If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you know how scary the condition may seem. Plus, to be treated successfully, you need to use a lot of equipment at night. How are you supposed to get any sleep when you have machines hooked up to you?
Today, we can provide the answer. For our list of the best CPAP pillows will present you with five different products that can solve your sleep apnea and allow for a great night sleep. In addition to our top five list, we provide a buyer’s guide with all the information your need to know about sleep apnea, CPAP treat, CPAP and sleep apnea pillows, and how to find the best CPAP pillow on Amazon.
Sleep apnea is a disorder that effects how you breath while asleep. Without going into too many details, it is a condition that makes your breathing slow or stop while you are sleeping. It is an extremely common condition in the United States, where an estimated 22 million Americans suffer from the condition.
Depending on the level of severity, your sleep apnea could potentially become life threatening if left untreated. The biggest danger with sleep apnea is that it will cut off the flow of oxygen to your body, which can cause high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.
The best thing you can do if you suspect that you have sleep apnea is to talk with your doctor. They can recommend the best treatment options for your specific manifestation of the condition.
When you go to the doctor to discuss whether you have sleep apnea, they will likely test for one a specific type of the condition. There are many different types of sleep apnea. However, three are most common. These three are:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This is by far the most common variety of sleep apnea. It occurs when your throat muscles relax and an obstruction in occurs in your throat. Obstructive sleep apnea can cause you to stop breathing completely, or just make you breathing shallower.
Central Sleep Apnea: Central sleep apnea is a much less common form of the condition, but it can be even more dangerous. This is because it is characterized by a problem in your brains, which does not send the correct breathing signals to your muscles while you are sleeping.
Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome: If you have both obstructive sleep and central sleep apnea, then you are a sufferer of complex sleep apnea syndrome. Doctors may also call this type of sleep apnea treatment-emergent central sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea, like other disorders, comes in a variety of severity levels. You can have mild, moderate or severe sleep apnea. The way that doctors measure the intensity of your condition depends your diagnosis.
People with obstructive sleep apnea can have five to thirty apnea events—occasions where your breathing stops or slows—an hour. Therefore, the most severe cases of sleep apnea can have hundreds of non-breathing events during a night. This why it is so important for your sleep apnea to be diagnosed.
When you go to your doctor to get tested for sleep apnea, they will likely ask you to give a detailed personal history. Then, if your symptoms match those for the condition, you may have to take either a home or lab-based sleep test.
There are many different types of sleep tests. The most intense—and expensive—is a sleep polysomnography (sleep study) in a lab. However, you could also be asked to just record yourself while sleeping. What all of these tests do is measure how many pauses in breathing occur per hour and how long these events last.
The results of your sleep apnea tests will be measured on an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI). The higher your AHI number, the more severe your sleep apnea. Normal sleepers have an AHI of 5. People with an AHI of 5-15 are categorized as having mild sleep apnea. A 15-30 is considered moderate, while anything over 30 constitutes a sever form of the condition.
Okay, you know you should see a doctor when you are concerned about having sleep apnea, but how do you know when to be concerned? While the most common symptom of sleep apnea is snoring, it is not the only thing you should look for. In fact, just because you snore does not mean you have sleep apnea.
But, if you snore loudly and chronically, then you may want to watch for any of the following symptoms as well. If you have one or all of the symptoms listed below, you should talk to your doctor about sleep apnea.
You wake up choking or gasping on a regular basis.
Excessive sleepiness during the day even if you got enough sleep the night before.
You wake up with headaches regularly.
Your blood pressure is high.
You are overweight or obese. This category is not a symptom of sleep apnea but is a good predictor of the condition.
You are moody or have lost interest in sex.
Someone has told you that you stop breathing sometimes during the night.
There are quite a few ways that sleep apnea can be treated, the ones most likely to work for you will be determined by the type and severity of your apnea. The most common lifestyle changes you will be asked to make in order to treat your sleep apnea include
Avoid sedatives and muscle relaxants
Overweight and obese people are recommended to lose weight
Sleeping at a 30-degree angle
Playing a wind instrument
Sometimes those lifestyle changes do not work. In the most severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary. This is unique to each person and can involve the alternation of a number of the features of your airway. Your doctor and/or surgeon will recommend the best option for you if this level of treatment becomes necessary.
