Snoring occurs when air is restricted from moving freely through the nose and throat during sleep. The muscles in the back of the mouth and the upper airway of the throat, relax. The airway narrows or becomes temporarily blocked. As a result, surrounding tissues vibrate and produce the familiar snoring sound. For some individuals, the sound may be subtle, but in many cases, it can be loud and unpleasant, especially for a sleeping partner.
About 45% of the population snores at some point or another. Anyone can snore: male or female, young or old; no matter what their physical characteristics. An overweight condition, smoking, or heavy alcohol consumption may all increase the risk of habitual snoring.
But you may be a snorer based on your physiology. The way your throat, neck and head are structured can predispose you to snore.
Occasionally, individuals who aren’t regular snorers will snore during a viral illness, after drinking alcohol, or when taking some medications.
1. Lifestyle Changes
For those who fall into the group of snorers, about 45% of the population, lifestyle changes or natural solutions may help stop snoring. For these mild or occasional snoring episodes, the following changes in behavior may be sufficient to resolve the issue:
However, for most snorers, a more specific treatment or snoring aid is required. Numerous non-prescription treatments for snoring are available on the market today, including position-limiting devices, oral sprays, nasal dilators, chin straps, tongue training devices and a whole host of anti-snore wearables.
2. Anti-Snore Pillows
Anti-snoring pillows can be effective in reducing or eliminating snoring by encouraging the snorer to sleep on his or her side. Most chronic snorers sleep on their backs. When they fall asleep with their mouths open wide, the jaw relaxes and drops backward, and tongue slips to the back of the mouth and blocks the airway. The blocked airway promotes snoring.
Anti-snoring pillows have several features that help stop snoring. They are made of hypoallergenic materials and are washable. The size is convenient for travel. They are ergonomically shaped to align the head and shoulders and maintain a sideways position with the airway open.
Types of Anti-Snore Pillows
There are a variety of anti-snore pillows on the market, all with the same objective: encourage the snorer to sleep sideways. They are available in various forms including wedge, cervical support, memory foam, straight full-body pillow, U-shaped body pillows (commonly used by pregnant women), and a combination of these.
One company, Nora, has introduced a smart pillow which is activated when detecting the sounds of snoring. It consists of three parts:
The bedsider. The bedsider is a small device that is shaped like a sliced egg and is placed close to the bed.
The device detects snoring, and once it reaches a certain level, the bedsider activates and begins inflating the pillow insert. Nora claims that the bedsider works well in a noisy environment by adapting to ambient noise like fans, traffic, or air conditioning.
Nora’s bedsider can remain plugged in, or it’ll last up to two weeks on a single charge.
An inflatable pillow insert. An insert easily slips underneath the pillow, inside the pillowcase. Nora claims it will work with all types of pillows, both soft and firm.
Once the bedsider detects the sounds of snoring, a mini-pump placed under the bed is activated. The Nora’s insert inflates, which slowly and gently repositions the head, stimulating throat muscles and allowing normal breathing again.
A smartphone app. The Nora smartphone app provides insights into snoring and sleep patterns, with overnight audio recordings. The information allows the snorer to track the device’s effectiveness over time.
Expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) is a snoring solution that uses pressure created during exhalation to stabilizes the upper airway. For many people, snoring is caused by air rushing across lax throat tissues. When this happens, small vibrations occur, causing the noise we commonly refer to as snoring. An EPAP therapy creates a positive pressure in the sleeper’s throat, maintaining the airway open and free from obstruction.
Theravent is a clinically verified snoring solution that creates EPAP using a patented MicroValve Technology. In clinical studies, 79% of bed partners reported that Theravent quieted their partner’s snoring.
During inhalation, Theravent’s patented MicroValve Technology opens, allowing normal breathing. Then, during exhale, the MicroValves closes to create a gentle pressure that naturally opens the airway and relieves snoring. EPAP differs from CPAP in that it does not force air into the throat. By forcing air into your throat, you can experience stomach pain and overall-discomfort. EPAP uses your own breathe, which is more natural and gentler.
Provent Therapy uses a small, disposable device that attaches over each nostril with a hypoallergenic adhesive. Each device contains a small valve that allows almost unrestricted airflow into the nostril but limits the flow of air out of the nostril.
The Provent device uses EPAP to allow you to breath-in freely. When you expel a breath, the exhaled air gets forced through very small air channels. The resistance produced during expiration creates nasal EPAP which is maintained until the start of the next inspiration.
CPAP, on the other hand, uses positive pressure when you inhale and exhale. The Provent Therapy’s EPAP creates pressure only during expiration. For patients seeking an alternative to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), Provent may be a suitable therapy.
6. Nasal Snoring Strips
A nasal dilator strip consists of a small adhesive that is placed on the bridge of the nose. It is designed to open the nostrils slightly and therefore increase airflow to the interior nasal passages.
