Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder resulting in breathing pauses or interruptions during sleep due to oxygen deprivation. It is a chronic disorder that prevents needed regenerative sleep and causes daytime drowsiness and extreme fatigue. Common therapy for sleep apnea is a constant positive airway pressure machine or cpap machine plus a cpap pillow.
What is CPAP
A cpap machine is a breathing device in the form of a mask worn over the mouth or nose, or both mouth and nose and are worn during sleep. The cpap machine provides a constant flow of air from a tube affixed to the face mask delivering a medically prescribed amount of oxygen. It is effective in preventing sleep apnea and snoring by insuring that the body receives adequate oxygen to prevent awakening from oxygen shortage.
Unfortunately, cpap devices are unwieldy and uncomfortable for almost all users and some sleepers are unable to go to sleep while wearing the device. The mask over the nose and mouth is held in place by headgear and straps. The headgear and straps in addition to the mask and oxygen feeder tube cause many sleep apnea sufferers to cast the whole assembly aside and continue to suffer sleep deprivation. In most cases, a properly designed sleep apnea pillow will make the difference and permit quality sleep.
Activity during sleep may cause the air delivery tube and mask to shift away from the correct position as the sleeper tosses and turns. Improper positioning of the cpap device will result in poor function, skin irritation or even skin injury and bruising from displaced masks and hoses. Cpap users have found that the use of a cpap pillow supports a more natural sleeping position and maintains proper positioning of the device. Many cpap users are able to use the devices successfully with the use of the cpap pillow and will benefit more from the therapy provided by the device.
Is There A Speciality Designed Pillow For CPAP?
In short, yes! This pillow is designed with specially placed cut-outs to accommodate the tubing and mask so the equipment will not press into side of the face leaving red marks or even blisters. For the side sleeper or stomach sleeper, this type of pillow will determine whether or not the device will actually be successful as far as helping a person suffering from sleep apnea. Not all pillows help all users.
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For individuals with allergies or asthma, the materials used in construction of the pillow are critical. Some manufactures allow returns and some do not. It is a good idea to examine the pillow at the store if possible, give it a sniff test and place the pillow against the cheek to determine if there is any sensitivity. Some users are hyper-sensitive to the odor of some pillows.
Human heads come in many sizes, shapes and weights. The distance from the nose to the ear as well as the design of the cpap machine will determine if the pillow cut-outs are effectively positioned. Some pillows are made with memory foam which works well with small heads that are lighter weight. Memory foam pillows are also somewhat shallow. Large heads that are heavy tend to have more success with deeper pillows with loose filling that retains its own shape as opposed to molding to the body as memory foam does. Some users of the filled pillows are able to remove a bit of filling for a more custom pillow.
Sleep apnea sufferers frequently suffer other ailments that compromise sleep. Temperaments of sleep deprived people are often unpleasant for obvious reasons. It can take time to adjust to the cpap therapy headgear. A good cpap pillow that is properly fitted to both the user and the equipment will make a world of difference in a short time.