What's the Best Mattress for Sleep Apnea?

September 7, 2023 | Casper Editorial Team

Fact checked by Jonathan Eilenberg, CPE

If you or your sleeping partner suffers from sleep apnea, you know the discomfort it can cause during the night. Between snoring, breathing disruptions and frequent awakenings, those with sleep apnea often feel drowsy and unrested even after a full night in bed.1

The right mattress and bedding accessories can make a big difference in sleep quality for those with sleep apnea. Let’s look at how the best bed mattresses and bed frames provide ergonomic support, pressure relief and airflow to create a sleep environment tailored to the needs of sleep apnea sufferers.

What is Sleep Apnea?

First, a quick overview for the uninitiated. Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by pauses or disruptions in breathing throughout the night. These respiratory disruptions prevent restorative REM and deep sleep stages.2

There are two types of sleep apnea:2

  • Obstructive sleep apnea – Caused by blockage of the airway, often due to the tongue or soft tissues in the throat relaxing and collapsing during sleep. This is the most common type of sleep apnea.
  • Central sleep apnea – Caused by a miscommunication between the brain and muscles that control breathing.

Sleep apnea disruptions often last 10 or more seconds at a time and can occur dozens or even hundreds of times per night. Frequent drops in oxygen levels lead to frequent micro-awakenings as the body struggles to breathe properly.3

The most common sleep apnea symptoms include:4

Sleep Apnea’s Impact on Sleep

We all know how much poor sleep quality can throw off the next day. Now imagine dealing with chronic sleep deprivation and constant daytime drowsiness as a result of untreated sleep apnea.

Sleep disruptions caused by sleep apnea can have major impacts on your sleep health and quality of life, including:5,6

  • Fatigue, low energy and cognitive fog
  • Impaired mood, memory and concentration
  • Increased risk of accidents or errors
  • High blood pressure, heart disease and other health issues

Those with moderate to severe sleep apnea miss out on the deep, restorative stages of sleep needed to wake up feeling refreshed. As a result, sufferers often deal with chronic sleep debt and constant daytime tiredness.7

How the Right Mattress Can Help with Sleep Apnea

While sleep apnea requires medical diagnosis and can’t be cured by a new mattress alone, the right bedding can help minimize nighttime breathing disruptions. The best sleeping position for sleep apnea is side sleeping, so optimizing your sleep setup for this sleep position is ideal.

Certain mattress materials and designs allow for improved spinal alignment, pressure relief and airflow circulation – all important factors for reducing sleep apnea events.

An adjustable bed frame that raises the head also reduces airway obstruction and makes breathing easier throughout the night.8

The Role of Adjustable Bed Frames

Adjustable bed frames that raise the head of your mattress can be game changer for sleep apnea sufferers. This elevated position prevents the tongue and soft tissues of the throat from collapsing backward and obstructing breathing.8

Do adjustable beds help snoring? You betcha. Inclined bed frames also help reduce snoring and sleep disruptions related to acid reflux, another condition aggravated by lying completely flat.10

The Adjustable Base Max from Casper offers a unique sleep experience tailored to individual needs. Some of its standout features include:

  • Customizable Features: It provides a full suite of customizable positions for a personalized sleep setup.
  • Zero Gravity Position: This position is designed to relax your body, offering balanced comfort.
  • Anti-Snore: This feature raises your head and chest to reduce pressure on your airway, ensuring uninterrupted sleep.
  • Wall-Aligning Technology: This ensures everything you need is within reach, enhancing convenience.
  • Personalized Presets: You can save your favorite positions for easy access.
  • Additional Features: The bed comes with under-the-bed lighting for those midnight snack runs and a 4-zone massage feature to help you relax.

Best Types of Mattresses for Sleep Apnea

When shopping for the best mattress for sleep apnea, pay attention to these key features:

  • Cushioning comfort – Pressure relief prevents pain at the shoulders and hips, allowing you to fully relax into sleep.
  • Spinal support – Proper alignment of the neck, spine and pelvis reduces tension in the airway.
  • Breathability – Airflow through the mattress material keeps you cool during warmer months.
  • Motion isolation – Minimal transfer of movement lets your partner sleep undisturbed.

With those criteria in mind, these two mattress types tend to work very well for those with sleep apnea:

Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam contours closely to the body to provide customized support and pressure point relief. Denser foams provide more support, while softer layers cushion areas like the shoulders and hips.

