There are over 22 million adults in the US who suffer from sleep apnea. Whether you know it or not, the mattress you sleep on can either help or hurt your sleep apnea symptoms considerably. Check out our guide to the best mattress for sleep apnea to learn about the top models and learn how to get a mattress that is suited to your needs!
What is a Mattress for Sleep Apnea (and How Do They Work)?
While most companies don’t make mattresses specifically for sleep apnea, studies have shown that sleeping face down can significantly reduce sleep apnea symptoms. Stomach sleeping, also known as “prone” sleeping, isn’t the way everyone prefers to sleep, nor is it comfortable on many mattresses, but it does help with sleep apnea.
So mattresses for sleep apnea are mattresses that are good for prone sleeping. Prone sleeping can put a lot of strain on the lower back, especially if you use a medium or firm mattress. The softer the mattress (in most cases) the better it is for stomach sleeping. That way, your spine can stay aligned as you sleep, rather than being bent back by the combination of prone sleeping, pillows, and a firm mattress.
Sometimes, you cannot get much relief from sleep apnea with a mattress alone. Adjustable bed bases (especially beds with a “head tilt” feature) are fantastic ways to get relief from sleep apnea. Many of these bed bases are rather affordable, to boot. If you think that you’ll need an adjustable bed base, make sure your mattress will work with it. That means choosing a foam, latex, or hybrid mattress rather than a traditional innerspring.
When you use an adjustable bed, you can choose a sleeping position that will slightly elevate your head above the rest of your body. This is one of the best ways to treat sleep apnea; sometimes, it’s even more effective than an awkward and uncomfortable CPAP machine!
13 Best Mattresses for Sleep Apnea in 2021
1. Best Mattress for Sleep Apnea (Overall): Nectar Original Mattress
This mattress has two major features going for it: it’s soft and it’s affordable. When it comes to sleep apnea, there isn’t much else that you need! Nectar, for what it’s worth, is a brand with many loyal customers who prize the quality, durability, and comfort of their products.
It may be rated as medium, but the Nectar mattress is softer than you might think. The mattress does have a layer of firm foam at the bottom. This doesn’t make it firm to sleep on; rather, it simply prevents your body from sinking through to the bottom of the mattress. The top layers of foam are plenty soft and will gently cradle your body as you sleep.
One of the best parts of getting a mattress from Nectar is their 365-night trial period. Many “mattress in a box” companies offer a trial period for their products, but almost none last as long as Nectar’s. This gives you ample time to truly find out whether or not the mattress is right for you- and, if it isn’t, to return it without hassles.
2. Best Hybrid Mattress for Sleep Apnea: Linenspa Plush Hybrid Mattress
Hybrid mattresses are the newest category of mattresses, but they’re already incredibly popular. Innerspring mattresses are often too bouncy and too firm, although they have excellent temperature regulation. Memory foam mattresses, on the other hand, are very soft and stable but suffer from very poor temperature regulation.
Hybrid mattresses use smaller, less intrusive metal coils to replicate the strengths of innerspring mattresses, combined with comfortable memory foam. The result is a mattress that is preferable to almost anyone. This model, from Linenspa, is incredibly affordable and ideal for seniors with sleep apnea.
The foam in the mattress is very soft and plush; the metal coils are there to provide the support and temperature regulation you need. Many hybrid mattresses are still too firm for stomach sleepers, but this one is just about perfect. It’s also still suitable for stomach and side sleepers, so you won’t have to ask your spouse or partner to sacrifice their preferences for your sleep apnea!
This hybrid mattress delivers great ergonomic support, but it’s still a very soft mattress overall. That means it’s most comfortable when used sleeping on your side- helpful for reducing your sleep apnea. It also works great with adjustable bed bases, a huge plus for treating sleep apnea.
The Nova has one foam layer (out of 3 total) that has three different ergonomic zones, each bringing targeted pressure relief to each part of your body. It’s incredibly comfortable, promotes a healthy sleeping posture, and just feels great to sleep on!
4. Best Cool Hybrid Mattress for Sleep Apnea: Zinus Cooling Copper Adaptive Hybrid Mattress, Queen
This mattress is one of Zinus’ newest models, and it does an exceptional job of helping even the hottest of sleepers stay asleep without waking up in a pool of sweat. The copper-infused foam helps draw your body heat away from you as you sleep; the pocketed coils do the same. It’s a wonderfully breathable mattress that is also great for sleep apnea.
