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People who use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine often struggle to find a comfortable way to sleep that accommodates their mask. CPAP pillows offer cutouts and other features to allow sleepers to find a good position, making these pillows a popular accessory for many CPAP users. 

We’ve gathered information on some of the best CPAP pillows on the market. We’ll discuss why we chose them and who they would be best for, as well as providing tips on what you need to keep in mind when shopping for a CPAP pillow.

Is a CPAP Pillow Right for Me?

CPAP pillows are only one option available to CPAP users, and not everyone finds that a CPAP pillow fits their needs. When deciding whether to purchase a CPAP pillow, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

Ideal For:Who Should Keep Looking:
  • CPAP users who struggle to find a comfortable, effective sleep position
  • Sleepers who enjoy the feel of memory foam or polyfoam pillows
  • People who find it difficult to position their hosing
  • People who are interested in using a wedge-style pillow to help alleviate airway constriction
  • Shoppers on a very tight budget
  • CPAP users who prefer the feel of traditional fiber or down pillows

Our Top Picks

Why We Picked These

Our team chooses featured products after extensive research into a wide range of factors, including the product’s performance, real-world customer experiences with both the product and brand, and the different features each product offers. 

Years of combined experience with sleep apnea and CPAP products has given our team the understanding needed to contextualize the research and share it with our readers. Our goal is to provide you with the knowledge you need to make an informed purchase. 

What Is a CPAP Pillow?

While CPAP users can theoretically use whatever style of pillow they prefer, CPAP pillows are usually made from solid foam with cutouts that leave space for a CPAP mask. 

These cutouts make it significantly easier for CPAP users to sleep on their side, though most CPAP pillows are also comfortable for people who prefer to sleep on their back. Cutouts can also help prevent leaks caused by jostling the CPAP mask during sleep. 

The size and shape of CPAP pillows can vary dramatically, as can the shape and design of the mask cutouts. Different designs are more or less effective depending on a sleeper’s body shape, preferred sleep position, and mask type. 

What You Should Consider When Choosing a CPAP Pillow

Like finding the right CPAP mask, choosing the right CPAP pillow can be a confusing process. To avoid having to try more than one CPAP pillow, it’s worth breaking down the factors for consideration into a number of different categories.

Not all categories will be equally important for each person, so shoppers should think about which are most important to them and which they’re willing to compromise on if needed.

CPAP Pillow Considerations

PriceMost CPAP pillows cost between $30 and $75, although luxury models may cost significantly more, and budget models may cost significantly less. While it can be tempting to choose the least expensive option, it’s better to choose the pillow that best fits your needs.
LoftLoft is another word for how tall a pillow is. A loft that is too high or too low can cause neck and shoulder pain because the angle prevents your spine from relaxing into a neutral position. Some CPAP pillows have removable layers to adjust the loft. Although CPAP pillows may have higher and lower sections due to their design, the loft height is usually measured where your head is meant to rest.
Sleep PositionA person’s preferred sleep position has a significant impact on their ideal pillow’s loft, firmness, and design. A sleep apnea pillow that works exceptionally well for a back sleeper may not be the right choice for a side sleeper.
Mask TypeMost CPAP pillows work well for people who use a nasal or nasal pillow CPAP mask, but not all pillows are suitable for people who use a full-face mask. People who use a full-face mask should choose a pillow with wide cutouts that won’t catch on their mask or hose.
ComfortWhile a softer CPAP pillow may sound more comfortable than a firmer option, the right firmness can vary and is essential for keeping your spine properly aligned. Making sure the firmness level is right can also help you avoid neck pain or stiffness. Other factors that can impact a CPAP pillow’s comfort include the shape of its curves and cutouts, the amount of contouring or pressure relief it offers, and the fabric used for its pillowcase.
Quality MaterialsCPAP pillows made from high-quality materials are more comfortable and have a longer lifespan than budget options made from lower-quality materials. Over time, pillows with poor durability may lose their shape and supportive qualities. CPAP pillows may have a distinct odor when they are first opened, though the scent dissipates quickly. This odor is due to the foam manufacturing process and does not indicate the pillow is of poor quality.
Temperature NeutralityMost CPAP pillows are made from solid memory foam or polyfoam, both of which are known to retain heat. People who tend to sleep hot may prefer a CPAP pillow with cooling features such as ventilation, airflow channels, or gel-infused foam.

