Sleep apnea, a disorder where airways are blocked during sleep, is a common problem in the United States. It’s estimated that 1 in 4 adults have it but go undiagnosed because they feel it’s only snoring and not a more serious sleep disorder. Luckily, it’s treatable and manageable with simple lifestyle changes.
In this guide, we list our favorite mattresses and offer helpful suggestions on what to look for in a mattress. We also offer information about sleep apnea and steps you can take to reduce its effects.
Research and Resources
In making this article we…
- Compared 20 different mattresses looking at the healthy support they offer.
- Read dozens of customer reviews about their experiences on different mattresses.
- Spent 17 hours writing and editing this article to deliver the most value-driven content to our readers.
Best Mattresses for Sleep Apnea of 2019
|Amerisleep AS2||Two inches of pressure-relieving foam and a clinically-proven back support layer||
|Zoma Sports Mattress||Gel-infused memory foam with zoned support||
|Layla||A unique, flippable design||
The Amerisleep AS2 is our top pick for best mattress for sleep apnea. Its 5-zoned layer offers much needed support with comfortable pressure relief. Plus, all the materials are hypoallergenic, which won’t aggravate allergies or sinuses, helping reduce sleep apnea symptoms like snoring.
When looking to mitigate the side effects of any sleep disorder, support and comfort are key. This is what the AS2 does so well. It has a height 12” and contains the following layers: Bio-Pur® foam, proven to five times more breathable than traditional memory foam, Affinity layer with HIVE® technology – a six-sided textured foam that acts as a 5-zoned system that lends more support to the head, back, and legs and softer support to the shoulders and hips, and long-lasting Bio-Core® support foam.
- 5-zoned support layer
- Advanced cooling foam
- FDA-determined Celliant® technology
The Zoma mattress is 11 inches of comfort and support. It features a 2-inch layer of gel-infused memory foam to provide the pressure-relieving benefits of memory foam without any risk of you sleeping hot
Zoma refers to their mattress as a “sports mattress” and targets its product towards athletes or those who live an active lifestyle. People who are active need deeper sleep (and more of it) to help them recover.
What Zoma does for athletes, also makes it a great mattress for nearly everyone. By combining comfort and support, the Zoma mattress works towards helping you sleep better and recover faster.
The Zoma mattress comes with free shipping, a risk-free, 100-night sleep trial, and a 10-year warranty.
- Gel-infused memory foam
- A firmer midsection for spinal support
- A 7-inch core for longevity
As a more budget-friendly option, the Layla is a good choice for those with sleep apnea. It’s ideal for back and side sleepers, lending the right amount of support and comfort depending on your preferred sleep position.
This memory foam mattress is dual-sided – one side sleeps soft, and the other sleeps medium firm. The soft side is ideal for side sleepers, while the medium-firm side is good for back sleepers.
The Layla includes two layers of copper-infused memory foam, and a removable, copper-infused cover. Copper is an excellent heat conductor, and by infusing it with memory foam, it draws heat away from the body to prevent overheating. Also, copper is naturally antimicrobial and may reduce allergy symptoms at night, leading to snoring.
- Copper infusion memory foam
- Removable and washable cover
- Lifetime warranty
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common and serious condition in the United States. An estimated 22 million Americans experience it, but roughly 80% of cases are left undiagnosed. Individuals of any age can develop sleep apnea, including children and infants, however, the following individuals are at a higher risk:
- Men over the age of 40
- Adults who are overweight or obese
- Those with thicker necks; men – 17”, women – 15”
- Inherited narrow airways, larger tongues and tonsils
- Family history of sleep apnea
- Frequent nasal congestion due to allergies or sinus problems
Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Chronic snoring
- Daytime sleepiness
During sleep apnea, breathing is paused for 10 seconds, which can occur roughly 30 times per hour during the night. When breathing stops, the brain signals the body to wake up to force airways open. These waking periods are so minor, most don’t remember doing it. However, the body does, and the results of this constant waking leave individuals suffering from daytime fatigue with lower levels of oxygen in the blood.
Types of Sleep Apnea
If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious medical problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, and stroke. There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and complex.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
The most common type of sleep apnea is caused by blocked airways due to the tongue falling back and/or collapse of soft tissue at the back of the throat.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
The brain fails to send signals to the muscles that help the body breath. Breathing stops not because of the collapse of soft tissue, but because the muscles are not receiving signals from the brain to contract, allowing air to flow to the lungs.
Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome (CompSAS)
Combination of both Obstructive and Central Sleep Apnea. Soft tissue collapses at the back of the throat, and breathing muscles don’t receive signals from the brain.
What’s the Difference Between Sleep Apnea and Snoring?
It’s important that sleep apnea and snoring are not taken as the same. While snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea; just because you snore, doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea. Quite common, it can affect both men and women.
Typically caused by relaxed tissues in the throat, the partially blocked airways will vibrate in the pressurized and limited space, creating sound (snoring). This phenomenon can result in either soft or loud snoring. In cases of sleep apnea, breathing will actually stop for a few seconds up to three minutes. Both snoring and sleep apnea can be caused by obesity, larger tongues, aging, and neck thickness.
