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Positive air pressure therapy (PAP) is a treatment often recommended to patients with sleep apnea, a condition where the sleeper temporarily stops breathing during sleep. A PAP machine works by gently pumping air under pressure into the airway of the lungs via a connective hose. When used with the mask, it becomes a continuous positive air pressure or CPAP treatment. CPAP therapy is primarily used for patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which occurs when the throat muscles intermittently relax and block the airway during sleep.
For many users, CPAP therapy is very helpful in getting a good night's sleep. However, because of the required use of the face mask, it is often difficult to find a comfortable sleep position. In order to sleep easier, many users have discovered a special pillow that has cutouts to fit the mask and the hose. Generally speaking, CPAP pillows make it much easier to sleep on the side. Sleeping on your back is not advised as it encourages frequent episodes of sleep apnea.
In this guide we will discuss how sleep is affected by CPAP therapy, give some tips for first-time buyers, and list our recommendations for the best CPAP pillows on the market today.
The Best CPAP Pillows
- Coisum: the best orthopedic CPAP pillow
- Mars Wellness: the best CPAP pillow for stomach sleepers
- Cradle Me Butterfly: the best cervical CPAP pillow
- FaceFit: the best adjustable CPAP pillow
- Contour CPAP MAX2.0: the best CPAP pillow for preventing mask leaks
- Hermell Products Softeze BreathEasy: the most breathable CPAP pillow
Table of Contents
The Best CPAP Pillows Comparison Table
- Made from the high-quality memory foam
- Suitable for any sleeping position
- Designed for maximum sleeping comfort
- Convenient design in a portable product
- Three-layer adjustable construction
- Made for BiPAP and CPAP users alike
The Best CPAP Pillows Reviews
Coisum - The Best Orthopedic CPAP Pillow
Orthopedic memory foam pillow by Coisum provides proper alignment and neck support for side sleepers. The beautiful white butterfly design blends with any decor for stylish looks. A soft cover is breathable to allow the pillow to stay cool in any climate.
Materials & Design
The Coisum CPAP pillow is made of high-quality memory foam and has a medium-hard firmness that is perfect for side sleepers. It also has a temperature-sensing feature that allows the pillow to fit the curves of your neck and shoulders perfectly. The pillow is soft to be comfortable and firm to provide support while you sleep. It has the CertiPUR-US certification, meaning it is free from harmful chemicals used in processing foam.
The Coisum CPAP pillow has a rather unique "butterfly" shape that cradles your head to prevent neck and shoulder pain or stiffness. Your head stays in a stable position due to the slope in the front, and the cutouts on the side give your top arm a place to rest. Not allowing the shoulder to roll forward keeps strain off the muscles while you sleep.
Until now, there has never been a pillow more perfectly designed for side and back sleepers. It has excellent benefits for both. For back sleepers, there is a higher side of the pillow with two horns designed specially to support the head and neck and to keep everything aligned properly to avoid pain upon waking. It also has the lower side with cutouts for side sleepers to position your arms and prevent shoulder strain.
The hypoallergenic pillowcase promotes air circulation to keep the pillow cool while you sleep. It can be removed and washed to keep it germ-free. The Coisum CPAP pillow helps comfortable sleeping and makes an excellent gift for people who sit all day or who have chronic cervical issues.
Mars Wellness - The Best for Stomach Sleepers
The Mars Wellness CPAP Pillow is designed for APAP, BIPAP, and CPAP users to combat the problems faced when trying to sleep with conventional pillows. What makes this simple rectangular pillow different are the grooves and cutouts to accommodate the mask and tubing while sleeping on your side, back or stomach.
Materials & Design
The Mars Wellness CPAP Pillow has a soft but supportive molded foam base, covered by soft, silky velour that facilitates any movement. The deep cutouts on both sides make breathing and repositioning easy without having to readjust the face mask. Made from superior grade memory foam, the Mars Wellness CPAP pillow is very durable and will serve you for many years to come.
Comfort and ease is the standard for this pillow. It is contoured to allow users to sleep on their side without having to keep adjusting the mask or flattening the pillow to make room for the tube. The cutouts are in the perfect spot, and the memory foam is supportive and sturdy. It is designed to promote better breathing and proper alignment of the head and neck. You can easily adjust the height of the pillow by placing a flatter pillow underneath to raise the level of head support, reducing strain on neck muscles.
The soft velour cover is removable and machine-washable for easy cleaning. The plain white, one-size-fits-all contoured CPAP pillow works with CPAP, BiPAP, and APAP machines and makes sleeping with a face mask much easier. It's excellent for use at home and while traveling.
