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Are your nights not as restful as they used to be? Do you wake up irritable and exhausted? If so, there may be something wrong with your sleep cycle.
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects about 2% of women and 4% of men, and the chances of developing it increase with age. It interrupts your regular breathing, and for several seconds, you are gasping for breath.
Fortunately, there are ways to ease the symptoms. This guide should help you find the best mattress to manage your sleep apnea. And while they won’t completely heal the condition, they could reduce the frequency of interruptions and make your nights easier and more restful.
4 Top Mattresses for Sleep Apnea Reviewed
Layla Sleep – Best in Support
In our opinion, the best mattress for sleep apnea is Layla. Proper support is vital if you want to relieve your sleep apnea. Whether you rest on your back, stomach, or side, you’ll want a mattress that can prop up your body correctly. This Layla Sleep flippable model has two sides, one firmer and the other softer. That way, you get two firmness levels from one model.
To further boost its support, its memory foam top is cooled with copper, which should take the warmth away from you and distribute it along the surface. And, to help with the cooling, the cover is infused with cooling gel. That way, the top layer won’t lose its support due to overheating, and your snoozing experience should be colder, as well.
Most owners have praised its cold surface and consistent support, with some mentioning that their back or hip problems have been greatly relieved. Some were left disappointed with the firmness levels of both sides, but those complaints were in the clear minority.
Those looking for a flippable mattress with two different firmness levels should find this option comfortable. The firm side should support back and stomach sleepers properly, while the plush side should relieve hip and shoulder pains among those who rest on their side.
If you want more information, you can also check out our guide to the top mattresses overall.
Lull – Best Therapeutic
While a mattress can’t completely heal your disorder, it can alleviate the symptoms and reduce the number of times you wake up during the night. This Lull model should provide just such a surface. Its memory foam top should support your body healthily regardless of your resting position.
At the same time, the high-density polyfoam base should be strong and durable enough to prevent you from sinking and flattening the mattress. Combined, they should perfectly mold to your contours, relieving the tension and boosting the quality of your slumber.
The top is also infused with cooling gel, and it is breathable enough to keep a steady airflow, all to better cool the surface and distribute the heat all over the mattress and away from you.
While some customer reviews have complained about the firmness of its surface, it does fall on the firmer side of the spectrum, and if that could be a problem for you, you should probably look for an alternative. Most reviewers, however, have praised its comfort and relaxed rest it provides them, as well as the pain relief.
So, if you need a mattress to help relieve your back pain alongside your sleep apnea, this one might be what you need. It is a comfortable and durable product, if a bit firm, that should provide you with years of improved rest.
Luxi 3-n-1 – Best Adjustable
If you’re looking for a mattress that you can customize to your preferences, you might give this Luxi 3-in-1 a chance. Its top is adjustable to three different firmness feels ranging from soft to firm, and it should provide just the right surface for most people.
It consists of a memory foam layer and foam airflow column grid, as well as two comfort layers. That way, you can set the mattress’ firmness according to your needs. If you need a softer surface to rest on your side, you can do that easily.
And if you need something firmer to support your lower back, it can do that, too. In the case that your partner has different preferences, you can even adjust the different halves individually. That way, each of you gets their custom mattress.
Consumers have mostly praised its versatility, as well as its comfort and superior support. Some have mentioned that it helped relieve their neck or back pain, as well.
With this model, you get a well-rounded and versatile mattress that can satisfy multiple different tastes and positions. That way, if you need to change your position because of your disorder, you can simply adjust the mattress to your needs.
See more top rated adjustable bed mattresses.
Nectar – Best Pressure Relief
Your pressure points are the spots where your body presses against the surface the most. On an inferior mattress with inadequate support, it could lead to increased tension in your body, and those points could become stiff or sore.
That increase in tension could make your sleep apnea even worse. A quality mattress like this Nectar model, however, should relieve that tension by shaping itself to the contours of your body. That way, your body will be more relaxed as you rest, which could help with other problems, as well.
It consists of several layers of memory foam, some cooled with a gel, while others provide the support. All of that is placed on a high-density foam base, and wrapped in a cover that helps keep it cool.
Owners have recognized its comfort, praising its superior support and tension relief, as well as a sharp reduction in back and neck pain.
That’s why this model could be the answer to those still unsure about changing their sleeping habits. It can healthily support your body regardless of your position, and at the same time, its surface can remain cool and comfortable.
Buying Guide for Sleep Apnea Sufferers
While a comfortable surface can’t heal your disorder, it can help reduce the frequency. That should increase the quality of your rest and help you wake up a bit more refreshed. This guide should help you understand the key factors when choosing the right mattress.
