On Your Side
Specialty pillows promise to help people get a better night's sleep
These days, specialty pillows promise to do all kinds of things, but are they the dream they seem to be? Video by tmj4.comvideo
Matthew Hall doesn't do it on purpose. He doesn't even realize it's happening. He snores. When he starts, his wife is sure to let him know it.
"When I get swatted I know that, uh, it's time to roll over," Matthew says.
Now there's a growing market of specialty pillows to help people like Matthew.
Dr. Clete Kushida is a sleep specialist. Dr. Kushida says, "Minimizing snoring or minimizing sleep apnea, pillows. Pillows that can supposedly provide better support for the neck for people who have things like neck strain. "
The Sona pillow is designed to keep sleepers on their side. Its contoured design claims to cradle the head to create optimal breathing alignment. It promises to cut down on snoring and mild sleep apnea are FDA-cleared. We asked neurologist and sleep specialist Dr. Clete Kushida if this kind of technology could actually work.
"Pillows that kind of, you know, force a person to sleep on their side might provide some benefit," Dr. Kushida says.
A model by Brookstone promotes a built-in support system to cradle your head and neck, promising to keep your chin out and airway open. We had Matthew put it to the test for two weeks. While waiting to see how it worked, we questioned whether the concept could produce more Z's. "Putting the head and neck in a CPR type position could help open up the airway to a degree."
Both the Sona and Brookstone tout clinical tests to back up their claims, but Dr. Kushida points out, "Take it with a grain of salt because a lot of those studies are based on just a few patients."
Another option on the market is this pillow that uses more than two thousand plastic spikes to apply accupressure, giving you a head massage designed to help you relax. Study results are pending on this pillow. Our sleep specialist says it's a matter of preference, no matter what pillow you pick.
"It comes down to a matter of comfort," Matt says.
Dr. Kushida say if you have serious sleep issues, don't pin your hopes to a pillow. "For a person that has a serious sleep disorder or medical disorder there are certainly a lot of different treatments that are more accepted."
Matt's snoring didn't stop with the pillow he tested, though his wife said it wasn't as loud as it was in the past. So, Matt's search for the perfect pillow continues.
"I'm willing to try something that would help," Matt says.
When we told Brookstone the pillow didn't work for Matthew, the company reiterated the packaging promises stating it had been clinically tested to make sleeping more comfortable and reduce snoring. There are also specialty pillowcases that promise to do everything from cut down on allergies to reducing wrinkles.