Last Updated on August 24, 2023 by Louise Carter
Snoring is a frustrating experience, potentially keeping your partner awake. Removing pillows from the bed exacerbates snoring issues, so always elevate your head during sleep.
If you don’t sleep with your head on a pillow, it’s likely to roll backward. This relaxes the throat muscles, encouraging them to fold inward and restrict airflow.
Sleeping without a pillow can escalate simple snoring to obstructive sleep apnea. Tilting the head with a pillow is the best way to remedy snoring, but you’ll need the right arrangement.
Soft pillows offer little support, while overly firm pillows can place undue pressure on the head and neck. If you snore and believe pillows are responsible, consider getting anti-snoring pillows.
You could also get a body pillow to position behind your back, as this will promote side sleeping, which is the best position for loud snorers. Get a wedge pillow if you sleep on your back.
Do Pillows Affect Snoring?
Anybody who snores should elevate their head with a pillow while sleeping.
The Journal of Healthcare Engineering recommends an incline of at least 20O. This angle will assist with steady breathing and minimize the risk of airway collapse.
Just laying your head on a pillow isn’t always sufficient to prevent snoring. Overly soft or firm pillows can negatively affect spinal alignment, resulting in loud and persistent snoring.
To understand why, lull your head backward and relax your jaw and tongue. If your pillow is light, you’ll adopt this posture in bed. Now, extend your neck and turn it to the left or right to replicate a hard pillow.
You’ll notice that breathing in either position is significantly harder.
Is a Pillow or No Pillow Better for Snoring?
If pillows magnify the noise you make, you may consider ditching pillows to experiment with sleeping with your head flat on the mattress or on your hand.
What happens if you sleep without a pillow? Unfortunately, you’re likely to snore more. Here’s why:
- Sleeping without a pillow involves lying on your side. This is the best position for avoiding snoring, but it feels uncomfortable. You’ll likely roll onto your back, increasing the risk of snoring.
- Keeping your head flat on the mattress means your airways won’t open fully, which makes snoring likelier. This can lead to obstructive sleep apnea, a more severe condition than simple snoring.
- If you roll onto your back, your head may tilt backward. As well as leading to snoring, this can cause pain in the neck and back upon waking.
If you don’t want to sleep with a pillow, JMIR Formative Research stated that getting an adjustable bed, similar to those found in hospitals, can be beneficial.
Does Sleeping with More Pillows Help Snoring?
While sleeping with no pillows won’t help you stop snoring, piling cushions is equally ineffective.
While sleeping with your head resting on 2 or more pillows may help snoring as your head enjoys greater elevation, they must be suitable.
If you lift your head too high, you’ll place additional strain on your neck.
As the muscles are tightened, the airflow will become restricted, and snoring or sleep apnea will follow. If you use several pillows, ensure they offer varying support levels.
If you’re a side sleeper, one high-quality pillow should be sufficient to breathe easily overnight. You can use additional pillows to support the hips or knees.
If you sleep on your front, use one thin pillow. Front sleeping (prone position) isn’t recommended because it significantly strains the neck.
If you sleep on your back, consider using two pillows. Back sleepers will benefit from pillows around 3 – 5 inches from the mattress, although snoring remains likely.
Can Pillows Cure Snoring?
If you’re having issues with snoring at night, especially if this is a recent development and you didn’t previously snore, you should investigate why.
If you accept that you’re a snorer but prefer to minimize the noise and impact, upgrading pillows may be beneficial. If you use traditional pillows, change for a firm cushion once every 1-2 years.
Specialist pillows may aid with snoring or sleep apnea.
Asking, “Can pillows cure snoring?” poses an unfair question, as snoring is a reaction from within the body. While bed arrangements can only help so much, these pillows may help you snore less.
Different manufacturers sell pillows marketed as ‘anti-snoring.’
Finding an anti-snoring pillow that works for you and feels sufficiently comfortable may take trial and error, but Sleep and Breathing believes these cushions can be highly effective.
An effective anti-snoring pillow isn’t just a marketing gimmick. The cushion will be made from specialist materials and shaped to keep the airways open while you sleep.
Considerations when choosing an anti-snoring pillow include:
- Materials. Look for a polyurethane pillow that provides effective memory foam.
- Hypoallergenic status. Some people snore due to allergies, so avoid ones that trigger a reaction.
- Money-back promises. If a manufacturer is confident in the quality of an anti-snoring pillow, it’ll often permit you to return the item for a full refund after a set time if you don’t see results.
- Sleep position. Some anti-snoring pillows are specifically intended for back sleepers, while others assist those who prefer to sleep on their side.
Use these pillows with lifestyle changes to manage snoring or sleep apnea.
A wedge pillow is the best way to elevate your head while sleeping, especially if the supine position is the only way to feel comfortable in bed. A wedge pillow offers balanced support to your neck and shoulders.
Wedge pillows are shaped like a 180O triangle and are used to prop you up. You can also use a wedge pillow while watching TV or reading in bed.
If you want a wedge pillow, get one made from memory foam. Wedge pillows can be very firm, which some people find uncomfortable. Memory foam will mold itself to the contours of your body.
You can add a traditional pillow on top of the wedge, but note how it feels in the morning. If you elevate your head unnaturally, you may experience pain as the neck muscles are contorted and stretched.
Wedge pillows are only suitable for people who sleep on their backs. Sleeping on your side or front with a wedge pillow is near-impossible, as these positions are rarely linked to snoring.
Body pillows aren’t intended to support the head. Instead, you position these long, solid pillows behind your back in bed. This will prevent you from rolling onto your back, minimizing snoring.
Body pillows are a range of shapes and sizes, so choose one roughly the same length as your spine.
The pillow must be robust enough to withstand your weight and spring you back if you roll onto it, but not so hard it feels uncomfortable.
Smart body pillows can aid temperature regulation. Staying cool overnight is crucial for sleep, and a chilled body pillow will reduce the temperature of your bed.
Body pillows are best used by snorers who experience lower back pain because they encourage side sleeping. They can also be efficient in redistributing the weight of the knee.
However, the pillow won’t prevent you from rolling onto your back in this position. Consider sewing a tennis ball onto the pajamas if this is a problem.
If pillows are uncomfortable, replace them with better alternatives rather than removing them entirely. You’re likelier to snore if you’re older and your head and neck aren’t elevated during sleep.