Sleep apnea can majorly interfere with the quality of your sleep. But in a lot of cases, the sleep apnea solutions that are available can be just as disruptive in their own way. For some people, wearing a mask or mouthpiece or being hooked up to a machine is too uncomfortable to deal with.
For others, these methods work but aren’t providing the 100% total results that you are looking for. In either case, a sleep apnea pillow can be the perfect solution. So we’ve put together this guide to help you find the best sleep apnea pillow for your needs. We’ll also talk a bit about how a sleep apnea wedge pillow works and provide a sleep apnea pillow review for our 3 favorite options on the market today!
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How Does A Pillow For Sleep Apnea Work?
While it might seem a little far-fetched that just changing out your pillow can stop your sleep apnea, there actually is some science behind it. A sleep apnea pillow is not like your regular pillow.
You will notice as soon as you get it that it’s got kind of a weird shape and a different kind of cushioning than you might be used to. This unique cushioning and shape help to gently cradle your neck and head in a way that holds them in the correct position throughout the night.
In many cases, sleep apnea is simply caused by the fact that you sleep in a position that places a lot of your bodyweight right on top of your lungs. And you might be bending your neck and head in a way that narrows your breathing passages, making it more difficult for air to get through.
You may not even realize it now just how much your sleeping position is affecting your breathing. But as soon as you lie your head down on a well-designed sleep apnea pillow, you’ll feel the difference. The changes you will notice include:
- Less weight sitting on your chest. The pillow elevates you so that your body naturally falls down toward your abdomen rather than sliding up into your diaphragm and on top of your ribs. Without this extra weight, your lungs can expand and contract naturally and evenly throughout the night.
- Straighter spine. The pillow helps encourage your spine to remain aligned during back or side sleeping positions. A straight spine from your head down to your tailbone ensures that the breathing passages which also run in the same direction as your spine are also well aligned. When your airway is free of kinks, bumps, turns, air can travel easily down and up through it.
- Less pain. The more you use this pillow, the more you will realize that you are not only waking up feeling more refreshed but that you also are waking up with less of those kinks in your neck or tender, painful points along your back. This is because better posture throughout the night will also prevent neck and back pain in the morning.
As you can see, there are a lot of great benefits to using a sleep apnea pillow. But in order to enjoy those benefits, you have to use it right. So in the next section we’ll look at how to properly use a sleep apnea pillow.
Tips For Using A Sleep Apnea Pillow Wedge
For the most effective results, a sleep apnea pillow needs to become the regular pillow that you use every single night. You may also use it in combination with other sleep apnea devices if your condition has become too severe to be treated simply by adjusting your sleeping position.
Here are a few tips to get the most out of your sleep apnea pillow:
Get A Quality Design
Your pillow should be FDA approved and it should be made with high quality materials. A cheap sleep apnea pillow could just be a regular pillow in a weird shape. Not only will this not help but it could actually put your neck and spine into an even worse position than before! So be prepared to invest in a well-made sleep apnea pillow.
Give Yourself A Few Days
For about the first week or so, using a sleep apnea pillow is going to feel weird and unnatural. This is especially true if you’re using one of the high elevation ones. However, give yourself a few days (or nights technically) to get used to sleeping with it before you give up on it. Once you adjust to the change from your normal sleeping position, you will realize that you are actually sleeping better throughout the night.
Get The Right Design
You can either get a high elevated wedge pillow that provides support for your entire spine or a more normal sized pillow that focuses more on cradling your neck and head in an appropriate position. The right choice for you depends on whether you think the problem lies mostly in your chest or in your throat, mouth and sinuses.
If you find yourself struggling to fall asleep at all in the first few days of using your new pillow, we recommend using some kind of sleep aid until you’ve adapted to it. Drink a soothing lavender tea or massage lavender essential oil on your upper lip (just below your nose), chest, and temples.
Or if you have your own preferred sleep remedy, use that. Once your body gets used to sleeping on it, you probably won’t need any extra help falling asleep.
Our Top 3 Picks For Best Pillow For Sleep Apnea
In this section, we’ll show you our top picks for the best sleep apnea pillow, review each one, and tell you why we like it and what you can expect to get out of it. There are others out there and you will do well to do more research after this but we think you will probably be able to find the perfect fit for you among the following three:
SleepRight SRP244 Side Sleeping Pillow
This funky shaped pillow can do wonders for those of you suffering from sleep apnea!
- Luxurious visco-elastic memory foam material
- Unique cradle design provides gentle support without hitting pressure points on your jaws, ears, and shoulder.
- Air “paths” included on left and right to maximize airflow while sleeping on your side
- 5 year warranty included
The odd shape of this pillow will take a few nights to get used to but is actually an expert design. It creates a gentle cradle around your head, neck, and upper shoulders so that your head and neck are being held in the best position to promote easy, consistent breathing through the night.
It’s made with high quality materials that will last you for years and years. So it is a worthwhile investment that will help you get a better night sleep every night!
Medslant's "BIG" Acid Reflux Wedge Pillow
This elevated wedge pillow was designed to help people suffering from GERD or acid reflux. However, the way it is designed also helps those with sleep apnea.
- Gradual elevation for your entire upper body.
- Designed to be used in combination with your normal pillow.
- Hypo-allergenic material won’t irritate skin
- High quality memory foam overlay
- 30 inches wide to provide room for you to spread out and turn during the night
- Removable microfiber cover is machine washable
This is a highly effective pillow that is built to last. You’ll be able to get the same quality results out of it for between 5 to 7 years! So it is definitely worth the investment. The elevated design helps move the weight down toward your abdomen and prevent your spine and neck from bending in weird ways, blocking your airways, through the night.
The memory foam relieves pressure points and provides the perfect gentle support that you need to sleep comfortably through the night.
Avana Back Wedge Pillow With Bamboo Cover
This is a beautifully designed sleep apnea wedge pillow that can be used in combination with your normal pillow.
- Convenient removable cover for easy washing
- Also provides great support for sitting up in bed to read or watch TV.
- Keeps your head, neck, and upper body elevated throughout the night.
- Helps with sleep apnea, GERD, snoring, acid reflux, and chest congestion.
- Choose between either a 12 inch or 8 inch rise.
- Pillow is 24 inches long to provide gently and gradual elevation for your torso
- Memory foam inside, soft bamboo on the outside.
The memory foam and bamboo really take this pillow to the next level. These are the most luxurious materials you could have in your pillow and you will notice the difference. It gently elevates your upper body while also molding to your shape so that you don’t feel any pressure points.
You will literally just melt right into this pillow and sleep easily throughout the nigh!
Finding a great FDA approved sleep apnea pillow can help you sleep comfortably and breathe easily throughout the night. A well-designed elevated pillow for sleep apnea will also provide other health benefits so it’s worth getting one today!