cartoon depicting man wondering what is the quickest sleep apnea treatment you can get

The quickest sleep apnea treatments you can get: what to think about and all your options

By Jason Wooden, PhD | July 27, 2023

The quickest sleep apnea treatments you can get include refurbished CPAP machines available online, wedge pillows, and oral appliances.  Before making a decision, it’s important to consider your symptom severity, prescription requirements, your budget, and insurance coverage.

What’s at stake when looking for the quickest sleep apnea treatment you can get

Living with untreated sleep apnea can make for miserable nights and agonizing days.

I remember how awful life was before I finally got officially diagnosed with sleep apnea

Waking up every hour throughout the night…

Complaints of loud snoring…

In the morning you feel as if you haven’t slept at all and then comes the pounding headaches.

When I finally got a CPAP machine, I slept through the night for the first time in years and woke feeling like I could actually get some things done.

You’re not the only one looking for the quickest sleep apnea treatment you can get your hands on and you certainly need to do something sooner rather than later.

Sleep apnea is a major sleep killer that can leave you a sleep-deprived zombie.

The reason this happens for most people is obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which the muscles in the throat relax too much during sleep.  As a consequence, the flow of oxygen to the body is restricted which is what causes the brain to arouse you out of deep restful sleep into a lighter sleep to resume breathing.

Sleep apnea, if left untreated, can strain relationships, hurt job performance, and increase your risk for life threatening health issues.

photo of sleep deprived miserable man wondering what’s quickest sleep apnea treatment he can get

All the same, you need a sleep apnea treatment you can get quickly but something that’s also going to work for your symptoms.  Otherwise, you’ll be wasting time, money, and sleep apnea will continue to ruin your nights.

Luckily, you’ve got some options.

Let’s take a look at what they are and some important things you should think about.

The quickest sleep apnea treatments you can get (ranked by time to get)

Depending on your situation, you have a range of options. While searching for the quickest sleep apnea treatment you can get, some things you should think about include:

Your sleep apnea severity – some treatments will only work for mild or moderate sleep apnea

Prescription requirement – you may need an official sleep apnea diagnosis and prescription if the treatment is regulated as a medical device

Insurance status and budget – some of the more expensive treatments may only be partially covered depending on your insurance while others you may be able to pay out of pocket

These factors will determine the quickest sleep apnea treatment that is best for your situation.

photo of craigslist website

1) CPAP machine from Craigslist

Time to get: as soon as you can arrange a pickup
Cost: $100 – $500
Best for: obstructive and central sleep apnea, all severities
Insurance coverage: not applicable

CPAP, continuous positive airway pressure, is one of the most effective treatments for sleep apnea.  These machines use mild air pressure to help keep the airway open while you sleep.

(You can learn about the basics of CPAP here)

It could be you don’t have insurance coverage and you’re strapped for cash.  Or maybe you’re just stuck between a rock and a hard place because of the worldwide shortage of CPAP machines.

On sites like Craigslist you’ll find a variety of CPAP machines listed by private sellers.

Keep in mind you get what you pay for.  There’s also the potential downsides from a private sale – risks to your health from a poorly sanitized machine, the wrong pressure settings, and getting a unit beyond its life span.

Learn more

photo of wedge pillow which is one of the quickest sleep apnea treatment you can get

2) Try a wedge pillow

Time to get: overnight to days depending on availability
Cost: $38 (online)
Best for: mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea
Insurance coverage: no

Recent research has found that elevating your head slightly with a wedge pillow at an angle of 7.5-degrees can help improve sleep apnea symptoms.  Researchers found that this simple trick was able to reduce the severity of sleep apnea symptoms by 30 percent and worked best for people with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

You can try stacking pillows but you might want to instead give this foam wedge pillow here a try.

It’s designed to comfortably align the upper body and head at the right angle.  (It’s also the one I use every night to help my sleep apnea.)

Learn more

drawing of a refurbished label or sticker

3) Buy a refurbished used CPAP machine

Time to get: 3-10 business days
Cost: $200 – $1500 (online)
Best for: obstructive and central sleep apnea, all severities
Insurance coverage: no

Online you can find outlets that sell refurbished used machines at a discounted price:

Keep in mind these are Class II Medical Devices so they’ll need a copy of your CPAP prescription before shipping to you.

4) Oral appliance

Time to get: 2-5 weeks (shorter if you already have a prescription)
Cost: $500 to $2500 (covered by insurance)
Best for: Mild to moderate sleep apnea
Insurance coverage: medical insurance only (not dental)

Oral appliances (also known as oral mandibular advancement devices) are mouth guards you insert into the mouth which reposition the lower jaw and tongue to help the airway stay open.

