A quality night's sleep is essential, but if you suffer from sleep apnea, getting peaceful rest is a lot more challenging. Luckily, you can buy a CPAP pillow to help ease your symptoms. If you have this sleeping disorder, you might find that it's difficult to rest with your mask on. Or if your mask is comfortable, you might find it difficult to get in a cozy sleeping position. Well, you don't have to continue to suffer anymore.
CPAP pillows are for people who sleep with a CPAP machine. Therefore, you can count on getting the full support you need to get better sleep. If you've never used a CPAP pillow, it can be hard to find the perfect cushion on which to rest. But don't fret, the perfect pillow for you is out there, and you're on your way to finding it.
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What Does CPAP Stand For?
The term CPAP means continuous positive airway pressure. It is used to treat sleep apnea, which is a condition caused by a temporary loss of breath throughout the night. CPAP provides a ventilation system that delivers airflow to a person's mouth through a connective house. It improves the circulation of air while the person is sleeping to make them less susceptible to periods of apnea.
For CPAP treatment to work, you have to use the machine each time you sleep. Some patients notice immediate improvements after using CPAP therapy, and have better sleep quality, reduced snoring, and feel less tired through the daytime. Possible side effects of this treatment include congestion, runny nose, dry mouth, and nosebleeds.
What Is A CPAP Pillow?
Simply put, a CPAP pillow is any pillow that's specially designed and shaped to help CPAP users. They work best for side sleepers. However, most CPAP masks work well for different sleeping positions. This is because sleeping on your back can make apnea episodes more frequent. The tongue relaxes during sleep. It might block airflow if it falls back into your throat, which is a common occurrence for back sleepers.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder which causes frequent stops and starts of breathing throughout the night. Common signs of sleep apnea are loud snoring and feeling tired when you wake up. There are three types of sleep apnea from which you could suffer:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea, also known as OSA, is the relaxation of the soft tissues within your throat and tongue which block your airways. This obstruction of your breathing passages causes you to snore, wake up, or stop breathing entirely for short periods of time. Cpap machines are generally recommended for this type of problem; however, a supportive pillow can help reduce symptoms.
Excess weight is a common cause of OSA because fat deposits around the upper airway can block your breathing. A narrowed airway is another factor; issues like an enlarged tonsil can cause problems with breathing. Another cause for OSA is being a male. Men are two to three times more likely to have sleep apnea than are women. Plus, there are other contributing factors like your family history, smoking, nasal congestion, and use of alcohol and sedatives.
Central Sleep Apnea
This form of sleep apnea is more complicated to diagnose and treat. It's caused by an interruption of brain signals that control your breathing. Many people who suffer from CSA have other serious issues that cause chronic conditions. It is not uncommon to find that Parkinson’s disease, stroke, heart failure, diseases and injuries to the brainstem, kidney failure, arthritis, and certain drug use, have caused CSA.
Complex Sleep Apnea
Complex sleep apnea is also known as treatment-emergent sleep apnea, in which both OSA and CSA are the root cause of its symptoms. This is a complex diagnosis that requires different treatment, and doctors are still working to better diagnose and treat it.
The symptoms for OSA and CSA tend to overlap. However, the most common side effects are waking up with dry mouth, morning headaches, irritability, loud snoring, and gasping for air during sleep.
Key Features Of A CPAP Pillow
There are different models of CPAP pillows. The features on them vary due to the brand and customer preference. But there some characteristics that are universal among all of the pillows.
The midsection of the pillow usually has a dip in the middle. This helps provide neck alignment.
Not every CPAP pillow model has a hose stabilizer, but a lot of models include a thin strap which keeps the connective hose in place.
Most pillows for sleep apnea have odd shapes due to side cutouts which provide space for the hose and mask. The majority of cutouts are on both sides of the pillow to cater to left and right side sleepers.
Some CPAP pillows have a bottom opening for the sleeper's shoulders, which helps the neck and shoulders align properly.
How To Choose The Correct Pillow
No matter what type of sleeper you are, it's possible to find a mask and a pillow that will accommodate your sleeping positions. It would help if you chose a product that works with your body so that you get the proper spinal alignment. Thinner pillows work better for back, and stomach sleepers, whereas thicker, firmer cushions work well for side sleepers. But with that said, you also have to consider the location of the machine and tube that hooks to your mask.
Plus, there are a few other factors to consider. First, think about if you sleep warm. If you do, the additional heat could potentially cause more sleep interruption. So, look for pillows that have cooling properties like gel-infused foams or natural material.
