Reasons Why You Need Your Very Own CPAP Pillow Now
If you’re using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine regularly, you’re not alone. The American Sleep Apnea Association says that sleep apnea, a condition that may require CPAP use, affects 22 million Americans. The good news is that when you have this medical condition and have a properly fitting CPAP machine and mask, purchasing your very own CPAP pillow can help boost comfort levels at night.
What is a CPAP Pillow?
The reason CPAP pillows can make night time more comfortable is because these pillows have cut-outs specifically designed to fit CPAP masks and tubes. Because CPAP masks can be uncomfortable if you sleep on your side, CPAP pillows can really be worth your while.
Should I Get a Contour CPAP Pillow?
While slightly more expensive than regular CPAP pillows, contour CPAP pillows with velour covers provide ergonomic designs that properly support your neck and head, but still allow an open space that fits all major CPAP masks.
You’ll have the proper neck support for side and back sleeping, a head support area, a pressure-free mask zone, ear comfort depression, inclined forehead support (that keeps your face from rotating downward), and a way for your shoulders to rest naturally in the pillow’s curve. If you want to maximize comfort while sleeping, consider a contour pillow to complement your CPAP mask.
Why You Need a CPAP Pillow
Using a CPAP machine comes in handy when you have sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous condition that happens when your breathing repeatedly stops (and starts back up again) when sleeping. Main types of sleep apnea include central sleep apnea (occurs when your brain doesn’t signal breathing muscles properly), obstructive sleep apnea (happens when your throat muscles become relaxed during sleep), and central sleep apnea (a combination of central plus obstructive sleep apnea). If you always feel tired even after getting lots of sleep or you snore loudly, you may have sleep apnea.
CPAP machines are a common type of sleep apnea treatment, however, sleeping with a CPAP machine (a mask that fits over your nose and/or mouth with a breathing tube attached to it) isn’t always comfortable when you’re a side sleeper, which is why having a CPAP pillow is so beneficial.
Do CPAP pillows Guarantee Good Rest?
CPAP pillows make sleeping with CPAP masks more comfortable, which can lead to better sleep — but using these pillows doesn’t guaranteed a good night’s rest. Mayo Clinic says that problems with your CPAP machine (that can prevent solid sleep) include having the wrong size or style of CPAP mask, trouble getting used to the mask (this is where a CPAP pillow comes in handy), difficulty tolerating forced air, feeling claustrophobic, having a leaky mask, or experiencing dry mouth.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep when using a CPAP machine, a CPAP pillow likely isn’t the problem. Check in with your doctor to make sure your mask fits you properly, and your CPAP machine is one that’s a good match with your individualized needs.
Signs You Need a CPAP Machine and Pillow
If you’re experiencing signs or symptoms of sleep apnea, it might be time to check with your doctor to see if sleep apnea is indeed what you’re experiencing, and whether or not a CPAP machine and CPAP pillow can help you get a better night’s rest. Symptoms of sleep apnea include waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth, morning headaches, loud snoring, breathing cessation during the night or gasping for air (witnessed by someone else), problems staying asleep, excessive tiredness during the day, irritability, and problems paying attention.
Replacing Your CPAP Pillow
You’ll probably know when it’s time to replace your CPAP pillow, based mostly on how it looks and feels. In general, you might have to replace your pillow once per month, but check with your doctor (and manufacturer’s instructions) to be sure. Medicare may reimburse you for replacement CPAP pillows two times monthly.
Making the Investment
While purchasing a CPAP pillow is an added expense, the comfortability you’ll experience will be well worth your while. And, if you’re able to get reimbursed for your pillow by insurance or Medicare, you won’t have to worry about added cost. Trying out a CPAP pillow is beneficial, as doing so can drastically improve the quality of your sleep — and therefore, quality of life.
- Becky McDowell