You have been hearing about sleep apnea pillows ever since you started snoring. The fact that you ignored snoring, which gradually worsened into sleep apnea, is another story; but the fact still remains that sleep apnea pillows could provide an extremely simple yet effective solution to your breathing distress at night.
One of the first aims of any doctor treating a sleep apnea patient is to restore normal breathing at the earliest opportunity – since recurrent breathing pauses is perhaps the worst sleep apnea symptom that the patient has to live with every night. Before considering CPAP therapy, chin straps, nose strips etc, doctors sometimes rely on sleep apnea pillows – specially designed pillows that keep the airways open during sleep by better aligning the head, neck, shoulders and spine.
If you are thinking of using sleep apnea pillows, there could be several questions that are bothering you right now: what are the different types of sleep apnea pillows? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of these types? Do I have to go to a pharmacy to buy them or can I buy them online? Which sites should I visit to buy sleep apnea pillows online?
Before we get into the details of sleep apnea pillows, let us get some basic facts right:
Sleep apnea pillows: how it works
It is the special shape of these pillows that adapts to the individual sleeping needs of the user while keeping the airways open. It essentially raises the neck and head and reduces stress on the throat and soft palate. Also, because of their special length, they elevate the body slightly, minimizing chances of obstructed breathing during sleep.
It does not matter whether the user sleeps on their side, chest, or the back; the pillow automatically distributes the weight of the upper torso in such a manner that there is no extra strain on the arm, shoulders or the neck. This way, the pillows better align the head, neck and spine and keep the airways open during night.
One of the added advantages of sleep apnea pillows is that it can also help with back and neck pain caused by poor sleeping posture, where snoring is the secondary effect.
Sleep apnea pillows: different types
Since sleeping postures differ, sleep apnea position pillows seem to be the best choice, as they accommodate several types of sleeping postures. These pillows adapt to the contours of the body to fit the personal sleeping need of the user who is resting his or her head on it. There are different styles, brands and designs of memory foam pillows in the market to choose from.
For back sleepers, the type of sleep apnea pillow that is most suitable would appear like a normal pillow but with an indentation on one or both sides. These pillows keep the head and neck in the right alignment to keep the jaws shut to make the user breathe through the mouth. This is one of its disadvantages too as many users find it tough to breathe through the mouth causing disrupted respiration as well as snoring.
For users who sleep on their sides, some apnea pillows are designed like a large ‘U’ with dense foam on each side, while other sleep apnea pillows for side sleepers are shaped like regular pillows but are made from memory foam and a cooling material . These features prevent the user from rolling to the back during sleep. If you sleep with CPAP equipment, you should consider a CPAP pillows for side sleepers (or if you sleep on your stomach, look into a CPAP pillow for stomach sleepers).
There’s also the cervical pillow for sleep apnea, which provides support specifically for the neck, and are meant to keep your neck and head in the correct position to maintain airflow into your upper airway.
The side sleeper thigh cushion and knee pillow with its angular design encourages the sleeper to sleep more on the sides. In turn, the pillows prevent the soft palate and tongue from moving.
Snore-no-more pillows prevent snoring by supporting the jaw and chin. The chin and chest are kept in the right alignment during sleep as well as the jaw is kept slightly forward.
The SONA sleep apnea pillow is the only FDA approved pillow that is triangular in shape and has two layers. This pillow promotes side-sleeping.
Sleep apnea pillows: advantages and disadvantages
Every type of sleep apnea pillow has its fair share of pros or cons; but in the ultimate analysis, it depends on whether it suits your sleeping and breathing habits.
Essentially, the pillow should support the neck area allowing movement of the neck and preventing the tongue from falling back and obstructing the airways. The pillows should take away any extra strain from the arms and shoulders so that the head rests snugly.
Sleep apnea pillows: buying online
It makes sense to buy sleep apnea pillows online, if you want to save on costs. Some sites that are renowned in this regard are:
Links to Studies on Effectiveness of Pillows on Sleep Apnea