To get this treatment, you’ll have to first be evaluated by a doctor and then prescribed an oral appliance for sleep apnea treatment. The device is then made and fitted by a dentist.

Learn more:
Oral Appliance Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (Cleveland Clinic)
Oral Appliance Therapy (Amer Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine)

photo showing a new CPAP unit

5) A new CPAP machine

Time to get: 6 weeks to months
Best for: obstructive and central sleep apnea, all severities
Cost: $500 and $1,650 (out of pocket)
Insurance coverage: At least partially by most insurers

Similar to oral appliances, CPAP machines are regulated as medical devices in many countries.  To get your hands on one, you’ll need an official diagnosis and prescription from a doctor before they can put in order for a unit.

Currently, things are taking longer than normal due to lingering issues from the worldwide CPAP machine shortage.

Learn more:
What is CPAP
Sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment
CPAP Machine Cost: Is it Cheaper Without Insurance? (
One Stop Shop Sleep Apnea Testing Companies

Other things you can on your own to help sleep apnea

Regardless of what you decide is the quickest sleep apnea treatment for you to try out, there are plenty of things you can do starting today to manage your sleep apnea and improve your sleep.

Sleep hygiene:

Why make things any harder than they already are?  Getting a good night’s sleep is tough enough for people with sleep apnea.

You need to do everything you can to get the best possible sleep every night which means you need to be following the rules of sleep hygiene, the everyday habits that can make or break sleep.

For better sleep hygiene, you should:

  • Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day
  • Physical activity
  • Avoid naps
  • Avoid large meals, alcohol, and stimulants such as caffeine before bedtime
  • Maintain a bedtime routine
  • Avoid TVs, laptops, and other electronics near bedtime
  • Keep your bedroom dark, cool, quiet, & relaxing

Lifestyle changes:

Avoid substances like alcohol that may relax your throat muscles too much or smoking which irritate your airway.

Change your sleep position:

Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, sleeping on your side instead of your back may help keep your throat more open and improve symptoms.  Some people even claim that sleeping upright in a recliner helps.


About half of people with sleep apnea are overweight, even a small amount of weight loss can help improve symptoms.


Besides helping with weight loss, exercise is known to promote deep sleep and there’s evidence it can help reduce sleep apnea breathing disruptions.


Eating healthier can help with weight loss. Low carb anti-inflammatory diets such as the Mediterranean diet may also help.  In fact, a recent study found that a high quality anti-inflammatory diet and an overall healthier lifestyle was linked to a lower risk for sleep apnea.

Learn more

Mouth and throat exercises

As simple as this sounds, researchers have found that exercises designed for speech therapy may help with milder forms of sleep apnea.  The way this is believed to help is by toning up the mouth and airway so your airway is less floppy and obstructed.

Learn more:
Mouth And Throat Exercises to Help Stop Snoring and Improve OSA (
Using Breathing Exercises to Help Sleep Apnea Symptoms (S. Florida Sinus and Allergy Center)


Evidence is growing that it can reduce breathing interruptions in some obstructive sleep apnea patients.

Before working with an acupuncturist, it’s important to check their training and credentials, ask about what you can expect and potential risks, and check in with your doctor to see if there are any health concerns.

Learn more


There’s growing interest in using turmeric for sleep apnea and many other ailments that involve excessive inflammation.  It’s a natural remedy well known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

While turmeric hasn’t been directly tested for sleep apnea, promising results have been seen for other inflammation-linked health conditions.  For best results, experts recommend taking a supplement that combines medicinal doses of turmeric with a bioenhancer.

Learn more


The influence of head-of-bed elevation in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep Breath. 2017; 21(4): 815–820. (source)

Millions Affected by CPAP Replacement Shortage, (source)

High-quality and anti-inflammatory diets and a healthy lifestyle are associated with lower sleep apnea risk. J Clin Sleep Med. 2022 Jun 1;18(6):1667-1679. (source)

The Clinical Effect of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:8792167. (source)

Connect with us:

About Us

Better Sleep Simplified® was founded as a place for you to get clear and well-researched information.

Our goal is to make sure you know about your options so that you take action sooner rather than later.

Read More

Sleep Checklist 

Find out what you're doing right and what to change

Check it out

Check us out on YouTube: 

Watch and Learn

Helpful sleep tips, interesting sleep facts and statistics you want to know about


Affiliate Disclosure

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to them.

More details here

Important: is for informational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always consult a physician for sleep and health concerns.  See additional information.