Cradle Me Butterfly - The Best Cervical CPAP Pillow
The Cradle Me Butterfly CPAP pillow allows you to sleep soundly all through the night. The orthopedic design gently supports your head, shoulders, and neck. The soft material gives the sensual feel of a high-end pillow and the special contours allow for the use of machines with external tubing so you can sleep peacefully all night long.
Materials & Design
The ergonomic contours simulate the natural curvature of the body while gently cradling your head, neck, and shoulders. Made from supportive high-quality memory foam, the Cradle Me Butterfly CPAP pillow is safe and non-toxic so will not affect people with allergies or lose its shape. The durability of this product makes it great for use anywhere, and you can count on it to last.
This is the perfect cervical contour pillow for side sleepers and back sleepers. The unique butterfly-shaped memory foam features varying heights to provide maximum support in the right places. It allows the head and neck muscles to fully relax while promoting proper body alignment. Organic contours adapt to different sleep positions better than a regular pillow allowing for maximum comfort.
The cover is 60% polyester and 40% bamboo for eco-friendly, allergen-free sleeping. The soft cover is breathable, stays cool while you sleep, and provides safety and health benefits for you and your loved ones. There is no foul odor that you sometimes get from memory foam products.
FaceFit - The Best Adjustable CPAP Pillow
The FaceFit CPAP pillow is another excellent choice for sleepers who have sleep apnea. It has a simple square shape made with shredded foam and natural buckwheat hulls. The shapeable fill provides space for the tubing and your face mask while still being soft and comfortable.
Materials & Design
This Pur-Sleep CPAP pillow uses a modified buckwheat hull design with a three-layer quilted pillow cover. The filling of the pillow is natural, triple-cleaned buckwheat hulls, blended with shredded memory foam for added comfort. Buckwheat hulls are naturally antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, and can be reshaped easily. It creates an easy cutout for your CPAP mask and tube.
The unique gusset design of the pillow conforms to any shape and stays all night long, which makes it suitable for any sleeping position (side, back, or stomach). The height and fluff of the pillow can be easily adjusted by adding more shredded foam (included in packaging). This also means that your pillow will never go flat. The Pur-Sleep CPAP pillow is soft, flexible and does not push back against your head so will not cause head or neck strain.
The cover keeps the top of the pillow cool and dry. The Pur-Sleep CPAP pillow has an ergonomic design and is hypoallergenic, safe, and eco-friendly. It also includes a 10 - year warranty. It's perfect for all your needs— medical, home, and travel purposes.
Contour CPAP MAX2.0 - The Best for Preventing Mask Leaks
The rectangular shape CPAP pillow features side grooves that provide enough space for your arms while sleeping. The pillow comes in a blue and white design for an attractive, comfortable appearance. It is durable, safe, and great for using anywhere.
Materials & Design
The Contour Products CPAP Max Pillow is constructed from high-quality, memory foam that retains its shape even after years of continuous use. The pillow is ergonomically designed for comfort and durability. It features a concave center section for your head and crescent cutouts on the sides for your neck and shoulders. Designed for improved positioning and increased airflow, it allows for easier breathing during the night.
The three-layer construction means this CPAP pillow provides optimal support and added positioning benefits. The top layer of memory foam cradles your head, the middle layer provides support for the neck and shoulders, and the bottom layer (charcoal) neutralizes odors for a clean, fresh smell. The pillow's adjustable height makes it perfect for side, back, and stomach sleepers. The unique design helps prevent the mask from shifting during the night, allowing you to sleep comfortably.
The Contour Products CPAP Max Pillow has a removable and washable cotton cover ensuring healthy sound sleep. You have a choice of two different sleep surfaces: one is ventilated memory foam side that promotes air circulation and provides cooler sleeping, or a more traditional pillow surface, with plush support in a soft, hypoallergenic fiber filling material.
Hermell Products Softeze BreathEasy - The Most Breathable CPAP Pillow
The last in our list of the best CPAP pillows is this one from Hermell Products Inc. This simple, yet creative shaped pillow is similar to a puzzle piece with side cutouts for improved air circulation.
Materials & Design
Created from a proprietary blend of 100% siliconized polyester fiber (to prevent allergen buildup), this CPAP pillow is hand-filled to achieve the perfect height and performance that will last for years to come.
Created specifically for BiPAP and CPAP users, it helps improve airflow and comfort while sleeping. The cutouts allow to adjust the headgear and promote a comfortable night's sleep. This pillow is good for side, stomach, and back sleepers because of its ergonomic design that supports better air circulation during sleep.
The cover is made of a hypoallergenic and breathable 100% cotton fabric that wicks away heat and moisture for a cooler, more comfortable sleep experience. It is removable and machine washable.
The Best CPAP Pillow Buyer's Guide
What Is a CPAP Pillow?
