Do you snore? Have you been diagnosed with sleep apnea?
You can’t control your body when you’re asleep, and you may not know that you have sleep apnea. This common disorder is estimated to affect 22 million Americans with more than 80% of cases undiagnosed. Snoring can have a many side effects if left untreated over a long period of time.
Moderate and even severe obstructions are never corrected because people have no idea that a problem even exists.
And when your breathing pauses up to 30 times an hour, or more, this can have a severe impact on your overall health. It’s essential that you take every precaution possible to stop your sleep apnea in its tracks.
The first step is often changing your sleep position. This can be done easily with a special pillow. A sleep apnea pillow is fairly inexpensive and results can be seen quickly.
Recommended Pillows For Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea Pillows
These pillows also known as:
- CPAP pillow or
- Anti snoring pillow
Snoring is caused by an obstruction in your airway. This is the same obstruction that many people with sleep apnea have although severity levels can vary greatly. More severe cases will need to be consulted through your doctor who may prescribe other solutions such as a CPAP machine.
Do sleep apnea pillows work? That’s the question we’re going to answer today.
The Cause of Snoring
Snoring isn’t just a funny way people breathe while they’re sleeping. A person that snores is suffering from an airflow obstruction that can be caused by:
- Sinus infection
- Deviated septum
- Excess weight
- Enlarged tonsils
- Soft palate
There’s a lot of causes of obstruction including weak throat and tongue muscles which can cause the tongue and throat to effectively collapse to the back of the throat and block your airways.
While snoring once in a blue moon might not be the end of the world, it’s still a matter of concern that needs to be corrected if it happens frequently or even semi-frequently.
Studies on Sleep Apnea Pillows
These pillows are meant to help with positioning. There have been multiple studies on positioning to help alleviate chronic snoring and also the impact of this condition on your health. These studies prove that the right pillow can help alleviate snoring.
- A study conducted by universities in Sweden, Portugal and Australia found that prone positioning can help reduce obstructives. Prone positioning is the repositioning of the sleeper into the prone state, and this is similar to the way that these pillows work.
- A study on the SONA pillow, a type of pillow, was conducted and found that it’s effective at reducing the number of events, or times when a person’s airways were obstructed, in people with mild to moderate symptoms. The study showed that the number of events dropped from 17 per hour to less than 5 per hour for participants.
So, as you can see from the studies above, proper positional therapy and apnea pillow can work to help a person have less episodes per night. This isn’t to say that the person’s airways will never be obstructed, but as the one study demonstrated, it’s possible to eliminate most events with a good anti-snoring pillow.
Keep in mind that this is a treatment and not a long-term cure.
You’ll need to continue using your pillow to ensure that your airways are not obstructed while you sleep. And for most people, this means avoiding any form of scary surgery that doctors may recommend to remove the obstruction.
The Importance of Eliminating Sleep Apnea
People with this condition often say “I’ve had sleep apnea forever, and I am fine. Why should I change?” This is a valid argument, but it’s not one based on any form of scientific backing or understanding of the problems that this condition causes.
A person with sleep apnea will:
- Stop breathing for several minutes depriving the body of oxygen.
- Wake up frequently at night resulting in poor sleeping habits.
- Increase risk of heart attack, heart problems and high blood pressure.
- Liver problems with the potential for liver scarring.
- Increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Fatigue and drowsiness due to lack of sleep.
There are times when sleep apnea is a major contributing factor to a person having a heart attack or other life-threatening event.
These pillows tilt the head slightly backward greatly opening up the airways to allow the sleeper to breathe uninterrupted. There are pillows for all types of sleepers, too:
- Side sleeping pillows will aim to elevate the person’s head while having options for sleepers that keep their arm under their head when they sleep.
- Wedge pillows are very common and are essentially a wedge placed under the sleeper’s back to elevate the head and increase airflow. These firm pillows are also great for keeping the jaw and tongue in a proper position.
- Cervical pillows offer a firm design that provides large and small neck support and support for side sleepers, too. These pillows are orthopedic pillows and are a great overall option for sleepers.
You’ll find a large variety of pillows are available, and there are also hypoallergenic pillows that are available, too. These pillows are the ideal choice for anyone with severe allergies that may suffer from sleep apnea because of seasonal changes.
Hypoallergenic pillows reduce the impact of allergies and allow the person’s airways to remain unobstructed while they sleep.
So do sleep apnea pillows work?
We’ve backed up the claims with studies, and all of these pillows work in the same way: lift the head and add a tilt to allow for easier breathing while you sleep. Obstructions are minimized allowing the person to breathe without needing to get surgery or seek other forms of treatment to stop sleep apnea.
The results will vary from person to person, but most people will cut their number of episodes down by as much as 70% or more per night.
This means less airflow obstructions while you sleep, higher energy levels and less of a risk of heart disease, diabetes and liver issues. If a growth is causing the obstruction or there is another physical deformity or issue causing the problem, you may want to seek medical advice on the proper steps to take.
For most people, sleep apnea can be greatly reduced or eliminated with proper positioning and the right pillow.