Do you tend to snore, no matter what position you sleep in? Has your partner told you that you sometimes stop breathing during sleep? Do you wake up feeling unrested?
If you experience these issues, it might be more than just mild sleep disturbance – it could be sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects more than 18 million American adults, particularly those who are overweight, over 40, and those who smoke and use alcohol. There are several different types of sleep apnea and, without treatment, they can all lead to serious complications like heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and daytime fatigue.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that affects more than just the quality of your sleep. Your doctor is the only one who can diagnose your condition and recommend treatment, but you may be able to improve symptoms by changing certain aspect of your lifestyle. Something as simple as changing your mattress or switching to an adjustable bed might help.[alert type=”success” icon-size=”normal”]
What is the Best Mattess for Sleep Apnea Sufferers?
- Best Overall: Amerisleep AS2
- Best Foam: Nolah Signature
- Best Budget-Friendly: Puffy
- Best Luxury: Birch by Helix
- Best Adjustable Bed Compatible: Loom & Leaf
- Best Latex: PlushBeds Natural Bliss
- Best Hybrid: Idle Sleep Hybrid
- Best Dual-Sided: Layla Memory Foam
- Best for Heavy Sleepers: Saatva HD
- Best for Hot Sleepers: Bear Pro
In this article, we’ll explore the subject of sleep apnea and discuss potential treatment options. You’ll also learn how to choose the best mattress for sleep disorders like sleep apnea and see our top picks.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a surprisingly common condition in the United States. According to the NIH, it “can occur when the upper airway becomes blocked repeatedly during sleep, reducing or completely stopping airflow.” Pauses in breathing can last 10 seconds or more and may occur up to 30 times per hour.
The three types of sleep apnea are as follows:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OA) – The most common type of sleep apnea, OA occurs when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep, blocking the airway.
- Central Sleep Apnea – Rather than the airway become blocked, the brain fails to send signals to the muscles that control breathing.
- Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome – Also known as mixed sleep apnea or treatment-emergent sleep apnea, this occurs when the patient has symptoms of both OA and central sleep apnea.
The symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apnea often overlap, so it may be difficult to determine which type you have. The most common symptoms include loud snoring, pauses in breathing during sleep, gasping for air during sleep, awaking with a dry mouth or headache, difficulty staying asleep, and excessive daytime sleepiness.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s worth talking to your doctor. Without treatment, sleep apnea can lead to long-term sleep deprivation which can have a negative impact on your health.
Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes blocked, typically by the soft tissues in the back of the throat relaxing during sleep. Being overweight and having a large neck circumference increases your risk for OA. Other risk factors include being male, age over 40, family history of sleep apnea, smoking, and having large tonsils or adenoids. Risk factors for central sleep apnea include being male or middle-aged, having a heart disorder, using narcotic pain medications, and history of stroke.
An evaluation of symptoms and physical exam may help your doctor determine whether you have sleep apnea, but a sleep test will likely be required to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for sleep apnea often includes lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and losing weight. Treatment for related conditions such as allergies may help relieve symptoms and physical blockages can sometimes be repaired surgically. In more severe cases, you may require an oral device to keep the throat open or a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine that uses air pressure to keep your airway open during sleep.
You should always follow your doctor’s advice when it comes to medical treatment, but there are other things you can do that might help you sleep better. Switching to an adjustable bed or upgrading your mattress may help improve the quality of your sleep.
How to Choose a New Mattress for Sleep Apnea
If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you and your doctor have probably discussed the treatment options. For moderate to severe cases, a CPAP machine yields the best results, but these machines can be difficult to get used to. If you simply can’t tolerate the CPAP machine or you want to try an alternative solution first, try changing the way you sleep.
Many people who snore tend to do it most often when they sleep on their back. If you have sleep apnea, you may find the same is true. When you sleep on your back, the tissues in the back of your throat are more likely to relax into your airway, interrupting your breathing. Sleeping on your side or elevating the head of your bed may help. You might even consider an adjustable bed.
Though your sleeping position will have the greatest effect on your airway, it’s important to have a good mattress as well. The best mattress type for sleep apnea is one that supports proper spine alignment to avoid putting too much pressure on your neck.
Here are some tips for choosing the best mattress for sleep disorders:
- Consider what type of mattress you prefer – memory foam mattresses offer excellent pressure relief which is good for sleeping on your side and they isolate motion very well.
- If you prefer a firmer mattress or you find that memory foam sleeps too hot, an innerspring mattress or hybrid mattress designed with individual springs could be a good choice.
- Consider a latex mattress if you like the conforming quality of memory foam but you want the bounce of a spring mattress and a little more temperature regulation.
