleep Apnea Pillow Reviews 2018

These pillows are also reffered to as:

  • CPAP pillow or
  • Anti snoring pillows

The best pillows for sleep apnea are fairly priced and results can be seen quickly. And, with no further ado, here is the list.

#1. EnduriMed CPAP

Overview

  • Sleep airflow support design
  • High quality memory foam
  • Ready to use
  • Perfect for back, side stomach sleepers
  • 2 Levels of thickness & comfort

This option is more expensive but is designed to accommodate a CPAP machine if you use one. It is the best pillow for sleep apnea that is more serious in nature because of its sleep airflow support design.

It is designed for side sleepers but can also be used if you sleep on your back. I wouldn’t recommend this if you sleep on your stomach as it may be a little too firm.

The pillows have two long sides are raised with an indent in the middle. The one side is higher than the other, so if you prefer a thicker option, or are a side sleeper, you would sleep with this side under your neck. A back-sleeper would do better to use the shorter side.

It looks like something has taken a bite out of each of the corners, but this is by design. If you need to wear a CPAP mask when you sleep, this design helps keep it in place.

The memory foam is good quality and should stand up to wear and tear well. The product is covered by a full year-long warranty.


#2. CPAPfit CPAP by Pur-Sleep

Overview

  • Easily adjust thickness and softness
  • Suitable for side, back and stomach sleepers
  • Natural buckwheat and shredded foam
  • Ships pre-filled and over-stuffed

This is not a sleep apnea wedge pillow but has a more traditional design. It is a great alternative if you want good support but cannot stand sleeping on memory foam.

This is a fairly simple option but what makes it stand out is the high loft and how adjustable it is. This makes it ideal pillow for side sleepers, back sleepers or stomach sleepers because you can adjust the level of filling to the way you like it.

The advantage of using a buckwheat filling is that it is a natural material and that it breathes very well. The buckwheat draws moisture away from your face making this a good bet if you tend to sleep hot. The cover is soft, quilted and 100% cotton.

The individual hulls can move in response to changes in your sleeping position which is good if you are a restless sleeper.

The filling maintains its shape over time and is anti-microbial and hypo-allergenic, so this will last a long time. While this does not have spaces designed to help hold your CPAP machine, the cushioning does yield to the pressure of the mask so it will work.


#3. Sona Anti-Snore Pillow

Overview

  • Contoured design cradles the head for optimal breathing alignment
  • Specialty designed to help with snoring and mild sleep apnea
  • 5-year limited warranty

This probably doesn’t look like any cushion you have seen before. It has a very weird shape, but this is to help keep you in the right position when you are sleeping.

If you're looking for an FDA approved pillow for sleep apnea, it's worth checking sona anti-snore pillow. It is designed to keep you sleeping on your side – the curved sections at the bottom are for your shoulders to fit into comfortably.

The FDA did approve this as a medical device, but it should be noted that this is not the option for those with a serious problem. But then the company never tried to claim it was. You can read more about the study that proved the efficacy of this model here.

It will work in conjunction with smaller CPAP masks, but larger ones might be pushed off while sleeping.

if you prefer a firmer pillow, memory foam is bound to be a better alternative, but if you like a little give, this should work for you.

The reviews are mixed as to the results you will get – this is not the best option for everybody. On the plus side, the company offers a five-year warranty, so if you feel it does not live up to its promise, you can return it for a full refund.

It gets our vote as the best value for money option because the price is really affordable and because of the five-year warranty.

The one issue that could crop up with this option is that the shape means you cannot use conventional pillowcases. It is nothing too major, but you have to factor in the cost of getting extra cases as well.


#4. Sleep Innovations Memory Foam Contour

Overview

  • Memory foam contour pillow adapts to your head and neck
  • Contour design helps reduce pain and stiffness
  • Made in the USA
  • 5-year limited warranty

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 manufacturer’s defects, but you have to return it to the company yourself – so that means you pay for shipping it back if you need to.

See also: Best Teas for Sleep


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do these cushions actually help with sleep apnea?

With the milder cases, they can be of great help. The key is to finding one that is comfortable and that you feel like you get a good night’s sleep on. This may mean trying out a few different models before settling on the right one.

With the more severe cases, you will need to consult your physician. With severe cases, you may need a device to help you breathe more easily at night.

2. Is that all I have to do?

If only it were that simple. You will see an improvement at night, but that does not mean the condition is cured. Stress, excess body fat and a general lack of exercise are big contributing factors. So, you will also need to consider some lifestyle changes.

Sleep apnea does not only affect those that are overweight or unfit though. If you are battling with it and you cannot find a discernable cause it is advisable to go to your GP for a checkup. If necessary, they can refer you to a sleep clinic for a more complete analysis of the problem.

Also, get checked out if you have taken steps to improve the situation and nothing seems to be working.

3. Are there sleep apnea alternative treatments?

Sleeping in the correct position every night and losing excess weight are the two things that will make the biggest difference overall. But there are other things that you can do to improve the symptoms:

  • An oral device could be useful if you have a more mild or moderate case: These take some getting used to initially but can be very helpful. There are two main types of devices – those that force the lower jaw to jut out a little and those that keep the tongue in place. Both options will help to keep the airways clear.
  • Positional therapy: This is the more modern version of sewing tennis balls onto your pajamas to prevent you rolling onto your back. In this case, though, it is some kind of device that you wear as a weight around your body.
  • Giving up smoking and drinking: You probably thought this one was going to be snuck in somewhere. Smoking causes more constriction in your air passages and drinking, especially before bed at night, causes the tissues in the throat to relax.
  • Surgery: If you have a severe case or one that is caused by an obstruction like polyps, surgery might be your go-to option. However, it should be on a last resort basis.
  • Use a breathing device: These also take some getting used to, but they might be essential if you are not getting relief any other way.

Recommended reading: Best Pulse Oximeter for Sleep Apnea


Conclusion

Overall, buying a new pillow is a small change that can have a significant effect. When compared to other options, it is more comfortable and less expensive. Having said that, you also have to consider making lifestyle changes as well.

There is no real cure for this condition, but it can sometimes be reversed by making simple lifestyle changes. Losing weight and starting to get more exercise are beneficial changes that will complement the change in your sleeping position and make you feel healthier at the same time.

Don’t you owe it to yourself to do everything you can to get that great night’s sleep?

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