Not everyone who lies down to sleep gets the benefit of a long night of rest. Unfortunately, some people suffer from sleep disorders which make what should be the easiest thing in the world a bit bothersome.
What this means is that these individuals will have to resort to some sort of treatment in order to sleep well. One of the most common sleep disorders is sleep apnea. This occurs when, during sleep, there is the tendency for breathing to repeatedly stop and start.
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A condition like this can have serious consequences if undiagnosed or left untreated.
Continuous positive airway therapy (CPAP) therapy is designed to treat those persons who suffer from serious breathing problems, such as sleep apnea. There are several CPAP devices that can be used, such as the CPAP machine that aims to deliver the required amount of pressure through the airway so that you can sleep better.
These machines are connected via a hose and a mask and ensure the right amount of air gets filtered into the nasal passages during sleep. However, getting comfortable while using these devices can be bothersome at times.
If you use them with ordinary pillows, then you might experience continuous soreness as well as mask leaks. In a bid to circumvent these issues, the CPAP pillow was designed to be used with other CPAP devices.
Here is why it is better to get the CPAP pillow if you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and are already undergoing therapy.
What is the CPAP Pillow and How Does It Work?
This pillow is a complementary product of the CPAP line. When used with the machines and devices, maximum satisfaction is achieved.
It was designed to address basic problems experienced by users of the CPAP machines, such as soreness and noises and to attain better comfort while sleeping.
It can be a struggle to use ordinary pillows while attached to your CPAP machine. It may also be especially difficult to properly position your mask so it doesn’t rub against your skin and possibly leave you bruised. What could be even worse is if when repositioned, the mask blocks the airway support.
To combat these issues, use of the CPAP pillow is recommended.
It has custom side panels that provide edges that accommodate the mask hanging over the pillow. This way you can easily place your face flat against the pillow without resistance.
The durability it provides ensures all-night comfort with adequate neck and back support for both stomach and side sleepers.
The unique design helps with noise leakage suffered by some persons when using the mask, and it is shifted during sleep. In addition, it comes with removable layers, allowing buyers to choose among different loft levels depending on the thickness desired.
What Makes the CPAP Pillow a Unique Product?
This pillow, though designed to work with the CPAP machines, has other uses outside this realm. There are varying individuals with different conditions that render them only capable of sleeping on their sides.
This doesn’t mean a preference for a particular sleep position but rather a necessary way of sleeping because of a medical condition. Therefore, patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia will benefit from the CPAP pillow since they are required to sleep on their sides.
Other individuals who wear devices such as dental or oral appliances will find they benefit from the unique features afforded in this pillow.
Pregnant women or those experiencing chronic pain resulting in forced sleep on the sides can use this product. They are also able to choose which thickness level they are most comfortable with.
Different Types of CPAP Pillows
Now that you know there is a special kind of pillow that works well with your CPAP machine, it comes down to which one is right for you.
There are several pillows to choose from to suit your personal preference and need.
1. Breathe-Free Hypoallergenic Pillow
This is an antimicrobial pillow that is suited for face, stomach and side sleepers. If you suffer from allergies, it is of note that this pillow was treated with a process called Ultra Fresh.
This minimizes common allergens usually found in homes, such as bacteria, dust mites, mildew or mold.
It has a unique dimple in the center that allows for great neck alignment. It also has cut-outs on the left, right, and shoulder which helps to keep the mask and hose in place.
The dimple promotes cervical spine support, which enhances the flow of air and ultimately improves breathing. This diminishes snoring, which is an added benefit for your bed partner.
With spinal support, muscle relaxation is improved and so are the associated headaches and pains in the back and neck.
2. The SleePAP CPAP Pillow
This pillow was designed to address common problems associated with sleeping on a regular pillow while using a CPAP machine.
While sleeping on either the stomach, face, or side, it prevents red spots and soreness caused by shifting masks. It also increases the efficacy of therapy as well as prevent the mask from leaking air.
There are cutouts on either side of the pillow, which prevents the mask exhalation ports from being obstructed. If obstructed, this can lead to a build-up of carbon-dioxide.
3. The CPAPMax Pillow 2.0
This works with all versions of masks across different brands and is suited for nightly users.
It was designed with PAP machines in mind so it is perfect for PAP users. It has similar features like other pillows for that it reduces the mask shifting during sleep, stops air leaking which reduces associated noises, cuts facial pressure, and provides spinal support.
What’s different is the 3D Mesh Memory Foam on one side, which is ventilated and makes for cooler nights. The flip side features a hypoallergenic microfiber filling which provides plush support and added comfort.
It comes with three layers of foam that can be removed and adjusted as needed. The top layer is memory foam, the second offers support, and the Charcoal infusion on the bottom layer works to neutralize odors and promote freshness.
