Which Pillows Are Best for Sleep Apnea?

Choosing the Right Pillow for Sleep Apnea

Does a pillow help with sleep apnea or does it make it worse? Well, just look at how many pillows for sleep apnea are on the market! With so many choices, it’s hard to know which is right for you. In order to find the best pillow for sleep apnea, there are some key factors to consider including your preferred sleeping position and your degree of sleep apnea. But no matter how mild or severe your sleep apnea, using a sleep apnea pillow can help improve your sleep quality.

There are many different types of sleep apnea pillows including ones that are specially designed for back, side, or stomach sleepers. For milder cases of sleep apnea, the American Sleep Apnea Association recommends using a pillow and learning to sleep on your side to reduce airway blockage. However, standard pillows are not designed to support the head or neck to keep the airway open. The best pillow for sleep apnea in this case would be a positional pillow or a good quality memory foam pillow.

Positional pillows are most often a wedge or cervical design. A wedge pillow is most often used for people who tend to sleep on their back, which can make sleep apnea worse. The wedge shape helps elevate the body while in a reclined position, preventing the tongue from dropping into your throat while snoring. Wedge pillows are also an excellent choice for sleep apnea patients with heartburn, GERD, or acid reflux issues.

Pillow firmness and comfort are also essential for sleep apnea patients. A firm cervical or contour pillow is an ideal choice for side sleepers with sleep apnea as they comfortably position the neck to keep airways open during sleep.

Treating more severe cases of sleep apnea may require nightly use of a CPAP or Bi-PAP device. A cervical or contour-style pillow provides excellent support for the spine and neck. There are specially designed cervical and contour pillows made to accommodate for the mask and hosing of the CPAP or Bi-PAP device. These types of pillows usually feature cutouts or a moldable design to accommodate the machine hose, and help keep your head and neck supported during sleep without disturbing or displacing your CPAP or Bi-PAP mask. 

Finally, when choosing the best pillow for sleep apnea, opt for hypoallergenic pillows made with natural fabrics. Look for a style with a washable cover to keep allergens from building up. With a wide range of materials, firmness, support, and comfort options available for sleep apnea pillows, you can choose the one that’s right for you, your sleep disorder and sleeping position, and your budget.

Not sure where to start? Check out this recent list of some of the best pillows for sleep apnea available today. Still have questions on how to choose the right pillow for your sleep apnea? Talk to a sleep specialist.