The worst part of the problem with snoring is that it really ruins your life. Because of constant awakening, the person is deprived of good quality sleep. And inadequate night's sleep is often the cause of many diseases, ranging from heart diseases and overweight to loss of sexual power. Apart from that, the person seems distracted at work, something that can really impede his or her career. And on top of everything else, snoring turns into a permanent source of annoyance to the family members.
Therefore, we can safely say that snoring affects not just your mood and health but also the job performance and family friendliness. Finally, it is even known to cause sudden death. So if you have such health disorder, you cannot put it like that but should tackle the issue. The first step you should take is to understand what you are dealing with.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Let’s start with defining the problem. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder when you experience interrupted breathing when asleep. The duration of the pause in breathing can be up to several minutes and such pauses occur repeatedly throughout the night. As a rule, this about loud snoring.
Now, what are the known forms of this disorder? There is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea (CSA), and a combination of the above-mentioned. OSA is the most widespread and often experienced by people with excess weight and allergies or a limited airway. A person snores when the airway is repeatedly blocked during sleep — partially or fully. As a result, the snorer has to wake up to unblock the airway again.
Harvard Experts made quite an illustrative analogy in an article on this issue: “Imagine trying to drink a milkshake through a paper soda straw. As you suck in, the weak paper straw collapses, and you don't get any of the milkshakes. This collapsing is similar to what happens to people with OSA.”
Unlike the more common OSA, CSA happens when the brain cannot control breathing while the person is asleep. Namely, the brain stops delivering signals to the muscles controlling breathing. Although CSA is not as widespread as OSA, that data shows that about one-third of the people with cardiac failure suffer this disorder. Apart from heart diseases, CSA is often found in people with overweight or those who had traumas. It is also known to be prevalent in men and older people
Taken all in all, you should know that this is a treatable disorder, assuming that the diagnosis is right and treatment is proper. It often goes undiagnosed since most of its symptoms, primarily loud snoring, happen when the person is asleep and may be unaware of them.
Ways to Treat Sleep Apnea
How to treat it surgically
As I said it before, it is essential to make the right diagnosis before starting any treatment. I should point out that in the case of OSA, surgical treatments should be prescribed with caution since they are rarely successful, pose certain risks and require time for recovery. That is why a nonsurgical approach is much more popular when OSA is in question. So what kind of surgical operation can be prescribed to a person with OSA?
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) involves removing tissue in the throat. According to David Upton from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, traditional UPPP has proved to be successful just in 40% of cases. Moreover, ten percent of the treated persons reported deterioration. As a result, surgeons have increasingly opted for another, more innovative approach of reconstructive procedures, with the minimum portion of the tissue being removed.
- Bariatric Surgery. This is where you target the cause. Since morbid obesity is one of the factors leading to this disorder, addressing this issue would be a good idea if this is your case. Bariatric surgery is an operation on the stomach, making it smaller so that obese people feel satisfied with less food and, finally, lose weight. This is mainly about patients weighing one hundred pounds and more. UCLA Center for Obesity and Metabolic Health has revealed that up to 86% of the patients who had bariatric surgery have been cured. And yet, you will have to face a complicated surgical operation and, secondly, this only concerns people with obesity-related OSA.
- Upper Airway Stimulation. A special device is implanted to stimulate the nerve so that the tongue is prevented from blocking the airway. During the operation lasting up to 3 hours, a surgeon makes 3 incisions under the chin, collarbone, and between the ribs. A tongue-controlling wire, battery and the sensor are implanted there. When the patient recovers after the operation, the device can be activated. Experts from Ohio State University claim that normally, patients do not experience any pain, except for moderate discomfort during the first days. Once the device is activated, it can be turned on and off by means of a handheld remote. A good option in case you do not mind feeling like a starting robocop.
What medical procedures can be helpful?
In many cases, radical surgery interventions are definitely excessive. Sometimes a good therapy helps the person do away with this disorder.
- The Pillar procedure is one of the effective and almost bloodless ways to cure sleep apnea. It involves placing a number of polyester implants into the roof of the mouth so that they can create scar tissue, which will reduce the palate’s vibration. Specialists from Thomas Jefferson University warn that the procedure is not appropriate for every patient suffering from this disorder. Therefore, you should first consult a doctor.
- The Somnoplasty technique. An innovative approach was offered by scientists at Yale implies the application of a radiofrequency technology — somnoplasty — to help people stop snoring. As a result of this procedure, extra tissues in the nose and throat shrink, while the lower jaw is pulled forward when the person is asleep. As Douglas Ross, associate professor at Yale specified, this method is recommended for patients with upper airway obstruction. The advantages of Somnoplasty is that the procedure takes just ten minutes and does not cause any discomfort.
What are the best anti-snoring devices?
Since snoring is very widespread and one of the most annoying health disorders, no wonder that producers have overflowed the market with all kinds of anti-snoring devices. According to the data provided by the U.S. government's patent office, there are hundreds of them on offer. They are advertised as an alternative to surgical interventions and, therefore, look attractive to customers. “Some of them are more medieval than others”, Dr. Kim Hutchison from Oregon Health and Science University ironically noted. Some of them help just to a degree and some can be quite effective.
How can you tell which solution would be appropriate for you? First and foremost, you need to know the root of the problem. If this is obesity, alcohol dependency or physical defect requiring a surgical intervention, anti-snoring devices would be like a poultice on a wooden leg. Also, the “target” of such an appliance should be chosen properly. For instance, hollow nose plugs are designed to prop the nostrils open but it will be ineffective for many snorers since most of snoring occurs in the throat.