The surface of the mattress is very soft and it’s flexible enough to be used with a mattress wedge or adjustable bed base. If you’re worried about what hot nights on a stuffy mattress can do to your sleep, the Zinus Cooling Copper Mattress is what you need.
5. Best Adjustable Bed and Mattress for Sleep Apnea: Sven & Son Platinum Adjustable Base With Head Tilt and 12-Inch Mattress
If you want a complete sleep system that solves your sleep apnea all in one purchase, look no further. This incredibly comfortable mattress is topped with cooling gel foam and sits above an adjustable bed base with a 15-degree head tilt. If you’ve got sleep apnea and want to nip it in the bud, this should be at the top of your shopping list!
The only drawback of this bed combo is that the mattress is a memory foam instead of a hybrid; a hybrid design would provide more support and be more comfortable for people trying to adjust their sleeping position to treat sleep apnea. Outside of that, though, there are very few things to complain about with this adjustable bed/mattress combo!
6. Best Mattress for Back Pain and Sleep Apnea: Tempur-Pedic Tempur Adapt Medium Hybrid Mattress
Finding support for back pain is best accomplished with a medium-firm mattress, and this is one of the best around. This 11-inch hybrid delivers the firmness needed to relieve pressure and reduce back pain, but it isn’t so firm that it feels like you’re sleeping on a park bench. That means it’s a nice balance that is also good for sleep apnea because it supports all sleeping positions.
If you’re dealing with back pain and sleep apnea at the same time, your mattress needs to go. It’s causing you to get poor sleep which just serves to exacerbate the problems you’re having. Get your hands on the Tempur Adapt Medium Hybrid, and it’s likely that you’ll be feeling better than ever in a matter of weeks!
7. Best Serta Mattress for Sleep Apnea: Serta Perfect Sleeper Hybrid Mattress
Sometimes, it makes sense to go with a brand that’s been trusted for decades, and the Serta name has a great reputation that has been well-earned. The Perfect Sleeper Hybrid is a deceptively simple mattress that will provide excellent comfort and sleep to anyone trying to fix their sleep apnea.
It promotes stomach and side sleeping, and it’s stable enough to prevent tossing and turning at night. Get yourself this mattress and an adjustable base, and you’re well on your way toward the deepest sleep you’ve had in a long, long time!
8. Best Purple Mattress for Sleep Apnea: The Purple Mattress
Easily one of the most popular and recognizable mattresses on the market today, the Purple Mattress uses an “egg crate” grid design to gently support and cradle every part of the body. It’s not going to be great for people who like a rigid mattress, but most people who try this mattress fall in love with it for a reason.
It’s soft enough to lull you to sleep but not so soft that you wake up at 4 AM with a stiff neck. It works with adjustable bases and it just might be everything you need to transform your sleep and solve your sleep apnea for good!
9. Best Tempurpedic Mattress for Sleep Apnea: Tempur-Pedic Pro Adapt Medium 12-Inch Mattress
If you’ve got the money, this mattress is luxurious and beneficial enough to completely change the way you sleep. It’s a medium mattress, so it will retain some of the firmness you likely enjoy. However, it’s soft enough that you can comfortably sleep on your side or stomach to open up your airways.
Every Tempur-Pedic Mattress is created with the help of orthopedic experts, so you can have complete confidence that your money will be well-spent and your sleep quality drastically improved.
10. Best Sleep Number Mattress for Sleep Apnea: Sleep Number i10 360 Smart Mattress
Sleep Number beds cost as much as a used car, but there is no debating they make your life far better than a used car would. These mattresses have air chambers inside that inflate and deflate according to your specifications and can be controlled using your smartphone or a remote. You can also add an adjustable base to your purchase to get a complete sleep system.
If you’re trying to solve your sleep apnea and want total control over your mattress, this is the best option for you. You can adjust your sleeping position and the firmness of your mattress to your heart’s content, and save the best settings to your smartphone! What's not to love about that?
11. Best Mattress Wedge for Sleep Apnea: The Wellness Wedge
The packaging might look a bit dated, but The Wellness Wedge is a cost-effective and unobtrusive solution to sleep apnea. All you have to do is place the wedge underneath the front of your mattress and your head will be elevated at an angle that will open up your airwaves.
Other mattress wedges are designed to be placed on top of the mattress and under your pillow. These products may look nice, but they shift and slide during the night and are a complete nuisance to deal with. This “set it and forget it” mattress wedge will do its job, night after night, and you’ll eventually forget it’s even there!
