Which Pillow Is Best for Sleep Apnea?

September 3, 2023
Woman in store, shopping for pillows

After receiving a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), most people are eager to look for ways to manage their condition. Along with using treatment from a professional, they might make small changes in their daily lives. For example, they might invest in some new bedding. A new pillow just might help you sleep better! But which type of pillow is best for sleep apnea? This blog post shares some helpful information.

If You Have a CPAP Machine

CPAP therapy is an effective treatment for OSA, but unfortunately, it requires patients to wear a mask during sleep. This can be very uncomfortable for people who prefer to sleep on their side; the mask and hoses may press into the side of their face, causing irritation and redness.

If you use a CPAP machine, you may find it best to use a pillow that is specifically designed for CPAP users. Such pillows have indents to accommodate the machine’s components and provide enhanced comfort.

If You Are a Side Sleeper

If you use a custom oral appliance from a dentist instead of a CPAP machine, you will not have to worry about how your treatment will affect your sleeping position. In fact, you can sleep on your side with a standard pillow.

Most side sleepers find it comfortable to use a gel or memory foam pillow that has a high to medium loft. Such pillows can support proper spinal alignment so you do not wake up with a neck or shoulder ache.

If You Are a Back Sleeper

Back sleeping is usually not recommended for OSA patients because sleeping on your back can allow gravity to pull your oral tissues downward, leading to blockages in your airway. If you are most comfortable on your back, however, you do have some options.

A firm wedge pillow can allow you to sleep at a slight incline, so gravity is less likely to worsen your OSA symptoms. Alternatively, you might choose to sleep in a recliner.

If You Have Allergies

Some types of fibers are likely to collect allergens, which might irritate your respiratory system and worsen your sleep apnea. Not only should you do your best to keep your bedroom clean, but it might also be beneficial to use a pillow that is specifically designed for allergy sufferers; they tend to be made out of fabrics that are less likely to accumulate dust and other irritants. Pair it with a hypoallergenic pillowcase for maximum benefits.

Which pillow is best for sleep apnea sufferers? That depends on your circumstances! You might have to try a few different options before you find one that works well for you.

Meet the Sleep Apnea Expert

For well over 10 years, Dr. Kenneth Mogell has been helping patients in Florida to find relief from their sleep apnea symptoms. He specializes in providing custom oral appliances. If you are struggling with OSA and want to find out if Dr. Mogell’s services and advice could improve your situation, he and our team would be happy to assist you. Use our website to contact any of our locations, or call our Melbourne office at 844-686-0696.