Sleep is precious for us runners. I’d argue it’s even more important than the prerace pasta dinner. I’ve put these habits in place to ensure slumber: no caffeine after 3pm, keep the AC high, and lint brush my bedsheets like crazy to prevent my cat’s hair from tickling my nose.

But when your partner snores, all your failsafes, well, fail.

And so, my quest to reclaim my zzz’s began with pillow testing. After researching the best pillows for snoring, I selected three highly-rated models for both my partner and me to sleep on. Besides consuming alcohol, being overweight, and having a deviated septum—all of which don’t apply to my partner—sleeping in an improper position is also associated with snoring. The right pillow will prop up the sleeper’s head, reducing airway compression. It also shouldn’t be too firm or high to cause discomfort or neck strain.

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After a full month of testing—and resisting the urge to freak out my partner by hovering over his bedside à la Paranormal Activity—I found that pillows would ultimately not lead to silent nights. Luckily, a growing fortress of test pillows protected my partner from my smothering reach when he just couldn’t STFU.

As a test control to my snoring guinea pig, I reaped the benefits of sleeping on the pillows myself. Ah, but dear runner, a minor hitch: I don’t sleep on pillows. It’s not that I sleep pillow-less. For some reason, my body dislikes having my head cushioned. Most mornings I’ll wake up, my head resting on the mattress, the rejected pillow miles away, squashed against the wall. Would this test help me find a pillow my conked-out body would accept? Here’s what I found.

Editor’s Note: For test ratings, higher scores indicate firmer and cooler pillows.

The Pillows

Saatva Latex Pillow

Saatva Latex Pillow
Latex Pillow
Saatva Latex Pillow
$165 at Saatva
Firmness4 out of 7
Temperature Regulation5 out of 7

Stuffed with shredded latex, Saatva’s pillow has a roundness to it. It was the fluffiest of the three we tested. The first night my partner slept on the Latex, there was light snoring.

I liked how the pillow felt airy and allowed my head to sink into it. As Saatva says on its site, the Latex has a hotel quality to it: a lofty and buoyant feel.


Layla Kapok Cooling Pillow

Amanda’s Favorite
Layla Kapok Pillow
Kapok Pillow
Amanda’s Favorite
Layla Kapok Pillow
Now 22% Off
Firmness7 out of 7
Temperature Regulation6 out of 7

    Kapok is fiber harvested from the ceiba tree. Layla’s pillow contains kapok fiber and shredded memory foam that you can remove through a side zipper to adjust accordingly to your comfort level. Its hexagon-stitch quilted cover is soft on your cheek. Sleeping on it myself, I found the pillow positioned my neck too high.

    On some nights I held my breath to make sure my partner was still alive, then exhaled when I could hear his breathing. Other nights, I stifled laughter as his snoring resounded throughout the modest square footage of my one-bedroom apartment.


    Coop The Eden Pillow

      Coop Coop The Eden Pillow
      Coop The Eden Pillow
      Coop Coop The Eden Pillow
      Firmness5 out of 7
      Temperature Regulation5 out of 7

      Coop’s The Eden is plusher than the brand’s original pillow, and made with cooling gel-infused memory foam and crosscut microfiber. It comes with an extra half pound of filler. Like the Kapok, it also has a quilted cover.

      The Eden is a happy medium for firm and soft pillow sleepers. While I still preferred Layla’s Kapok pillow, I liked how The Eden provided more support. As for my partner, it was the same game most nights: I’d either wake up to his quiet breathing, or stare wide-eyed in the dark, roused from what I thought was a moose’s call.

      The Results

      We eventually tried nose strips, even though my partner has no issues with his nasal passages. Annnnd, they also didn’t work.

      Though the snoring hasn’t completely ended, it’s become erratic enough to the point that I’ve had mostly uninterrupted sleep. And perhaps sleeping on the pillows myself—some nights—has helped me rest deeply. Physically, I’m not noticing any difference in my neck or back. According to my Garmin, however, I am getting the recommended seven hours of sleep most nights.

      Training for a fall marathon, I’ve become a part of the early-riser crew to beat the sun this summer. Waking up to head out the door between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m., I have to admit these pillows must be doing something.

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