Different Types of Sleep Apnea Pillows
There are four types of pillows which are commonly suggested for OSA sufferers.
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.
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.
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.