How I Miss Good Night's Sleeping
January 3, 2010 10:46 PM   Subscribe

How should one decide what type of anti-snoring pillow to get? What factors should be considered?

My significant other snores. A lot. He's far worse when he's sleeping on his back than when he's on his side, and I'm hoping that one of those anti-snoring pillows will help him.

The only thing is, these pillows are pretty expensive, and they're not the sort of thing you can return. It also seems like just about any anti-snoring pillow has a selection of really positive reviews and a selection of really negative reviews: the postive ones say they're comfortable and help; the negative ones say they're uncomfortable and don't help. This leads me to believe that which pillow works best is a matter of personal opinion.

My SO and I, however, don't really know how to judge what his pillow-comfort needs are. Neither of us have really ever thought this much about pillows (or considered buying such an expensive one!). So, I'm hoping you guys can help.

What questions should we ask (both about my SO's sleeping habits and the pillow's features) to figure out which one is right for him, or if any will work at all?

Lastly, I've been searching through old questions about other anti-snoring techniques. We're going to do whatever we can to get this problem to go away, but right now I'm really just curious about pillows. Thanks.
posted by Ms. Saint to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Because of that last small print line, I just wanted to ask: have you/has he tried Breathe Right strips? Probably want to give that one a try before (or in addition to) the pillow. I don't even really snore (Señora Pantalones may disagree) but I love them...
posted by Señor Pantalones at 11:13 PM on January 3, 2010

It seems like the efficacy of the pillow relies on the person's own sleep habits. Like, if they move around and switch positions a lot. I just know it wouldn't work for me because I absolutely cannot fall asleep unless I'm in a certain position, and the point of these pillows is to lock you into either a side position or back position pushing the jaw forward for the whole night. On top of that, this looks more like a car seat than something I'd be able to get my beauty rest on. The others that popped up all seem very firm. I don't see why you couldn't try it out and return it, though, at least with Amazon.

The only thing I've actually witnessed work are the Breath Right strips, which Target has a cheaper form of. I still doubt that's an affordable long-term solution, certainly pricier than a pillow over time, but they are covered under FSAs! I also have seen little non-disposable plastic versions of them, but have no idea if they work as well.
posted by Juicy Avenger at 11:48 PM on January 3, 2010

if you have health insurance (and even maybe if not), i would look into a checkup for sleep apnea and getting him a cpap machine.
posted by rhizome at 12:06 AM on January 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

Memory foam pillows can hold your head in a good (anti-snoring) position, and can be quite cheap ... I've seen them for around $15, but there are also much more expensive ones. Cheap ones seem to be at Ikea, Target, other stores. They're probably worth trying for that price.
posted by carter at 1:05 AM on January 4, 2010

Somewhat counterintuitive, but the "anti-snoring" position is with the head forward and the chin down on the chest.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:34 AM on January 4, 2010

I've had very good results with a spelt filled pillow like this. For me, it works much better than the memory foam pillows, giving lots of support and holding your head in a comfortable and (hopefully) snore-free position.
posted by jonesor at 3:48 AM on January 4, 2010

I've started snoring recently [last year or two]. My wife's a light sleeper, and cannot sleep with it. I just sleep in the guest room most of the time. Simple and 100% effective.

Maybe once I lose a bit of weight the snoring will stop, but we're not going to spend a bunch of money or surgeries or devices that may or may not work.

I find I snore the most in StickyCarpet's "anti-snoring" position. I snore the least flat on my back with a narrow pillow under my neck, so that my head is pitched backwards. That's kinda hard to maintain all night, though, unless you don't move while sleeping.

A couple things I tried that have worked to varying degrees:
  1. breathe-right strips [pricy as an on-going solution]
  2. taping my mouth shut with first-aid tape [this was, for me, about 90% effective]

posted by chazlarson at 9:07 AM on January 4, 2010

IANAD, but I snore loudly and have diagnosed OSA.

In my own experience, such pillows usually aren't helpful. It can't hurt to try, though. You might luck out. I found that the U-shaped pillows were helpful for me for a while. It didn't knock out the snoring, but it reduced the volume and frequency a bit.

For after the pillows...

The over the counter sprays are never effective, don't waste your money on them.

Breathe-right strips only help if the snoring is caused entirely by nasal congestion. This is actually pretty rare. If it is the case that the strips help, check with a doctor to see if your SO has a deviated septum. It's a relatively "easy" correction, if the surgical route is an option.

Have your SO see an ENT and get a sleep study. He'll get several options from the doctor.

If your SO does NOT have obstructive sleep apnea:
* SO can try a dental appliance. Expensive, but least invasive.
* SO can have "pillar implants" to reduce the noise. This is becoming a very popular procedure, but it's generally not covered by insurance.
* SO can have a UPPP. This is the least desirable and most invasive option. It's like a tonsillectomy times ten, in terms of painful recovery. But, it will nuke the snoring out of existence.

If your SO DOES have obstructive sleep apnea:
* SO will probably be prescribed a CPAP machine to use at night. It's the only 100% treatment for OSA. This takes care of the snoring, but there will be some white noise from the machine. As long as you're not a super-sensitive sleeper, you can sleep through it. He'll need to adjust to wearing a mask over his face to sleep. There are a lot of internet resources for CPAP patients to deal with what ends up being a really big change in lifestyle.
* SO can try the dental appliance. It's not effective for 100% of cases, and it's expensive.
* SO can have a UPPP. Get a second opinion from another ENT first. Over the whole field of candidates, UPPP only cures 50% of apnea cases. But, each case presents a different chance of success, and an ENT needs to check the nose and throat structure to come up with a recommendation. And, the UPPP procedure has a miserable, painful recovery.

Every doctor will tell your SO to quit smoking, reduce drinking, and lose weight to see if it has a positive effect before doing anything invasive. It's never bad advice.

Good luck!
posted by Citrus at 11:04 AM on January 4, 2010

We spent a fortune on Brookstone sleep pillows to no avail - user error b/c you have to stay in the same position. They do work the first ten minutes!

One data point- our neighbor had UPPP and it was spectacularly effective.
posted by mozhet at 7:30 PM on January 4, 2010

« Older minivan, megafun   |   I screwed up; what do I do now? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.