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Last updated: July 25, 2021
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Ordinary pillows are not designed with CPAP users in mind and may interfere with the device’s functionality. This means a thorough review of every pillow option you come across before you commit to a purchase. However, we’ve already reviewed and provided a list of five of the best pillows for CPAP users in the market.
Notably, we didn’t pick these five pillow options lightly. We considered features such as height, surface material, fill material, design, and extra features. These determine how well-suited the pillow is to the needs of the user. All that’s left is to read the write-up below and pick the option that appeals most to you.
The Contour Products CPAPMax 2.0 Pillow, as the name suggests, is made for CPAP use. As such, the design incorporates features meant to make CPAP mask use comfortable. Other than that, it comes with memory foam fill materials in several different layers. You can take out some of these layers, which is why the height is rated at 2¼” – 5¼”. Additionally, you can flip the pillow to either the airflow side or the fiberfill side according to your preference. It also works well for both side and back sleepers.
For those keen on the name of the pillow, you’ll notice that it’s the CPAPMax 2.0 variation. As such, it is an improvement from the previous CPAP pillow model. One of the changes is upgraded mask cutouts. These do a better job of reducing mask and tubing contact with the pillow, which reduces the chances of leaking. Additionally, users can now pick the pillow height that best suits them in the 2¼” – 5¼” range provided. The 3D mesh side is also an excellent addition.
What makes it special?
The changeable height of the pillow allows users a variety of size options that cater to their comfort needs. We noticed the pillow manufacturer put a lot of thought into the breathability of the product. This led to the perforation of the foam and the mesh 3D cover. Also, a charcoal layer has been incorporated into the pillow to neutralize odors. Another thing we liked is how users have the option of two sleeping surfaces. If you don’t like the 3D mesh side, you simply flip the pillow over and use the side with more support.
What cons did we find?
The pillow might be uncomfortable for some in the beginning stages of ownership. Additionally, you have to work out how to position yourself as you sleep, so the pillow doesn’t interfere with your CPAP mask. Also, you might have to try out the different height options extensively to find which one you prefer. This may take a while, not to mention the fact that you’ll be uncomfortable during most of this testing phase.
The Hullo Buckwheat Pillow is the only option listed to come with the traditional rectangular pillow shape. However, it’s filled with buckwheat hulls rather than the typical synthetic materials. Covering the hulls is comfortable organic twill fabric. Additionally, it comes fully stuffed, which allows 3” of clearance from the bed. However, you can open up the zipper and remove some of the hulls if you want.
This pillow is great for anyone avoiding the heat retention of synthetic pillow materials such as foam. Also, it’s adjustable, and buyers have the option of trying it out before returning if it doesn’t work out.
What are its best features?
We liked the fact that the organic twill fabric pillowcase is stuffed with Buckwheat hulls. While this is not common in modern pillows, the fact that buckwheat doesn’t retain or reflect heat to the sleeper is well known. This simply means cooler sleep. Additionally, the material is quite malleable, meaning it can conform to your needs. Changing the height of the pillow is also a piece of cake. You just open the zipper and remove some of the hulls until you’re satisfied. Lastly, by using organic materials, this pillow is more environmentally friendly than most other options.
What could be improved?
Some users can hear the sound of the hulls inside the pillow shifting. This is especially true when turning. Also, the hulls may be too hard for some people to sleep on. There have even been complaints of tender ears by side sleepers after a night on this pillow. Additionally, this constant shifting can lead to lumping in some sections of the pillow, which makes sleep more uncomfortable.
Next is the EnduriMed CPAP Pillow, which works well for back, side, and stomach sleepers. It comes with multiple cutouts in its design that allow for the comfortable placement of the CPAP mask with no tangling for the tubing. Also, there are two levels of thickness to choose from once you learn how to adjust the pillow.
This pillow is excellent for people sleeping with CPAP, BiPAP, and even APAP masks. The contours ensure no tangled tubing and no air leaks while you sleep.
What are its best features?
The contouring is well-designed to work with full face nasal masks without tangling the tubes and air leaks. Additionally, it seems to work well with side, stomach, and back sleepers. This is because it comes with two levels of neck support to cater to the needs of various users. Also notable is that there are two levels of thickness. You just insert or remove the pad to use your desired thickness.
What could be improved?
