Best Mattress for Sleep Apnea

By McKenzie Hyde
Last Updated On June 18th, 2020

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder— an estimated 22 million Americans have sleep apnea. Chances are you may not realize you have sleep apnea, which accounts for the high percentage…

Best Mattress for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder— an estimated 22 million Americans have sleep apnea. Chances are you may not realize you have sleep apnea, which accounts for the high percentage of undiagnosed cases. Sleep apnea occurs when breathing pauses for up to 10 seconds— these apnea episodes can happen up to 30 times or more a night. The sleeper might briefly wake to force air back into the lungs, but these wake periods are so brief, few sleepers realize they are happening.

While a new mattress can’t cure your sleep apnea, it can certainly offer more support and promote a healthy posture, which in turn, can open up your airways and help you breathe easier while you sleep.

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Consider an Amerisleep Mattress

It can be hard to achieve a good night’s sleep for those with sleep apnea, but the right type of mattress can reduce sleep apnea symptoms and ensure a better night’s rest. One of the best ways to alleviate symptoms of sleep apnea is to sleep on your side, which is why we suggest choosing our AS3 or AS4, as they’re built to promote comfortable side sleeping. Both contain CertiPUR-US® certified foams made with eco-friendly methods.

Our responsive Bio-Pur® memory foam conforms to the body and relieves pressure points, particularly in the shoulders and hips. Affinity with HIVE® technology evenly supports the body and encourages spinal alignment. Bio-Core® prevents the body from sinking deeply and reinforces the top layers.

Amerisleep AS3

amerisleep as3

The Amerisleep AS3 is our most popular mattress model. At a perfect medium, the AS3 is great for side and combination sleepers because it offers a good balance of comfort and support— so it’s never too soft or too firm.

Our AS3 stands 12 inches tall and contains three layers: 3 inches of Bio-Pur®, 2 inches of Affinity with HIVE®, and 7 inches of Bio-Core®.

The thickness of our AS3’s comfort layer is ideal for alleviating pressure under the shoulders and hips, but it’s not so thick that it causes you to feel “stuck” or like you’re sinking too far into the bed.

The thin Affinity layer with HIVE®  keeps your spine in alignment and reinforces the Bio-Pur® above it to prevent sinkage and promote a comfortable night’s sleep.

Amerisleep AS4

amerisleep as4

The Amerisleep AS4 is another excellent choice for sleep apnea patients. We suggest choosing the AS4 over the AS3 if you like a softer, more cloud-like mattress, as the AS4 contains an extra inch of memory foam for cushioning comfort.

Our medium-soft AS4 is 12 inches tall, as well, and contains three layers: 4 inches of Bio-Pur®, 1 inch of Affinity with HIVE®, and 7 inches of Bio-Core®.

The comfort layer of the AS4 allows for deep compression and superior pressure relief. Though this bed offers a lot of cushioning, it still contains HIVE® to keep you in a comfortable position and prevent sagging or sinkage.

The Bio-Core® layer in both our AS3 and AS4 reinforces the two layers (and sleeper) above to prevent deterioration and extend the bed’s longevity.

Why Choose Amerisleep?

Bio-Pur®

Bio-Pur® is a plant-based memory foam. We took traditional memory foam and replaced a significant amount of petroleum with castor oil during the manufacturing process. The result is our Bio-Pur® memory foam, more breathable and more responsive than traditional memory foam.

Sleepers won’t feel “stuck” inside the mattress, making it easier to move and change sleeping positions at night. Plus, thanks to eco-friendly production methods, Bio-Pur® is made with little to no VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), so sleep apnea patients won’t have to worry about additional breathing irritants.

Affinity with HIVE®

Affinity is a transitional foam between the comfort layer of Bio-Pur® and the support base of Bio-Core®. Within this layer is the HIVE® technology; HIVE® contains hundreds of hexagonal-shaped segments grouped into a 5-zone support system. HIVE® offers extra give under the shoulders and hips, and firmer support under the head, back, and legs. Ultimately, this technology maintains neutral spinal alignment and provides even pressure relief throughout the body without causing you to sink too deeply into the mattress.

Bio-Core®

Bio-Core® is a support foam that reinforces each model’s top layers and stabilizes the bed’s overall structure. Bio-Core® provides even support across the sleep surface without risk of sagging.

100-Night Sleep Trial

Each mattress comes with a 100-night trial. We recommend trying out the mattress for at least 30 days to allow your body to adjust. If, at any time during the sleep trial, you don’t like the mattress or would like to exchange it for a different model or size, simply give us a call and we’ll work with you to have the mattress picked up and donated to a local charity. If returning, we’ll issue a full refund; if exchanging for a different model or size, we’ll either refund you or ask that you pay the difference.

