Special Pillows Could Help Stop Snoring, But Might Mask Other He - FOX 42: Omaha News, Sports and Weather; kptm.com |

Special Pillows Could Help Stop Snoring, But Might Mask Other Health Problems

Nicole Ebat

OMAHA(KPTM)-- Matthew Hall doesn't do it on purpose, in fact he doesn't even realize when it's happening.

He snores and when he starts, his wife is sure to let him know.

"When I get swatted, I know it's time to roll over," he said.

There's a growing market of specialty pillows that manufacturers claim help provide a more restful--and silent--sleep.

"Minimizing or minimizing sleep apnea pillows, pillows that can supposedly provide better support for the neck or for people who have things like neck strain," said Dr. Clete Kushida, a neurologist and sleep specialist.

The way the pillows work varies by brand.

The Sona pillow is designed to keep people on their side. It claims to angle the head for the best breathing position.

"Pillows that force a person to sleep on their side might provide some benefit," said Kushida.

But Dr. Roger Roubal, another sleep specialist says most people will just start snoring in a different position.

He also warns that snoring is more than an annoying habit. It can be a symptom.

He says 80% of snorers have undiagnosed sleep apnea.

"We're always concerned could we quiet someone's snoring and make the apnea worse and we know we know based on big studies about 50% of the time, that's true," said Roubal.

With sleep apnea, a person stops breathing while sleeping. This can happen hundreds of times throughout the night. Since there's a lack of oxygen going to the brain and body, it can lead to more serious health issues.

"Basically we lost statistically six to 15 years of life with untreated sleep apnea and we have something like three times the medical bills with sleep apnea. So it's a vastly underestimated, under diagnosed disease," said Roubal.

He suggests getting properly screened before simply trying to silence snoring.

Many clinics like his near Blondo and 120th offer free screenings. 

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