A CPAP pillow is different from a regular pillow in both shape and design. It is specially made for people who use a CPAP machine for sleep apnea therapy. CPAP pillows help side and stomach sleepers (you shouldn't sleep on your back if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea) prevent sleeping difficulties due to positioning. Special cutouts are a signature feature of most CPAP pillows. These cutouts are placed on 2 - 4 sides of the pillow to allow the user to adjust their CPAP mask and tubing.
How a CPAP Pillow Works
With regular pillows, CPAP users have a hard time sleeping due to the bulk of the pillow.
Red marks and soreness are common complaints of users who experience excessive mask pressure during sleep. Furthermore, their face mask has a protruding tube that has to be adjusted every time the sleeper rolls over or changes position. When the mask is disturbed, it can cause air leakage, which minimizes the benefits of CPAP therapy. A CPAP pillow, on the other hand, is specifically designed for use with a CPAP machine and has cutouts for the mask and tubing.
Seal disruption can happen when a CPAP mask shifts out of place during sleep. It usually happens when the sleeper rolls over, and the mask is pushed up against a regular pillow. The cutout sections of a CPAP pillow are to allow the exhalation ports on the mask to remain open, even when the sleeper shifts or changes position. Thanks to these dynamic cutouts, you are able to move around while sleeping without worrying that the ports might get covered.
A common feature of CPAP pillows is hypoallergenic covers. Look for options that have a detachable, washable cover for the best results. This allows you to wash your pillowcase and keep your pillow safe from dirt, germs, and bacteria.
A CPAP pillow is usually made of certain types of materials. For example, memory foam helps support the head and neck of the sleeper during the night. For individuals with spinal issues or neck pain, the firm support of memory foam is very beneficial.
Features of a CPAP Pillow
Most CPAP pillows share the following features, with a little variation on designs:
- Hose stabilizer: Some, but not all models, have a thin strap that holds the tubing snugly in place.
- Center dimple: The middle recession of a CPAP pillow may dip slightly to promote proper neck alignment.
- Recessed or concave bottom: Some models have a bottom cutout or recessed area for the individual's shoulders to keep them properly aligned with the neck.
- Recessed or cutout sides: CPAP pillows often have an irregular shape due to side cutouts, which provide enough space for the mask and hose.
Additional Features of CPAP pillows include:
- Compatibility: Most CPAP pillows are designed to work with all face mask types. This means they are compatible with full face masks, as well as smaller masks. This is true for most, but not all, CPAP pillows.
- Loft: 'Loft' refers to the thickness of the pillow. Most CPAP pillows are a medium loft, meaning three to five inches thick or high loft of more than five inches thick. In some cases, a pillow may feature an adjustable-loft design or multiple loft settings.
- Material: Most often, CPAP pillows are made of memory foam, polyurethane foam, or polyester microfibers. This makes such pillows not machine washable due to the filling material. To compensate for this, most will include a washable cover in the package. The covers are made of cotton, polyester, or a combination of the two fabrics.
- Weight: CPAP pillows are known to be lightweight and covered by a breathable pillowcase to facilitate airflow. Their weight is usually less than two pounds.
- Size: CPAP pillows are often smaller than most standard-size pillows; measuring roughly 13 - 15 inches wide by 20 to 22 inches in length. Some models come in larger sizes that correspond to the Standard size, but no Queen or King sizes yet.
Benefits of a CPAP Pillow
Many CPAP users don't experience any issues such as aches and pains, or leaks in the mask. On the other hand, if you are less lucky and tend to wake up with jaw pain, you would benefit from one of these specially-designed pillows. They will support your head and tilt it slightly forward to reduce mask pressure. This alleviates jaw pain and helps to avoid mask leaks.
Sleeping is particularly difficult for those CPAP users who like to sleep on their side as the tubing and mask get in the way. The CPAP pillow is made with cutouts to eliminate this problem, making sleep much more comfortable.
CPAP pillows reduce three major issues users often have to cope with:
1. To begin with, they stop air leaks before they happen. A lot of CPAP users will attest to the fact that air leaks are frustrating. The leak affects the efficiency of your treatment and makes using the machine essentially useless.
2. Subsequently, they decrease pressure on the face while you are sleeping. This eliminates pain upon waking from using the CPAP gear.
3. Finally, they minimize the discomfort associated with the mask, which is why many people give up on the treatment.
Considerations for Choosing a CPAP Pillow
Price is not the most important issue, but keeping your budget in mind while shopping is crucial in buying anything. You should set your maximum limit and not go above that level. Instead of going for the most expensive option, be a smart shopper and search for the best deal before purchase. Base your choice on quality and not the looks of the product alone.
The best CPAP pillow is one that allows you to sleep in any position without waking up with muscle cramps, stiffness, or pain. Look for an option that supports the head, neck, spine, and shoulders for a relaxing sleep experience.
