adult man covering his head with pillow while partner snoresMore than 2000 years ago,the author of Ecclesiastes lamented that “there is nothing new under the sun,” so we shouldn’t be surprised that many of the things we think are new are actually old inventions. Sometimes, though, this insight can be very valuable.

Take, for example, the story of Judy Challan, an Australian woman who, in 1971, invented an anti-snoring pillow. Although this pillow went into widespread production and was sold internationally, it didn’t become a worldwide phenomenon.

Looking at the story of this woman’s pillow, though, has two lessons for us. First, it reminds us that an anti-snoring pillow is unlikely to be effective at snoring relief. Second, it tells us that a truly effective snoring solution might need to be custom and can’t be bought off the rack.

At the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center of Omaha, we encourage people to seek professional help for snoring rather than buying a snoring solution that isn’t made for you and is unlikely to provide relief.

Anti-Snore Pillows Are Big Business

As we’ve come to understand the significance of snoring, more and more people are offering anti-snore pillows. We know that snoring is bad for our health. While it’s been a punchline for decades, we also know that its impact on marriage is no joke: some surveys list it as the third most common cause of divorce. Certainly, we’ve heard plenty of stories of marital strife at our office in Omaha.

So it’s no wonder that the number of anti-snoring pillows for sale should increase. Now there are hundreds of anti-snore pillows available for sale on This doesn’t even factor in all the anti-snoring pillows for sale in Omaha’s specialty stores and drug stores.

Most anti-snoring pillows are simply shaped in certain ways to try to accommodate a healthy, quiet sleeping position. Others incorporate mechanisms to move a sleeper when they start to snore. It might be an inflation mechanism or other device that takes the place of a spouse’s elbow, encouraging the snorer to roll over.

How effective are these pillows? Perhaps looking at Judy Challan’s experience might give helpful context.

An “Effective” Anti-Snoring Pillow

The 1971 clip is a fascinating little piece of history. The brief interview starts by introducing Judy Challan as a woman who was happily married for 35 years–or at least until her husband started snoring.

When her husband started snoring, Challan couldn’t sleep. His snoring was too loud. Instead, she dealt with secondhand snoring by sketching.

What did she sketch? Her husband. For weeks, she stayed up practically every night sketching her husband in his sleep.

Over these weeks of sleepless nights, she discovered that her husband had three positions where he snored a lot, and one where he didn’t snore much at all.

With her husband’s help, she cut a pillow into a shape that helped him stop snoring–for three nights, he didn’t snore at all, she says in the interview.

What Works for One Person, Might Not Work for All of Us

At the end of the clip, the news reports that by 1972, the new shaped pillow will be sold in at least 8 countries around the world. We don’t know if they sold it at the S.S. Kresge store in Omaha or at the K-Mart that used to be at 72nd & Ames. If the pillow were uniformly effective, we would expect that the pillow would still be available now and widely recommended for everyone who snored.

However, the fact is that the pillow design, as Challan made it, didn’t take over the pillow world. The company that sold Challan’s pillow still exists today, and it sells an anti-snore pillow. It just doesn’t resemble Challan’s design.

The truth is that what Challan came up with is a custom anti-snoring solution for her husband. It worked well for him and maybe works for many others. However, it isn’t so effective a snoring solution that it can be used by everyone.

If you are looking for a snoring solution that really works for you, you need to choose a custom solution that’s made for you.

Does the Pillow Have a Tragic Backstory?

There’s one other odd thing about the interview. Challan’s husband is referenced many times and credited with the effort of helping make the first prototype. He’s given enough credit that his picture is actually on the pillow’s packaging. However, he doesn’t appear in the interview except in pictures. They don’t talk about it in the interview, but it seems likely that her husband passed away before the pillow came out.

Likely, his relatively early death was related to undiagnosed sleep apnea. Sleep apnea increases a person’s risk of all-cause mortality. That is your risk of dying from any cause. Heart disease, stroke, cancer, accidents, dementia, and more are all more likely in people with sleep apnea. In Challan’s case, her husband started snoring loudly, then, in less than seven years, he was gone.

This reminds us that many people seeking snoring solutions are really looking for sleep apnea treatment. In fact, the louder you snore, the more likely you have sleep apnea. Before trying to find a good snoring solution, it’s important to get a sleep test to determine whether your true problem is sleep apnea.

Effective Snoring Treatment in Omaha

If you’re looking for effective snoring treatment in Omaha, don’t head to the drug store and pick something off the rack. Instead, start by getting a sleep test to determine whether you have sleep apnea. Then get effective treatment customized to your condition and your anatomy.

To learn more about snoring and sleep apnea treatment solutions in Omaha, please call (402) 493-4175 or use our online form to request an appointment at our office in north Omaha, in North Park.