20-Year Warranty

We include a 20-year warranty with the purchase of any Amerisleep mattress. Our warranty is the best in the industry— unlike other mattress companies who only offer a standard 10-year warranty, our 20-year warranty protects against any manufacturing defects which could cause damage to the foam layers and sagging greater than 0.75 inches. During the first 10 years, we’ll repair or replace the mattress free of charge to the customer. During the last 10 years, we’ll choose to either repair or replace the mattress at a prorated charge.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea refers to the pauses in breathing during sleep— airways are cut off and oxygen to the body is momentarily stopped. Anyone can develop sleep apnea, though it’s more prevalent in obese individuals and men over the age of 40. Symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Snoring: Sound made when body is trying to force air into a blocked/narrow airway.
  • Morning headaches: Due to lack of oxygen (hypoxia).
  • Daytime fatigue: Waking several times a night prevents deeper sleep and often results in daytime sleepiness.
  • High blood pressure: Lack of oxygen in the body signals to the brain to produce more stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, raising blood pressure.

If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to more serious health problems, like stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.

There are three different types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when either the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses or the tongue falls back, obstructing airways— both are caused by gravity while sleeping on the back.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send signals to the nervous system for throat muscles to expand and open the airways.

Complex Sleep Apnea (CompSAS)

Complex sleep apnea is a combination of both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea— soft tissue collapses at the back of the throat, and the brain fails to send signals for throat muscles to widen.

What is the Difference Between Snoring and Sleep Apnea

There’s a common misconception that snoring is a sign that you have sleep apnea. While snoring is a symptom, it doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea.

Snoring occurs when the tissue at the back of the throat relaxes, partially blocking or narrowing airways. These airways vibrate as air passes through, producing snoring.

Sleep apnea occurs when airways are completely blocked, and the brain signals the person to wake to force oxygen into the body.

If you or a sleep partner snores, and you’re not sure if it’s sleep apnea, talk with your doctor. They may direct you to a sleep specialist to undergo a sleep study to determine if you have sleep apnea.

Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea treatment varies depending on the person. Always speak with your doctor before attempting any form of treatment if not already recommended by your healthcare physician.

Treatment options include using a CPAP machine, switching to the side sleeping position, changing your diet, exercising, using an oral mouthpiece at night, and elevating the upper body.

CPAP Machine

CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, is a machine that delivers consistent air pressure to the lungs, forcing airways open.

Side Sleeping

Switching from back sleeping to side sleeping opens airways and decreases sleep apnea episodes.

Diet and Exercise

Changing your current diet and incorporating more exercise cuts down on fatty tissue in the neck and can also strengthen and tone throat muscles, preventing the likelihood of soft tissue collapse and widening airways.

Oral Mouthpiece

Oral mouthpieces vary in shape and size, but the purpose of these contraptions is to move the lower jaw and tongue forward, reducing the risk of soft tissue collapse.

Elevation

Elevating the upper body keeps airways open and reduces the chance of the throat muscles relaxing. Elevating the upper body is also good for digestion, preventing heartburn and acid reflux.

Two ways you can elevate the upper body are through an adjustable base or a wedge pillow. An adjustable bed is controlled through a wireless remote or through a phone app, with presets available. Adjustable beds are more expensive— some models are priced over $1000, but many find the extra cost worth it.

Wedge pillows are a less expensive option and are just as effective in elevating the body, though they’re not adjustable and you may need more than one if you want to elevate your legs too.

What to Look for in a Mattress

Before buying a new mattress, consider what you want in a mattress for sleep apnea, including mattress type, your favorite sleep position, breathable materials, and firmness level. Each of these factors will help narrow down your options to the best mattress.

Mattress Type

Every type of mattress offers potential buyers their own unique features, like the body contouring, pressure relief of memory foam, or the bouncy, edge support of an innerspring. The right mattress type depends on your personal preferences.

Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam mattresses are one of the most popular mattress options on the market today. Memory foam got its popularity from its excellent pressure relieving properties— through body heat and pressure, memory foam contours to the body’s natural curves, relieving pressure points and reducing aches and pains. Memory foam also isolates motion and sleep silently, preventing sleep disruptions from movement.

A drawback to memory foam mattresses is heat retention, however, mattress manufacturers (including Amerisleep) add cooling properties to memory foam to make it more breathable, like replacing part of the petroleum with plant oils or adding gel. Other companies may infuse their memory foam with copper or graphite to pull heat away from the body.

Innerspring Mattress

Innerspring mattresses are more common. These types of beds are known for their bouncy surface and edge support. Plus, they have exceptional cooling through the open structure of the coiled layer.

While more responsive than other mattress types, innersprings are rather noisy because of their steel springs. They also provide less pressure relief than other mattress types due to their thin comfort layer.

Latex Mattress

There are two types of latex foam— synthetic and natural. Synthetic latex is made through a chemical process, while natural latex comes from rubber tree sap.

Similar to memory foam, latex conforms to the body to relieve pressure points and sleeps silently, though it sleeps cooler and has a responsive bounce. A latex mattress is more expensive if made from natural latex.

