Sleep Apnea Pillow Review: Is This Pillow For You?

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Meta Description: A sleep apnea pillow provides relief for sleep apnea sufferers. The pillow supports the head and neck to keep the airway open to improve breathing while sleeping. There are different designs of sleep apnea pillows to accommodate your sleeping position and provide more comfort while using a CPAP machine as needed.

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Review & Information on a Sleep Apnea Pillow

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts. People who snore loudly and feel tired after sleeping for a full night may have this condition. While sleeping, they may also gasp or choke for air, or their quality of sleep may be restless. They are also likely to make frequent bathroom trips and tend to have breathing pauses. When awake, these people are fatigued, have headaches, concentration problems, irritability, depression, or feel sleepy. In this article, we review sleep apnea pillows that can help reduce snoring and improve sleep quality and health.

Sleep Apnea Risks

If left untreated, sleep apnea can have health risks, such as high blood pressure, stroke, irregular heartbeat, heart disease, heart attack, type 2 diabetes, and work or driving-related accidents. Sufferers of untreated sleep apnea are three times more likely to have a stroke than the average person.

Daytime fatigue can set in, causing severe drowsiness and irritability. Normal and restorative sleep becomes more difficult to achieve because the sleep apnea constantly awakens the sufferer. Difficulty concentrating, falling asleep during the day, and becoming moody or depressed are other symptoms.

Blood oxygen levels drop suddenly during sleep apnea, which causes blood pressure to increase and strains the cardiovascular system. Someone with heart disease and sleep apnea could experience multiple episodes of low blood oxygen, which then leads to an irregular heartbeat and possible sudden death. Sleep apnea also increases type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin resistance. Liver problems are another possibility, where abnormal liver function test results return, and livers show signs of scarring or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Sleep Apnea Types

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

This type of sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax, which narrows the airway when breathing in. These muscles support the tongue, the throat’s side walls, the soft palate, and the uvula, a triangular piece of tissue that hangs from the soft palate. When there is not enough air, the oxygen level in the blood decreases. The reason you wake up is that your brain alerts you so you can breathe and reopen the airway. When this ensues, you usually choke, snort, or gasp. This pattern can repeat several times each hour, through the night.

Several factors increase the likelihood of having obstructive sleep apnea. Being obese causes fat deposits around the upper airway to obstruct breathing. People with thicker necks are more likely to have narrow airways. People may also be born with narrow throats and have tonsils or adenoids that enlarge and block airways, which is common in children. Men are more likely than women to experience sleep apnea, but women who are overweight and post-menopausal also have a high likelihood. Smokers are likely to have inflamed upper airways and fluid retention while alcohol drinkers or users of sedatives and tranquilizers tend to have overly relaxed throat muscles. Being older, having a family history of sleep apnea, and having nasal congestion are other factors.

Central Sleep Apnea

While the obstructive version is more common, this type occurs when the brain does not transmit signals to the muscles that help you breathe. You may not be breathing for a short period or awaken because you are short of breath. Getting to sleep or staying asleep is difficult.

Men are more likely than women to have this type of sleep apnea, which is also something that middle-aged and elderly people have a higher risk of experiencing. People with heart disorders and who previously had strokes are also at higher risk. People who use narcotic pain medications, such as opioids, have an increased risk as well.

Complex Sleep Apnea

This is also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. This occurs when someone has both obstructive and central sleep apnea. Some people may develop this while being treated for obstructive sleep apnea with CPAP machines and begin experiencing symptoms of central sleep apnea.

Getting a Diagnosis

See if you are experiencing any of the sleep apnea symptoms mentioned above. If you are, then you should seek out a sleep physician and inquire about sleep testing. The sleep apnea test takes place either in your home or in a sleep lab. During the test, adhesive sensors are placed on the scalp, chin, forehead, chest, index finger, and leg to collect information on your brain, lungs, heart, and muscles. Your breathing may be measured by bands wrapped around your stomach and chest. Once the data is collected during your sleep, you wake up in the morning and discuss the results with your doctor. If needed, the two of you will create a treatment plan.

Getting Treatment

Your treatment will involve the use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which keeps your airway open while you are sleeping. A constant flow of airway pressure is sent to your throat so that your breath remains continuous, treating spontaneous pauses that occur with sleep apnea. You wear a face mask and can select one based on how you sleep. If you breathe through your nose when you sleep, choose a nasal mask. If you breathe through your open mouth when sleeping, consider a full-face mask. If you want the most freedom to move and choose any sleep position, try a pillow mask, which seals each nostril and minimizes contact with the face.

Other treatment options may include different types of airway pressure devices. Auto-CPAP devices automatically adjust airway pressure while you sleep. Bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP) devices provide more pressure when you are inhaling and less as you exhale.

While medical professionals recommend CPAP machines for their reliability, oral appliances that keep the throat open are an option and may be easier to use. The throat is opened by bringing the jaw forward to relieve mild obstructive sleep apnea and reduce snoring. These devices can be provided by your dentist.

Lifestyle Changes

Besides getting treatment, there are some things you can do for self-care for sleep apnea. If you are overweight, losing even a little bit of the extra weight can reduce any constriction on your throat. In some cases, it may be possible to resolve sleep apnea by achieving a healthy weight. Regardless of your weight, getting regular exercise can relieve sleep apnea symptoms. You should do 30 minutes of moderate activity, such as brisk walking, aerobics, or spinning, on most days of the week.

