Journey to the Center of the Snore

Sena and I snore. There, I said it. We’ve been snoring for years. It’s been getting a little worse for a while now and we’re finally exploring ways to deal with it. I snore by puffing out my cheeks and blowing, and Sena snores by blowing the pictures off the walls.

The separate bedrooms option was a bust after a few days. We missed each other. We have a couple of air mattresses left over from last year when we had our wood floors refinished and had to camp out in our basement. We tried taking turns on it.

It’s very cold in the basement. We have this old space heater which heats for about 10 minutes, then shuts down and buzzes for an hour or so—very hypnotic.

There’s a trick to getting into and out of an air mattress that sits only a few inches off the floor. If you don’t roll off the mattress onto your hands and knees and then push yourself up to a stand, you end up trying to do extreme deep squats and tip over a few dozen times before giving up and rolling over to the space heater to grab onto for leverage, which then rolls away on its casters.

We’ve tried those polyurethane foam wedge pillows, the kind that make you feel like you’re sliding into your belly. That’s fun. We also have some memory foam pillows. Those who have been there know where we’ve been.

We keep finding out about new advances in the world of snore relief. There are thousands of brick-and-mortar mattress stores where you can find people who can tell you with straight faces there is a ton of research out there showing this or that arcane method has scientific evidence supporting the opportunity for you to shell out thousands of dollars for this or that sure fire method for eliminating snoring in seconds or your money back when hell freezes over—and those are just the other customers.

There are motorized, voice-controlled adjustable beds which cost only millions of dollars if you have the right coupons. You can try any of the several dozen on line stores where you buy a bed in a box, which a guy started back in 2007 and which has since mushroomed into a giant industry. You get this memory foam or hybrid memory foam and spring mattress which has been packed under very high pressure into a cabinet-size box and delivered to your doorstep. The minute you open it, the bed explodes into your face, knocking you unconscious, which temporarily cures the snoring problem by putting you into a coma for weeks.

The adjustable beds are very expensive and will set you back several thousands, especially if you buy the option allowing the manufacturer to track your sleep data and send it to aliens throughout the galaxy and beyond who are working out new ways to control the human race.

The wedge concept is huge in the snore relief mattress industry. There is a thing called the Mattress Genie. It’s an inflatable bag which you stick under your mattress and inflate with the touch of a button on a remote control. It reminds me of those airbags I see on shows like Highway Thru Hell, which the heavy wrecker crews use to raise semi-truck trailers off the ground in the ditch where the drivers have jack-knifed their vehicles because they were too busy on their cell phones to watch the road. They tend to pop out at speeds which could probably knock out your average heavy wrecker guy.

The mattress industry says “snoring is prevalent in 45% of normal adults.” They’re really big on the wedge concept and how raising the head of the bed is the way to go. We’ve read a lot of reviews by customers about the various products. Usually, there are many people who rave about how good the wedges are. There a few who just rave.

I was able to find one scientific study, Wilhelm, E., Crivelli, F., Gerig, N. et al. The anti-snoring bed – a pilot study. Sleep Science Practice 4, 14 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41606-020-00050-2. The conclusion in the abstract says “The anti-snoring bed is able to stop individual episodes of habitual snoring without reducing the subjective sleep quality.” However, the authors hedge on the wedge several times in the discussion section of the article and finally end up saying “Further studies are needed to investigate whether Anti-snoring beds are a valuable alternative to conventional positional therapy.” I don’t know if they’ve been done, but many people swear by the wedge concept.

In fact, we’ve been experimenting with our wedge pillows by placing them between the mattress and foundation. Last night was a good night. No snoring, although we tended to slide downhill. We’re shopping for a mattress elevator wedge, which slopes gradually from head to foot.  

We just have to keep trying.

Author: James Amos

I'm a retired consult-liaison psychiatrist. I navigated the path in a phased retirement program through the hospital where I was employed. I was fully retired as of June 30, 2020. This blog chronicles my journey.

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