We disliked the fact that the pillow is fairly firm and doesn’t conform very well to the user's body. Some users have even described it as being very hard to sleep on. Also, the pillow cover is hand wash only, which can inconvenience those who prefer to clean garments using a washing machine. Lastly, some users have reported sleeping hot while using the pillow.
The Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Ergo Neck Pillow is another posture pillow for CPAP users that’s made it onto our list. Its contoured design allows for optimum neck placement and spine alignment. Additionally, the contouring will enable you to wear your mask without tangling the tubes while eliminating the risk of leaking. Also, it uses TEMPUR® material which is a slightly different stuffing material compared to regular memory foam.
This pillow is an excellent pick for side/back sleepers. It even offers precise spine alignment for these two categories of sleepers, thanks to the contouring design. Also, durability is almost guaranteed. After all, you get a five-year warranty to reassure you of the quality.
What do we love it for?
We liked the contouring of the pillow because it’s meant to cater to the natural curve of your body and spine. Additionally, the TEMPUR® Material adapts to the user’s shape, temperature and weight. Both these features help stop tossing and turning, which can cause a CPAP mask to leak. We also liked that you get a hypoallergenic cover that you can remove and wash at your convenience. Lastly, you have three different height options to pick from.
What were we disappointed with?
For one, this pillow doesn’t work well for stomach sleepers. Additionally, there are various size options, although it might be hard to pick the right height if you’ve never tried the pillow. This has resulted in many users claiming the option they got is either too big or too small. Also, the pillow has been rated as firm. However, many previous users share the opinion that it is too soft for them.
Lastly, we have the Core Mini CPAP Pillow which features a unique pillow design. You get a blend of polyester and cotton for the pillow cover, while on the inside, there is 100% virgin polyester. Also, it is a medium-firm pillow.
This pillow is meant to service the needs of side and stomach sleepers and has a unique design to cater to that.
What do we love it for?
Due to the design and materials used, the product is one of the more affordable bed pillows for CPAP users. The design also caters well to the needs of stomach sleepers who rarely get considered by the manufacturers of other pillows. Also, if you travel often, this is an excellent option to own since it fits in your luggage much easier than regular pillows.
What were we disappointed with?
The total height of this pillow is 4”, which is too much loft for some users. Additionally, the fact that this height isn’t adjustable may put off some CPAP users from making the purchase. Cleaning the pillow if it gets dirty is also not going to be a walk in the park. However, you can add a removable pillowcase that you then clean up from time to time.
Things to Consider
As you may have guessed, picking the right pillow for a CPAP user is not as easy as picking a regular pillow. We break down the features and attributes that make or break your experience with the pillow in the section below. As such, you’ll find that selection is much smoother after you read this buying guide.
What is CPAP?
CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. It involves a CPAP machine, tubing, and a face mask and is used as a therapy for people with sleep apnea. The setup uses mild pressure to keep the user’s airways open, thereby helping them to breathe better as they sleep.
What makes a pillow good for CPAP users?
Just like regular pillows, a good pillow for CPAP users needs to be comfortable to sleep on. Durable and high-quality construction is another requirement. Also, it needs to take into account the CPAP setup. Remember that you’ll be hooked up to a mask and tubing that attaches to the CPAP machine. Moving the mask or tangling the tubing can lead to the machine’s inability to do its job.
Consider Your Sleeping Position
Your preferable sleeping position is something that you should consider before purchase. There are side sleepers, back sleepers, and stomach sleepers. In terms of comfort, most of the pillow options available are not a good fit for all three types of sleepers. One example is the Core Mini CPAP Pillow that is great for side and stomach sleepers but isn’t ideal for back sleepers.
Let’s also not forget that how you sleep will affect your CPAP setup as well. As such, be sure to check the description of the pillow to see if it works for your sleeping position.
Features to consider before you buy a pillow for CPAP
Listed and explained below are all the features you should check for as you’re looking for the ideal posture pillow for CPAP users.
Firmness and support
There are different preferences when it comes to firmness and support. Some users prefer firmer pillows that offer more support, while others prefer options that mold to their heads and necks. The Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Ergo Neck Pillow, for instance, has been rated as extra-firm, which means very little give when you lay your head on the pillow.
Also, remember to check the pillow size to determine whether it’s a good fit for your bed. The dimensions provided are a good place to start. You can find out the length, width, and height if they are provided. Some users have complained about their pillow options being too small or too large for their beds. That said, you need to pay particular attention to the height/thickness. This will affect the alignment of your spine and determine whether you wake up with a backache or not.