- Choose a firmness level that supports spine alignment according to your preferred sleeping position – remember, side sleeping is recommended for sleep apnea sufferers.
- If you’re considering an adjustable bed, choose a compatible mattress – foam and latex mattresses work very well, and most modern hybrids are designed to work with adjustable beds.
- Think about additional factors such as temperature regulation, motion isolation, contouring, and bounce according to your preference when shopping for a new mattress.
Now that you understand the link between sleep apnea and the way you sleep, you may be thinking it’s time for a new mattress. Read on to see our top picks for the best mattress for sleep apnea sufferers.
The Best Mattress for Sleep Apnea Sufferers
There is no single best mattress for sleep apnea sufferers, but there are certain qualities to look for and, from there, it comes down to a matter of preference. Consider a memory foam mattress for its pressure-relieving qualities or a hybrid mattress with a memory foam top. If you prefer a little more bounce, latex might work well. If you’re thinking about an adjustable bed, make sure the mattress you choose is compatible with adjustable bases.
To help you decide which mattress is best for sleep apnea, we’ve assembled a few recommendations in different categories. Here are our top picks for the best mattress for sleep apnea:
Best Overall: When it comes to choosing a mattress, it’s important to have options. Amerisleep offers five different foam mattresses as well as a selection of hybrids. If you’re trying to find the best mattress type for sleep apnea, the AS4 is a good choice. It is a medium-soft foam mattress designed for pressure relief, making it a great choice for side sleepers.
The AS4 mattress features three layers of supportive, pressure-relieving foam with a soft, breathable cover. The base layer is Bio-Core foam which lasts for decades without sagging or developing soft spots. Above that, you have the HIVE transition layer for targeted pressure relief for perfect spine alignment. On top, a layer of open-cell Bio-Pure foam for cooling, contouring comfort. This layer has just the right degree of bounce to keep you from feeling “stuck” in the mattress.
All Amerisleep mattresses come with free shipping and returns as well as a 100-night sleep trial. If you don’t love the mattress, return it for a full refund with no questions asked!
- Pros: Medium-soft feel for pressure relief, made with eco-friendly materials, open-cell foam sleeps cool
- Cons: May be too soft for heavy sleepers
Best Budget-Friendly: Buying a new mattress is a major investment, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. Puffy offers two options, the more affordable of which is the original 10-inch Puffy priced at just $1,150 for a queen. This mattress features multiple layers of premium foam which cradle the body to relieve pressure. Puffy mattresses are also designed for temperature-stabilizing comfort, so you sleep cool all night long.
The original Puffy 10-inch mattress consists of three layers of premium foam, starting with a base layer of Firm Core Support foam. Next comes Puffy’s temperature-stabilizing Climate Comfort foam, topped with a layer of Cooling Cloud foam. This mattress is supportive for all sleeping styles and is rated at a medium-firm level of comfort between 6 and 8 on the 10-point firmness scale. It provides the right balance of support and contouring for pressure relief without compromising spine alignment.
The Puffy mattress is backed by free shipping and returns as well as a lifetime warranty. Try the mattress for a full 101 nights before making your decision and contact customer support any time with concerns.
- Pros: Multiple layers of temperature-stabilizing foam, excellent pressure relief, all foam construction
- Cons: Edge support could be stronger, may be less responsive than some mattresses
Best Luxury: When you want the best of the best, the Birch mattress from Helix is one to consider. This mattress is constructed from premium materials, designed as much for style as for comfort and support. Every mattress is handmade in the United States, crafted to deliver optimal pressure relief with plenty of airflow and excellent breathability. It also comes with free shipping and a 100-night sleep trial.
The Birch mattress is one of the few mattresses on the market that is both Greenguard and GOTS certified. This means it’s completely free from polyurethane-based foams and harsh chemicals – all materials are sustainably sourced. The Birch mattress is a hybrid mattress, featuring an individually wrapped coil interior and a base of 100% natural and organic wool. Pressure relief comes from a layer of OEKO-TEX certified natural Talalay latex with a comfort layer of 100% birch wool over top. The mattress is wrapped in a natural wool fiber layer for fire protection and an organic cotton cover.
Designed for ergonomic pressure relief, the Birch mattress is a great option for sleep apnea sufferers. It also has enhanced edge support for heavier sleepers and it is rated medium-firm.
- Pros: Hybrid construction for support and pressure relief, less sinking feeling than memory foam
- Cons: Some may not like the bouncy feel of latex materials
Best Adjustable Bed Compatible: Sleeping with your head elevated helps keep the airway open during sleep which may reduce symptoms of sleep apnea. If you’re looking for a mattress specifically designed for use with an adjustable bed, the Loom & Leaf mattress by Saatva is one to consider. This premium foam mattress delivers excellent pressure relief and cooling comfort, plus it comes with a 120-day sleep trial.
