Sleep apnea pillows are one of the solutions you can explore if you have sleep apnea. You are probably looking for ways to alleviate the symptoms you experience and enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
In obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the tongue, soft palate, and other soft tissue in the throat often fall back and block the airway. This prevents the patient from breathing properly and causes jerking, snorting, or gasping to restore breathing. This occurs numerous times over the night; if you have OSA, you’re usually not aware when this happens, but your sleep quality suffers and you wake up feeling like you’re not well-rested. Positional therapy is effective only in those who have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Pillows designed specially for sleep apnea can help you by promoting positional therapy — that is, they encourage you to sleep on your side instead of your back.
Lying on your back (also called the supine position) makes it easier for your oral soft tissue to obstruct your airways, so it’s better to lie on your side. In fact, many patients with obstructive sleep apnea find that lying on their side is the only way they can get some sleep.
Central Sleep Apnea
If you have central sleep apnea, you might not feel any difference in sleep quality when you sleep on your side. This comes from the fact that central sleep apnea isn’t caused by airway obstruction; rather, it’s brought about when your brain fails to send the right signals to your respiratory muscles, making them “forget” to breathe. So, even when you use a sleep apnea pillow, you’ll still experience disruptions in your breathing when you sleep.
You have several options to choose from when shopping for sleep apnea pillows. We’ve listed them below:
If you use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, you probably don’t need additional help with breathing since the machine is there to assist you. Because of this, there’s no need to buy pillows that encourage you to lie on your side. However, you can buy pillows that make you more comfortable while wearing your CPAP mask. These pillows are specially designed to either reduce the mask’s pressure on your face or keep it in place, allowing you to enjoy utmost comfort through the night.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea and are not using a CPAP machine, you may want to get yourself a pillow that will help your sleep apnea symptoms.
Some of your options include:
You can use these pillows to elevate your upper body and prevent your tongue and soft palate from falling back into your throat when sleeping, helping to prevent airway obstructions, also helping you maintain side sleeping. Scientist have found that people sleeping on their side have less sleep disruptions, apneas, than those who sleep on their back.
These pillows come in different sizes and its important to get one that is right for you. Larger wedges may be too uncomfortable for you to sleep on if the elevation is too high.
Contour Neck Pillow
Sleeping on your side can be uncomfortable when you use traditional pillows. A contour neck pillow can solve this with their strategically placed curves that support your neck and face when you are lying on your side.
Sleeping on your side is the best position for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) but will not make any difference for central sleep apnea.
Chiropractors recommend sleeping on your side as the best sleep position for your spine.
Stomach Sleeper Pillow
These pillows are ideal if you are more used to sleeping on your stomach than on your side. They support your face and chin and keep you comfortable through the night.
Using a sleep apnea pillow can greatly help you when you have obstructive sleep apnea. Explore the different options available to you to choose the pillow that best fits your needs. Do your research and don't buy something that will be a waste of money.
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