October 15, 2020

The Contour CPAP Pillow MAX 2.0

Posted by David L. Hebert

I was drawn in by the ad for the Contour CPAP Pillow MAX 2.0, which boasts a number of unique features and resulting benefits. The pillow is designed to accommodate a facemask when the head is turned to the side and avoid the common leaks that occur when the mask is pressed against a pillow. The pillow also comes with a hose tether intended to help keep the weight of the hose from interfering with movement during sleep.

When presented with the opportunity to review the pillow, I jumped at it. Would the various modifications and improvements that had been made to the design of this pillow really provide any actual benefit to the typical CPAP user? Or was this simply a gimmick to appeal to the CPAP market?

The pillow might look strange to someone who is not familiar with CPAP therapy, but to those who regularly deal with masks and hoses, the ingenuity is immediately obvious. The sides of the pillow are curved inwards, providing the perfect cut-out for your mask when you turn your head to the side. I’d often dealt with the problem of leaks when I would turn my head to the side with a conventional pillow, so I wondered if this cut-out would really work, and I was very curious to find out. Spoiler alert: It did.

The hose tether is a fabric strap that attaches to the hose with Velcro and provides support for the weight of the hose. I was intrigued by this; my hose had never really given me any problems, but I certainly have felt the drag of it lightly tugging the mask from time to time. On the other hand, I had visions of rolling over one too many times and strangling myself in my sleep with the strap. I actually anticipated that I’d eventually just end up cutting it off. Spoiler alert: I did not, and even came to realize that the tether was in fact a brilliant little invention that I never even knew I actually needed.

Between the cut-outs and the hose anchor, the pillow is not pillowcase friendly, since the hose anchor is attached to the top of the pillow at the very centre. The cover that comes with the pillow, however, has a comfortable plush fiberfill side and a mesh cover over the ventilated memory foam on the other side. The height of the pillow can be adjusted to a variety of heights ranging from 5.25” to 2.25” using the different layers of ventilated foam inserts in various combinations, which also affects the pillow’s firmness.

The instructions say to allow for five days of use to break in the pillow, and in my experience, certainly holds true. I found the pillow a little too firm and a little too high at first, so I removed the centre insert. After a few days, though, once the pillow began to break in, it softened up, so I ended up re-inserting the piece I had removed. Within a week, the pillow softened just enough to reach an ideal comfort level, and it has proved to remain consistent with continued use.

I was impressed to discover that when I would roll my head from side to side, the cut-outs would line up perfectly with the mask. And if I roll onto my side when I’m sleeping, the mask does indeed hang free of the pillow. I have found that this does seem to result in a better sleep experience, since I have not been woken up by a stream of air blasting into my eye because the mask is lodged up against the pillow. Instead, the mask hangs over the edge of the pillow and the seal is maintained, just as the designers of the pillow intended.

At first, the idea of a hose tether seemed rather unnecessary, if not downright dangerous, until I actually tried it. The strap can be attached anywhere on the hose, and it supports the hose so that you don’t have the full weight of the hose pulling down on your mask. It makes a noticeable difference.

The pillow is exceptionally effective at delivering on its promise to reduce heat and perspiration. I was surprised and impressed that, even when I had been using the plush side, on nights when I would wake up sweating profusely, the pillow remained refreshingly cool and dry.    The pillow earns one point for the innovative cut-out design, one for adjustability, and another for comfort. It also gets one for its cooling capabilities, and I give it another for the hose tether, which turned out to be a welcome surprise. Accordingly, I give the Contour CPAP Pillow MAX 2.0 a full five Z’s.

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