The Loom & Leaf mattress is crafted from premium materials and comes in two firmness levels: Relaxed Firm and Firm. Support comes from a multi-layer base of eco-friendly foams which deliver deep contouring support for proper spine alignment. On top of the base, you’ll find a layer of premium memory foam that is naturally cool topped by a layer of proprietary Spinal Zone Gel for additional breathability and strong lumbar support. The mattress also features a quilted organic cotton cover.
For the best experience, pair the Loom & Leaf mattress with the Lineal Adjustable Base. This base allows you to customize your sleeping position for optimal comfort without compromising spinal support.
- Pros: Made with premium materials, two firmness levels to choose from, designed for adjustable bases
- Cons: Fairly expensive compared to many models, may be too firm for some users
Best Foam: Sleep apnea sufferers often find an all-foam mattress offers the ideal level of pressure relief to provide proper spine alignment. If you sleep on your side, you need pressure-relieving materials to keep some of the weight off your hips and shoulders. The Nolah Signature mattress combines deep support with extra cooling and the ideal degree of pressure relief. Plus, it has two sides to choose from.
The Nolah Signature mattress is made with Nolah AirFoam which keeps you cool and contours to your body to relieve pressure without making you feel trapped in your mattress. On one side you have a 2.5-inch layer for softness and, on the other, a firmer layer of 1-inch AirFoam. Inside the mattress you’ll find a reinforced high-density core foundation and a support layer of high-resilience foam that provides just the right degree of bounce. The mattress also features a luxurious cotton cover.
Nolah mattresses come with a risk-free 120-night sleep trial as well as free shipping and returns. All mattresses are 100% made in the USA and compatible with all foundations, including adjustable beds.
- Pros: Two-sided design to choose firmness, cooling foam for comfort, 120-night trial period
- Cons: May not be a good choice for heavyweight sleepers, somewhat pricier than other options
Best Latex: If you’re concerned about the materials from which our mattress is made, consider the PlushBeds Natural Bliss latex mattress. This mattress is crafted from luxurious, natural materials and comes in two firmness levels: Medium or Medium-Firm. Great for side sleepers and adjustable frames, the Natural Bliss mattress is a great choice for sleep apnea sufferers.
The Natural Bliss mattress from PlushBeds features six layers of comfort, support, and pressure relief. These layers are made from organic cotton, organic New Zealand wool, and organic Dunlop latex. Not only do these materials ensure proper spine alignment and contouring for pressure relief, but they sleep cool as well. Plus, organic latex has natural antimicrobial properties to protect you against mold and mildew – it is also dust mite-resistant.
If you think the Natural Bliss mattress from PlushBeds might be the right choice for you, you can try it risk-free for 100 nights. You’ll enjoy fast, free shipping and the peace of mind knowing you’re sleeping on a handcrafted mattress made from the world’s finest organic raw materials.
- Pros: Natural latex materials, comfort and support, organic cotton cover and flame-retardant layer
- Cons: Significantly more expensive than many models, lower profile than many mattresses (8 inches)
Best Hybrid: Memory foam offers excellent pressure relief for sleep apnea sufferers, but some people simply don’t like the sinking feeling it tends to have. If you want the comfort of memory foam with a little more bounce and support, consider a hybrid mattress. Our top pick for the best hybrid mattress is the Ide Sleep Hybrid, a unique dual-sided mattress with a medium side and a luxury firm side.
The Ide Sleep hybrid mattress is designed for cooling buoyancy but free from the visco elastic materials used to make traditional memory foam. This mattress features a sturdy base of edge-to-edge pocketed coils with the addition of a 1” support layer of transition foam. Next comes a 2-inch layer of Idle Cooling Bouyancy Foam, custom blended to react faster than memory foam while providing support and pressure relief. On top, you have a quilted layer of contouring foam, a natural fire-resistant barrier, and a Thermocool fabric cover.
With two sides to choose from, the Idle Sleep Hybrid mattress is customizable. It comes with a generous 18-month sleep trial and lifetime warranty, so you have no reason not to try it. If you don’t like it, returns are free and easy – no questions asked!
- Pros: Unique dual-sided design, breathable coil and foam combination, generous 18-month trial
- Cons: Fairly heavy and hard to move, requires 30-night break-in period
Best Dual-Sided: If you like the idea of a two-sided mattress, consider the Layla memory foam mattress. This mattress is made from copper infused memory foam which offers the cradling, contouring benefits of foam but it sleeps cooler than traditional memory foam. This particular mattress alternates between a soft, plush feel on one side and a firm, supportive feel on the other.