Next, you check whether any aspects of the pillow are adjustable to meet your needs. The Contour Products CPAPMax 2.0 Pillow, for instance, comes with several removable layers. This means that the height/thickness of the pillow can easily be adjusted from 2 ¼” to 5 ¼”. Also notable is that there two thickness options in between the two extremes.
The Hullo Buckwheat Pillow is also moldable but in a different way. It ships fully stuffed with the buckwheat hulls. However, the zip to open the pillow cover is easily accessible, and you can use that to either add or remove some of the hulls. This allows you to adjust the thickness of the pillow to your liking.
Cutouts may give the pillow a different shape compared to the typical rectangular pillow, but they serve a purpose. The cutouts on the EnduriMed CPAP Pillow, for instance, provide a slot for the mask and CPAP tubing. This reduces the chances of the tubing tangling or the mask shifting while you sleep. Consequently, you’ll be able to sleep much easier throughout the night. However, not all bed pillows for CPAP users in the market come with cutouts, as shown by the Hullo Buckwheat Pillow mentioned above.
The material makeup of the pillow will also affect the user experience. Most modern options, whether for CPAP users or regular people, tend to have synthetic construction. This includes foam or fiberfill construction. The Contour Products CPAPMax 2.0 Pillow is one example that uses memory foam as the inner material.
Notably, memory foam is well known for heat retention, which might make some users uncomfortable. However, the manufacturer has taken some precautions against that by poking holes in the foam, which promotes airflow, breathability and reduces heat retention. The same pillow also has a charcoal-infused layer. This helps eliminate odors that might build up on the pillow over time.
Additionally, you have materials such as the buckwheat hulls in the Hullo Buckwheat Pillow. Their most endearing quality is that they don’t retain or reflect heat. As such, they’re an ideal option for people who want to avoid getting hot while they sleep.
The surface material is also just as important since some options are more comfortable to sleep on than others.
The affordability of the pillow is another factor you look into before you decide to order. One of the more endearing qualities of the Core Mini CPAP Pillow is that it’s very affordable. This makes it accessible to a large section of the population. On the other hand, spending upwards of $100 for the Hullo Buckwheat Pillow may not be everybody’s cup of tea. However, if you don’t mind spending that much on a pillow and you like the features, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get it.
Remember to check the warranty terms of your pillow as well. The Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Ergo Neck Pillow, for instance, comes with a five-year warranty giving you an extra reason to buy the pillow. This will also serve as reassurance that the pillow is well made and incorporates quality materials. The Hullo Buckwheat Pillow option also comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Lastly, there are some extra features you might come across as you review the different pillows. One example can be seen in our editor’s choice option, the Contour Products CPAPMax 2.0 Pillow. It comes with a hose tether that you can use to secure the tubing in your CPAP gear. Just like a warranty, these extra features provide you with more reasons to pick one pillow over the other alternatives.
There are lots of different CPAP pillows for side sleepers in the market. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to pick the best since people have different needs and body structures that might affect their experience with the various options available. However, one excellent option is the EnduriMed CPAP Pillow.
Ideally, you should hand-wash the pillow with soap and warm water. Drinking-quality water is preferred for both washing and rinsing the pillow. This will help eliminate the oils that may build up. Also, strong cleaning products are to be avoided. They have been known to damage CPAP masks. Lastly, you should avoid drying them in direct sunlight. Placing them on a towel to dry should work just fine.
All the five pillows listed above are excellent options to consider. That said, they will work differently for you depending on your needs, body type, sleep patterns, and a few other factors. The Contour Products CPAPMax 2.0 Pillow, which is our editor’s choice, for instance, has an effective cutout design for your CPAP setup. Additionally, you get a tether to hold the CPAP tubing in place.
The adjustability of the Hullo Buckwheat Pillow is also worth some praise. In addition to that, CPAP users who have this pillow don’t need to worry about sleeping hot. Another contender for the best pillow for CPAP users is the EnduriMed CPAP Pillow which gives the Editor’s choice pillow a run for its money with regard to the cutout design.
As you may have noticed, the Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Ergo Neck Pillow and the Core Mini CPAP Pillow also have very endearing qualities. For the former, the 5-year warranty is better than you’ll get with most other pillow options. As for the latter, the affordability and compact design are its best assets.