To help ease the symptoms, you may need to switch to resting on your side. That usually halves the frequency with which your airwaves get congested.
If, however, you’re used to sleeping on your back, you may need to adjust in several ways. A mattress for those who rest on their side is generally softer to help ease the tension in your hips and shoulders, so you should try and find one that is in the soft to medium range.
Nasal congestion is one of the factors that lead to sleep apnea, and it can be caused by allergies. Whether it is dust, dust mites, pollen, mold, or another common allergen, a good hypoallergenic mattress can help ease the symptoms.
Those made of foam are generally good at reducing the number of allergens that get to you while you rest. They are naturally resistant to bacteria and dust mites, which is their considerable advantage, especially when compared to innerspring models.
They have a downside, though, especially those with memory foam. They are made by exposing polyurethane foam to several potentially harmful chemicals, and those could cause an allergic reaction. That’s why it’s best to air the mattress out thoroughly before sleeping on it.
Latex is usually a safe alternative, but there is a small number of people that are allergic to it. Contact with it can cause a range of reactions from a simple rash to anaphylactic shock, so if you have a latex allergy, you should probably avoid these options.
Unlike foam, innerspring solutions are generally not as good with allergens. They can be an ideal place for dust mites, especially after several years. At the same time, they’re also more susceptible to mold.
A good hypoallergenic cover can also help keep the allergens away from the mattress, and consequently, from you. It is usually so tightly knit that it can’t let anything but air through. That way, you don’t have to sacrifice breathability. Some are made of naturally hypoallergenic materials such as bamboo.
Type of Mattress
Another important factor when buying a mattress to help your sleep is its material, and not only because of the way it supports your body. Some have clear advantages or disadvantages compared to other options, and this section should clear things up.
Latex (top picks here), particularly the kind from natural sources, is the most common option for multiple obvious reasons. It is hypoallergenic, which should help keep your airways clear while you rest. It doesn’t retain heat like memory foam, as well, so if you like a cool surface, this might be the right material for you.
They have some drawbacks, though. They can get expensive, and if you’re allergic to latex, you should look at the other alternatives.
This refers to mattresses that are made of an innerspring base and a top layer made of either memory foam or latex. They are generally more responsive than those made strictly of layers of foam and can be a more affordable way to buy a latex bed.
They can be a good solution, as they will support your body and keep your airways open.
The mattresses that use memory foam are popular because of their superior support. And, if you’re looking for something to help with your sleep apnea, this might be the right option.
Usually, the mattress consists of several layers. The top is made of memory foam, while the base is made of high-density polyfoam. As it has a problem with heat retention, though, it usually has a method of cooling built-in.
Some have cooling gel-infused directly into the top layer (follow our gel memory foam mattress guide). Others have it under the top. Some also include airflow layers to help keep the air moving and that way, distribute the heat along the surface.
There are several things you should keep in mind, though. Cheaper memory foam beds come with a thinner layer of memory foam, which can get flat easily and lose its supportive properties. They can also be made with potentially harmful chemicals, and those can cause breathing problems while you rest. That’s why you should air it for several days before resting on it.
Sleep Apnea and How It's Affecting Rest
If you want to know more about this sleep disorder, this section should give you the essential information about it, its symptoms and potential risk factors.
What is it?
It is a disorder that could be dangerous. If you have it, your breathing will start and stop several times during the night, which will reduce the quality of your rest. Sometimes, you’ll fully wake up during an episode, other times, you’ll stop and start breathing while still deep in your slumber.
Obstructive sleep apnea
This is the most common type. It happens when your throat muscles relax and temporarily stop the airway. It affects 2% of women and 4% of men.
Central sleep apnea
This type stems from the central nervous system. It happens when your brain doesn’t send proper breathing signals. It is usually a result of injury or paralysis.
Complex sleep apnea syndrome
The individuals suffering from this type of disorder usually have a combination of the previous two. Sometimes, the treatment for the obstructive type can lead to the development of the central kind.
There are many different signs that you may have this disorder. You could start waking up with a dry mouth, or with a morning headache, for example. You could also spend your days being more tired than usual, and in the evening, you could have trouble falling and staying asleep.
It could also cause several other problems in your waking life, such as increased irritability or difficulty concentrating on anything.
The main section of the symptoms, however, you can’t know for yourself, and you’ll have to ask someone else. Your snoring could be louder than usual, and you could have several periods where your breathing completely stops, and you’re gasping for breath.
While loud snoring by itself can be problematic, it doesn’t have to mean that you have sleep apnea. If, however, you notice several of these symptoms, and your partner is reporting that you pause your breathing while resting, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.
What Causes It?
While there can be many causes, the two types of the disorder are usually caused by different risk factors.