The Layla dual-sided foam mattress is a great option for sleep apnea sufferers because it provides the ideal combination of support and pressure relief. It has a support layer for high-density foam in the middle for durability and is wrapped in a luxurious fabric cover that can be removed for easy cleaning. Simply choose one side rated at 4/10 for firmness or the other rated at 7/10.
Not only does the Layla mattress offer customizable comfort, but all Layla mattresses come with a generous 120-night sleep trial, free shipping, and a lifetime warranty. You’ll also be glad to know all mattresses are made in the USA from CertiPUR-US® certified materials for safety.
- Pros: Flippable firm to soft, cooling gel foam layers, support core for motion transfer control
- Cons: Slow response foam may make it tough to change positions
Best for Heavy Sleepers: If you are a heavy sleeper, you may find it difficult to get the support you need without sacrificing comfort. The Saatva HD mattress is a great option because it is specifically designed for sleepers weighing 300 to 500 pounds. This mattress is a luxury hybrid innerspring mattress made to deliver luxurious comfort with push upper layers and sturdy support with a high-durability coil base.
The Saatva HD mattress is made up of six layers of premium materials starting with the high-durability coil base and high-density foam rails for a firm, supportive edge. Next comes the contouring comfort layers consisting of a combination of support and memory foams which contour and cushion the body for added pressure relief. Under the organic pillow top, you’ll find a layer of Talalay latex designed with 5-zone support and it is all finished with a hand-tufted cover.
You’ll pay more for the Saatva HD than you would for a traditional mattress, but it is well worth the cost. Not only do you get customized support for your size, but you’ll enjoy premium materials and free white glove delivery. Plus, you get a 120-night home trial and a 20-year warranty.
- Pros: Designed for sleepers over 300 pounds, luxury hybrid design, comfort and pressure relief
- Cons: Fairly expensive compared to traditional mattresses, may be fairly heavy
Best for Hot Sleepers: Memory foam is a great option for people with sleep apnea, but some people find it sleeps too hot. Rather than compromising when it comes to pressure relief, consider a mattress made with materials specifically designed for cooling. The Bear Pro mattress, the newest addition to the Bear mattress family, is made with a combination of copper-infused and gel memory foams to keep you cool and comfortable.
The Bear Pro mattress features a 5-layer design including a durable base of high-density support foam and a transition layer of responsive memory foam for pressure relief and balanced support. Those cooling layers of gel and copper-infused foams provide cooling comfort and it is all topped with a breathable Celliant cover. Bear delivers a cooler, cleanaer sleep with CertiPUR-US certified materials and every purchase is backed by a 100-night risk-free trial with free shipping and returns.
- Pros: Designed for cooling comfort, CertiPUR-US Certified foams, copper is antiviral/antibacterial
- Cons: May be too firm for some sleepers, may not be supportive enough for very heavy sleepers
Nothing beats a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, if you have sleep apnea, getting a restful night of sleep can be a challenge. You may not be aware of waking multiple times during the night, but you’ll know it in the morning when you feel as if you haven’t slept at all.
Your doctor is the best person to talk to about sleep apnea treatment, but there are adjustments you can make at home to manage your condition. Switching to a more supportive mattress and changing your sleeping position could help.
If you’re ready to start sleeping better, take what you’ve learned here and shop around for a new mattress. If you’re not sure where to start, try one of our recommendations above!
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the best mattress type for sleep apnea? – Many agree that a memory foam mattress is the best for sleep apnea because it supports proper spine alignment. Keeping the spine and neck supported helps reduce the risk of airway collapse during sleep. Some find that an adjustable bed helps as well if you sleep with the head of the bed elevated.
- What is the best sleeping position for sleep apnea? – While sleeping on your back is the best position for spine alignment, it may worsen your sleep apnea symptoms. Sleeping on your side or with your head elevated is the best for sleep apnea.
- Is it better to sleep on a hard or soft mattress? – When it comes to mattress firmness, it’s largely a matter of preference. It’s important to consider support, however, as one mattress may not be as supportive as another depending on your body weight. If you are above average weight, you may require a slightly firmer mattress. When it comes to sleep apnea, a medium or medium-firm mattress works well to provide support without compromising on pressure relief.
- Do adjustable beds help with sleep apnea? – Some people find that adjustable beds help reduce sleep apnea symptoms if they keep the head of the bed elevated. Adjustable beds can also work well for people who sleep on their sides – you can adjust the bed to relieve pressure on the hips and shoulders.
- What is the best adjustable bed position for sleep apnea? – The best position to sleep in an adjustable bed for sleep apnea is with the head of the bed elevated. Sleeping flat on your back can allow the tissues in the back of your throat to collapse into the airway, cutting off your breathing. Elevating the head of your bed may prevent that from happening.