How Your Mattress Can Influence Snoring and Sleep Apnea


Mattress firmness can influence snoring and sleep apnea shown by a man snoring in bed with an annoyed woman

A good night's sleep is vital for our overall well-being. Studies have linked inadequate sleep to a wide range of physical and mental health issues. From fatigue and irritability to reduced cognitive function and a heightened risk of chronic conditions, the consequences of poor sleep are far-reaching. Many factors can disrupt sleep, with sleep disorders like sleep apnea topping the list.

According to a recent study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), about 30 million Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea – though only 6 million people are officially diagnosed. Sleep apnea is a condition where the airway is completely or partially blocked during sleep, leading to pauses in breathing. The pauses in breathing happen because your brain tries to protect you by waking you up enough to breathe. But this keeps you from having a good night’s rest.

As a result, you may end up experiencing daytime fatigue and other health complications. Symptoms of sleep apnea can include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Morning headache
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Episodes where you stop breathing during sleep 

A supportive mattress can help you adopt different sleeping positions to ease sleep apnea and snoring. While mattresses can’t cure sleep apnea, proper support may help open your airways and ease symptoms.

The Connection Between Your Mattress Choice and Sleep Disturbances

The choice of your mattress can affect your sleep quality and potentially influence sleep disturbances, including sleep apnea, in these ways:

Mattress Firmness

  • Soft Mattresses: While soft mattresses may feel comfortable, they can lead to sleep disturbances, especially for individuals with sleep apnea. A soft mattress can cause the body to sink too deeply, which can affect the alignment of the airway, making it more likely to collapse during sleep and cause or exacerbate sleep apnea.
  • Firm Mattresses: A firm mattress provides better support and helps maintain proper body alignment during sleep. It can help prevent the airway from collapsing, reducing the risk of sleep apnea and snoring. However, extremely firm mattresses may not be comfortable for everyone and can lead to pressure points and discomfort.

Mattress Elevation

Some individuals with sleep apnea or snoring issues may benefit from adjustable beds that allow for raising the upper body. This elevation can help keep the airway more open, making it easier to breathe and reducing the chances of snoring and sleep apnea. These beds are often recommended for individuals with mild to moderate sleep apnea.

Mattress Material

  • Memory Foam: Memory foam mattresses conform to the shape of the body, providing support and comfort. For sleep apnea and snoring, these mattresses can be beneficial as they can help maintain proper alignment, reducing the risk of airway obstruction.
  • Innerspring: Innerspring mattresses are less effective at contouring to the body's shape, which can make it challenging to maintain proper alignment and reduce the risk of sleep apnea or snoring. However, some hybrid mattresses combine innerspring support with memory foam comfort layers to provide balance.

How Quality Mattress Can Help With Sleep Apnea

Man snoring loudly in his bed due to sleep apnea highlighting the importance of adjustable beds

A good mattress can help you adjust your sleeping position. In one study, more than 50% of patients with obstructive sleep apnea experience more severe breathing issues when they sleep on their back. That’s because this position allows the throat muscle and tongue to block the airways. 

Researchers in the study found that 10 patients had a 50% symptom reduction after sleeping on their stomachs with their faces down (perpendicular to the underlying bed). The people in the study used memory foam mattresses. These mattresses aren’t specifically designed for sleep apnea. However, their ability to contour the body, relieve pressure, and support the spine makes the side and stomach sleeping more comfortable for those with the condition.

The right mattress can make a significant difference in managing snoring and sleep apnea in the following ways:

Improves Sleep Posture

A supportive mattress can help maintain the correct alignment of your airways, reducing the likelihood of snoring and sleep apnea. It ensures that your head and neck are positioned optimally, preventing airway obstruction.

Faster and Deeper Sleep

When you're comfortable and well-supported, you fall asleep more quickly and enjoy deeper, uninterrupted sleep. This can help reduce the disruptions associated with sleep apnea.

Better Circulation

A mattress that provides proper support promotes better blood circulation, which is particularly beneficial for individuals with sleep apnea. Improved circulation can help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with the condition.

Protection from Irritants

Some mattresses are designed to repel allergens and irritants, creating a healthier sleep environment. This can be especially crucial for individuals with respiratory issues, as it reduces potential triggers that worsen sleep apnea.

Solutions to Alleviate Sleep Disturbances

Sleep apnea solutions featuring a young woman trying to stop mans snoring with clothespin highlighting the use of adjustable beds to alleviate sleep disturbances

If you're experiencing snoring or sleep apnea, some solutions can help. Adjustable beds are an excellent option as they allow you to elevate the upper body, often relieving snoring and mild sleep apnea symptoms. Additionally, specific mattress types like memory foam have been shown to help by providing optimal support levels and conforming to the body's contours, which can alleviate conditions. Other solutions include: 

  • Improving sleep hygiene
  • Managing stress and anxiety
  • Creating a comfortable sleep environment
  • Limiting screen time at least an hour before bedtime
  • Watching your diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Limiting your fluid intake before bed

Studies show that certain strategies and lifestyle changes can help alleviate sleep disturbances caused by sleep apnea. However, we cannot overemphasize the importance of consulting with a sleep specialist, particularly for persistent issues. Sleep apnea is a complex medical condition that can lead to serious or even deadly complications, so early diagnosis and treatment are critical. And while the condition is chronic and cannot be cured entirely, its symptoms can be treated.

If you are looking for a high-quality mattress to complement your efforts to alleviate sleep disturbances caused by sleep apnea, the Bedding Mart carries a collection of mattresses designed for enhanced comfort and support. Our mattresses are designed to promote better sleep and may be a valuable addition to your overall sleep apnea management strategy.

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