Hybrid Mattress

A hybrid mattress combines cushioning foam layers and innerspring coils to offer sleepers a bouncy yet contouring bed. Because hybrids utilize many top-notch materials, they offer a variety of benefits such as edge support, cooling, and motion isolation.

At the same time, hybrids also have flaws, like the potential for noise and less pressure relief from the innerspring coils. Hybrid mattresses are also heavy and expensive due to the number of materials they contain.

Sleeping Position

Each sleep position requires a certain level of comfort and support. For example, a side sleeper needs a softer sleep surface to relieve pressure points under the shoulder and hip areas, and to fill in the large gaps between the body and the mattress to align the spine.

Side Sleeping

Side sleeping is the most common sleep position— it’s also the healthiest, particularly for sleep apnea patients. Side sleeping opens airways and reduces sleep apnea symptoms. Side sleeping also reduces acid reflux and removes pressure off of vital organs, like the heart. Placing a pillow between the knees helps to better align the spine by stabilizing the hips.

The best mattresses for side sleepers are medium in firmness because they offer enough comfort to alleviate pressure under the shoulders and hips while still maintaining neutral spinal alignment.

Back Sleeping

While back sleeping is the second healthiest sleep position, it’s the worst sleep position for those with sleep apnea. Back sleeping naturally aligns the spine because of the back’s direct contact with the mattress, but it increases the risk of developing sleep apnea and may worsen symptoms in sleep apnea patients. Switching to the side sleep position is the best course of action to reduce sleep apnea symptoms and reduce the risk of developing sleep apnea.

For committed back sleepers, we recommend a medium to firm mattress. The firmer feel keeps the body resting on top of the surface, but conforms to release pressure and enhances support to the lower back.

Stomach Sleeping

Stomach sleeping is the least common and least healthy sleep position. Stomach sleeping places excessive amounts of pressure on the spine, increasing the risk of neck strain and back pain. Stomach sleepers should try to switch to the side sleeping position or invest in the best mattress for back pain to remove this pressure and sleep better.

If you’re determined to keep sleeping on your stomach, look for a medium-firm to firm mattress. A firm surface prevents the body from sinking too deeply and keeps the body resting on top of the mattress. Another way to help reduce tension is to place a thin pillow under the hips.

Combination Sleeping

Combination sleepers are also known as restless sleepers, tossing and turning most of the night. Combination sleepers switch between 2 to 3 sleep positions each night. They enjoy the benefits of each sleep position, including better breathing, natural alignment, and less pressure. However, they’re also at risk for neck strain, back pain, and developing sleep apnea.

Combination sleepers need a medium to medium-firm mattress to maintain spinal alignment and provide a balance of comfort and support.

Breathability

Another way to prevent aggravating sleep apnea symptoms is by choosing a mattress with breathable materials, like memory foam, latex, and organic cotton. These hypoallergenic materials protect against dust mites and bacteria, which could inflame nasal passages and narrow airways.

Firmness

The firmness level of a mattress depends on your body type and favored sleep position. The more weight against a sleep surface, the firmer the mattress needs to be. The mattress should provide sleepers with a balance of comfort and support— too much softness or firmness will create pressure points and throw the spine out of alignment. The wrong firmness could also worsen sleep apnea symptoms by restricting airways.

FAQs

What type of mattress is best for sleep apnea?

A memory foam bed is the best mattress for sleep apnea. Memory foam relieves pressure points by contouring to the body while evenly supporting the body. Memory foam is available in different firmness options to suit any sleeper.

Can a mattress help sleep apnea?

Yes— a mattress with a stable, supportive surface prevents the sleeper from bottoming out and encourages healthy spinal alignment. Elevating the upper body, whether through an adjustable base or a wedge pillow, also reduces sleep apnea symptoms.

Is it better to sleep on a hard or soft mattress?

A medium to medium-firm mattress is the best. The medium feel provides a nice balance of comfort and support, particularly for side sleeping. Side sleepers need a mattress that reduces pressure points in the shoulders and hips.

Best Mattress for Sleep Apnea

We hope our guide helps you find the right mattress and brings some relief from your sleep apnea symptoms. We feel the AS3 and the AS4 are the best mattress choices for sleep apnea because of the responsive feel of Bio-Pur® combined with the even pressure relief of HIVE® technology. Choosing either one will help you achieve a good night’s sleep.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.


About the author

McKenzie Hyde is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and a full-time writer focused on sleep health and the mattress industry. She currently writes articles on a variety of topics, ranging from sleep hygiene to the newest trends in the mattress and bedding industry. Just some of the topics she has covered include best sleep practices for students, the consequences of going without sleep, and choosing the right bed if you suffer from back pain. McKenzie Hyde holds a Master of Arts degree from Utah State University where she studied literature and writing. While there, she taught argumentative writing and wrote a variety of articles and analyses for literary and academic journals.

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