Much more likely than surgery, is that your doctor may recommend a CPAP, VPAP, Nasal SPAP, or APAP machine. These machines all regulate your breathing and attach to your face. Thus, the best pillows for sleep apnea are needed.
Of the four machines listed above, CPAP plays the largest role in today’s review. It can be a lifesaving therapy for people with sleep apnea and also requires a purchase of a CPAP specific pillow for the most comfortable night’s sleep.
CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure therapy. It is most commonly prescribed for people who have obstructive sleep apnea.
These machines are made up of three parts, the motor, hoses, and mask.
The motor works like any air compressor. It brings in your room’s air and pressurizes it. The motor will have a filter on the intake, which cleans the air that is then pumped into your airway. Recently the motors on CPAP machines have been made much quieter to allow for better sleep. You may also find a CPAP machine with a humidifier built into the motor.
The hose delivers the pressurized air from the motor to your mask. Today, the hoses are often heated in order to reduce condensation. This is especially the case in CPAP machines that have a built-in humidifier.
The mask on a CPAP machine is the part that connects to your face. You will want to find a CPAP mask that feels comfortable to the size and shape of your unique face. There are many options available. There are three main types of CPAP mask: nasal pillows, nasal masks, and full-face masks.
There are two other sleep apnea machines that you should be aware of as you begin your treatments. These are the bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) and automatic positive airway pressure (APAP) machines.
BiPAP: This machine is very like the CPAP machine described in the previous section. However, it has the ability to time the number of breathes per minute that a person should take. If you do not breath this set number of times, then the machine will increase the air pressure, which forces you to take a breath.APAP: Unlike CPAP machines, APAP machines can automatically shift between a low and high setting throughout the night as your breathing patterns change. APAPs also usually have CPAP modes, which makes them extremely flexible to
With all of this talk about sleep apnea, it can be easy to forget why we are here in the first place. You likely want to find the best sleep apnea pillow that your can find. But, your may be asking yourself, why do I need a pillow for my sleep apnea and will it help to treat my condition.
First, let’s tackle the “why” question. You need a pillow that will provide enough room for your mask. On normal pillows the hose can get caught underneath you as you move during the night. Or, it could push uncomfortably on your face as you lay down.
Finally, depending on your sleeping preferences—whether you are a back, side, or stomach sleeper—you may need a specially formed pillow
And, on to the most important question: do they work? The short answer is yes. Sleep apnea pillows support your head and neck while also providing room for the CPAP hose and mask.
Not only do CPAP pillows help you sleep better, but they also help prevent air leaks from the mask. These can happen if the mask is pushed up by the pressure of a normal pillow. You don’t want any air leakage because it can inhibit the effectiveness of the sleep apnea treatment.
In order to get the most out of the best CPAP pillows on the market, you should look for a couple of important features. First, the best sleep apnea pillows are made of memory foam. These will conform to the shape of your head and the mask, which will make your sleep more comfortable.
Second, you need to know what type of sleeper you are and choose a CPAP pillow that is specifically formed for you. That means, if you are a side sleeper, you need to buy a pillow that is made for side sleepers. Otherwise you head and mask will not fit on the pillow, which will create an uncomfortable sleeping arrangement.
Third, the pillow should be contoured. The contours will accommodate your preferred sleeping method. Additionally, they should leave room for the hose and ideally keep it secured away from your face and neck. This will make sleeping much more comfortable.
Last, but not least, you may want to purchase a pillow with an adjustable height. This will allow you to raise or lower your head. Thus, you can adjust the pillow to your own preferences and do not have to buy a new product if those preferences change.
|EnduriMed CPAP Pillow|
|TruContour CPAP Pillow for Stomach, Side, and Back Sleepers|
|Contour Products CPAPMax Pillow 2.0|
|GoodSleep Company CPAP Memory Foam Pillow|
|MARS Wellness Premium Pillow|
Probably the biggest name in the CPAP pillow market, EnduriMed makes a memory foam pillow that is comfortable and conforms perfectly to your head. Using this product will not only keep you comfortable, but it will also stop air leaks from the sleep apnea machine.
EnduriMed has designed this pillow to work for most people, since it has two levels of thickness. It also has cut-outs for the CPAP hose, fits CPAP, BiPAP, and APAP machines, and allows you to sleep on you back, side, or stomach. It’s no wonder that EnduriMed’s CPAP Pillow is our top pick for the best sleep apnea pillow available.
