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Best Pillows for Sleep Apnea – 2021 Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Written by Keith Cushner

Quick Overview

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the most common sleep disorders, affecting millions of Americans every year. Choosing the right pillow can make the difference in OSA treatment, whether by making it easier to adhere to CPAP therapy, by opening the airway through gravity, or by allowing for adjustments to suit your particular support needs.

However, with so many sleep apnea pillow options on the market, choosing the right one can be time-consuming and frustrating. By selecting a recommended sleep apnea pillow based on your needs, the process becomes easier. Some higher-end models even allow for sleep trials, giving you the opportunity to ensure that the pillow will work properly for you.

Whether you’re looking for a CPAP-friendly pillow which will work with your sleep position, a wedge pillow for head elevation, or an adjustable pillow, you’ll find a range of options to choose from.

Best Sleep Apnea Pillows

The Best Sleep Apnea Pillows – Reviewed

Best OverallRelax the Back Technogel CPAP Pillow

Best Overall – Relax the Back Technogel CPAP Pillow

Highlights

  • Butterfly shape accommodates CPAP mask
  • Memory foam closely conforms
  • Technogel is designed to sleep cool
  • Two loft options
  • 3-year warranty with product registration
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Best OverallRelax the Back Technogel CPAP Pillow

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Sleepers looking for a comfortable and ergonomic sleep apnea pillow may find the Technogel CPAP Pillow by Relax the Back to be a good fit. The pillow has a unique butterfly shape that’s designed for use with CPAP headgear. Cutouts on either side of the pillow leave enough room to accommodate your mask and its connective hose and prevent discomfort.

Shoppers can purchase the Technogel Pillow in two loft options: thick (5.1 inches) or regular (4.5 inches). Both models have a bottom layer of memory foam that contours closely to the head and neck to provide sleepers with pressure relief and support.

The top layer is made from a proprietary gel called Technogel, which is engineered to sleep cool. The pillow also features a tunnel design within the foam that’s intended to increase overall airflow. A zip-off cover is included, though sleepers who want maximum temperature regulation can sleep directly on the Technogel surface.

Users should find that the pillow has a decent lifespan, thanks to its high-quality materials. The Technogel CPAP Pillow comes with a 2-year standard warranty, but sleepers can register their product to receive an additional 1-year warranty. Relax the Back does not allow returns or exchanges on bedding items.

Good for:

  • Sleepers who use a CPAP device
  • People who tend to sleep hot
  • Shoppers looking for pressure point relief

Best ValueHealth Products for You Bilt-Rite CPAP Pillow

Best Value  – Health Products for You Bilt-Rite CPAP Pillow

Highlights

  • Shape and fill promote even alignment
  • Machine-washable
  • Cutouts prevent CPAP mask from moving
  • Poly-fiber fill mimics down
  • Priced competitively
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Best ValueHealth Products for You Bilt-Rite CPAP Pillow

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The Bilt-Rite CPAP Pillow from Health Products for You is engineered to be compatible with a wide range of CPAP masks. Cutouts around the pillow’s perimeter allow room for CPAP masks and hoses, lowering the potential for leaks. Most mask styles should work well with the pillow and resist catching or tangling.

Back and combination sleepers will likely enjoy the Bilt-Rite’s mid-range profile, which has enough loft to evenly support your neck. This pillow gets high marks for temperature neutrality and shape retention, thanks to its synthetic poly-fiber fill. Users should find that the medium firm surface feels plush and holds its shape well. Air isn’t easily trapped within the fill, so the pillow shouldn’t retain too much heat.

The cotton and polyester blend cover is breathable and the entire pillow can be laundered in your home washer and dryer. Shoppers in the contiguous U.S. who spend $150 or more qualify for free shipping. Health Products for You accepts returns on unused items within 30 days of purchase.

Good for:

  • Value seekers
  • Back sleepers who use a CPAP machine
  • Shoppers looking for an easily washable option

Best WedgeHelix Wedge Pillow

Best Wedge – Helix Wedge Pillow

Highlights

  • Cooling gel memory foam and supportive polyfoam construction
  • 10-inch thickness with a comfortably gradual incline
  • Wide enough to support the broadest shoulders
  • Made in the USA with a 100-night sleep trial and a one-year warranty
  • Removable, washable rayon and polyester cover in a soft jersey grey
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Best WedgeHelix Wedge Pillow

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Wedge pillows are ideal for sleep apnea sufferers, as an incline opens the airway through gravity and reduces apnea events. Our favorite choice is the Helix Wedge Pillow, which offers supportive polyfoam construction with a gel foam layer to allow for a cooler sleep.