Also, the comfort of your body is very important when using a CPAP machine. You should consider using two different types of pillows to give yourself options and provide added support. And lastly, look for cushions that are soft and malleable to help provide you with pressure relief. It will not only help your head and neck but your hips and knees as well. Plus, it will aid in keeping you in a stationary position throughout the night. Body pillows are also an excellent option to add with you CPAP pillow because it will keep your entire body supported.
Pros And Cons
The are many advantages to using a CPAP pillow. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you should use a CPAP pillow to help you breathe better and get sleep peacefully. But with that said, you might run into issues if you buy the wrong pillow. Before you make your purchase, make sure that you're buying the right one for you that best fits your preference. Otherwise, the pillow won't be comfortable or effective.
You can expect to pay between $30 to $80 for a CPAP pillow depending on the model you get and the features you need. Your doctor might be able to supply one for you. Also be sure to check with your insurance to see if they could cover the cost. You can purchase from a local medical supply company, or on Amazon. If you choose to purchase offline, make sure the cushion has all of the features needed to coincide with your CPAP mask.
How We Reviewed
We looked through as much information as we could to learn about the benefits of CPAP pillows. Our goal was to find out whether the pillows actually worked and improved the symptoms of patients. So, we read through several customer reviews to get honest feedback about the pillows. Our final decision was based on the cushion with the best reviews from patients.
The Top-rated CPAP Pillows
We searched for the products with the best customer reviews, so hopefully, you can choose a quality pillow that's best for you.
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Contour Products CPAPMax pillow
Contour Products are designed to fit a variety of sleep positions and accommodate different mask brands. It's also reversible, which allows you to use different comfort surfaces to fit your personal needs. Its contoured shape offers room for your mask and has adjustable layers for you to customize. Plus, one side of the cushion has breathable, 3D mesh memory foam. The other side has a fiber-filled layer. Furthermore, it gives support to stomach sleeps without hindering the mask, and cradles the head and neck of back sleepers.
The cost is between $ to $ and includes a two-year warranty. The customers on Amazon rated it 4 out of 5 stars. Unfortunately for one customer, the cushion wasn't comfortable or wide enough.
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Celliant Sleep Therapeutic Memory Foam Pillow
This pillow is contoured and is specially designed to help problems with your airway, and spinal alignment. Its foam creates airflow so that you sleep cooler throughout the night. Plus, both back and side sleepers and enjoy the compressed center depending on their CPAP mask. The shape of the cushion also keeps it from compressing too much and pinching the hoses. The fabric is very breathable and is great for reducing snoring.
The price ranges from $ to $, and it comes with a 30-day return warranty. The customers on Amazon rated it 3.9 out of 5 stars. However, according to one customer, the pillow made her husband snore more.
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EnduriMed contour CPAP pillow
EnduriMed Contour pillows have become very popular to use with CPAP machines because they don't hinder the mask hose. The Tempur-Embrace cushion is unique because it was crafted specially to help ongoing comfort issues with all sleep positions. Its X-shape is comfortable and supportive when using CPAP machines no matter what position you're in. Plus the memory foam can be gently shaped for certain areas of support.
A thin, durable foam pad helps the pillow maintain its shape. It is incredibly responsive and is considered an excellent choice for combination sleepers.
The cost is between $ to $ and includes a one-year warranty. The customers on Amazon rated it 4.4 out of 5 stars. But sadly for one customer, this pillow didn't provide enough support for their neck.
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GoodSleep Company CPAP Pillow
This ergonomically crafted memory foam pillow helps prevent your mask and tubing from getting twisted, no matter how you sleep. You can lay on your side, your back or your stomach and this pillow will give you support. This contour pillow fits inside any standard-sized pillowcase or cover. Plus, the premium quality memory foam offers the comfort your body needs for a peaceful night's sleep. Memory foam pillows are soft enough to give you luxurious comfort but are still firm enough to provide neck and spine alignment. You won't have to twist and turn to find a comfortable sleeping position or re-tighten your mask due to air leaks. Sleep calmly without excessive facial and nasal pressure caused by improper alignment, thanks to this high-quality memory foam pillow.
The price ranges between $ to $ and the customers on Amazon gave it 3.9 out of 5 stars. Unfortunately for one user, the pillow is too low and needs more stuffing.
Do You Think A CPAP Pillow Can Improve Your Sleep Apnea?
We tried our hardest to find a variety of pillows to fit various needs. But in the case, we couldn't say which product is the best -- primarily because everyone requires something different for their sleep apnea. However, we do feel like all of the items we found are excellent choices. As long as you purchase the correct model for you, you're good to go.
Consult with your doctor first to make sure you get a pillow that's customized to fit your needs. You also want to take into consideration what type of sleeper you are and if you like firm or soft pillows. With that said, we feel as though any of these pillows will set you on the course to a better night sleep. After taking a look at the information we provided, do you think a CPAP pillow will work for you?