Best Mattress for Sleep Apnea (Runners-Up)
The only reason that this mattress did not take the “best overall” position on our list is that it’s more expensive than the Nectar mattress- more than twice as expensive, to be specific. For that premium price tag, though, you get one of the softest, most comfortable mattresses on the market.
The Casper Nova mattress seeks to provide all the softness you could ever want as a stomach sleeper, plus some other valuable features. First, the top layer of foam within the mattress has air channels that effectively regulate temperature as you sleep.
Second, below that layer is two layers of foam that give targeted support to your back, hips, and shoulders. This prevents the mattress, soft though it is, from causing pain and soreness. Finally, Casper gives every customer a 100-night in-home trial that, while not as long as the Nectar trial, is more than enough to determine whether or not the Nova is right for you!
This is the best innerspring mattress for people with sleep apnea. Though it does have traditional metal coils on the inside, it’s topped by 7 inches of ultra-soft memory foam. That makes it a suitable choice for all types of sleepers. It’s also one of the few innerspring mattresses that can be used with an adjustable bed base.
Although softer mattresses are usually better for people with sleep apnea, a mattress that’s too soft can cause other problems. If you need to treat sleep apnea symptoms but know that you need extra support for your back, this mattress is ideal for you. You’ll get just enough softness to sleep in the prone position or use an adjustable bed base. But, you won’t get a mattress that’s so soft it leaves you feeling sore or sinking to the bottom.
Best Mattress Topper for Sleep Apnea: ViscoSoft 3-Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper
The trouble with many mattress toppers is that they make you feel hot and sink into the foam. ViscoSoft’s memory foam, though, is constructed with a breathable mesh cover and infused with gel to keep your body heat flowing away from you. The foam is also very high-density, so it feels soft but doesn’t let you sink into it too far.
Getting a good mattress topper is a great way to get the sleeping surface you desire without dropping several hundred dollars on a new mattress. This topper should provide just the right amount of support to let you sleep easier and get some relief from your sleep apnea symptoms. If you want to treat your sleep apnea without hurting your back, this mattress topper might work for you!
FAQs: Mattresses and Sleep Apnea
How Important is a Mattress for Sleep Apnea?
Because one of the best things you can do for sleep apnea is to adjust your sleeping position, a change in mattress might be necessary. If you use a firm mattress to sleep on your back, changing to a stomach sleeping posture may be very uncomfortable if you do not get a softer mattress. Mattresses that are too stiff to be tilted with an adjustable base need to be replaced, too.
In short, a new mattress might not be the solution to your sleep apnea, but it can hold you back from accomplishing those solutions. If you don’t have the right mattress, adjusting your sleep position so that your sleep apnea subsides may be near impossible!
What is the Correlation Between Mattress and Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea isn’t caused by your mattress, but your mattress can still be problematic. Sleep apnea occurs when your brain and body aren’t getting enough oxygen as you sleep. This happens when your airways are constricted, and that happens when you sleep on your back or with your head facing upward.
If the most comfortable way to sleep in your current mattress is in a position that leads to sleep apnea, there is a direct link between the mattress and your lack of energy. Conversely, if your mattress is most comfortable when sleeping on your side or stomach, sleep apnea isn’t nearly as likely.
Sleeping on Flat Mattress - Can it Cause Sleep Apnea?
A flat mattress doesn’t cause sleep apnea, but it sets the stage for the things that do: sleeping at a position where your airways become constricted, leading to snoring and a lack of oxygen as you sleep. If you sleep on a flat mattress, it’s much more likely that your head will be at a position where sleep apnea occurs.
On the other hand, getting a mattress that tilts at the head puts you in a position where you can breathe without restrictions. That means your sleep apnea will go away and you’ll wake up feeling more energized and ready to tackle the day!
Sleep Apnea Mattress Elevation - How High
Research indicates that 15 degrees of elevation is ideal for treating sleep apnea. If you can elevate your head at that angle, you’ll have a much higher chance of conquering your sleep apnea.
You can choose to increase that angle if you like, but going below 15 degrees of elevation reduces the effectiveness of elevating the head. To help treat sleep apnea, make sure you’re elevating your head at 15 degrees or more!
Ways to Lift Mattress at Head for Sleep Apnea
Here are three solid ways to elevate your head while you sleep and reduce the effects of your sleep apnea:
- 1Adjustable Bed Frame: Adjustable bed frames that elevate your entire torso aren’t as comfortable as head tilt models, but they do get the job done.
