Do I Need to use a CPAP Pillow for Treatment?

A CPAP pillow is designed for people with sleep apnea who use CPAP or BIPAP therapy and are side sleepers or stomach sleepers.

The CPAP pillow does its best to make your sleep more comfortable and features cutouts for the ears and the tubing of PAP devices.

CPAP Pillow: Pros and Cons

  • Unique pillow design means that your mask is more likely to stay firmly on your face
  • Normal feeling pillow, i.e. you don't need to sacrifice your comfort
  • When used correctly, you'll find yourself sleeping through the night
  • No need to over tighten straps
  • Massively reduced strap marks
  • Possibility that pillow is too high or too low if you are used to a "normal" pillow
  • May need an additional pillow to stabilize your head
  • Can be expensive
  • Takes a bit of getting used to


CPAP-Pillow-for-Treatment-300x250If you typically sleep on your back, then you won’t need to purchase a CPAP pillow.

The pillow’s unique cutouts can help to reduce the likelihood of the apnea mask being pushed out of place when the user moves in their sleep.

These pillows feel very similar to a basic memory foam model.

If you can make a CPAP pillow work, you’ll find that you no longer need to over tighten the straps on your apnea mask in order to prevent an air leak while you sleep. This can mean improved sleep for you, since you won’t frequently wake up during the night to readjust your mask.

Using this type of pillow also helps to reduce the strap marks you’ll get from the headgear, because you won’t have to tighten them as much or as often.

For some users, height can be a problem. Others complained that the CPAP pillow was too high or thick. Some users even felt that it was too low.

The patient will either have to place an arm or an additional pillow under the apnea pillow in order to increase the height. This can make the pillow ineffective, because it can cause it to shift or fall off the bed during the night.

Adding an apnea pillow to your CPAP therapy can take some getting used to. Not all pillows come in sizes that are similar to basic pillows, so if you need a larger model, you’ll need to shop around.

These pillows are expensive and there’s no return policy, so once you purchase it, try it out for at least a week before you give up on this part of your treatment.

While some users felt that it significantly helped to improve their CPAP therapy, others felt that it had no effect whatsoever. It really depends on your situation and whether or not you want to test it out for better sleep.

How Apnea Pillows Rated with CPAP Users

Some apnea pillows tend to have a chemical smell, which has been known to trigger asthma attacks in more sensitive users.

Because of this issue it’s recommended that you wash the pillow before use. For most people, the smell is not noticeable or an issue.

Some users have complained about a stiff neck, due to the cut outs.

This may only be an issue for the first week or so, or you may need to add additional neck support.

The bottom line is, these pillows are not a required part of your treatment and whether or not you use one will be based on your personal preference and level of comfort.

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