This article is medically reviewed and edited by Dr. Anaya Rehman, MBBS, M.S Cognitive Neuroscience, Polysomnography Expert.
Combining new-school technology with old-school comfort, the Smart Nora is one of the best anti-snoring pillows on the market.
For a long time, most anti-snoring pillows looked and functioned the same. They might have had minor differences here and there, but there was only so much that could be done to a pillow to make it stand out from the rest.
Then the Smart Nora happened.
Smart Nora Snoring Pillow Review - 2019 Update
Living up to its "smart" name, the Smart Nora uses a wireless microphone to detect your snores as they happen in real time. Then it signals a pump to gently inflate and deflate your pillow. As your head and neck are nudged into a new position, your snores will cease.
I was around when the Smart Nora made its debut. I remember marveling at how far technology had come and wondering if this high-tech pillow could really make a difference in a person's snoring. But I decided to let other people try it out first; just in case it was a rip-off, I didn't want to be among the first crop of testers.
By the time that Oprah Winfrey endorsed it in her magazine, I realized what I'd been missing. Here's my review of the Smart Nora, the anti-snoring pillow that permanently changed the world of sleep aids.
The Smart Nora is a two-part device.
The first part is a thin pumping mechanism that you slide into your pillow before you go to sleep, and the second part is a wireless receiver that you put on your headboard or nightstand.
If you start to snore during the night, the microphone in the receiver will detect the noise and send a signal to the pump. Then the pump will slowly inflate, rearranging your head and quieting your snores.
If the Smart Nora sounds like a high-tech version of your bed partner nudging your shoulder to stop your snores, you're absolutely right. But this nudge is fully automated and won't disrupt anyone's sleep.
Science Behind the Smart Nora Snoring Pillow
So how does the Smart Nora work? What's it doing when it stops your snores?
Simply put, it's all about your airway. When you fall asleep, the soft tissue in your throat falls asleep with you. It relaxes so much that it can actually cause an obstruction in your airway that results in wheezing, huffing, puffing and general noise-making.
The goal of many anti-snoring products is to keep your airway open during the night. This is why you see things like tongue guards and chin straps that are designed to hold your jaw in place while you sleep.
The Smart Nora is gentler. Instead of forcing you into bulky headgear, it just gives you a little nudge to re-position your head and re-open your airways. If you find the right settings for the pump, it won't even wake you up.
Did I forget to mention the settings?
One of the best things about the Smart Nora is that it can be customized to your unique sleeping habits. If the pre-set controls aren't working for you, just change them up. You'll have plenty of options:
Ease of Use
Thanks to its user-friendly design, the Smart Nora is very easy to operate. It might utilize advanced technology, but it doesn't require any advanced knowledge to understand.
For example, installation is a breeze. There's a basic storage box that goes beside your bed, and it contains the hardware that sets everything in motion. The box is connected via air tube to the pumping device that slides into your pillow.
The wireless receiver can be placed anywhere near your bed. Some people put it on their nightstand; others prefer to mount it on their headboard for maximum noise coverage. There's a plastic bracket if you decide to hang it.
The Smart Nora can be plugged in or operated through a battery. There's a cable for the base that uses DC power, and there's a USB port to connect the pumping mechanism with the base.
If you decide to go for battery power, they'll last a full 24 hours before they need to be recharged, so you can wring several nights of sleep out of them without worrying about juice. There's also a handy LED charging light on the receiver to let you know when you're fully powered and ready to go.
Longevity and Durability
The Smart Nora is relatively new, so it's hard to say how long it will last in the long-term. However, I've owned mine for several months now without anything breaking or wearing down.
I've also read customer reviews from people who have been using their Smart Nora for several years without issue.
I think part of its longevity comes from its materials. Though the pump parts are made of plastic for ease of inflation, other parts are made with harder polycarbonate blends.
The base box is also covered with soft felt for aesthetic purposes. It'll look, feel and function like the high-end product that it is.
As for maintenance, you won't have to do much to keep the Smart Nora running like usual. None of the electric parts are meant to be washed or dry-cleaned.
If you notice smudges on the receiver or air tubes, just wipe them down with a dry rag. Don't use water!
There are some drawbacks to the Smart Nora. In the interest of presenting a fair, unbiased review, I'll outline them here.
The biggest issue is that it doesn't start working until after you've started to snore. The receiver has to detect the noise before it can tell the pump to start inflating. If your spouse is a light sleeper, they might have to learn some patience while the Smart Nora works its magic.
Another issue is that it doesn't actually address the origins of your snoring. There are many things that can cause and contribute to snoring, and the Smart Nora won't fix any of them. It's a treatment and not a cure.
Finally, the Smart Nora isn't cheap. It will set you back a few bucks. Consider it an investment in a future without sleep deprivation.
Frequently Asked Questions
While you can find a lot of the nitty-gritty details about the Smart Nora on its official website, I've taken the liberty of answering some common product questions from a personal perspective. All of the following information has been tested or verified by me!
Can the Smart Nora be used with any kind of pillow?
Yes. The manufacturers boast that it can be used with everything from memory foam to down filling, and firmness-wise, I've tried it with both softer and harder pillows. It's never given me any problems.
Does sleeping position matter?
Nope! I toss and turn like crazy, so I'm sure that the Smart Nora has caught me in all kinds of weird side-curls and back-sprawls. It still works. The inflation is designed to move your head, not your body, so you're fine as long as your noggin is still on your pillow.
What are the specs?
Including the base box where the dials and tubes are stored, the Smart Nora measures 10 x 4.5 x 7 inches and weighs 5.8 pounds. However, the individual parts are much smaller. For example, the wireless receiver is a tiny, egg-like device no bigger than your hand.
As for inflation, you can adjust the height between 3-4 inches.
Can I travel with it?
I don't see why not. I've never used it anywhere but my bedroom, but the pieces are all light and compact. They could easily fit into your luggage. I think the only real danger would be losing a piece in transit, so pack carefully.
Will it impact people or pets sharing the bed with me?
The answer to this question is "it depends." Since it's under your pillow, it shouldn't bother anyone else unless their head is sharing it. On the flip side, if your dog is a snorer too, you might need to adjust the sensitivity of the microphone to make sure that it only picks up your noises and not Fido's.
Does it come with any kind of guarantee?
Yes. There's a one-year warranty if anything needs to be replaced, and you can try it risk-free for 30 days. I'd recommend giving it the full month before you return it. You might need an adjustment period to get used to the inflation under your head, and you wouldn't want to write off the whole product just because it feels a bit weird initially.
Does it make noise?
You might be able to hear the gentle whoosh of air as the pump inflates. Otherwise, the Smart Nora is completely silent. There's no buzzing, beeping or ringing. Remember, it's supposed to help you sleep!
Pros and Cons of Smart Nora
I know that I've given you a lot to chew on with this review, so let me boil down the most important things in an easy list format. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of the Smart Nora:
What's the Bottom Line?
Our Rating: 4.7/5
The Smart Nora is one of the best anti-snoring pillows on the market. Not only does it boast an intelligent, intuitive design, but it also comes with all kinds of special features to customize your sleeping experience and make your life easier.
It isn't perfect, of course. But what product is? When you consider all of the benefits of the Smart Nora, its flaws seem paltry in comparison.
I have no problem recommending the Smart Nora to snorers who are ready to make a change. It might have taken me awhile to see the light, but now that I have, I can safely say that I love it just as much as Oprah Winfrey does.