Are Side Sleepers Really Need CPAP Pillow ?

If you have sleep apnea and you want to sleep through the night with your CPAP lean how a CPAP pillow could help. Find reviews, buy, and browse to find the best to help you sleep through the night even if you have apnea sleep and hate your CPAP.  You’ll find the right model to fit your needs by clicking “shop” at the top of the  screen.  Watch the movie later in this page to see if one of these specialty items is right for you. You can browse, compare, shop, and buy the best at our shop.

We explain how to avoid the most common mistake people make (and regret) when they buy before researching.  I’m not shy to mention that I think the Core CPAP 280 (the one I personally use) is the top model and you’ll find a complete review and helpful video if you click the banner at the bottom of the page.  If you are ready to buy you can visit our shop by clicking on “shop” in the menu at the top of the screen.  You’ll find a great selection and free shipping.  We also stand behind our products unlike other places that don’t offer returns or refunds.

cpap pillow
cpap pillow

What you can expect if you buy a CPAP pillow

Expect your CPAP to stay out of the way more, expect a thicker pillow, expect your pillow to fit around your shoulders when you sleep, and expect to toss and turn less.  Overall, it will take a night or two to adjust to, but most people (myself included) find it a very comfortable.

The first thing you will notice is that they are thicker than normal pillows. most pillows are actually too thin to support your head when you sleep on your side. These are specially designed to properly support your head while side sleeping. It is actually so comfortable for that that I have to fight my family away at night to use mine.  It’s not uncommon for people without sleep apnea to purchase a one because they are one of the only pillows made for side sleepers. Here is a picture of me my pillow to give you an idea of the size.

As you can see, the normal one is on the left and the CPAP pillow is on the right.  The CPAP pillow is not as wide, but it is much thicker.  You can see it is almost twice as thick.  That will take a night or two to get used to, but after you do you will probably find it to be more comfortable.

It is so comfortable most people no longer toss from side to side at night.  That usually happens when your pillow makes your ear or neck hurt and you have to turn to get comfortable.  With upgrade, that will stop.  If you don’t toss and turn your hose will be less likely to get wrapped around you.

Expect your hose to stay out of the way

The CPAP pillow will keep your CPAP out of the way.  It does this in three ways:

  • It keeps your hose away from you
  • It keeps your mask in place
  • It keeps you from  tossing and turning

Keeping your hose away is important for a number of reasons:

  • Keeps it from getting under you
  • Keeps it from getting wrapped around you
  • Keeps it from getting pulled off your face

Many problems are because the hose gets in the way.  When it gets underneath you, your hose just became your mattress since you are laying on it.  Sound comfortable?  No, it’s not – not at all.  It use to wake me up all the time until I figured out how to keep my hose out of the way.

The other way your hose can mess up your sleep is by getting wrapped around you.  This is where you wake up in the middle of your dream that you’re a rodeo bull getting roped by a cowboy to find yourself wrapped in your hose.

maybe it even made it all the way around you as you turned 360 degrees in bed.  That’s a terrible feeling as you unwind yourself and your mask slips out of place.  Finally, having your hose lay across your face is a sure way to wakeup at night.

The reason is because your face is one of the most sensitive areas of your body.  If you take a feather and run it gently across someones face while they are sleeping the odds are good you will wake them up.  Now run the same feather across their arm and I bet you won’t disturb them.

Faces are sensitive, there is no getting around it.  If you turn while you sleep your hose has a good chance of laying across your face. I know that my hose does that routinely.  I’m here to tell you, if a feather across your face will wake you up, a CPAP hose across your face will definitely wake you up.  You have to adjust the hose again, maybe turn over a time or two to settle down and get back to sleep.  It’s uncomfortable to say the least.

How to use it

It’s actually not to hard, use it like any other pillow – there are a few tips that will help you get more out of it

  • Make sure your hose is place in the middle of the pillow
  • Wedge it under your head so it touches your shoulder

Here’s a picture of me and the CPAP pillow showing the proper placement of the CPAP hose.  The hose should go off to the side of the pillow and above it.  The bottom part of the pillow is shaped to prevent the CPAP hose from sneaking under your arm.  This only works if you have the hose above the bottom lobe of the pillow as shown in the picture.

If you put the hose below the pillow as shown in the picture below the CPAP pillow won’t keep your hose from getting wrapped around you or getting under you while you sleep.  Put the hose above the pillow while you sleep to keep it out of the way.

Expect a thicker pillow

It is almost twice as thick as it’s traditional cousins.  This is intentional because most pillows don’t properly support your head and neck if you sleep on your side.  Before I got mine I had to stack two pillows on top of each other when I slept.

During the night the top one would normally slide of the bottom pillow or slide out of place waking me up or giving me a stiff neck in the morning.  The CPAP pillow on the other hand is four inches thick (if you get the Core 280 CPAP pillow, which is my personal favorite).