As a medium-firm foam pillow, the Helix Wedge is a good combination of contouring and resiliency. Its 10-inch loft (at the highest end) is significant, but the gradual incline allows users to choose where they want to sleep. Broad-shouldered sleepers will also appreciate the generous 24-inch width, which provides comfortable support for the neck and shoulders.

Not all sleep apnea sufferers respond well to wedge pillows, and adjustment can take time, but Helix’s 100-night sleep trial allows for risk-free experimentation.

Good for:

  • Side and back sleepers who are curious about wedge pillows
  • People who sleep warm, particularly on ordinary memory foam
  • Wedge pillow users looking for a high-quality, USA-made option

Best for Side SleepersContour CPAPMax 2.0 Pillow

Best for Side Sleepers – Contour CPAPMax 2.0 Pillow

Highlights

  • Provides two sleep surfaces — vented memory foam and a traditional microfiber
  • Removable layer to adjust height and density
  • Orthopedic molding and cut-outs for side sleepers
  • The extended hose tether allows for movement without uncomfortable pulling or air leaks
  • A charcoal-infused foam layer aids in scent neutrality
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Best for Side SleepersContour CPAPMax 2.0 Pillow

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Many care teams advise their sleep apnea patients to sleep on their side, and the Contour CPAPMax 2.0 Pillow makes that a more achievable goal. With two ways to customize your sleeping experience, Contour’s offering allows for a comfortable and secure sleep.

One side of the pillow features vented memory foam (for cooling and close contouring), while the other has a more traditional microfiber filling. Within the pillow, high-density and charcoal-infused foam layers can be removed to change the pillow’s loft and help support your neck. The pillow also features an extended hose tether, allowing sleepers to move during the night without dislodging their mask or causing air leaks.

People who prefer softer pillows should be aware that the orthopedic molding means that this pillow is rated as ‘firm’.

Good for:

  • Side-sleepers, particularly those with neck or shoulder pain
  • People who struggle with dislodging their mask when they move
  • Those who want a traditional pillow surface with the support of foam

Best for Back SleepersCoisum Back Sleeper Cervical Pillow

Best for Back Sleepers – Coisum Back Sleeper Cervical Pillow

Highlights

  • Slow-rebound memory foam allows for close contouring and comfort
  • Two pillow heights allow for good neck and shoulder support
  • Medium-firm density
  • Molded memory foam provides stability and reduces movement while asleep
  • Curved edges lessen the likelihood of dislodging your mask if you move onto your side
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Best for Back SleepersCoisum Back Sleeper Cervical Pillow

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Despite not having been designed for CPAP users, the Coisum Back Sleeper Cervical Pillow is our best choice for back-sleeping CPAP users. The pillow combines orthopedic support with deep curves, providing a good night’s rest with less chance for movement while asleep. If you do roll onto your side, the curved edges make it less likely that you will dislodge your mask.

Medium-firm, slow-rebounding memory foam is more comfortable than some firmer varieties, while still offering the benefits of molded foam. The outer edges are shaped to fit over the shoulders, further reducing movement and allowing for stability.

Other features include two loft heights, a breathable and washable pillowcase, and a 30-day money-back guarantee through Amazon. This last offering allows you to ensure that the pillow will work for you and your CPAP mask.

Good for:

  • CPAP users who sleep on their back
  • Those who find they dislodge their mask when rolling onto their side
  • People with neck pain, or who wake up feeling stiff

Best for Neck PainHealth Products for You Respura CPAP Pillow

Best for Neck Pain – Health Products for You Respura CPAP Pillow

Highlights

  • Offers head and neck support
  • Compatible with multiple PAP therapy devices
  • Designed to relieve mask pressure
  • Includes washable cover
  • Limits mask shifting
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Best for Neck PainHealth Products for You Respura CPAP Pillow

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Sleepers who suffer from neck pain often prefer a pillow that has a combination of pressure relief and support. The Respura CPAP Pillow from Health Products for You provides a comfortable surface that’s designed with PAP therapy users in mind.

The Respura pillow has a square shape with an ergonomic cutout at the bottom and is intended to be compatible with both CPAP and BiPAP masks. The pillow is engineered to work with full face, nasal, and direct nasal interface masks. Sleepers should find that the pillow’s design prevents hoses and masks from shifting throughout the night.