Prior to buying a CPAP pillow, you should check to make sure the product will be compatible with your machine. If you have a mask with a hose, get one that can fit your hose comfortably while allowing ease of movement.
Choose a CPAP pillow made with the right material to give you a peaceful night's sleep. Memory foam is an ideal choice as it offers better pressure relief and support than other materials. When it comes to covers, cotton is perfect due to its breathability, softness on the skin, and the ability to remain cool in warm temperatures.
Other Things to Consider
A diagnosis of sleep apnea is a bit scary for most people. You may be spending most of your night not getting adequate sleep due to a lack of oxygen. You may wake several times during the night and not be able to get back to sleep. If you were prescribed the use of a CPAP machine, the thought of now choosing a new special pillow could add to your anxiety. But a few simple tips should help you find an option that meets your needs without getting overwhelmed.
Do You Toss and Turn?
You will need one of these special pillows if you move around a lot while you sleep and have problems with air leaks.
Do You Have Broad Shoulders?
If you have wide shoulders, you will probably want a pillow with cutouts or recessed sides for more comfort. People with smaller, narrower shoulders may be able to use pillows with smaller cutouts or none at all.
Do You Have a Preference for Material?
Memory foam and polyfoam are the most comfortable materials. They provide more pressure relief and support than polyester and microfiber fill. Buckwheat hulls are also a good option because they are soft and moldable to different shapes. Cover materials made of cotton are breathable and naturally, stay cooler than polyester.
What Type of Mask Do You Use?
Larger, full face masks require deeper cutouts to enable easy turning and repositioning without disturbing the tubing. The smaller nasal masks are not so restricted.
Do You Wake With Aches and Pains?
Poor sleeping posture isn't the only cause of your neck pain. For the best in comfort, using more than one pillow can provide extra support for your back, head, neck, and shoulders. You can use one regular pillow and one CPAP pillow, or two different types of CPAP pillows.
Body pillows are also great for lending support to the whole body. Pillows are not just for resting your head on. A soft but supportive body pillow gives relief to hips and knees and keeps you in a comfortable position throughout the night.
Do You Tend to Sleep Warm or Cold?
Some materials can create hot spots on a pillow surface, causing you to sweat more than normal, and if you sleep warm, to begin with, this could be contributing to your sleep disturbance. When choosing a pillow, focus on comfort and look for options that are made of natural breathable materials, or contain cooling features such as gel-infused foam layers.
What Position Do You Normally Sleep in?
There is really no need to find a new sleeping position. The best CPAP pillows will allow you to sleep in almost any position - there are options designed for back, side, or stomach sleepers.
Useful Tips and Tricks
- If you want to make a CPAP pillow more comfortable, just fluff it up. Hold the pillow between your hands, push against the center a number of times, and see what a difference it makes.
- If your new pillow seems to be too hard, do not worry. They tend to become softer and more moldable with use.
- CPAP sleepers need a wide space to accommodate the mask and tubing. Keeping it up and away from the mattress is crucial. For most sleep apnea patients, the five-inch depth fills the area between the neck and shoulder.
Do I need a CPAP pillow?
Well, if you don't experience air leaks during the night and you wake up feeling good in the morning, then you don't need a CPAP pillow. However, many sleep apnea sufferers are not so lucky. Using a standard pillow with a CPAP mask on tilts your head back, creating pain in your jaw. A specially designed CPAP pillow supports your head, tilting it slightly forward, to alleviate any pain and discomfort while using the CPAP machine.
It's also very difficult to sleep on your side with a CPAP mask on while using a standard pillow. On the other hand, a CPAP pillow doesn't interfere with the mask and tubing as most regular pillows do.
How Does a CPAP Pillow Differ From Other Pillows?
The unique shape of a CPAP Pillow makes it different from other pillows. It offers support while keeping your neck and spine aligned, so you wake up pain-free. It also lets you change positions at night, unlike regular pillows.
How Do You Care for a CPAP Pillow?
Most CPAP pillows are spot clean only. Their covers, however, are usually removable and machine washable for convenience. The inner material should not become dirty if kept covered. For best results, we recommend you use a waterproof pillow protector as well.
Do They Come with a Warranty?
CPAP pillows often come with a limited warranty, although some have a 10-year warranty.
For the best results, choose a pillow that supports your sleep position and allow for collaborative use with your CPAP machine. There are many good options available that will give you the needed support while staying cool and comfortable. Another consideration is your mask type because some of them work better with certain CPAP pillows than others. Make sure the pillow you choose has cutouts to fit your mask and tubing and alleviates pressure points and friction from shifting. A clear, unobstructed airway will facilitate a good night's sleep and make you feel rested and refreshed. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the section below.