Do not drink alcohol between four to six hours before going to sleep and reduce the frequency of your drinking. If you smoke, it’s important to quit and seek out resources on how to do this. If possible, also avoid taking sleeping pills and tranquilizers because doing these things will relax the muscles in the back of the throat and interfere with breathing.

When you go to sleep, it is better to sleep on your side or your abdomen than on your back. When you sleep on your back, your soft palate and tongue rest against the back of the throat, which results in a blocked airway. If you believe you will end up rolling on your back while you are sleeping, attach a tennis ball on the back of a pajama top. There are also vibrating commercial devices available to keep you from rolling on your back in your sleep.

What Is a Sleep Apnea Pillow?

A sleep apnea pillow, also known as a CPAP pillow or an anti-snoring pillow, is one that is specifically designed to relieve sleep apnea. The pillow supports your head and neck to keep your airway open to allow you to breath better at night or while you sleep. These pillows can be used with a CPAP machine or without one. CPAP machines have a mask that fits over your nose and mouth or just your nose. Air is blown at a certain pressure to keep your airway open.

Sleep apnea pillows come in different shapes but are most commonly found in a wedge shape to raise your upper body. Wedge pillows are placed under the back to elevate the head for increased airflow. They tend to be firm to keep the tongue and jaw in good position. Side sleeping pillows help elevate the sleeper’s head while allowing the arm under the head while sleeping. Cervical pillows are firm and provide neck support. They can also be used by side sleepers.

A sleep apnea pillow is an inexpensive way to make sure people are comfortable, especially when using a CPAP machine. People may have stopped using their CPAPs because they are not comfortable or feel irritated while using them. Pillows designed to work with CPAP masks and hoses allow for sleeping on your back or your side. They usually have hollow areas to reduce pressure from the mask and prevent air leaks coming from the mask.

Product Specifications

For most pillows:

Materials used: Polyurethane foam, regular foam, memory foam, feathers, buckwheat hulls

Size: 25-30 inches long, 24 inches wide

Types: Wedge, side sleep, side, back, nasal, snoring relief

For wedge pillows:

Elevation: 5-12 inches


Sleep apnea pillows run between $25 to $60. They can be purchased from online retailers such as Amazon, Wayfair or eBay, and from specialty retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond, JC Penney, Fry’s Electronics, or Hammacher Schlemmer.

How It Compares

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This pillow is designed to let your head and face rest comfortably, whether you are a back, side, or stomach sleeper. The pillow is sloped so that your nasal mask, facial mask, or tubing from the CPAP machine can be connected to the machine and move freely without becoming caught on the pillow. Your neck and spine are also aligned.

  • Price: $59.95
  • Ease of Use: 4.4/5 stars
  • Warranty: None mentioned; returns allowed within 30 days of purchase
  • Ingredients: Memory foam
  • Dimensions: 22.4 x 14.6 x 4.5 inches
  • Weight: Two pounds

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The pillow allows the foam to be added or removed as needed to adjust the thickness, softness, and shape. It’s a gusset side sleeper pillow but can also be used for stomach and back sleepers. Buckwheat hulls are good for allergy sufferers since they are hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. The large zipper opening makes the pillow adjustable, and extra filling can be added to keep the pillow from going flat.

  • Price: $49.95
  • Ease of Use: 4.2/5 stars
  • Warranty: 10-Year Warranty; 5/5 stars
  • Ingredients: Natural buckwheat hulls and shredded foam
  • Dimensions: 22 x 16 x 5 inches
  • Weight: 6.9 pounds


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The pillow helps support the neck so that you wake up feeling recharged and refreshed. It has a therapeutic design that adapts to the sleeper’s head, neck, and shoulders to provide support and alignment while reducing stiffness and pain. There are higher and lower contours so you can decide which feels best.

  • Price: $25.15 – $59.99
  • Ease of Use: 3.9/5 stars
  • Warranty: 5-Year Limited Warranty; 4/5 stars
  • Ingredients: Memory foam
  • Dimensions: 20.8 x 14.2 x 4.8 inches
  • Weight: 2.36 pounds

Pros and Cons

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  • Treats sleep apnea non-invasively
  • Alleviates back and neck pain
  • Improves sleep posture
  • Available in different styles, shapes, and materials
  • Can be used with a CPAP machine and reduces frequent need to adjust straps
  • Better, longer sleep
  • Reduces pressure on CPAP mask to reduce lines on the face
  • Adjustable pillows allow you to achieve correct height and thickness
  • Decreases snoring
  • Inexpensive treatment for sleep apnea

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  • Non-adjustable pillows may be too high or thick
  • Requires adjustment period
  • May involve trial and error to choose the right pillow
  • Pillow may not work at all


Sleep apnea pillow use is highly subjective. What will work for one person will not necessarily work for another. Based on reviews and research, we stand by the Endurimed Large CPAP Comfort Pillow as the best sleep apnea pillow on the market because it can be used by any type of sleeper, is lightweight, and is designed for the specific purpose of resting your head and neck, especially if you must use a CPAP machine. The right pillow can provide much relief, but it may take several attempts, and some adjustment, before sleep improves and snoring decreases.

Last update on 2023-06-10 at 01:24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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