Sleeping disorders such as Sleep Apnea (or Sleep Apnoea) can be a very distressing and upsetting thing to experience. Luckily, sleep apnea pillows can help to ease symptoms for a sound night’s sleep.
Tiredness and fatigue take a massive toll on your daily life – but don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be this way. If you think you are suffering from Sleep Apnea or are looking for some ways to ease the symptoms, keep reading to find out why a memory foam pillow could be just the relief you’ve been looking for.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a sleeping disorder which causes sufferers to temporarily stop breathing while they sleep. Due to the nature of the condition, Sleep Apnea can go undiagnosed for long periods of time. This is potentially dangerous and also hugely disruptive to your sleep patterns.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
Common causes of the condition include;
- Being overweight
- Nasal congestion
- The menopause
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
When your body realises that your oxygen supply has been cut off, you will wake briefly or rise into a really light sleep to restore normal breathing. A constant state of light sleep means that sleep apnoea sufferers don’t get the deep rest they need.
This can result in the following symptoms. You are:
- Aware of waking up in the night gasping for air
- Told that you snore during the night, even though you may be unaware of it yourself
- Sweating excessively during the night
- Tired and unable to concentrate during the day
- Lacking in energy and motivation
- Often waking up with a dry mouth
- Easily irritable and grumpy
- Told that you sometimes have breaks in your breathing whilst asleep
- Often waking up with a headache
If you feel like you might be suffering from Sleep Apnea, consult your doctor.
Can Memory Foam Pillows Help Sleep Apnea?
Yes! A memory foam pillow can help Sleep Apnea sufferers. Memory foam supports the natural curve of your neck, helping to keep your airways clear and open and facilitate breathing during the night. In addition, the moulding memory foam reduces pressure on the neck allowing your body to fully relax, reducing tossing and turning during the night.
Best Sleep Apnea Pillows
We explore the different types of pillows out there and which ones are best for sleep apnea relief.
Cervical pillows are specifically designed to support your neck to maintain good sleeping posture and spinal alignment. They are often made of memory foam and come in several different shapes and sizes, including contour pillow designs.
Contour Sleep Apnea Pillow
A contour pillow is a great option for side sleepers as it mirrors the natural shape of your upper body. With a dip in the centre and curved sides, a memory foam contour pillow allows your head to rest in its natural alignment when sleeping on your front or side. The shape and memory foam layers relieve pressure on the shoulders for maximum comfort whilst keeping airways open.
Sleep Apnea Pillow Wedge
A memory foam wedge pillow is ideal for back sleepers who suffer from sleep apnea.
The triangular wedge shape gives better spinal support when lying in this elevated position which keeps airways open. A wedge pillow is also great for reducing snoring!
Best Sleep Apnea Pillow for Side Sleepers
If you sleep on your side (or trying to encourage side sleeping) our 4G Aircool contour pillow is a great option.
This luxury, orthopaedic pillow features high-density memory foam which moulds to your shape, cradling your head and neck in a naturally aligned position. It’s hypoallergenic and is made of cooling open-cell foam.
Best Pillow for Back Sleepers with Sleep Apnea
Our Coolmax memory foam wedge pillow provides full spinal support when sitting or lying elevated in bed, perfect for opening airways for back sleepers. It comes with a removable, washable pillow cover made from breathable Coolmax fibres.
As well as minimising the symptoms of sleep apnea, this pillow can:
- Ease snoring
- Relieve back pain
- Reduce acid reflux
The Two Main Types of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is often caused by the loosening and relaxing of throat muscles which causes blockages in the throat
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) occurs when the brain doesn’t send the necessary signals and essentially ‘forgets’ to breathe during the night. Sufferers will usually snore heavily and can stop breathing for up to 20 seconds on multiple occasions throughout the night.
Some people who suffer from sleep apnea have to wear a CPAP machine to keep their airways open throughout the night. CPAP users may find it more difficult to get comfortable at night due to the mask pressure, which makes finding a suitable pillow even more important.
If you believe that you are suffering from Sleep Apnea, consult your doctor.
How Can I Sleep to Avoid Sleep Apnea?
There are several things you can do to get a better night’s sleep and relieve the symptoms of sleep apnea.
What is the Best Position to Sleep in if you Have Sleep Apnea?
Your sleep position can make a big difference in the quality of your sleep.
Sleeping on your back can exacerbate sleep apnea as it’s more likely that you will sleep with your mouth open and your tongue back, constricting your airways. If you find it easier to fall asleep on your back, try a back wedge pillow to elevate your head and shoulders as you sleep.
While sleeping on your stomach can help to reduce sleep apnea for some, front sleepers may experience symptoms as their breathing is impaired by their pillow or from twisting their neck to the side.
Sleeping on your side is the most effective sleeping position for sleep apnea sufferers as it doesn’t restrict your airways. If you’re not a natural side sleeper, a contour memory foam pillow can help to minimise pressure around your shoulders and help you find a comfortable position.
Can the Wrong Pillow Cause Sleep Apnea?
If you’re sleeping on an unsuitable pillow it could lead to sleep apnea or worsening of symptoms. If your pillow is too high, too flat or the wrong shape for your head and neck it could restrict your airways.
Finding a pillow that allows your head, neck, shoulders and spine to rest naturally in alignment can help to keep your airways open whilst eliminating neck pain and discomfort.
For example, stomach sleepers will require a flatter pillow to avoid over-elevating their head and arching their neck. While side sleepers may need a more supportive contour pillow to maintain healthy alignment.
Does Sleeping with Your Head Elevated Help Sleep Apnea?
Elevating your head, neck and shoulders can help reduce sleep apnea symptoms for some people, especially if you sleep on your back. This is because it helps to keep the airways open, allowing easy breathing. Try a foam wedge pillow to help achieve the right angle.
How Many Pillows do you Need for Sleep Apnea?
If you don’t have a wedge pillow and want to elevate your head, you could try using several pillows to achieve a similar effect. However, if you don’t get the angle right you could end up constricting your airways further!
We usually recommend sleeping with one pillow that is suited to your sleeping position and needs. Extra pillows can be used for added comfort under the legs or between the knees for side sleepers.
Find the Right Pillow for You
Choosing the right pillow for you comes down to your personal sleeping needs such as position, health and comfort preferences. We can help you find the perfect match!
Browse our full collection of memory foam pillows to get started.