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CPAP Bed Pillow Reviews

Positive air pressure therapy, or PAP therapy, is commonly prescribed to patients with sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by temporary loss of breath during the night. This form of therapy involves a ventilation system that delivers airflow to the sleeper’s mouth via a connective hose; by improving circulation in the breathing passages, the sleeper becomes less susceptible to apnea episodes. The most common form of this therapy is continuous positive air pressure (CPAP), which is normally prescribed for patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This form of sleep apnea occurs when a physical obstruction restricts the sleeper’s airflow.

CPAP therapy can be highly beneficial for apnea patients, particularly those who snore heavily as a result of their condition. However, because CPAP requires a face mask linked to the connective hose, this form of therapy can also be fairly uncomfortable. Many CPAP users rely on specialized pillows to get a good night’s rest. These pillows are often dimpled or recessed in order to account for the mask and hose. CPAP bed pillows are also made to accommodate side sleepers, since back sleeping often leads to more frequent apnea episodes.

This guide will explore how CPAP therapy affects sleep, discuss some common features and characteristics of CPAP bed pillows, provide tips for first-time buyers, and list our picks for the best CPAP bed pillows sold today.

How Does CPAP Therapy Affect Sleep?

CPAP therapy involves the following components:

  • An airflow generator that houses a small motorized fan, which pulls in outside air, pressurizes it, and delivers it to the sleeper.
  • A humidifier to moisturize the air before it is delivered. This component may be detachable or built into the generator.
  • A replaceable air filter to prevent dust and other allergens from contaminating the air.
  • A connective hose (usually six feet in length or longer) that links the generator to the sleeper’s face mask.
  • A face mask, which supplies air to the sleeper from the hose. Generally speaking, most CPAP masks fall into one of four categories. The table below illustrates the differences and similarities between these four mask types.
Mask Type Design Target Sleeper
Full Face The mask fits snugly over the nose to cover the entire nose and mouth area People who sleep with their mouths open Back or side sleepers
Nasal Cradle The mask forms a triangular seal that covers the nose and extends to the lips without covering the mouth People who primarily breathe through their noses and/or sleep with their mouths open Back or side sleepers
Nasal Pillow The mask forms a seal over each nare (nostril opening) without covering other parts of the nose, and connects to headgear at the sides People who primarily breathe through their noses and/or prefer mid-level or low airflow delivery All sleep positions
Nasal Prong The mask forms a seal over each nare without covering other parts of the nose, and connects to headgear at the sides and forehead People who primarily breathe through their noses and/or prefer mid-level or low airflow delivery All sleep positions

CPAP machines can be highly beneficial for sleepers with OSA. However, standard sleeping pillows may cause certain complications for individuals who rely on CPAP therapy. These include the following:

  • Facial discomfort: Because most CPAP users sleep on their sides, their mask may press into their pillow. As a result, they often experience discomfort around the nose, mouth, and other areas where the mask comes into contact with the face or headgear.
  • Air leaks: Standard pillows with even surfaces tend to press against the connective hose and/or face mask. This can create kinks in the hose and/or cause small openings to form around the mask seal; both issues may lead to air leakage.
  • Neck pain: Side sleepers require extra pillow support in order to keep their spine and pelvis aligned; otherwise pain and pressure points may develop. The face mask (and headgear if applicable) may hinder interfere with pillow support and hinder proper alignment.

For these reasons, CPAP bed pillows can be a highly beneficial alternative to standard pillows. In the next section we’ll look at the designs and features of CPAP bed pillows.

What Is a CPAP Bed Pillow?

The term ‘CPAP bed pillow’ refers to any pillow that is designed and shaped to specifically accommodate CPAP users. It’s important to note that many pillows are advertised as being ‘CPAP-friendly,’ but are not specially designed for these sleepers. This guide will focus on dedicated CPAP bed pillows.

CPAP bed pillows are designed for side sleepers, even though CPAP masks may be suitable for all sleep positions. This is because back sleeping can lead to more frequent apnea episodes; the tongue relaxes during sleep, and may impede airflow if it falls back into the throat (a common occurrence for back sleepers). Most CPAP users do not sleep on their stomachs due to mask interference; this position is also widely discouraged due to its high pain and pressure potential.

While designs vary by model, most CPAP bed pillows share the following features:

  • Recessed sides: CPAP bed pillows often have irregular shapes due to side cutouts, which provide space for the mask and hose. Most have cutouts on both sides to accommodate left- and right-side sleepers, as well as those who shift between the two positions.
  • Recessed bottom: Some CPAP bed pillows also have a bottom cutout for the sleeper’s shoulders; this helps keep the neck and shoulders properly aligned.
  • Center dimple: The midsection of the pillow may dip slightly for optimal neck alignment.
  • Hose stabilizer: While not found on all CPAP bed pillows, some models feature a thin strap used to keep the connective hose in place.