One great feature is the extended hose which makes moving while sleeping easier since the hose extends without slipping from the mask.
How to Choose Which Pillow is Best for You
The pillow you choose will depend on your immediate need and condition. This is so because it can be used for a variety of medical and other conditions.
Therefore, when choosing a pillow, it is best to determine where the loftier section is located. For regular pillows, it is in the center, which makes it harder to get comfortable when using the mask.
The CPAP pillow can be adjusted for loftiness from 5 1/4” to 2 1/4”. As a result, the hose and mask will be higher than the mattress and will cause less interference.
How Much Do CPAP Pillows Cost?
Depending on which pillow you select, you can expect to pay varying prices, but all equally affordable.
The Breathe-Free Hypoallergenic Pillow costs $44.95, while the SleePAP CPAP Pillow is a little more expensive at $57.95. The difference in costs can be attributed to the fact that the SleePAP CPAP Pillow comes with a machine washable pillowcase. This comes in plain white or white pinstripe.
The new CPAPMax Pillow 2.0, however, has an average cost of $59.95.
What Customers Are Saying About the CPAP Pillows
There have been mixed reactions to both pillows used with CPAP machines. However, they still prove to be better than regular pillows which offer no support for the masks.
Customers who bought the CPAPMax Pillow 2.0 pillow reviewed it positively by lauding its ability to get them to sleep more comfortably.
One customer gave a comprehensive review stating, “I have always been a roller in my sleep and when you combine that with sleep apnea, sleep was always a challenge for me. I got my CPAP and had increased my hours per night from 3-4 to 6 … enter this pillow about 5 weeks ago … where I used to spend 10 hours in bed to get 4-5 hours of sleep and now I spend 8-8.5 hours in bed and get 7.5 hours of sleep … I feel like all CPAP users need to purchase one as soon as they get their machine.”
Another customer, Rosemary, stated, “My husband tried two previous “CPAP Pillows” with terrible results… This pillow is the best,” in reference to the CPAPMax pillow 2.0.
On the other end, one customer noted it was too hard, and yet another said it was “Not what I thought it would be shaped like. Thought it would be more like a wedge to support shoulders and neck. This pillow isn’t as comfortable as I thought.”
Similar reviews could be found about the other CPAP pillows.
A SleePAP CPAP Pillow user stated, “I was diagnosed with sleep apnea about a month ago and have been having a very hard time finding the right mask. What I didn't realize was that the pillow would make all the difference.”
She further said, “I started with just nasal pillows and a chin strap and went all the way up to a full facial mask, but I could not get comfortable. Now that I have the pillow, I am back to using the nose pillows and chin strap only.
It provides just the right amount of support, the cutouts at the bottom and sides are perfect.
The pillow cover is comfortable. The pillow is firm, but is not hard, and gives the right amount of support. I love that you can machine wash both the cover and the pillow. I washed the cover before I used it and it made it a bit softer. I would highly recommend this pillow!”
How CPAP Pillows Fare Against the Competition
There are varying kinds of CPAP pillow available, as mentioned before. Alternatives to its use do not come in the form of other pillows, but new devices entirely.
Users have noted that the nasal pillows are one such solution.
They are strapped under the nose and come with a padded surface. So are the chinstraps and facial mask. These devices are sometimes uncomfortable to use and will still have to be used with the CPAP pillow for maximum comfort.
The greatest competition does not lie in the pillows themselves, but in the companies that offer them.
Each supplier will boast the same or similar features with the most expensive this far being the CPAPMax Pillow 2.0, which falls just under $60.
If you simply cannot afford one of these pillows or don’t think they are worth the money, then you could try a DIY method. Use a regular pillow and a man’s tie to band around the middle. Then adjust as you feel is necessary to provide higher edges and a dimpled center.
This method may not yield the best result but is the cheapest there is.
How Best to Sleep with CPAP
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that cannot be waved off. Once diagnosed, it needs to be remedied. One such remedy is CPAP machines and devices such as thermostats and humidifiers.
To get much-needed rest without constantly waking up when the airwaves constrict, your doctor will prescribe the facial mask and hose connected to the machine designed to regulate airflow.
The issue is, wearing this device and sleeping can be vexing.
One very good solution is the CPAP pillow that is designed to promote a longer and more comfortable sleep. Its ergonomic features promote spinal support, which leads to greater muscle relaxation.
These, like all remedies, do not have a catchall effect.
This means that it will not be suitable for all users. Therefore, buyers are encouraged to find the solution that works best for them.
The CPAP pillow works very well as most of the reviews have indicated. If you have to wear the mask and the hose, then this product comes highly recommended. If you tend to toss and turn, then the longer hose provided by the CPAPMax Pillow 2.0 would be a more suitable option.