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!
4 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!
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!
Buying Guide: How Important is a Mattress 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!