Best Mattresses for Sleep Apnea in 2021
The right mattress can lead to a better night’s sleep for sleep apnea sufferers. See our top picks.
Jun 4th, 2021 •
Sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder where the body stops breathing for short periods during sleep. If you suffer from sleep apnea you might be looking for ways to improve it and to get more sleep. The right mattress and your sleep position can both impact sleep apnea.
To help you find the best mattress, we will walk you through our top 5 picks for best mattresses for sleep apnea. We have also included information on the different types of sleep apnea, what type of mattresses work well, and anything else you want to know.
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Best Mattresses for Sleep Apnea
- Best Adjustable Base – Saatva Solaire
- Best for Side Sleepers – Helix Midnight Luxe
- Best Firm Mattress – Layla
- Best for Back Pain – Casper Wave Hybrid
- Best Hypoallergenic – ZenHaven
Every mattress we recommend has gone through extensive testing in our Mattress Advisor lab. Our testing process evaluates how well a mattress performs regarding motion transfer, edge support, pressure relief, spinal alignment, responsiveness, cooling, and durability. We also evaluate how individual companies perform in areas like shipping, set-up, trial period, return policy, and warranty. Each of these features receives a score between 1 and 10.
Please Note: We’re mattress experts, not doctors. Our recommendations are not a substitute for medical advice.
Best Adjustable Base
- Those with allergies or breathing difficulties
- People wanting a customized sleep firmness
- Eco-conscious shoppers
The Saatva Solaire is an unusual hybrid mattress with an adjustable air base. It was made to be customizable and adjusts to 50 different settings for a perfect firmness level. This is a great option to get a flawless fit for your sleep apnea.
Related: Best Adjustable Beds
This Saatva Solaire is also very eco-friendly. It has a quilted cover of organic cotton and a top layer of OEKO-TEX certified talalay latex, two of the most natural and non-toxic materials available. They won’t cause breathing problems or allergies which can trigger sleep apnea. There is also a layer of memory foam for comfort and support.
Saatva is labeled a luxury mattress but has a great price point. Saatva has a 120-night trial period and an exceptional 25-year warranty. You also get free white glove delivery and set up!
Read our full Saatva Solaire mattress review.
Helix Midnight LUXE
Best for Side Sleepers
- Side and combination sleepers
- Couples who have different needs in a mattress
- Eco-conscious shoppers
Medium firm: 6/10
The Helix Midnight Luxe is a medium firm hybrid. The Midnight is 1 of 7 firmness options offered by Helix and generally best for side-sleeping, the best position for sleep apnea.
Read More: Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers
The Helix Midnight Luxe is designed to provide relief for side sleepers and support healthy breathing. It is made without harmful chemicals and certified through CertiPUR-US® and OEKO-TEX to keep you breathing healthy all night. This is a luxury 5-layer innerspring mattress with pocketed coils that scored high in edge support, motion transfer, cooling, and durability.
Helix comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty.
Read our full Helix Midnight Luxe mattress review.
Best for Firm Mattress
- Back or stomach sleepers who need a firmer mattress
- People with pain or inflammation
- Those looking for a lifetime warranty
Soft side: 4-5/10; Firm side: 7/10
Layla is a two-sided mattress with a soft side and a firm side. The firm side is great for back sleepers and a top bed for stomach sleepers to keep the spine aligned and breathing pathways clear. If you have sleep apnea and sleep on your back this is a great choice.
Related: Best Firm Mattresses
The Layla mattress also has infused copper which can reduce inflammation and curb pain. The mattress is made of layered memory foam; You can simply flip to your desired firmness. Both sides offer great support and help with pressure point relief.
Layla offers a 120-night trial and a lifetime warranty. Both shipping and returns are free. This equates to a hassle-free purchase. You’ll be more than pleased with the Layla mattress and your purchase experience.
Read our full Layla mattress review.
Casper Wave Hybrid
Best for Back Pain
- Those needing good back support
- People with muscle pain and tightness
- All sleep positions
If you suffer from back pain and you also have sleep apnea, you have two issues to contend with. The Casper Wave Hybrid has five layers of comfort foam, latex, memory foam, and innersprings for an outstanding support combination that can help with both – it’s one of our top picks for the best mattress for back pain of 2021.
