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Would A Different Pillow Help Sleep Apnea?

July 15, 2021


The standard treatment for patients with sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. However, while the device is highly effective at relieving sleep apnea symptoms, it can also make it more difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. Many new CPAP users complain about their masks pressing into their pillow at night, causing air leaks and general discomfort. Luckily, the solution to this issue is often quite simple.

Many sleep specialists recommend changing your pillow to accommodate your new CPAP equipment. Some pillows are better suited for sleep apnea. A good pillow can significantly improve comfort and CPAP performance, often reducing the risk of mask air leaks and leading to better sleep quality.

How to Choose a Sleep Apnea Pillow

There are many different pillows on the market, all claiming to be the ‘best pillow for sleep apnea.’ However, some CPAP-specific design features can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and a great night’s sleep. One of the easiest ways to narrow down your options is to focus on the factors that will have the greatest effect on sleep apnea, including support, firmness, and shape.

In general, the best sleep apnea pillows:

  • Are suitable for stomach or side sleeping.
  • Are CPAP machines compatible?
  • Provide support and pressure relief.
  • Are made of high-quality materials.
  • Have stellar reviews.
  • Are adjustable.

Types of Sleep Apnea Pillows

We all have different preferences, especially when it comes to our sleep position and environment. Consequently, sleep apnea pillows come in a variety of styles. However, there are a few categories of pillows that are generally considered the best:

CPAP Pillows: CPAP pillows are specifically designed to accommodate CPAP masks and typically feature contoured edges, which leave space for cumbersome tubes and other CPAP-related equipment.

Wedge Pillows: Wedge pillows have a sloped design, which helps to elevate the upper body and reduce airway compression. Wedge pillows are also a great choice to help minimize snoring.

Cervical Pillows: Cervical pillows were designed to relieve pressure on the neck and are best for back sleepers. They often feature an indent in the center to cradle the head and help relieve nighttime aches and pains. 

Foam Pillows: There are different types of foam pillows, the most well-known being memory foam. Sleep apnea patients often prefer memory foam pillows because they help cradle the neck and head and provide consistent pressure relief.

How We Can Help

If you have sleep apnea, changing your pillow may be beneficial, but it is not a substitute for proper medical care. Our certified sleep specialists can provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan, including professional recommendations for sleep apnea pillows. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.


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