Unknown to many people, just changing your sleeping position can make a world of a difference if you are suffering from sleep apnea. Most sleep apnea patients only find it comfortable sleeping the supine position/on their back; this position actually worsens their condition by causing the soft palate and the tongue to drop hence obstructing and in severe cases temporarily blocking the airway.
Apart from worsening sleep apnea side effects, sleeping in the sinus position also worsens snoring significantly because the neck muscles relax into an unfavorable position that obstructs the airway. Additionally, when sleeping on your back, the tongue also rests in a position that blocks the airway making it harder to breathe regularly hence the snoring noise.
Reliable research has ascertained that a side sleep position/sleeping on the side helps reduce airway obstruction and helps maintain an open airway throughout the night. This is the whole idea behind positional therapy which is a behavioral therapy that trains patients to sleep laterally with the help of a specially designed pillow.
Reliable statistics unequivocally prove that this treatment regimen is successful in eliminating mild sleep apnea and can be effective even without other accompanying treatments such as CPAP machine.
Why are sleep apnea pillows effective in keeping your airway unobstructed throughout the night?
The primary function of these pillows is to help you sleep on your side comfortably throughout the night. Extensive research has determined that the unique folding on most of these pillows helps elevate your head and neck hence comes in handy in maintaining an upright position where the airway remains open during sleep. To help you understand the efficiency of these pillows here is a brief but detailed description of how a sleep apnea pillow works;
- In a nutshell, a sleep apnea pillow treats obstructive sleep apnea by helping keep your airway open by simply positioning your head and body in a convenient position.
- Sleep apnea pillows are designed to ensure your spine remains in a straight shape during the entire night; this prevents straining in the neck and in the lower back which is a major contributing factor to sleep apnea and snoring.
Who can benefit from using pillows for sleep apnea?
Thanks to the functional, helpful, unique and practical design of these pillows they are useful for a variety of reasons
- People with snoring issues can benefit massively from sleep apnea pillows. Positional therapy is among the most reliable treatments for snoring. Since these pillows make sleeping on your side comfortable, they will improve the chances of not storing significantly as the airway stays unobstructed throughout the night.
- If you are suffering from sinus problems sleep apnea pillows will provide great relief. Sinus issues are mostly a result of respiratory problems that stem from an obstructed airway. Since sleep apnea pillows help you sleep in a position where your airway stays open, and you can have a decent night’s sleep even if your sinus issues are extreme. These pillows were particularly useful in nasal sprays, and nasal strips were not sufficient for you.
- As the name implies these pillows help relieve symptoms for patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, then a sleep study will contribute to ascertaining the severity of your condition. Additionally, a sleep study will help determine whether your sleep position is a contributing factor to your condition. If the doctor determines that positional therapy will help, then a sleep apnea pillow is a worthwhile expenditure to include in your budget.
- Recommended for obstructive sleep apnea patients who have failed CPAP or oral appliance treatment regimens. Sometimes CPAP and oral appliance treatments fail to be efficient, and the only remaining non-invasive options that can help relieve their symptoms is positional therapy with the help of sleep apnea pillows.
Here are some types of sleep apnea pillows that have been proven to be effective
Contour Pedic Neck Pillows
This pillow is specially designed to help reduce neck aches, head pains and shoulder aches caused by sleeping in the sinus position where these body parts are severely strained. It is very firm, comfortable and helps elevate both your head and your neck.
It is recommended by knowledgeable and experienced sleep experts for proper neck and shoulder support and correct spinal alignment.
Bumper Belt Pillow
Highly recommended for comfortable side sleeping in patients with suffering from an obstructed airway. As the name implies, this sleep apnea pillow fits around a user; it is worn around the chest when the patient is asleep, and it fits comfortably without causing any pain.
The bumper belt pillow looks almost like an oval and is very similar to the back support belt. The back of this pillow has three inflatable bags which act as bumpers.
How the Bumper Belt pillow works?
The three airbags/bumpers help ensure that you do not roll on your back and in case you fall into the supine position then the bumpers make it extremely uncomfortable. This is an easy way of ensuring you remain on your side throughout the night.
This is perhaps one of the most popular sleep apnea pillows. It is designed to help decrease neck and shoulder strain that affects breathing significantly.
Very firm yet comfortable ensuring the neck, shoulder, and head are elevated throughout the night.
Very similar to the cervical pillow except that it is less firm. It has a unique contoured design that helps support the curve created by the neck, head, and shoulders when in the sleeping position.
Why will you love the Tempurpedic Pillow?
It has a contoured ergonomic design that correctly follows the natural curve of your body hence appropriately supporting the head, neck, and shoulders when you sleep on your backside. Since each pillow designed with precise alignment, a user must take the prerogative to choose a proper size based on shoulder dimensions and the sleep position you prefer.
Stomach sleeper pillow
Help promote side sleeping and also effective if you prefer sleeping on your stomach as it features a specially designed chin rest that keeps you comfortable and ensures your head and neck are elevated throughout the night.
You will realize that the pillow is lower than normal and this positioning works in your favor. By ensuring your neck, head and shoulder are rightly positioned in a way that keeps the airway opened.
If you are suffering from mild obstructive sleep apnea then investing in a specially designed sleep apnea pillow is a simple, effective yet affordable treatment option you should explore. By simply changing your sleep position thanks to these helpful pillows, apnea episodes will decrease significantly. Ensure you discuss this treatment option with your doctor for further guidance.