Our everyday activities use up much of our energy and brain function. When we sleep, the brain rejuvenates, clears out unnecessary information, and prepares us to face the next day. Sleep promotes health, concentration, well-being, and energy levels. When we sleep, we recover from the busy day and prepare for the next day’s challenges. Your pillow makes a world of difference to the quality of your sleep.
Bamboo pillows are considered the healthiest pillow choice of the 21st Century. Experts know bamboo fiber has numerous benefits and make a perfect choice for creating ‘healthy bamboo pillows.’ The quality of sleep that bamboo pillows provide, allows you to enjoy the benefits of a great restorative night’s rest.
And there are many ecological benefits to making pillows with bamboo. It’s a renewable plant that produces the most growth per acre with little water needed. Bamboo is drought resistant and the crops do not need to be irrigated. Bamboo has the smallest ecological footprint, and green consumers love to support products made of bamboo.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person’s sleep is interrupted due to obstructed breathing. There are two major types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. The former occurs when the person’s airways get blocked by a soft tissue behind the throat and the latter occurs when the person’s brain forgets to instruct the body to breathe due to a dysfunctioning respiratory control center. Both types of sleep apnea result in snoring, insomnia, fatigue, waking up with a headache or sore throat, wheezing or gasping for air, mood swings, and restlessness.
Many people start treating their sleep apnea with nasal sprays or nose strips but eventually move on to specialized pillows and CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines.
An anti-snoring pillow can solve some of these problems and help you get more restful sleep.
What makes the best pillow for sleep apnea
For a pillow to be considered good at relieving the symptoms of sleep apnea, it should meet most, if not all the criteria listed below.
Support - A pillow that elevates the head, neck, and shoulders is recommended for sleep apnea sufferers. Apnea is caused by the obstruction of the airways during sleep, and a slight lift of the upper area results in improved breathing throughout the night.
These pillows have a specific length and provide support by distributing your torso weight evenly. With no tension present in the shoulders and neck, your spine will be aligned, and your passages remain open. No matter what sleeping position you favor, all the specific adjustable bamboo pillows are designed to enhance comfort.
Neck Pain Relief - A bad sleeping position can cause neck and shoulder pain, and a sleep apnea pillow takes the shape of your body for better pressure point relief. These products are soft enough to allow a comfortable sleep, but also keep your head in place to avoid neck strain.
Elevation - Wedge pillows generally have an elevation of 7 or 12 inches. The 12-inch elevation is indicated more to those with severe back problems or acid reflux. A wedge with an elevation of 7 inches is a better choice for sleep apnea. Not many people know that a pillow that is too high or too low can cause neck stiffness and worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea. Proper pillow elevation is closely related to the next feature, size.
Size - When shopping for a sleep apnea pillow, one must keep in mind two sizes: their own and that of the pillow. Many pillow models are designed as one size fits all. However, some models are created in sizes to fit people in a more comfortable manner. Based on your sleeping position, you should measure the distance between your neck and the mattress. For better results, have someone else take these measurements. Wedge pillows are much larger than what you’re used to sleeping on, while the cervical pillow can in some cases be much smaller.
Shape - The pillows designed to help with sleep apnea have a unique design when compared to a traditional pillow. For instance, wedge pillows look like a triangle seen from a side, while cervical models look more like a brick with a wavy top. What all these pillows have in common is they’re ergonomic, and thus they fill well the gaps between your body and the bed.
Safety - Allergies and certain chemicals usually aggravate the symptoms of sleep apnea. It is important to discover exactly how the pillow was made to reduce the risks. Generally, manufacturers are careful not to use dangerous materials in these specific pillows.
Snoring Reduction - Additionally, to the annoyance snoring can trigger in your bed partner, it is also an important factor in sleep apnea. Asleep apnea pillow is designed to tighten your throat muscles and reduce the chances of snoring.
Best Type of Pillow For Sleep Apnea
There are two types of pillows good for sufferers of sleep apnea: positional and contoured pillows. The latter type can be used with a CPAP machine.
These types of pillows are designed to keep your body in a position where the airway can’t easily be obstructed.
Generally, these products come in two designs: for side sleepers (cervical pillows) and back sleepers (wedge pillows). The wedge pillow is much bigger than the cervical model and is great at fighting acid reflux.
To be noted that either model can be used for both side or back sleeping. However, the cervical design is not recommended to back sleepers as it increases the chances of apnea.
Proper neck and head support - The pillow provide good support for your neck and head, resulting in an aligned spine and an open airway. Improper support from a standard pillow is what aggravates sleep apnea.
Multipurpose - Positional pillows serve more than one purpose, especially wedge pillows as their main use is to help relieve acid reflux symptoms. Furthermore, doctors have been recommending these models to patients recovering from back or leg surgeries. Nursing mothers also found these pillows very useful and comfortable when nursing in bed.
Long lifespan - With proper care, these pillows can last up to 10 years. This is mainly due to their specific foam filling that doesn’t lose its shape. Traditional pillows become deformed faster, and some models can even lose some of their fillings in time.
Only for obstructive sleep apnea sufferers - Obstructive sleep apnea patients need their airways kept open through the night which is what these pillows do. Sufferers of other types of sleep apnea found these models ineffective.
They force one sleeping position - As the name suggests, a positional pillow forces you to sleep in one certain position, something that is not easy for many. A special mattress along with this pillow would be ideal to increase comfort and allow you to stay in the same position for longer.
Adjusting time - This type of pillow is generally more firm and might take a few nights to adjust to. Try not to give up after the first night despite the not so comfortable feeling.
Ultimately, the best pillow for sleep apnea is the one that allows you to enjoy comfortable sleep while relieving the symptoms and effects of sleep apnea.
Keep in mind that not all sleep apnea pillows are the same; in fact, they can differ quite a bit, so it may take some trial and error to find the perfect one.
Nevertheless, king size pillows specially designed to treat the symptoms of sleep apnea have been proven effective and are even recommended as a first step for treating mild to moderate sleep apnea, before formal medical treatment.