Recommended Elevated Pillows For Sleep Apnea

Has anyone here tried any type of elevated sleep pillow for their sleep apnea, and would they recommend a certain manufacturer and model of pillow? I know they call them “anti-snoring” pillows, but I am not really a huge snorer (just looking for one for my apnea – if they even work, that is). Also, I heard that actually elevating your bed may help somewhat. Has anyone here had any success with that?

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I will raise the head of my bed, with pillows or a wedge, occasionally. Like when congested. It lets my CPAP remain effective at the regular pressure.

I have not tried any of the anti-snore pillows, so cannot answer that.

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@Daisygirl - Good question. The goal of some of the pillow products is to keep the upper airway in proper alignment so that no occlusions take place. Although a pillow may keep a person’s head in a certain position, there is no guarantee they will stay in that very same position all night, thus an obstruction or snoring could take place.

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That’s good to know that it helps with congestion, zarb; I will file that in my brain for safekeeping! I have also read some literature about what apneic people do when they have a cold; I am sure that elevating the head of the bed like you do would certainly work with a cold, as well (now that I’m on the subject…).

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Thank you for your insights, MotherT. I know that while sleeping on my side, I am the type of person that puts my pillow on an angle so that I can tuck my chin down and sleep that way. I am not sure that it’s the best thing for my breathing, even though I have been told that sleeping on one’s side is the best. I am still waiting for my first CPAP mask, so I am still in “discovery” mode – like “a babe in the woods” here…

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My sleep specialist recommended that I use bed risers. We used them and my AHI numbers improved and it improved my GERD as well. My husband was skeptical. We took down the raisers. His back hurt so much we put them back up the next night.

The man who fitted me with the CPAP equipment said that a small pillow under your neck when you sleep on your back can help–they also sell foam apnea pillows. You don’t want your head tilted forward as that can make apneas worse. I use a soft down pillow which I bunch up under my neck–so that is higher than the depression in the pillow that my head sinks into. I’ve been doing well–free of apneas–I can’t sleep on my side because of neck/shoulder issues.

When CPR is performed on someone, the neck is tilted back to form the proper alignment of the neck for optimal airway positioning- So there are no obstructions as @mando1 described if the chin is down.

Keep in mind this illustration on “Note 4” of the following link is for CPR, but for upper airway physiology while asleep, you can get an idea of what is the optimal, non-occluded position from this image. :slight_smile: Pillows along with treatment can certainly accomplish this :slight_smile:

http://www.quizmeonline.net/study-guides/Cardio-Pulmonary-Resuscitation-CPR

I have a squishy horseshoe shaped travel pillow I use…alignment of the neck, as stated below, are critical. I too must sleep on my back.

Thank you very much, everyone, for all of your feedback on this “pillow” (and neck) issue. I never knew that neck alignment was important in apnea, but it certainly does make sense now that I think about it. Sleeping on my side with my head/neck/chin scrunched inwards is such a bad habit; even when I tried to stop it in the past (since a chiropractor told me it can cause tendonosis, etc.), I did not succeed. I am going to have to be super vigilant about this now, though. I do have another question concerning the neck position while sleeping: Can a person still have apneas when sleeping in a “neck-scrunched-inward” position (if they do it once in a blue moon while trying to “break the habit”) – even while they have a CPAP mask on their face?

I don’t have any experience with anti-snoring pillows, but my spouse is using an anti - snoring mouthpiece ( http://www.parkerhilldental.com/our-services/anti-snoring-appliances/ ) as per the advice of his doctor. It really worked. Actually, I was unable to sleep because of his snoring, but now, he’s able to control it and we are getting a good sleep. He is suffering from obstructive sleep apnea and is using this device as a part of his treatment. I think, we should choose anti snoring devices (both pillows and mouth pieces) according to our sleeping position for the best results.

I also used the stop snoring mouthpiece(http://mouthpiece4snoring.com). It does work well for stopping snoring.

Try Incline bed therapy . I suffer from moderate OSA and I can feel an improvement in sleep without the CPAP . I still suffer from episodes of apnea but it is definitely less than when I was lying on a flat bed.

I never experienced Sleep Apnea but my partner has experienced it. I found that, in sleeping, Sleep Apnea and acid reflux has the same situation since both of them make you feel uncomfortable when sleeping. If you are picking a pillow, consider the material and your sleeping position. Material that can hold you well will reduce the pressure put on your spine when sleeping on your back. In general, a good pillow for acid reflux/sleep apnea is elevated by 30 to 45 degrees or about 6 to 8 inches, holding the elevation well from your lower back to your head. As well as being supportive, you should ensure that your pillow is malleable or adjustable. It should contour to your head and neck, especially when you toss and turn in your sleep. If you toss and turn when you sleep, try to get a bigger pillow. An article about the best wedge pillow will allow you to know more about how to get the best pillow for you.
Hope this helps.
Thanks!

Hello Daisygirl.
I am new to the site, but have read your blog on elevated sleep pillows, I have had and used many types of pillow for my apnea and the latest one I have tried seems to work the best so far, it might sound a little crazy but its the type nursing mothers use, they call them comfort pillows, they are pretty much like a V shaped pillow except that the pillow is filled with beads instead of foam this allows you much more control at night.
As you may know, its a major problem trying to keep the mask on your face, yet by using one of these comfort pillows it allows you to sleep in a more comfortable position. hope this article was of use to you.

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Thank you for sharing @badsleeper - Such a great idea!

Hi again Daisygirl.
elevating your bed may help to some extent, depending on the severity of your apneas during the night, the cpap/apap machines are very effective as you may know, I personally have severe OSA and have found even though my apneas are controlled using apap elevating the bed does not in my opinion do much good at all.
Being comfortable at night is the main thing, lets assume that your having no problems with the mask now, and your apneas are under control, you can now turn your efforts onto getting the right sleep position that suits you, ( its recommended to sleep on your left hand side with SOSA ) it may help if you try using a memory foam mattress (3 to 7 inch thickness) on top of your ordinary mattress, plus a memory foam pillow (medium) then of course try the comfort pillow on top of that, these things help more if your having weight problems, (which a good majority of people have ) its always good to remember your sleep partner as well, they will certainly notice a big difference, as my partner does now.
Anyway my dear hope this has been of use to you and tof course the rest of the community that may read this.

Thank you for taking time out to read my article, and your kind comment.

Hi again Daisygirl.
I think the answer to your question about having apneas when sleeping in a “neck-scrunched-inward” position, is yes.
I have experienced the same this is why I have mention using a nursing pillow in my other article to you, neck and shoulder posture is very important this is why I have just recently tried the nursing pillow (comfort pillow) I have found that the beads inside the pillow allow you MORE support as they will move around as you move, you will find it easier to keep your mask on your face, this enables you then to not worry about leakage or adjusting the mask during the night, it maybe an idea to try using this pillow during an afternoon nap or rest period to gauge for yourself how effective it can be, and get used to the various positions of comfort that it will give you.