The best pillow for sleep apnea is probably one that does not interfere with the placement of a CPAP mask, for example the Mini Core CPAP Pillow. A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask is the premium treatment for sleep apnea, and it must be worn while the patient sleeps. As such, the importance of a sleep apnea pillow that allows the mask to remain securely in place and does not hinder its activity simply cannot be overstated. However, not all sleep apnea patients use a CPAP masks, so that alone is not the only decisive factor. On the other hand, people with sleep apnea are more in need of a good night’s sleep and the right pillow is crucial to achieve that.
In mild cases of sleep apnea, the breathing pauses that characterize this condition take place only when the person sleeps on their back. The best pillow for sleep apnea for these particular patients would be one that helps them to sleep on their side instead. Two in three people are already side sleepers, and this position decreases snoring, sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea, and helps to clear breathing airways. Conversely, sleeping on one’s back is conducive to snoring episodes and sinusitis, and back pain, while sleeping on one’s stomach is harmful for the neck as well.
The downside of side sleeping is that the majority of the body’s pressure rests over the arms and shoulders, leading to neck stiffness and frozen shoulder. Fortunately, this problem can be avoided by using a side sleeper pillow that favors the proper alignment of the neck, arms and shoulders. A good side sleeper pillow has recesses in the center and sides in order to contour the upper body, and support the arms head and neck. Moreover, the pillow should elevate the users head so that the air passageways are wide open. In addition to reducing the incidence of snoring and sleep apnea, the best pillow provides support for the entire frame and spinal arrangement, enhancing circulation, preventing morning stiffness, and redistributing body weight to impede the development of bed sores.
Another candidate for best pillow for sleep apnea is the sleeping wedge pillow, indicated not only for obstructive sleep apnea but also for heartburn caused by acid reflux. A sleeping wedge pillow
is made with slightly firm foam and can be used with standard pillows and placed on top of standard mattress to raise the user’s head while they sleep. That last part is important because lying on one’s back in a supine position can lead to the collapse of the upper airways and lungs due to the weight of the neck and abdomen shifting. Furthermore, the stomach contents may run up the esophagus causing the aforementioned heartburn.
The main advantage of a sleeping wedge pillow is that it can serve the same purposes of more costlier and even convoluted methods, such as sleeping in a reclining chair, in an adjustable bed, or piling bricks or phonebooks under the bedposts. If that weren’t enough, there are other benefits to sleeping in an inclined position, like extra lumbar and cervical spine support for individuals with back pain, relief of radicular pain by placing the pillow between the legs.
Related Read: Cervical Pillow or Memory Foam Pillow?