The pillow’s fill is designed to relieve pressure from your mask and alleviate any discomfort. The cover is a polyester and viscose blend that can be machine washed. Viscose is known for its temperature regulating capabilities, so users should find the cover enhances the pillow’s overall breathability.

With its attractive price-point and comfortable design, the Respura CPAP Pillow is an appealing choice for sleepers who want a model that targets neck pain. Health Products for You offers free shipping for orders over $150 as well as a 30-day return window for unused items.

Good for:

  • Those who suffer from neck pain
  • Sleepers who use a CPAP or BiPAP device
  • Shoppers on a budget

Sleep Apnea Pillow Buying Guide

Buying and caring for a sleep apnea pillow can sometimes be significantly different than an ordinary pillow. Learning more about the different varieties available, how they are constructed, and what to look for can make the entire process easier and less stressful. Once you purchase your pillow, caring for it correctly will ensure it works properly throughout the whole of its lifespan.

What Are Sleep Apnea Pillows?

If you’ve ever tried to sleep on an ordinary pillow with a CPAP mask or attempted to create a wedge by stacking pillows, you’ll understand the appeal of sleep apnea pillows. These are pillows that make it easier to treat sleep apnea, whether by providing room for CPAP masks, stabilizing position, lifting the head, or allowing for adjustments.

Some sleep apnea pillows are designed with sufferers in mind, while others work well for sleep apnea patients despite being designed for general use. Most have a base of memory foam, though many include additional materials, such as cooling gel foam.

As with other memory foam pillows, most sleep apnea pillows have a lifespan of approximately two years. Prices can be higher than ordinary pillows, particularly for specialty designs like CPAP and wedge pillows, but many have a price-point comparable to ordinary memory foam options.

Pros and Cons of Sleep Apnea Pillows

  • Often designed specifically for sleep apnea sufferers
  • Can make it easier to adhere to CPAP therapy
  • Higher-end models often offer sleep trials and warranties

Cons

  • Can be expensive
  • Deep molding makes choosing the right design more difficult
  • May require an adjustment period

Different Types of Sleep Apnea Pillows

There are four types of pillows which are commonly suggested for OSA sufferers.

CPAP-Friendly Pillows

These pillows are molded from memory foam to position the head correctly. They also offer cut-outs for CPAP masks, which decrease the likelihood of leaks and allow for a comfortable sleep.

Orthopedic Memory Foam Pillows

These often offer the same features of CPAP pillows — such as deep spine support — without cut-outs. If you’re a back-sleeper or use a low-impact mask, these pillows may work for you.

Wedge Pillows

Some cases of sleep apnea can be alleviated by sleeping on an incline, which uses gravity to open the airways. However, some people may find it difficult to adjust to a wedge pillow.

Adjustable Pillows

While some other pillows allow for small changes, adjustable pillows make it easy to change the loft, filling positioning, and other details. They are usually made from shredded foam.

Sleep Apnea Pillow Construction Details

As mentioned previously, most sleep apnea pillows are made from memory foam or another foam type. The density is usually firm or medium-firm, though sleepers who usually prefer softer pillows may find that firm pillows with deep molding are still very comfortable.

Since memory foam can sleep quite warm, some manufacturers include vents or cooling gel foam.

Most memory foam pillows arrive with a slight odor, though this almost always dissipates quickly once the pillow is aired out. Although sometimes unpleasant, this off-gassing is non-toxic and nothing to be concerned about.

Sleep Apnea Pillow Care and Maintenance

It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s care directions in order to keep your sleep apnea pillow in good condition throughout its lifetime. (This is particularly true for people whose sleep apnea is triggered by allergens, such as dust mites, which like to make pillows their home.)

Most memory foam pillows can only be spot-cleaned, not machine-washed. This makes a pillowcase essential for proper pillow maintenance, preferably one which is easy to unzip and wash. Not all sleep apnea pillows include a pillowcase, but when they do not, the manufacturer usually offers them for sale separately.

What Else Should You Consider When Buying Sleep Apnea Pillows?

In addition to pillowcases, some sleep apnea pillows have add-on products (such as tethers or cooling cases) available for purchase. In some cases, these can be bought as part of a bundle for additional savings.

Everyone has their own sleep quirks, and not every pillow will work for every sleeper. Before choosing a pillow, make sure to read through some of the reviews and frequently asked questions.

Finally, consider whether you’re interested in a sleep trial or warranty. While not available for every pillow type, these allow for greater peace of mind and less risk in the long run.

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