It offers someone with upper or lower back pain the support they need for a better night’s sleep and keeps the spine aligned for better breathing. Casper relieves pressure points, is cooling, and long-lasting. It works for every sleep position and is especially supportive for side sleepers at a solid 5 on the firmness scale.
The Wave Hybrid is highly durable and responsive, which means it lasts and keeps its shape and has great bounce back for tossing and turning. The mattress also comes with a 100-night trial and a 10-year warranty.
Read our full Casper Wave Hybrid mattress review.
Best Hypoallergenic Mattress
- People with breathing difficulties
- Eco-conscious shoppers
- All sleep positions
Soft side: 4-5/10; Firm side: 7-8/10
Since sleep apnea is related to breathing, a natural and hypoallergenic mattress is a great way to support your condition. The ZenHaven is made by Saatva from all-natural latex, wool, and cotton for a healthy toxin-free mattress. Natural latex is made from rubber trees. Latex foam is naturally hypoallergenic, cooling, and responsive. It also repels dust mites.
This natural latex mattress is also two-sided. You can choose from luxury plush or gentle firm for the best fit. Firmness is a matter of preference, but with the ZenHaven you can determine this without having to return the mattress. If it is too soft or too firm, just switch to the other side.
The ZenHaven comes with a 120-night sleep trial, a 20-year warranty, and optional white glove delivery. It has just the right amount of support for your entire body and can reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea with the promise of a chemical free sleep.
Read our full ZenHaven mattress review.
Buying Guide: Choosing the Right Mattress for Sleep Apnea
In this guide, we’ll cover the following:
- Sleep and Sleep Apnea
- Best Type of Mattress for Sleep Apnea
- Best Sleeping Position for Sleep Apnea
- Tips for Sleeping with Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition that only occurs during sleep. Muscles at the back of the throat relax and obstruct airways causing a momentary blockage. As soon as this happens the body wakes itself to get you breathing again. As you are continually woken from sleep, you may fail to get enough deep sleep and overall sleep quality becomes compromised. Let’s look at the different types of sleep apnea and how they affect sleep.
Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea is caused by a disrupted or faulty connection between the brain and the muscles. The muscles don’t get the message to keep the body breathing, so they regularly or periodically stop, causing apnea episodes. This kind of sleep apnea originates from a number of different conditions and is a less common form of apnea where the airways are not blocked.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
With obstructive sleep apnea, the breathing passage or airway becomes narrowed and blocks the ability to breathe. The most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea is excess weight. The tissues in the throat and neck relax during sleep and the extra tissue can block breathing causing the apneic episode. Obstructive sleep apnea is a common type of sleep apnea.
Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome
Complex sleep apnea syndrome is an uncommon reaction to being treated for obstructive sleep apnea in which the body manifests the symptoms of central sleep apnea. It is considered a combination of both types that happens in the initial stages of treating obstructive sleep apnea with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. The body may occasionally initiate a secondary reaction in addition to the obstructive sleep apnea resulting in the complex sleep apnea syndrome diagnosis.
With sleep apnea, the recommendation is to sleep on your side, elevate your head, and sleep on hypoallergenic materials. You also want a supportive and comfortable bed to aid good quality sleep.
An innerspring mattress is constructed with a core layer of springs sandwiched between layers of foam or a pillow top. These beds offer lots of bounce and little contouring or support. If you find them comfortable, however, there is nothing to say they are bad for your sleep apnea. Look for an organic cotton or hypoallergenic comfort layer to support better breathing.
Memory Foam Mattress
Memory foam mattresses have amazing support for side sleepers. They are body contouring and pain relieving and work best for sleep apnea at a medium firmness. Since weight can be associated with sleep apnea, you don’t want too soft a foam where you will sink and not be supported. You also may want to check for non-toxic certifications, so you aren’t breathing harmful off-gassing that can make sleep apnea worse.
Latex foam is similar to memory foam in its ability to contour and support, but it is a natural material. Look for an all latex mattress and not a blend if you want the most eco-friendly material. Latex mattresses are also great for side sleepers and can be constructed with other natural materials like wool or organic cotton. All of these add to the hypoallergenic properties of a mattress which support sleep apnea.
Hybrid mattresses are constructed with multiple materials and are often very supportive, top-of- the-line mattresses. Memory foam or latex foam layers may be combined with springs or coils as a primary base layer.
The best hybrid beds offer great support and pressure relief and support side sleeping. They came in hypoallergenic and natural versions to support breathing and can be excellent beds for people with sleep apnea.
