Today, over 2 million Australians have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, a condition that interrupts your breathing when asleep. Sleep apnea is most common with men who are overweight, but it can affect anyone at any age. The dangers of sleep apnea are well documented as the side effects from this condition range from not getting a restful night’s sleep up to in rare cases death as the passageway remains blocked.
However, in almost all cases sleep apnea can be successfully treated. Sometimes with surgery, but also in many cases by losing the excess weight and using different sleep methods and products that can help keep the airways clear. The many common devices that are used include the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and mouth application which help keep the airways open. Allowing for a restful sleep to take place.
Another treatment of sleep apnea includes the use of a medical pillow designed to properly support the head and neck. 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-shape in nature which 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 that 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 your 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.
The wedge design is such that it will hold up night after night to help prevent the upper body from sinking lower and making the condition of sleep apnea even worse. Of course, the foam will not hold its shape forever, so it must be replaced every so often.
The Positive Effect of the Sleep Apnea Medical Pillow
If a CPAP machine is not practical and other treatments such as the famous “tennis ball” do not keep the person suffering from sleep apnea from resting on their back, then the pillow offers some real positive advantages.
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 become 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 in the 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 the 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 use 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.