If you’re unsure of your condition, set aside a journal and record your sleep patterns and daily symptoms. Then bring it to your next appointment. This practice can help give your doctor more details about your sleep issues and help them determine if a sleep study is needed.
Why Material Matters for Sleep Apnea Patients
For those who suffer from sleep apnea, seeking a mattress can be a tricky business. Two features that you want to keep a lookout for are the type of material contained in a mattress and the level of firmness a mattress has to offer. These features will offer the right amount of support to those affected by sleep apnea. It also encourages breathing by reducing the risk of other respiratory conditions.
Materials found in a mattress need to help encourage breathing. We recommend choosing memory foam or latex – both are hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant, resulting in less of a chance to develop allergies and asthma. If you do have allergies, then a hypoallergenic mattress won’t aggravate your symptoms at night.
Since most sleep apnea patients sleep on their sides, largely due to CPAP machines, they need the right amount of support. They need contouring to relieve pressure points in the hips and shoulders.
We recommend medium firmness – it cushions and prevents sinkage, but also has a level of softness that offers comfort and proper spinal alignment.
Best Types of Mattresses for Sleep Apnea
If you suffer from sleep apnea and are on the hunt for the best mattress, keep in mind the different types of mattresses before you buy. As stated above, we recommend memory foam or latex. There are also some exceptional hybrid models that would be good choices as well– Although, less effective.
Extracted from rubber trees, latex begins as natural sap whipped into a light, airy material. There are two types of latex; Dunlop and Talalay. The difference between the two, is during the Talalay process, rods are strategically placed in the latex, providing better comfort and support to the body.
It’s hypoallergenic, encouraging better breathing at night. If looking into a latex mattress, avoid synthetic latex. It has a petroleum base and produces an off-gassing odor, which could aggravate symptoms of sleep apnea.
Memory Foam Mattress
Memory foam offers superior pressure point relief– crucial for those who sleep on their side. It supports the body by cradling the hips and lumbar area for healthy spinal alignment.
Be sure to choose high-quality memory foam and avoid “bargain” deals. Many low-priced memory foam beds may seem like a steal, but in actuality end up sagging after a year of use.
Hybrids consist of an innerspring base with latex or memory foam comfort layers. Hybrids may not be as prone to dust mites as innerspring mattresses, but hybrids still have a higher risk than memory foam and latex mattresses. If looking for an adjustable bed, some hybrids may not be compatible with an adjustable base. Check with the mattress manufacturer before finalizing a purchase.
Sleep Apnea Sleep Tips
These helpful tips can help reduce sleep apnea symptoms and encourage better breathing. Overall, it can increase the level of oxygen intake and improve your health.
“Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.” The most common sleep apnea treatment, it’s a special machine that provides consistent oxygen through a face mask. CPAP machines are designed to keep airways open during the night.
A good choice for those who use a CPAP machine. A CPAP pillow allows space for face mask and hoses. It offers excellent support to the head and neck.
Side sleeping is the healthiest and most popular sleep position. It decreases snoring, acid reflux, and heartburn. Sleeping in this position can also help reduce the number of sleep apnea episodes.
Wedge Pillow or Wedge Mattress Topper
If an adjustable base is not in your budget or if not interested at this time, a wedge pillow might be a good choice. Wedge pillows elevate the upper body to open airways. This is especially ideal for those who prefer to sleep on their back.
Adjustable Bed Frame
While side sleeping is encouraged, many prefer sleeping on their backs. This sleep position may worsen symptoms of sleep apnea. To remedy this, an adjustable bed might be a good option.
An adjustable bed frame is compatible with many different mattress types. It elevates the upper body to open airways with the click of a button. Not only is it an ideal tool to reduce sleep apnea symptoms, it can also reduce snoring and improve blood circulation. If you sleep with a partner, split king adjustable beds allows each individual to adjust the position of their bed to their own personal preference.
It’s vital that you choose a mattress based on your sleep position. This allows for better comfort, support, and ultimately, a good night’s rest. For those who are affected by sleep apnea, sleep position is crucial in symptom reduction and improved health.
As the healthiest sleeping position, side sleeping is highly encouraged for those who suffer from sleep apnea. This position allows better spinal alignment, improved oxygen intact, and reduces the symptoms of sleep apnea. It’s also more comfortable for those using a CPAP machine.
Those who sleep on their backs are at a higher risk to develop and worsen sleep apnea symptoms. This is largely due to the tongue falling back and the collapse of soft tissue at the back of the throat. We highly recommend switching to the side sleeping position.
If, for whatever reason, you are unable to do this, we encourage you to invest in a wedge pillow. The raised elevation to the upper body will not only open airways, but prevent airway obstruction.
While better than back sleeping, stomach sleeping is still not an ideal sleeping position. Breathing may improve with reduced snoring, but the additional pressure placed on the lower back goes against its natural curve. Back pain and an increased risk of sciatica can occur as a result of stomach sleeping.
Did You Find Your Next Bed?
While not life-threatening, sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems. Managing this condition can improve your lifestyle. It starts with the right mattress.
A quality mattress will conform to the body and support the spine to prevent back pain. Stick to hypoallergenic materials, like latex foam, to avoid aggravating sleep apnea symptoms. We hope this guide helps you achieve a good night’s sleep and made you more aware of the risks of sleep apnea.