There are good and bad sleep positions for sleep apnea. Ideally you need a position that keeps your throat open and your airways clear, and this is easier to accomplish in some positions over others.
Side sleeping is the recommended position to reduce or eliminate apnea episodes. If you naturally sleep on your side, you are less likely to have sleep apnea in the first place. If you don’t sleep on your side, or are a combination sleeper, you can work on becoming a side sleeper by choosing this position and buying a bed that supports it. Memory foam, latex foam, and hybrids with good pressure point relief can help.
Back sleeping has long been considered a great sleep position for back pain and spinal alignment and all-around good sleep. Not so when it comes to sleep apnea.
This is the position that is most likely to cause throat closure and induce both snoring and sleep apnea. If you are a back sleeper, make sure your head is properly elevated with a good pillow or an adjustable bed frame. The right mattress at a medium firmness can also help.
Sleeping on your stomach can reduce both snoring and sleep apnea, so it is good in that respect. It is not, however, a recommended position because it has other drawbacks.
It can throw your spine out of alignment and cause neck tension that can be problematic throughout the day or cause daytime fatigue. Even though it relieves sleep apnea it is not suggested in general.
In addition to a good mattress, the right sleep position, and better overall sleep, there are additional things you can utilize to improve sleep apnea.
In widespread use for sleep apnea patients is the CPAP machine or continuous positive airway pressure device. This is a machine with a face mask that is worn during sleep which pumps air and keeps your airways open.
It can eliminate sleep apnea and keep you sleeping all night. You will need to have your doctor refer you to a sleep clinic where you will be evaluated for an OSA score or how many apnea episodes you have per hour. Sleep apnea treatments will then be considered including lifestyle changes or a CPAP machine. Insurance normally covers the costs.
Especially if you sleep on your side or in a position where the CPAP mask comes in contact with your pillow, you may want to consider a CPAP pillow. These are specially designed to help keep the mask in place while you sleep and are readily available from retailers or online.
They are often made from memory foam with added features like cooling gel and have a contours that works perfectly with the shape of a mask.
Adjustable Bed Frame
A bed base that adjusts up and down like a hospital bed can really impact your sleep apnea. Sleeping with your upper body elevated helps keep your throat from closing and keeps your airways open.
Adjustable bed frames work especially well with memory foam or latex foam mattresses and many mattress companies sell them. Consider adding one to your mattress purchase to really help with sleep apnea.
Bed Wedge Pillow
If you want a simple solution to adding elevation while you sleep, try a wedge pillow. They are very comfortable and angle the body to reduce breathing difficulties. Wedges are a great option to try before investing in a larger item like an adjustable bed base.
What’s the difference between snoring and sleep apnea?
Snoring and sleep apnea are closely tied and often experienced simultaneously. Snoring is the sound that comes from the vibrating of your respiratory structure when it is partially blocked. When these airways become fully blocked repeatedly throughout the night, you have sleep apnea.
With blocked airways, you stop breathing and experience an apneic episode. When you snore, you may not be getting as much oxygen as needed, but you don’t stop breathing. What causes snoring can lead to sleep apnea and other health problems like heart disease.
Is a firm or soft mattress better for sleep apnea?
With sleep apnea you want a mattress that is not too firm and not too soft, but right in the middle. The firmness scale goes from 1 to 10, 1 being very soft, and 10 being quite firm. Aim for something in the middle like a 5 or 6.
Should you sleep sitting up when you have sleep apnea?
Sleeping sitting up is not a recommended sleep position. You sleep better in a prone position where the body is more fully able to relax and sleep deeply. For sleep apnea, a 40-degree angle of your upper body using a wedge pillow or an adjustable bed base, is considered ideal.
Recap: Our Top Picks for the Best Mattresses for Sleep Apnea
|Saatva Solaire||Best Adjustable Base||8.7/10|
|Helix Midnight Luxe||Best for Side Sleepers||8.9/10|
|Layla||Best Firm Mattress||8.8/10|
|Casper Wave Hybrid||Best for Back Pain||9.3/10|
The right mattress can help reduce episodes of sleep apnea. There are numerous things you can do to improve your sleep apnea, starting with a supportive mattress and the right sleep position. Check with your doctor about a treatment plan and treat yourself to a bed that supports both your sleep disorder and a good night’s sleep.
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