The effect on snoring of using a pillow to change the head position

Sleep Breath. 2017 Sep;21(3):615-621. doi: 10.1007/s11325-017-1461-1. Epub 2017 Jan 27.


Purpose: Although not a disease, primary snoring often leads to social problems. In an earlier retrospective pilot study, we found hints that individuals were snoring less in a lateral versus a supine head position. The aim of this study is to elucidate on the effect of an anti-snoring pillow which changes the head position.

Methods: We designed an interventional, controlled, and randomized crossover study. It included 22 participants, between 18 and 78 years, who snored, had a BMI ≤ 30, and a sleep partner. Obstructive sleep apnea was ruled out by polysomnography (PSG) or by respiratory polygraphy (PG). Two potential participants dropped out. The first two phases were done at home (4 weeks in total), followed by two nights of polysomnography in our sleep laboratory. During all phases, questionnaires regarding snoring, sleep quality, and pillow tolerance were completed by the patients and, as relevant, by their partners.

Results: The PSG parameters revealed a significant reduction in the snoring index (p = 0.03) when on the activated pillow without a deterioration in other respiratory parameters. This correlated well with the visual analog scale (VAS) that showed a significant decrease in snoring with the activated pillow according to the bed partners (p < 0.001). Subjective acceptance of the pillow during the study period was 100%.

Conclusions: This study shows that by using a pillow to change the head position, it is possible to reduce both subjective and objective snoring severity.

German clinical trial number: DRKS 00008744 AND ETHICS COMMISSION REGISTRY NUMBER REGISTRY NUMBER 2013-406 M-MA.

Keywords: Anti-snoring pillow; Head position; Respiratory effort-related arousals (RERAs); Snoring; Snoring index.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bedding and Linens*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Head*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Posture*
  • Snoring / physiopathology*
  • Snoring / prevention & control*
  • Snoring / therapy