Choosing a CPAP Pillow Based on Sleep Position

A person’s preferred sleep position defines what pillow is likely to best suit their needs, and this is even more true for people who use a CPAP machine. Some positions require cutouts for the mask, while other positions work best with cervical stabilization for a comfortable sleep.

  • Side sleepers: Side sleepers require a pillow with a high enough loft to hold their head and neck parallel with the rest of their spine. A medium to firm pillow is best, as one that is too soft will interfere with this position. The pillow should also have mask cutouts positioned so that it’s easy to fit the mask into them.
  • Back sleepers: Mask cutouts are not necessary for back sleepers, who should instead focus on whether a CPAP pillow’s shape will stabilize their cervical spine and prevent excessive movement. Back sleepers usually require a lower pillow loft, and most prefer a medium to medium firm feel.
  • Stomach sleepers: It is difficult to find a CPAP pillow that supports stomach sleeping. Many pillows have cutouts that provide space for the user’s mask when they turn their head, but this can misalign the spine and cause muscle tension. Instead, an adjustable pillow filled with shredded foam is likely to be the best choice for this position.
  • Combination sleepers: People who switch between two or more sleep positions should look for a CPAP pillow with different loft options. Some pillows feature removable layers, and others come with both higher and lower edges that can support different sleep positions.

Do You Need a Prescription for a CPAP Pillow?

CPAP pillows are not considered medical devices and can be purchased without a prescription. CPAP machines, heated humidifiers, and CPAP masks are generally the only CPAP supplies that require a prescription.

Will Health Insurance or Medicare Cover the Cost of Your CPAP Pillow?

Health insurance and Medicare do not usually cover the cost of CPAP pillows, as pillows are not considered essential or durable medical equipment. However, it’s important to read through your health care provider’s policies to learn more about whether they offer any coverage for CPAP supplies.

Where Can You Buy a Pillow for Sleep Apnea?

CPAP pillows for sleep apnea can be purchased online or at a brick-and-mortar location, from both specialized and non-specialized retailers.

Because there is no need to verify a prescription, CPAP pillows can often be purchased from retailers such as bedding companies or Amazon. However, specialized CPAP retailers may have a wider range of options and more information about what pillows work well for different mask types.

Online retailers usually have lower prices and a wider selection than brick-and-mortar locations. However, in-person shopping gives you the chance to feel different pillows and ask for personalized advice from staff.

Frequently Asked CPAP Pillow Questions

As with other CPAP supplies, it can be difficult to choose a CPAP pillow that suits both your sleep and CPAP needs. If you have questions, your medical provider is in the best position to offer advice tailored to your unique situation.

How do you sleep with a CPAP pillow?

Most CPAP pillows have a curved cutout for the shoulder or back of the neck, plus cutouts on the sides of the pillow so that side sleepers have space for their mask. Some pillows feature different loft levels or cutout sides on different edges, while others can only be used on one side.

Since CPAP pillows often look significantly different than standard pillows, they can be intimidating to use for the first time. If you’re confused about how to use your CPAP pillow, try reviewing the information on its packaging. You may also want to examine promotional pictures of the pillow in use to better understand the design.

What is the best CPAP pillow for side sleepers?

CPAP users who sleep on their side generally require a medium to firm feel and a relatively high loft. They also need a cutout that is the right shape and size for the CPAP mask they use. These guidelines mean that there is no single CPAP pillow that is best for side sleepers. However, there are many options that might be appropriate, depending on your individual needs.

What is the best sleeping position for CPAP therapy?

Side sleeping is usually considered the best position for CPAP users, as this position prevents gravity from further constricting your airway. CPAP pillows make it easier to sleep on your side while wearing a CPAP mask, although large or bulky full-face masks may not fit into the cutouts of a standard CPAP pillow.

Many people who use a CPAP machine choose to sleep on their back, as this prevents their mask from interfering with their sleep. While back sleeping may be appropriate for some people with sleep apnea, others may find their CPAP therapy more effective if they change their position.

Stomach sleeping is considered the worst option for people with sleep apnea, as it closes the airway and makes it difficult to sleep while wearing a mask.

Sleep position can have a significant impact on your CPAP therapy, so it’s worth discussing the topic with your medical provider if you have questions about what position you should choose.