- 2Head Tilt Bed Frame: Instead of elevating your whole torso, these bed frames tilt-only your head to the ideal angle of 15 degrees. They cost more than standard adjustable bed bases, but they’re worth the added expense to fix sleep apnea!
- 3Mattress Wedge: Placed underneath the head of your mattress, these products work instantly and require zero maintenance. They elevate your head without affecting the rest of your mattress, and they’re typically pretty cheap!
- 4DIY Mattress Wedge: If you want a simpler solution, you can make your own mattress wedge by cutting a couple of 2X4’s to size and putting them under your mattress to prop up your head. It won’t work as well as a true mattress wedge, but it can still be effective in a pinch.
Buying Guide: Best Mattress Type for Sleep Apnea
What Type of Mattress is Best for Sleep Apnea?
For most people, memory foam mattresses are best for sleep apnea. They’re the most comfortable for stomach sleeping, and they work well with adjustable bed bases. Sleeping on your stomach is the best way to treat sleep apnea because it allows your nostrils and throat to remain completely open as you sleep.
Sleeping on your side or back can result in your tongue or throat muscles constricting your airways, something that no person with sleep apnea enjoys. The types of mattresses that are good for side/back sleepers- hybrid and innerspring- are often the opposite of what seniors with sleep apnea need. In almost every case, when sleep apnea is the only obstacle to good sleep, soft memory foam mattresses are best!
Firm or Soft Mattress for Sleep Apnea?
Sleeping on the stomach is not the natural sleep position for most people (74% of people sleep on their side), which means most mattresses (and therefore mattress buying guides) aren’t made for stomach sleepers. A lot of the best advice for mattresses would lead you to think that you should get a medium-firm mattress.
While this is the best firmness for side/back sleepers and people with back pain, sleep apnea requires a softer touch. Soft mattresses let you settle into the prone position as you sleep, without causing your back to bend too much. Your personal preferences might lead you to get a slightly more firm mattress, but most people should err on the side of softness.
Can a Soft Mattress Make Sleep Apnea Worse?
For all the recommendations we’ve given about soft mattresses, there is certainly such a thing as “too soft”. If you’re a heavier person or you have back pain, an overly soft mattress will cause you to sink in too much and can even worsen your symptoms.
So, while you shouldn’t get a firm mattress because it will have you sleeping on your side, you should also try not to go too soft. In the end, the exact firmness you choose is determined by your body’s shape and weight, as well as your personal preferences. Also, the mattresses on our list are, for the most part, “medium-soft” which means they should have enough support for most people!
Can a New Mattress Help Sleep Apnea?
The mattress you sleep on is important for alleviating your sleep apnea, but it may not be the most important thing. Using a CPAP machine might be annoying but they are proven to be very effective. Similarly, an adjustable bed base that lets you elevate your head while sleeping is quite effective at preventing sleep apnea from disturbing your rest.
New mattresses can certainly help, especially if your current mattress is too firm for stomach sleeping. They’re just not the only thing that can help, so you should take a wider approach when it comes to treating sleep apnea for the best results!
How to Choose a Mattress for Sleep Apnea
In case we haven’t drilled it into your head enough yet: if you aren’t using a CPAP machine or an adjustable bed base, sleeping on your stomach is the best way to relieve sleep apnea. Shopping for a mattress should revolve around finding a model that allows you to sleep on your stomach comfortably!
Don’t Ignore Your Other Needs
If you have other sleeping needs and preferences, you should try to balance those with your sleep apnea. After all, having clear airways at night won’t matter much if you can’t even fall asleep due to back pain. Do your best to get a mattress that will help you with all of your needs, not just sleep apnea
If you have the budget, consider getting an adjustable base. The ability to elevate your head as you sleep is an easy and effective way to get relief from sleep apnea. If you have an adjustable base, you don’t even need to sleep on your stomach! And, you can get a mattress with any firmness you desire!
Wrapping Up: Mattresses for Sleep Apnea
In conclusion, the best mattresses for sleep apnea allow you to sleep on your stomach and can be paired with an adjustable bed base. If you can find the ideal combination of features, you can experience much better sleep. So, which mattress do you think you’ll choose? An ultra-soft model for perfect stomach sleeping, or a medium-soft one that will balance back support and sleep apnea relief? Do you have any questions about the mattresses on our list? Let us hear your thoughts below!