This will be a little bit strange for a night or two.  Even using two stacked on top of each other I wasn’t ready for the feel of my new Core 280 when I got it.  It feels firmer and more put together, if that makes sense.

It doesn’t squish out when you lay down on it like my other pillows did so it kept it’s shape better.  At first I was worried it would hurt my left ear since I have sensitive ears and sleep on my left side.  Surprisingly, though it was more supportive, I haven’t had one night where I woke up due to ear pain.

This was an welcome surprise because I have had several nights in the past where I did have ear pain that would wake me up at night.  The thickness of the pillow is really not an issue after the first night or two – it’s easy to adjust to and I find it more comfortable than two normal pillows stacked to the same height.

Just make sure you get the right thickness based on your shoulder width.  Three inches for narrow shoulders, four inches for normal shoulders, five inches is best for thick shoulders.  As a point of reference I’m 6′ 4″ 195lbs and find the four inch Core 280 to fit well.

Expect a form-fitting pillow

It is designed to snug up against your shoulders.  It’s a very different feel from a normal pillow that doesn’t mold to your bodies contours.  The best analogy I can think of here is switching from normal (baggy) t-shirts to a tailored or form-fitting shirt (not tight, but not loose).

Once you go to tailored or “custom cut” shirts that fit you better, it’s hard to go back.  They just feel better when you move around.  It’s the same with this pillow.  you have to sort of wedge it under your shoulder when you go to bed, but the contours of the pillow just fit your shoulders and neck better than a normal pillow.  The picture below shows the shape of the Core 280 again.

Click here to buy the Core 280

You can see from the image above that it has contours designed to fit the shoulders.  The head fits right in the middle.  If you do toss from side to side some people think the pillow isn’t wide enough.  The issue is, you need to keep your head in the center of the pillow so they intentionally make the pillow narrow.  If they made it wider, they would have to take away the contours.

The second problem with a wider pillow is that it would interfere with your mask.  Because the pillow is narrow, the CPAP mask can hang over the side thus keeping it from being pushed out of place.

This is important because having your pillow push on your face will hurt your nose, create air leaks, and make you tighter your head straps.  You don’t want any of those things.  So, a narrow, form fitting pillow is the best solution for sleeping with your CPAP.  Many people (myself included) find they don’t toss or turn anymore if they  switch to a CPAP pillow.

A CPAP pillow isn’t for everyone.  It will help if:

  • You have sleep apnea
  • You wake up at night because of your CPAP
  • Your CPAP hose wakes you up
  • Your CPAP mask is pushed around by your pillow
  • You get air leaks during the night because your mask pushed around by your pillow

Do You Have Problems Falling Asleep?

If you do you may not need one.  These pillows won’t help you go to sleep.  Here’s some advice I can offer to help you go to sleep faster though:

  • Take a warm to hot shower 1-2 hours before bed
  • Unplug all your digital devices and stop watching TV or playing games 30 minutes before bed
  • Concentrate on deep breathing, reading, or gentle stretching before bed.
  • If you are not tired don’t go to bed.  Decrease your sleep until you start feeling tired at bedtime.
  • Need some help?  Checkout some helpful yoga advice from our friend Erin on her yoga site

There could be a number of things waking you up at night.  If you wake up because of your CPAP you could either use a CPAP pillow or a CPAP hose stand.  If you only have problems with your hose a CPAP hose stand may do the trick.  If it is a combination of mask and hose problems then you could benefit from a CPAP pillow.

You could feel tired during the day for a few reasons:

  • Poor quality of sleep
  • Other health issues

If you suffer from a poor quality of sleep you could:

  • Decrease caffeine
  • Decrease alcohol
  • Exercise during the day
  • Get 15 minutes of sunlight during the day

These should all help you sleep better at night.

Find Your Perfect Model

Stop struggling with your search for the best CPAP pillow. We’ve researched and compared them all for you.  Hi, I’m Jonathan.  I struggled for a year to cope with my CPAP.  I don’t want you to have to repeat my mistakes.  I’m passionate about coping with sleep apnea and mastering your CPAP and I write about this regularly.

The video below should help you understand CPAP pillows and how to find the right CPAP pillow to fit you.  Each person is different and if you understand what to look for, you’ll find your perfect fit.  Sound too good to be true?  Watch the video below and then find your perfect CPAP pillow.


Thickness is the most important part of finding your best pillow.  If you have normal width shoulders, a 4″ pillow thickness will work best.  If you have narrow shoulders look for a thinner pillow and if your shoulders are wide you may like a 5″ pillow best.

While some people have sensitive ears and need a soft pillow, I think you will find a medium to medium firm pillow will work best for you.  This should support your neck and head and let you wake up without neck pain.

Many people have purchased less expensive pillows to find that in a year they need to replace them.  A quality pillow will provide a better experience over time.  We like Core pillows best and we think they are the finest pillow in terms of quality and customer care.

Worried You May Have Sleep Apnea?

If you have

  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Gasping while sleeping
  • Your breathing stops while sleeping

You should see you doctor.

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