Sleep apnea patients often find it difficult to fall asleep, and those who use CPAP machines may find it hard to find a comfortable sleeping position. Research may have told you that the best solution for these problems is a body pillow, but there may be better options for sleep apnea. Here’s why you should avoid body pillows and what you should opt for instead.
What Is a Body Pillow?
Body pillows are long pillows designed to help support and align your body for sleep. They’re best for side sleepers and can be best for pregnant women or those with back pain. For some people, it can prevent snoring, but this may be attributed to sleeping on your side.
Body Pillows Can Block CPAP
The biggest issue regarding any pillows for CPAP users is the pillow interfering with your mask. This is especially common in body pillows, as they may often lead you to lean onto your back or be in an uncomfortable position for your neck to account for your mask. Pillows can often knock masks off or cover their flow.
Doesn’t Promote Ideal Airway Alignment
For some people, body pillows are great for spinal alignment. For sleep apnea patients, alignment often looks different. It’s true that side sleeping can ease some side effects of sleep apnea, like snoring; you aren’t limited to it. Wedge or cervical pillows can be helpful for back sleepers. The wedge shape can utilize gravity to avoid obstructions from the tongue, while the cervical shape can add less neck strain. Lower-profile pillows that mold to your body are best for side sleepers. If you struggle with your CPAP mask interference, consider pillows designed for CPAP users with contours that can fit the mask or hose.
What to Look For in a Pillow for Sleep Apnea
To ensure that your pillow contributes to your best possible sleep with sleep apnea, comfort and neck alignment are the two factors to weigh most heavily. While body pillows can be comfortable for some people, they often offer subpar neck support and cause discomfort for those that use CPAP machines. It may take some experimentation to see what works best for your sleep habits, whether a wedge, cervical, or CPAP pillow.