An Overview and Review of the Sleep-Safe Pillow
One of the difficulties with having epilepsy is that if the seizures are not controlled, they can happen anytime and anywhere. This can lead to serious injuries. There are some devices available to protect someone who is having a seizure. The typical safety device that people tend to think about is some form of a helmet. However these are not appropriate for or useful for the majority of people with epilepsy.
However there is a unique device available that has been marketed to help reduce the risk of injuries from seizures that may happen during sleep. This device is called the Sleep-Safe Anti-Suffocation Pillow.
About the Sleep-Safe pillow
The company who makes this pillow states that this pillow can prevent reduced airflow – they claim that this could therefore reduce the risk of suffocation. There are four ways that they say that this pillow could do that. These are:
1. Breathability - Sleep-Safe pillows are hand-made from a special soft, highly porous foam with an open cell structure, this means that it has much greater 'breathability' than ordinary pillows.
2. Profiled Surface - Sleep-Safe pillows have a gentle, rippled surface which provides a profusion of air spaces between the surface of the pillow and the micromesh cover. This means that air can pass more freely over the surface of the pillow, even when supporting the weight of a sleeping person’s head.
3. Aero-Matrix Construction - a flexible, matrix cavity within the Sleep-Safe pillow.
4. Thru-Channelling - breathable air ducts formed through the Sleep-Safe pillow.
They also say that the benefits of Sleep-Safe anti-suffocation pillows go beyond just helping to prevent death or injury of the person with seizures.
They state that these also can provide reassurance to parents, partners, and caregivers by reducing the fear of suffocation of a loved one. This fear can lead to disturbed sleep patterns, anxiety and depression, and a profound deterioration in the quality of life for the family.
My Review of the Sleep-Safe Pillow
I heard about this pillow about five years ago. I had was curious about and interested in this product since I have had tonic-clonic seizures during sleep. I was aware that this wouldn’t necessarily prevent reduced airflow or suffocation but I wanted to try it out to see the design in-person and to test its comfortability.
I tested out this pillow for five nights. I was wary of it at first because it doesn’t look very comfortable. It looks like a big piece of foam with bumps on it. As well, when I first opened the package it smelled terrible – like plastic. This was probably due to the packaging that it was shipped in. However after I aired it out for about five days the smell went away.
In my opinion I found sleeping with it very comfortable. I am used to and enjoy sleeping on a firm pillow so I suspect the transition to this pillow was easier to adjust to and enjoy.
I noticed that after the third day of using the pillow it had slightly curved to the shape of my head. This also made it quite comfortable.
The mesh pillowcase felt smooth against my face. I did not experience scratching or pulling of my skin.
I tested putting my face into the pillow and breathing at a regular rate. I found this was possible – I can not do that with my regular pillow. However since during a seizure a persons breathing can slow down this may not be the same experience for me during a seizure. However, like the company claims – this pillow does have some breathability.
The pillow came with a variety of educational materials about epilepsy – including a couple medical ID cards. I thought this was useful and a nice touch. It reassured me that the company was offering this product to help people with epilepsy.
The biggest problem I have during seizures that happen during sleep is rolling off the bed or wandering about in a daze afterwards – sometimes hitting furniture or tripping in the process. Unfortunately this pillow is not going to help me with that.
However if you are looking for something that may help prevent reduced airflow during a seizure you may want to try out this pillow. This pillow is not intended for children under the age of three. It is also quite expensive (approximately $170 CAN for the pillow including the shipping to Vancouver, BC).
I suspect that sleeping with this pillow may be difficult for a child or youth to adjust to because they probably are more likely to sleep with soft and more flat pillows. However you could gradually increase the height of the pillow by taking out one of the layers and then working up to putting two layers in.
More Information About the Sleep-Safe Pillow
Sleep-Safe pillows have been registered by the Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (an executive agency of the UK Government's Department of Health) as a Class I Medical Device. This provides for a wide range of controls covering safety and performance. The inventor of this pillow is a pharmacist and has worked as a medical devices registration specialist for a surgical equipment manufacturer. He states “I developed Sleep-Safe Anti-Suffocation Pillows because our son had seizures and we were desperately concerned about his safety while he slept.”
The company provides a guarantee and return policy. If the goods arrive faulty or damaged, or a fault becomes apparent in the first 14 days after delivery, they will provide a full refund or replace the pillow. You have 7 days from the day after you receive the pillow to cancel the order. A full refund, including initial postage and packing charges, will be provided within 30 days of the cancellation of the order. They do not refund return delivery costs in the case of goods that are not faulty.
As in with most medical devices, the company has disclaimers and liability limitations for this product. Click here to read them.
For more information about the Sleep-Safe Pillow click here to go to their website.
Please note the BC Epilepsy Society has no relationship with the manufacturer, financial or otherwise. People and their health care providers must make their own best decisions about this and other devices that are marketed to help offer protection during a seizure.
For more information about other safety devices for people who have seizures you can read our Information Sheet Medical ID and Safety Devices for People with Epilepsy.