Those people who have problems breathing through their nose while sleeping are usually forced to breathe through their mouths, which creates a condition that promotes snoring. Nasal strips open nasal passages just enough to allow comfortable nose breathing and snoring is stopped.
Nasal dilator strips come in a variety of sizes to fit different noses. Before bedtime, the adhesive strip should be applied over the bridge of the nose just behind the flare of the nostrils. The effect should be immediate with a feeling of relief and increased airflow through the nasal passages.
Breathe Right, and Nozovent are examples of nasal dilator strips.
Breathe Right Nasal Strips. Manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, Breathe Right Nasal Strips have demonstrated success in preventing or reducing snoring. Study results show that 78% of partners of snorers reported relief from loud snoring when using Breathe Right nasal strips
The Nozovent Nasal Dilator. Scandinavian Formulas makes The Nozovent Nasal Dilatator, a snoring relief strip that works similarly to the Breathe Right. An adhesive pulls the wings of the strips upward and outward. As it does this, the strips naturally expand the inner nasal passageways making for easier air flow.
Nasal strips offer a low-risk solution to snoring problems. However, as with any therapy, persistent symptoms could be an indication of a more serious breathing problem.
If you snore, this is an indicator you might have sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening condition. However, just because you snore does not mean you necessarily have sleep apnea. Seek professional medical help if snoring is chronic and serious before using any nasal dilator strips.
7. Tongue Retaining Devices (TRD)
A tongue retaining device (TRD or TSD) holds your tongue in place to reduce or stop you from snoring. When you are asleep, all your body’s muscles relax, including those in your mouth and throat. This permits your tongue to fall back into your throat, reducing the air flow when you breathe. As you get older, the muscles can sag further, which is way many people suffer from snoring more as they age.
A TRD is designed to maintain the tongue in a forward position, allowing unrestricted airflow to your lungs through your throat.
The TRD is made of a flexible silicone material adapted to the contours of the teeth and dental arches but does not depend on teeth for retention. A negative pressure created in the vacuum bulb on the front of the appliance holds the tongue in a forward position. Freedom of movement is possible during use since the mandible is not rigidly or firmly held by the appliance. The TRD is a good choice for patients without teeth, with periodontal disease or with temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
The TSD does not require any particular effort by the user. Once placed inside your mouth, it will operate correctly while the patient is completely relaxed. The medical-grade silicone material does not irritate anything in the mouth, the gums, tongue, or lips.
If you breathe through your nose, a TRD can be very effective. However, if you suffer from a cold or some type of allergy that affects stops up your nasel passges, you will not be able to use a TRD.
Some users may experience tongue-tip irritation or gum soreness during initial use. For most patients, this subsides after four to seven days, so you need to give your mouth time to get used to the device. You might also need to experiment a bit to determine the correct level of suction required to attach the tongue to the apparatus comfortably.
Many researchers have documented how effective OSA is in the treatment of snoring. A study of TRD effectiveness published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found the subjective intensity of snoring decreased by 68% with device usage. Other studies have reported an effective rate of 80% and higher.
8. Chin Straps
A chin strap is designed to act like a sling that holds the jaw firmly in place. A properly fitted chin strap will keep the mouth closed and maintain the jaw in a forward position, reducing the risk of the tongue and throat tissues falling back to block the airways. The result is a reduction or elimination of snoring.
For sleep apnea snorers who have been advised to use a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, the doctor may recommend the use of a chin strap. CPAP therapy forces air into the throat through a mask, and the resultant pressure helps to keep the airways open.
For snorers who sleep with their mouths open, the CPAP therapy may not be effective because the air escapes and does not allow pressure buildup. The chin strap can hold the mouth closed and therefore allow the CPAP mask to function correctly.
Ease of Use. Chin straps are perhaps the easiest anti-snoring devices to use of all the apparatuses available on the market today. The basic anti-snoring chin strap consists of a cup made of fabric to provide support to the chin, and straps that go up the sides of the face and around the top of the head. One such popular chin strap is My Snoring Solution.
Chin straps may have an adjustment period. The straps may require some tweaking to find a comfortable fit. Some devices are constructed from materials that are easier to sleep on than others. It is best to select a chin strap that offers a return guarantee if the device is uncomfortable or ineffective.
Chin Strap Features
Finding the Right Snoring Aids
Many companies today market a lot of different anti-snoring devices and therapies. Choosing the right one may seem challenging. However, with so many options, it is almost certain that there you can find the right one that is effective in addition to being comfortable and convenient to use.
Most of these products require a period of adjustment. Every snorer reacts to anti-snoring treatments differently, but with a minimum of effort and some patience, the devices can be effective. Do your research and test several different devices until you find the right one. Most companies will allow you to return any device that does not work for you.
Consider also a combination of a device and some type of therapy. This may provide you with better results.
Chief editor here at Snore Nation and a proud father of two cool boys. I am a reformed snorer, a reformed smoker, a reformed overeater, a reformed city dweller and a reformed workaholic stress monster on the mission to share my insider tips to restore that quality sleep for you and your partner!