Over 2 and a half million Australians are diagnosed with Sleep Apnoea, a condition in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.
This sleep disorder is most common in older, overweight men, but can affect anyone at any age. The side effects of sleep apnoea range from daytime fatigue to death in serious cases.
Is Sleep Apnea treatable?
The good news is that the symptoms of sleep apnea are manageable. Studies have found that certain lifestyle factors can reverse or make sleep apnoea less intense for sufferers. Your doctor may recommend weight loss, changing sleep positions, and avoiding alcohol or sleeping medication to reduce the risk of sleep apnoea. For more extreme cases, there are surgical options available to treat sleep apnea. Additionally, there are various sleep apnea machines and products that can assist with keeping the upper airway open during the night.
Sleep apnea machines
CPAP Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. It involves wearing a mask over your nose or mouth that supplies a constant flow of mild air pressure. This airflow keeps your throat open, maintaining oxygen levels and allowing you to breathe normally. CPAP therapy is generally used to treat mild to moderate sleep apnoea.
Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) has a similar function to CPAP; however, it delivers higher air pressure as you inhale. This reduces the pressure level during exhalation, enabling patients to exhale more easily and breathe more comfortably. The main difference between these two machines depends on your needs. Each individual responds differently to each treatment method, so consult your sleep physician for guidance.
Remember, the main difference between these two machines depends on your needs. Each individual responds differently to each treatment method, so make sure to consult with your sleep physician.
Specially designed pillows
Another method for treating sleep apnoea involves using a specially designed pillow to provide support to the head and neck, increasing the likelihood of keeping the airway open. Some pillow designs feature indents for CPAP masks and hoses, while others are crafted to keep sleepers comfortable on their backs. The best pillows for sleep apnea can improve both comfort and CPAP performance, often resulting in better quality sleep.
Some pillow designs feature indents for CPAP masks and hoses, and others are crafted to keep sleepers comfortable on their backs. The best pillows for sleep apnea can improve both comfort and CPAP performance, often resulting in better quality sleep.
If you have or suspect you may have sleep apnea, you should talk to your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment options. The best pillow for sleep apnea may be beneficial, but it is not a replacement for medical care. Instead, it should act as a complement to your existing treatment plan.
This greatly reduces the chances of sleep apnea becoming an issue during the night.
What is a Sleep Apnea Pillow?
Designed for sleep apnea treatment, the pillow is actually an extension of what many sufferers of sleep apnea have been doing for years to help get the proper support needed. This medical pillow is one that provides the proper support naturally without having to fold or bunch like you would a normal pillow. This particular type of pillow is generally recommended by doctors if your sleep apnea is mild in nature or if CPAP and other devices are not readily available.
This particular sleep apnea treatment uses a pillow that is generally wedge-shaped in nature and is designed to raise up your upper body. This is important because one of the issues that plague sleep apnea patients is that their upper body actually sinks downwards and they have to fight gravity which adds to the stress placed on the body. The American Sleep Apnea Association has recommended to those who suffer from this condition that sleeping on their back and elevating the head, neck and upper body will help keep the airways open so that they are in less danger of collapsing. This is why the medical pillow used is a foam wedge and not a typical soft pillow.
Sleep apnoea pillows are generally wedge-shaped, and designed to elevate your upper body. This is important because it helps prevent the upper body from sinking downwards, which can worsen sleep apnea. The American Sleep Apnoea Association recommends sleeping on your back and elevating the head, neck, and upper body to help keep the airways open, reducing the chances of airway collapse.
The Positive Effect of the Sleep Apnea Medical Pillow
The positive effects of sleep apnoea pillows include encouraging a side sleeping position, which lessens the impact of sleep apnoea, and working well with CPAP machines to greatly reduce sleep apnoea symptoms.
When you sleep, your body will change positions several times during the night. This means that there will be times when you are on your back even if you did not start off in that position. By ensuring that your head, neck and upper body are elevated, the effects of sleep apnea are not nearly so pronounced. This is because the overall weight that the body places on the neck and throat area is less which results in fewer instances of the person stopping their breathing when asleep.
Encourages Sleeping on the Side
The effects of sleep apnea are far less when the body is resting on the side and not the back. This is because there is less weight pressing against the neck and throat and the head is naturally elevated. The pillow helps to encourage sleeping on your side which can be an excellent sleep apnea treatment to keep you off your back in the middle of the night.
Works well with CPAP Machines
The combination of the medical pillow and CPAP machine greatly reduces the effects of sleep apnea and encourages deep sleep. In fact, there are certain pillows that help reduce the overall pressure of the mask. The mask is kept in the right position so it does not rotate to another location and becomes useless. This is a very important factor in choosing the right pillow for your sleep apnea treatment.
Why You Should Choose a Sleep Apnea Pillow?
There are many reasons why such a pillow works well for those who suffer from sleep apnea as well as those who snore loudly at night. Of course, you will need to get the right type of pillow that holds up to proper medical standards in order to be effective.
Long Term Relief
While the real treatment of sleep apnea lies more in losing weight to improve your overall health, the pillow provides an excellent stop-gap measure that will keep you breathing normally during the initial recovery stages. In fact, many sleep apnea patients continue to use foam wedge pillows even after the signs of sleep apnea have disappeared.
While this type of medical pillow does cost more than the average one, it is a treatment that is generally not nearly as expensive as having a CPAP machine and it will work for a considerable length of time as well.
The foam wedge pillows are actually quite comfortable and patients do get used to them rather quickly over time. This means for those looking for ways to treat sleep apnea, foam pillows are one of the most comfortable procedures. While long-term weight loss combined with healthy eating may hold the key to true recovery, the pillows themselves are quite good and therapeutic when it comes to relieving the symptoms caused by this particular condition.