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What is a sleep apnea pillows for?
Sleep apnea, a condition where breathing entirely stops for a short period, could be as debilitating for the affected sleeper as it is annoying for everyone else in the room.
If uncontrolled, it could lead to various adverse, long-lasting effects, ranging from exhaustion, difficulty in thought processing, decreased alertness, and mood swings (verging towards aggressive demeanor) throughout the day. The oxygen deprivation also increases the risk for heart attack and stroke.
Sleep apnea pillows are made to alleviate the resultant snoring specifically. Because the movement of air in the respiratory tract is blocked by the uvula and the soft palate, or by any other obstructions, in sleep apnea, the violent collision of the incoming air with the blockages generates snoring. A bent neck while sleeping, which compresses the throat, also contributes to obstruction, and this happens mostly in back-lying sleepers.
These pillows guarantee less snoring by positioning the one sleeping in such a way that the respiratory passageways become clear. Compared to many other treatments, these pillows are non-invasive, portable, and affordable, thus making it as one of the leading treatments of choice for snoring.
A good pillow should be able to
(1) extend the neck and tilt the head back, thus loosening the airway and arresting tongue movements which could interfere with incoming air;
(2) minimize movement, for unrestricted movement could lead to side sleepers to shift to a back sleeping position which could aggravate snoring, or place back sleepers in a position more vulnerable to snoring (such as a flexed neck);
(3) cushion patient’s head thoroughly and reduce the pressure from arms and shoulders while sleeping; and
(4) does not cause unnecessary strain to the throat so as to keep it open. The quality of a sleep apnea pillow depends on how well it does all these.
SONA FDA-Cleared Anti-Snore and Mild Sleep Apnea Pillow
These pillows, while sharing a common function, have differing specifications for different sleepers. While most allow the patient to sleep on his or her side, there are some pillows designed for those who sleep on their backs. Pillows for side sleepers simulate side sleeping position: head faces one side; the arm in contact with the floor in raised position and the other arm in the same side the sleeper faces; shoulder does not touch head. Pillows for back sleepers are designed simply: there is a concave portion (like a bowl) which holds the head snugly, thus tilting the head and opening the airway.
There are plenty of sleep apnea pillows available in the market. Some are even scientifically tested to be effective against sleep apnea, as well as the only one approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some pillows enable the sleeper to lie down on his or her side; some has a triangular design that aids in maintaining proper body posture and immobility during sleep. There are also pillows that accommodate back sleepers. However, it is advisable that before one orders a sleep apnea pillow to help treat one’s condition, a doctor must first be consulted.