Other defining factors of most CPAP bed pillows include:

  • Smaller size: Standard-size sleeping pillows typically measure at least 18 inches wide and at least 26 inches long. CPAP bed pillows are smaller by comparison; most measure roughly 13 to 15 inches wide and 20 to 22 inches long. Some CPAP bed pillows are available in sizes that correspond to the Standard size, but larger sizes (such as Queen or King) are virtually non-existent.
  • Lightweight: CPAP bed pillows usually weigh about two pounds or less, which is lighter than the average standard pillow.
  • Composition: Most CPAP bed pillows contain either polyurethane foam (or polyfoam), memory foam, or polyester microfibers. In any case, the interior fill is not machine washable. To ensure the pillow is hygienic, most include a washable cover as well. These covers are usually made of cotton, polyester, or a blend of the two fabrics.
  • Loft: The term ‘loft’ refers to pillow thickness. Most CPAP bed pillows are either medium loft (three to five inches thick) or high loft (more than five inches thick). In some cases, the pillow may either be available in multiple loft settings or feature an adjustable-loft design.
  • Mask compatibility: In most cases, CPAP bed pillows are designed to accommodate all face mask types. This essentially means they are compatible with full face masks, which tend to be the largest and most invasive, as well as smaller mask options. However, some pillows are not suitable for all mask types.

When properly used, CPAP bed pillows can provide the following benefits for sleepers:

  • Improved comfort throughout the night
  • Less pressure on the nose, mouth, and other areas of the face
  • Fewer air leaks and better airway alignment
  • Optimal airflow delivery from the CPAP machine
  • Neck support and proper spinal alignment

In terms of price-point, most CPAP bed pillows are sold for $70 or less. The average price range of products we reviewed was $45 to $50.

Important Considerations for CPAP Bed Pillow Shoppers

  • What is your CPAP bed pillow budget?

    As stated above, most CPAP bed pillows cost $70 or less. Material fill composition does not appear to play a significant role in pricing.

  • What type of CPAP mask do you use?

    The full face mask, which is considered the largest mask type, may require a pillow with deeper side cutouts. Nasal masks do not usually carry the same requirement.

  • Do you have a preference regarding fill/cover composition?

    Generally speaking, memory foam and polyfoam pillows typically provide more support and pressure relief that polyester microfiber pillows. In terms of cover composition, cotton tends to be cooler and more breathable than polyester.

  • What are the pillow's dimensions?

    This consideration typically comes down to personal preference, as well as available bed space. It’s important to note that CPAP bed pillows are generally smaller than standard sleeping pillows.

  • How much does the pillow weigh?

    CPAP bed pillows tend to be on the lighter than standard pillow options. The average weight is roughly two pounds.

  • What are your pillow loft preferences?

    Most side sleepers prefer medium to high loft pillows, and the majority of CPAP bed pillows sold today meet this criteria. However, those with shifting loft preferences may find that an adjustable-loft pillow is their best option.

  • How broad are your shoulders?

    People with wider, broader shoulders may feel more comfortable on CPAP bed pillows with recessed bottoms. This may be less of an issue for those with narrower shoulders.

  • Do you tend to toss and turn?

    If you move around during the night, then a pillow with a hose stabilizer attachment may be useful for securing the hose and preventing air leakage.

  • How should the pillow be cleaned?

    Keep in mind that most CPAP bed pillows are spot clean only, and may require more time and energy to clean than standard pillows; however, their covers are usually machine washable.

  • Does the pillow come with a warranty?

    Warranty coverage varies for CPAP bed pillows. Most carry little to no warranty coverage, but some come with warranties of up to 10 years.

Best CPAP Bed Pillows: Brands and Models

Now, let’s look at the top CPAP bed pillows according to people who use them. The following five pillows earned the top satisfaction ratings from customers and owners. To ensure accurate rankings, we only considered pillows for which we’ve verified at least 80 reviews. To learn more about purchasing these pillows, please visit the link in the bottom row of the table. Please note the following ranges for the ‘Average Price’ category:

  • $: $40 and lower
  • $$: $40 to $49.99
  • $$$: $50 to $59.99
  • $$$$: $60 and higher
Brand Bicor Processing Contour Products Contour Products EnduriMed Hudson Medical Products
Model Breathe-Free Hypoallergenic CPAP Pillow Contour CPAP Pillow 2.0 Contour CPAPMax Pillow 2.0 Large CPAP Comfort Pillow SleePAP CPAP Pillow
Average Price $$ $$ $$$ $$$ $$$
Fill Material Polyester microfiber Polyfoam Polyfoam Memory foam Polyester microfiber
Cover Material Cotton and polyester blend Cotton and polyester blend Polyester Polyester Polyester
Recessed Sides? Both sides Both sides Both sides Both sides Both sides
Recessed Bottom? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dimpled Center? Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Weight 2.0 lbs. 2.1 lbs. 2.3 lbs. 2.0 lbs. 2.9 lbs.
Dimensions 20W" x 26L" 13.5W" x 19.8L" 13W" x 20L" 14.6W" x 22.4L" 17W" x 26L"
Loft Options 5.5" 4" Adjustable 2.25" 3" 4.5" 5.25" 4.5" 7"
Mask Compatibility All mask types All mask types All mask types All mask types All mask types
Stabilizer Strap? No Yes Yes No No
Care Instructions Spot clean and air dry pillow Cover is machine washable Spot clean and air dry pillow Cover is machine washable Spot clean and air dry pillow Cover is machine washable Spot clean and air dry pillow Cover is machine washable Spot clean and air dry pillow Cover is machine washable
Warranty None 2 years None None None
Available CPAP.com Amazon Amazon Amazon Amazon