TruContour’s CPAP Pillow has a much simpler design than the EnduriMed product. However, it still accommodates back, side, and stomach sleepers as well as CPAP, BiPAP, and APAP machines. TruContour has created this flexibility they including two large cut-outs on the side of the memory foam pillow.
Additional reasons to purchase TruContour’s product abound. They have made the pillow from medical-grade memory foam and there is a removable and washable velour cover. Plus, the pillow and cover are hypoallergenic, dust mite, and microbe resistant. TruContour believes in their product so much that they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and one-year warranty.
Contour Products have created an extremely unique sleep apnea pillow in their CPAPMax Pillow 2.0. Not only do they allow you to choose the height of the product, but they also include two different sides. The first side has 3D mesh and memory foam, while the other is plush and stuffed like a traditional pillow.
There are other orthopedic features to the pills that secure the mask. This will ultimately make you more comfortable and the mask secure from slippages. However, this is the only CPAP pillow company that doesn’t specify which type of sleep apnea machines it accommodates. Instead, it lists the types of masks that will work best on the pillow.
GoodSleep Company’s mission is to make sure that you have a good night’s sleep. They achieve this goal with their CPAP Memory Foam Pillow. It has an ergonomic design, not just foam cut-outs, which will ease your breathing and comfort. There is also space for both the mask and hose on this pillow.
Finally, it is an extremely flexible pillow. You can have any sleeping preference or use any of the three sleep apnea machines and still find comfort and a good night’s rest with this CPAP pillow.
MARS Wellness’ Premium Pillow has not been reviewed much on Amazon, but it is a great option for anyone with sleep apnea. It, like so many of the other sleep apnea pillows, allows for sleepers of any preference and CPAP, BiPAP, and APAP machines.
This pillow is a one size fits all, no frills model that is soft but provides enough firmness to support your head and neck appropriately. In all, it is a very solid bet and a good sleep apnea pillow.
You should use your CPAP pillow as often as your use your CPAP machine. Experts recommend that you use your CPAP machine regularly. This is a treatment for the condition, but it is not a cure. Therefore, once your stop using the machine, your symptoms will begin again.
It doesn’t make sense to get the best sleep apnea pillow available in 2018 and not use. In fact, you may like the many great features of your CPAP pillow so much that you use it even when you don’t use your CPAP machine. The memory foam form will support your head even when you are not wearing the CPAP machine.
Also, as mentioned above, most of the best sleep apnea pillows allow you to raise or lower the pillow to your desired height. This can be helpful for treating sleep apnea in and of itself, without the CPAP machines.
You have probably noticed that our list of the best CPAP pillows 2018 contains a column that lists the sleep styles that the pillow allows for. You will also notice that most sleep apnea pillows are designed to allow for back, side, and stomach sleeping.
However, just because you can sleep on your back and stomach when the best sleep apnea pillows, that doesn’t mean that you should. Back sleeping has long been known as a way to worsen both snoring and other sleep apnea symptoms. Sleeping on your side—with a pillow between your legs if you have lower back pain—or on your stomach in the falcon position—with one arm above your head and the same leg bent—are most recommended for people with sleep apnea.
Thankfully, the best CPAP pillows allow you to lay in any position that is most comfortable for you, and that support a CPAP, BiPAP, or APAP machine.
Yes, you can make a CPAP pillow; however, it will likely not work as well as a pillow specifically designed for the machines. To make your own CPAP pillow, take a normal pillow and tie it off where your head falls. Or, you could take a foam pillow and cut out spaces for the hose and mask of the machine. We recommend this site for more information about making your own CPAP pillow.
However, it is worth reiterating one more time that while this fix is a cost-saving option, it will not work as well as a specially built CPAP pillow. The investment is well worth it in our opinion.
Just because you have sleep apnea and need a CPAP machine doesn’t mean that you can never sleep comfortably again. In fact, with our picks for the best CPAP pillows 2018, you can get a good night’s rest and stop your sleep apnea from occurring.
For someone whose struggled with a condition that reduces your quality of sleep, there’s no reason to continue to suffer. Talk to a doctor about your sleep apnea. Then, go out and try to find the best and most comfortable sleep apnea pillow for your unique shape and preferences. You will not be disappointed.