Does Sleeping with Bed Elevated Help Sleep Apnea?

Does Sleeping with Your Bed Elevated Help Sleep Apnea?

Are you struggling to get a good night’s sleep due to sleep apnea? Have you ever wondered if elevating your bed could provide relief?

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of individuals worldwide, leading to disrupted sleep patterns and potential health risks. However sleeping in an elevated position has emerged as a promising remedy for improving sleep quality among individuals suffering from sleep apnea.

Changing your sleep position and elevating your upper body – either with a bed that inclines, with a bed wedge or with pillows – can help to alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea, such as snoring and interrupted breathing, enabling individuals to experience a more restful and uninterrupted night’s sleep.

The Science Behind Elevating the Bed for Sleep Apnea

A man is sleeping in bed.

Elevating the bed can help alleviate sleep apnea symptoms. When you sleep with your upper body slightly elevated, it helps to open up your airways and reduce the severity of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) episodes. This is because gravity plays a role in preventing the collapse of the airway during sleep. By elevating the bed, you can take advantage of gravity to keep your airway more open and allow for better airflow.

When you lie flat on your back, gravity pulls the tissues in your throat downwards, narrowing the airway and making it more likely for obstructions to occur. However, when you raise the head of your bed by around 30 degrees, it helps to counteract the effects of gravity and keep your airway more stable.

This can significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of apnea events, allowing you to have a more restful sleep.

Studies have shown that elevating the bed can lead to a reduction in apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), which is a measure of the severity of sleep apnea. By improving AHI scores, elevating the bed can also lead to improvements in daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and overall quality of life.

Benefits of Sleeping With an Elevated Bed

One of the advantages of sleeping with the bed raised is that it can improve your sleeping position. Raising your bed and sleeping with your head elevated can provide several benefits that contribute to better sleep, overall well-being and treat sleep apnea.

  • Reduced snoring: Sleeping with an elevated bed can help open up your airways, reducing snoring. This allows for smoother and uninterrupted breathing throughout the night.
  • Improved breathing: By elevating the head of your bed, gravity helps to keep your airways open, making it easier to breathe. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with obstructive sleep apnea, as it helps to prevent the collapse of the airway during sleep.
  • Enhanced circulation: Elevating the bed can also improve blood circulation, reducing the risk of swelling in the legs and feet. This can be especially helpful for people with conditions such as varicose veins or edema.

How to Properly Elevate Your Bed for Sleep Apnea Relief

To properly relieve sleep apnea, it’s important to ensure that your bed is elevated in the correct manner.

Elevating your bed can help alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea by reducing the amount of pressure on your airways and promoting better airflow during sleep.
Surviving Sleep Apnea

Here’s how you can properly elevate your bed for optimal sleep apnea relief.

First, you need to determine the ideal angle of elevation for your bed. The recommended angle is around 30 to 45 degrees, as this allows gravity to assist in keeping your airways open. You can achieve this elevation by using bed risers, adjustable bed frames, or placing blocks under the bedposts.

Next, make sure that your entire upper body is elevated, not just your head. This can be done by using a wedge pillow or by placing pillows under your back and shoulders. By elevating your entire upper body, you can prevent your throat muscles from collapsing and obstructing your airways.

Lastly, ensure that your bed is stable and secure after elevation. Double-check that the bed risers or blocks are securely in place, and that the mattress is properly supported. A stable and secure bed is essential for your safety and comfort during sleep.

Research Studies on the Effects of Bed Elevation for Sleep Apnea

A white pillow on a white bed.

Many studies have been conducted to explore the potential benefits of elevating your bed to alleviate sleep apnea symptoms.

Here are a few key findings:

  • Improved Breathing: Elevating your bed can help open up your airways, reducing the likelihood of obstructive events during sleep. This position allows gravity to work in your favor, preventing the collapse of the upper airway and promoting better airflow.
  • Reduced Snoring: Bed elevation has shown to decrease snoring in individuals with sleep apnea. By keeping your head slightly elevated, the air passage is less likely to become blocked, resulting in quieter and more restful sleep for both you and your bed partner.
  • Enhanced Sleep Quality: Research suggests that sleeping with your bed elevated can lead to improved overall sleep quality. It can reduce the frequency of arousals and awakenings throughout the night, allowing you to experience deeper, more restorative sleep.

These studies provide compelling evidence that elevating your bed can have significant positive effects as a sleep apnea treatment. If you’re considering this approach, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure it is suitable for your specific situation.

Tips and Tricks for Sleeping Comfortably With an Elevated Bed for Sleep Apnea

A white pillow on top of a bed.

Whether you’re using a specialized elevated bed, pillows or a bed wedge, finding the right support and angle can greatly enhance your comfort while sleeping with an elevated bed for sleep apnea.

To ensure maximum comfort, it’s important to choose the right type of elevation device for your needs.

Electric Adjustable Beds

Electric adjustable beds are innovative and convenient pieces of furniture that provide individuals with the ability to customize and personalize their sleeping experience. These beds are equipped with electric motors that allow users to adjust the position of the bed to their desired level of comfort.

These beds often come with additional features, such as massage functions and memory settings, further enhancing the overall sleep experience. With their ability to adapt to different body shapes and sleep preferences, electric adjustable beds are becoming increasingly popular for individuals seeking a more personalized and comfortable sleep environment and to relieve symptoms of sleep apnea.

Bed Wedges

Bed wedges are specifically designed to provide the proper support and angle for sleep apnea sufferers. These wedges can be placed under your mattress or on top of it, depending on your preference. They come in various sizes and materials, so you can find one that suits your needs.

Bed wedges are inclined at a gentle angle, allowing individuals to experience a more elevated sleeping position. By elevating the upper body, bed wedges can help alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea by reducing the obstruction of airways.

This elevation helps to keep the airways open, preventing collapses and obstructions that often occur during sleep.

Specially designed wedges can also help reduce snoring, another common symptom of sleep apnea. By providing a comfortable and supportive incline, bed wedges offer individuals with sleep apnea a practical and convenient solution to improve their quality of sleep and overall well-being.


Pillows can also be used to elevate your upper body, but they may not provide the same level of support as a bed wedge.

It’s essential to experiment with different pillow sizes and shapes to find the one that works best for you.
Surviving Sleep Apnea

It’s also important to maintain a proper sleeping position while using an elevated bed. Sleeping on your back with your head and upper body elevated can help keep your airways open and reduce the frequency and severity of sleep apnea symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

You may start noticing improvements in your sleep apnea symptoms after elevating your bed within a few weeks. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Elevating your bed can improve sleep apnea symptoms, but it may not completely cure the condition. It helps by reducing the severity of symptoms and improving your breathing during sleep.

There are potential risks and side effects associated with sleeping with an elevated bed, especially if the sleeping position is not beneficial for you. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your specific condition.

Is it necessary to use a specific type of mattress or pillow when sleeping with an elevated bed for sleep apnea? No, it is not necessary. However, using an adjustable bed and a supportive pillow can provide added comfort and help alleviate symptoms.

There are alternative methods and treatments for managing sleep apnea symptoms besides elevating your bed. These include using a CPAP machine, practicing good sleep hygiene, losing weight, and avoiding alcohol and sedatives.

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As a long term Sleep Apnea sufferer, Sean has researched the topic extensively and tried several different therapies and lifestyle changes with varying degrees of success. His efforts now are focused on helping people get diagnosed early and begin treating their Sleep Apnea to avoid long-term health impacts.

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