Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring happens when airflow is constricted when you sleep. It can be a symptom of sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing starts and stops throughout the night. Both can result in a restless night's sleep and daytime drowsiness.

To help you breathe easier, we’ve gathered Healthline’s picks for the best products for snoring and sleep apnea. We verify our recommendations, so you can find products that meet your unique sleep needs.

Pillows for Snoring and Sleep Apnea

While upgrading your pillow is not a cure for snoring and sleep apnea, it may ease symptoms.

Research shows that using a pillow to change your head position could reduce the severity of your snoring. When choosing a pillow, find one that elevates your head to open up your airways (you may want to consider a wedge pillow). Maximizing your airflow may also help with sleep apnea.

Explore pillows designed to support your neck and head and promote proper airflow.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person briefly stops breathing when sleeping.

There are two types of sleep apnea:

  • Central sleep apnea: This happens when the brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea: This happens when the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much, causing the throat to close and constrict airflow.

Both types of sleep apnea are caused by a mixture of genetics, health, and lifestyle.

Snoring happens when the tissues in your airways relax and constrict your airflow. This can cause a loud vibrating sound that can wake you (or your partner) up throughout the night.

Snoring can be tied to a number of factors:

  • Colds and allergies may lead to or worsen snoring because they can cause throat swelling and nasal congestion.

  • The anatomy of your mouth could impact your snoring. Enlarged tissues or tonsils may constrict airflow.

  • Consuming alcohol can also relax your throat muscles and lead to or worsen snoring.

  • Snoring may also be a symptom of sleep apnea.

Snoring treatment varies from person to person.

For mild snoring, here are some small lifestyle changes you can try to make:

  • Change up your pillow: Finding a pillow that comfortably elevates your head may help open up your airways while you sleep.

  • Sleep on your side: If you tend to sleep on your back, your tongue may fall back into your throat and shrink your airway, causing you to snore. Sleeping on your side may help prevent your tongue from blocking your airway.

  • Use OTC medication: Intranasal over-the-counter (OTC) decongestants like Zicam and intranasal steroid sprays like Cutivate may help alleviate snoring, especially if it’s caused by a cold or allergies.

  • Avoid alcohol: Drinking alcohol closer to your bedtime will relax the muscles in your throat, which may cause snoring.

  • Try a mouthpiece: A removable mouthpiece can help keep your jaw, tongue, and soft palate in place to prevent snoring. You’ll need to have regular dental checkups to make sure the mouthpiece works.

  • Use a CPAP machine: A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, worn as an oxygen mask, pumps air into your airway to keep it open overnight, decreasing symptoms of snoring and sleep apnea.

For more severe cases of snoring, professional medical treatment may be necessary.

Yes, certain pillows may help reduce your snoring. When shopping for an anti-snore pillow, look for one that comfortably elevates your head to open up your airways. Sleeping on your side or your stomach could also help alleviate your snoring, so you may want to consider pillows that promote those sleep positions.

When shopping for an anti-snore mattress, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Size: If you (or anyone else you might be sharing your bed with) are too crunched up when sleeping, it could lead to snoring. Look for beds that give you enough space to sleep comfortably.

  • Firmness: If the mattress is too soft, you may not feel enough support and sink in while sleeping. Consider a medium-firm mattress that’s designed to give head and neck support.

  • Adjustability: Beds with adjustable bases are designed to elevate your upper body and may help alleviate snoring. Consider mattresses that are compatible with adjustable frames.

  • Antimicrobial materials: Look for materials that are designed to deter dust mites, mold, and mildew — all of which may trigger or worsen your snoring.

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