Obstructive sleep apnea
This type is caused when the muscles in the back of your neck relax and temporarily cause your airways to either narrow or close. That can result in your gasping for air for several seconds, and then returning to normal.
The main risk factors that cause the obstructive type are obesity and nasal congestion. Some lifestyle choices such as alcohol or tobacco also contribute, as they increase the risk manifold. Sedatives and tranquilizers also increase risk.
The risks also rise with age, and it is twice as likely to affect men than women. Family history also contributes to the chance of developing this type of disorder.
Central sleep apnea
This type is a bit different. It is usually not a result of lifestyle choices, but trauma. It causes your brain to stop sending the breathing signals, halting your breathing for several seconds.
The usual causes are medical conditions such as congestive heart failure or stroke. It can also happen if you use opioid pain medications, as those greatly increase the risks.
Tips on How to Relieve the Symptoms
There are several ways you can relieve the symptoms and make them more manageable, and this section should give you several tips to get you started.
Use an Adjustable Bed
This could be the ideal solution for those that can’t fall asleep on their side or stomach (or choose the one from our list of beds for stomach sleepers). As it raises your upper body, it should keep your airways open throughout the night. So, if you can only rest on your back, this may be your best option.
Not all mattresses will work as well with adjustable bases. How well they could work depends on several factors, such as its weight or thickness. Generally, memory foam, latex, or hybrid models should be the best options.
Use CPAP Machine and Mask
You should only get this after consulting your doctor and visiting a sleep lab, which should provide you with the right settings and air pressure. Of course, to use it properly and get the most out of it, you may need to start resting on your side, as well.
It is a machine that delivers enough air pressure through the mask to your upper airways to keep them open. Once you get used to it, you may notice dramatic improvements in your life.
Sleep Position and Mattress Firmness
These two factors can also help alleviate the symptoms, as this disorder is the strongest among those that rest on their backs.
- Back Sleeping isn’t a good position if you have a sleeping disorder. It will increase your snoring, and the frequency with which the interruption happens should be higher. You can make things easier by getting an adjustable bed, though.
- Side Sleeping could be the safest way to rest. If you switch to this position, the number of times you stop breathing at night can be drastically reduced. It could take a while to adjust, and you may need a softer mattress (check out options for side sleepers), but it should be worth it in the end.
- Soft mattresses should generally only be an option if, when sleeping on your side, you wake up with sore hips or shoulders. If you rest on your stomach, you could also have put pressure on your diaphragm, which could make things worse.
- Moderate models should be the safest option, as they are firm enough to support your body while sleeping on your back or stomach, while also shaping themselves to relieve the tension in your shoulders or hips when you rest on your side.
- Firm mattresses are usually the preferred option for back sleepers. If you have this disorder, however, they may not be the best solution. If you need to rest on your side, it will put more pressure on your hips and shoulders.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Brand for CPAP Users?
There are several factors when choosing a mattress that goes along with your CPAP machine. If you continue to rest on your back, you’ll need one with a firmer surface, and if you switch to your side, a softer option should be preferable.
As far as the material, it depends on your budget. While cheaper innerspring or foam models don’t have the support of more high-end solutions, they could provide an adequate surface if you buy something that meets your needs.
What Pillows Are Recommended For Sufferers?
An appropriate pillow can further help reduce the number of times your breathing stops. There are several different options made specifically for sleep apnea.
The most common kind is the wedge pillow. It takes the shape of a wedge and comes in several different angles, the most common one being 30 degrees. They will prop up your upper body when you rest on your back and keep your airways open that way.
Another popular type is the cervical pillow which has a lowered central area. It is a reliable solution for both those that rest on their side and backs.
They are mostly made of memory foam and should help relieve the symptoms.
Does Sleeping In a Chair Help?
Generally, it should help. An upright position should keep the airways open and reduce the number of breathing interruptions. You should keep in mind that ordinary chairs could make things worse, and you could wake up stiff and sore.
For best results, you should rest in a recliner. If you can afford it, another option is a bed with an adjustable base. These should also keep your airways clear and be more comfortable alternatives to sleeping in a chair.
While sleep apnea can go untreated, it can lead to more severe conditions. It could lead to heart problems, stroke, or high blood pressure. Fortunately, the treatment has come a long way. You can make your nights more restful by changing your position, changing your mattress and pillow, as well as making other lifestyle changes.
Simply by resting on your side, you can drastically reduce the frequency of interruptions in your breathing. And, by changing the mattress and pillow, you can find the optimal position to keep your airways open when you rest.
If that fails, you can always ask your doctor about getting a CPAP machine. That should dramatically increase the quality of your sleep, and you should start to wake up rested and refreshed.