The cradling sensation of memory foam reduces tension in the neck and throat muscles that can restrict airflow. A memory foam mattress also absorbs movement so you won’t disturb your partner when adjusting sleeping positions or getting in and out of bed with this mattress type.

Hybrid Mattresses

The hybrid mattress type combines the pressure relief of memory foam layers with the stability of pocketed coils. The coils bring welcome airflow to keep you cool while the foam absorbs motion and alleviates tension at the shoulders and hips. The strategic mix of support and cushioning keeps the spine aligned and weight evenly distributed regardless of sleep position.

Top Casper Mattress Recommendations for Sleep Apnea Sufferers

All of our mattresses use premium foams for cooling comfort and pressure relief where you need it most. For sleep apnea relief, we suggest:

Nova Hybrid

  • Zoned Support™: Provides extra support with Groove Foam creating ergonomic zones under hips, waist, and lower back.
  • AirScape® Technology: Two layers with thousands of perforations to help heat and humidity flow away.
  • Hybrid Technology: Perfect blend of springs and foam for balanced comfort and support.
  • Casper Signature Foam: This soft mattress foam ensures a unique and comfortable sleep experience.

Wave Hybrid

  • Three layers of Zoned Support™: Designed with Align Foam & Gel Pods for maximum support.
  • AirScape® Technology: Three layers that move heat and humidity away, ensuring a cool sleep.
  • Hybrid Technology: Combines springs and foam for optimal comfort and support, making it a great mattress for back pain sufferers.
  • Casper Signature Foam and Latex: Provides a unique sleep experience exclusive to the Wave Hybrid.

Original Hybrid

  • Casper Signature Foam with AirScape®: Increases airflow and offers a soothing sleep experience.
  • Zoned Support™: Uses 3 ergonomic zones for spinal alignment and support.
  • Hybrid Technology: Pairs springs and foam for a balanced mix of comfort and support.
  • Unique Feel: Combination of cradling foam and responsive springs for a perfect sleep.

Wave Hybrid Snow

  • Cooling Snow Technology: Combines HeatDelete™ Bands, Cooling Gel, and a QuickCool™ mattress cover for a refreshing sleep.
  • Zoned Support™: Three layers with Align Foam & Gel Pods ensure maximum support and spine alignment.
  • AirScape® Technology: Moves heat and humidity away, providing a consistently cool sleep environment.
  • Hybrid Technology: This cooling mattress perfectly blends springs and foam for optimal comfort and support.

An adjustable base combined with one of these supportive, breathable hybrid mattresses can help sleep apnea sufferers finally get the restorative rest they need.

Reach out to one of our sleep specialists for personalized recommendations based on your sleep habits, challenges and preferences. With free and easy returns and a 100-night, risk-free sleep trial, together, we can find the ideal bedding setup for your best night’s sleep yet.

Sources:

  1. Iatridis A. Sleep apnea leaves you tired, even after a full night’s sleep. www.piedmont.org. https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/sleep-apnea-leaves-you-tired-even-after-a-full-nights-sleep 
  2. Pacheco D. Sleep Disorders | National Sleep Foundation. Sleepfoundation.org. Published 2019. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders 
  3. Cormier RE. Sleep Disturbances. PubMed. Published 1990. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK401/ 
  4. Mayo Clinic. Sleep apnea – Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. Published July 28, 2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/symptoms-causes/syc-20377631 
  5. O’Conner A. A Guide to Sleep Apnea. www.nytimes.com. https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/sleep-apnea-guide 
  6. Cleveland Clinic. Sleep Apnea. Cleveland Clinic. Published March 3, 2020. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8718-sleep-apnea 
  7. Garbarino S, Durando P, Guglielmi O, et al. Sleep Apnea, Sleep Debt and Daytime Sleepiness Are Independently Associated with Road Accidents. A Cross-Sectional Study on Truck Drivers. Romigi A, ed. PLOS ONE. 2016;11(11):e0166262. doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0166262 
  8. Gilpin R. Sleeping with Head Elevated – Breath with Less Obstruction. Sleep Advisor. Published April 2, 2021. https://www.sleepadvisor.org/sleeping-with-head-elevated/ 
  9. Danoff-Burg S, Rus HM, Weaver MA, Raymann RJEM. Sleeping in an Inclined Position to Reduce Snoring and Improve Sleep: In-home Product Intervention Study. JMIR Formative Research. 2022;6(4):e30102. doi:https://doi.org/10.2196/30102