The degree matters as well. So Alaska Sleep Clinic suggests that patients who suffer moderate or severe sleep apnea should use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices, through which a pressurized air stream is blown into the respiratory system. For mild or moderate one, dental devices can provide a relief. The combination of the two above-mentioned options would only enhance the effect. Still, you should remember that in most cases treatments only decrease the breathing discomfort by unblocking the air passage.
How do anti-snoring devices work?
A bulk of anti-snoring devices are intended to unblock the airway that is narrowed as the throat’s back relaxes. The person breathes in, it vibrates and the snoring sound is produced.
Another type of appliances is aimed at making the sleeper turn over on his or her side. The idea is to prevent the tongue from blocking the airway, which happens when the person is sleeping on the back. To this end, special devices with straps and pillows have been invented. They make the sleeper feel uncomfortable when lying on the back, or can even push the snorer to turn over on his or her side.
Finally, you may use chin straps designed to reposition the jaw so that the airway remains open. Although they work with some people, doctors call on their patients to wear them with caution since such devices may cover the entire mouth. As a result, the sleeper risks choking.
Types of anti-snoring devices available on the market
Oral devices are meant for pulling forward the jaw and tongue so that there is more space in the throat, while the tongue and lower jaw do not collapse back. Such devices are considered by scientists to be effective but predominantly for mild sleep apnea.
What are the strong points? Oral appliances are portable, simple, and quiet. Beverly Merz, an Executive Editor at Harvard Women's Health Watch, points out that oral anti-snoring devices can also be used by those who have moderate or severe OSA but will not be as effective as in the case of mild apnea.
Another disadvantage is that the patient will have to get used to wearing them as well as to learn how to maintain the appliances. Also, regular visits to the doctor will be needed to make sure that the device keeps on working in a proper way. Besides, some people may have problems with putting the teeth together after the device is removed. Finally, oral appliances will cost you a vast deal of money.
Oral devices can be divided into two groups. Let’s have a look at how they differ.
What are the pros and cons of using a TSD?
This is a raisin made of plastic or silicone that is put in the mouth. The anti-snoring device for tongue or TSD isolates the tongue, pulling it forward, widening the space between the tongue and the throat’s back.
According to the American Sleep Association, they are less effective than MADs but, in some sense, are more convenient. This is due to the fact that the device does not pulls forward the entire jaw and there is no pressure on the teeth. However, such by-effects as excess saliva can still take place.
Good Morning Snore Solution
You may try Good Morning Snore Solution, a product that was tested clinically with the results featured in the Journal of Sleep and Breathing. The conducted study showed a significant reduction in snoring and 54% of people who tried the item claimed they were going to keep on using it.
This TSD opens the entire airway and is said to have almost no side effects. It does not cause a jaw pain or any other kind of discomfort. It is easy to use — just insert the tongue into the bulb while the rest of the item will be left over the teeth. And it is quite affordable as the item costs under 100 bucks. On top of this, you will get a one-month guarantee, which is enough time to understand whether it fits you and whether it works.
Good Morning Snore Solution: Check the current price
What are the pros and cons of using a MAD?
Mandibular advancement devices (MADs) function by advancing the lower jaw, unblocking the airway, resulting in the person stopping snoring. Be sure not to mistake a mouthguard for MAD, as the former looks alike but does not decrease snoring. These devices can cost up to two thousand dollars in case they are made to order. And this is where the price determines the product’s effectiveness since individual appliances are more comfortable and let the person obtain better results.
There are restrictions for using MADs though. Firstly, people lacking their natural teeth or with teeth in bad condition cannot wear an anti-snoring device for mouth breather. Secondly, it will take you more time to get used to the device compared with TSD. And thirdly, more unpalatable by-effects, like dryness of the mouth, and pressure of the teeth are associated with them.
Developed by a dentist, SleepTight Mouthpiece is recommended by many other American dentists and cleared by FDA for reducing snoring and treating mild and moderate sleep apnea. The device works by advancing the jaw, eliminating the vibration that provokes snoring.
Quite an easy in use mouthpiece for some ten dollars. It has a large 6-mm opening and does not fall out, it holds the teeth firmly and, at the same time, is comfortable. Also, when wearing the device you will swallow without difficulty. Moreover, one of the strong points of the product is that it is re-adjustable. So you I likely to enjoy wearing it! But if there is anything — you will get a one-month money back guarantee.
SleepTight: Check the current price
SnoreMeds Anti-Snoring Mouthpiece
The manufacturer of the product claims that “it really stops your snoring at night”. Quite a bold statement, given that mouthpieces reduce rather than stop snoring. It seems that it tries to win over the customer by marketing tricks like a 45-day money back guarantee, “free shipping” and “easy returns”. So we will better look at the product itself.
A strong point is that it was cleared by FDA, which means that we can take it seriously. A significant advantage that may be of interest to some buyers is that the product is made of a latex-free Thermo hypoallergenic material. Unlike the previous mouthpiece, this one cannot be adjusted but is available in two sizes — the smallest model for women and the original size for men. Anyway, the size does not affect the price and such a device will cost you no more than one hundred dollars.
SnoreMeds: Check the current price
Now let’s look at the most popular mouthpiece — SnoreRX. A FDA-cleared device is latex-free and produced with the use of premium copolymer materials. Precise calibration in 1 mm increments allows to move the lower jaw forward and it can be re-adjusted so that you can feel as comfortable as possible.
The manufacturer claims that the product looks like a custom dental device worth a couple thousand dollars, while this item is in the one-hundred-dollar range. It is important that the developers tried to reduce the side effects of a typical MAD and prevent the pressure on the teeth. Also, the product is said to even exceed medical standards because of its advanced safety features.
SnoreRX: Check the current price
VitalSleep Anti-Snoring Device
This product is significantly cheaper and you get two VitalSleep devices for the price of one SnoreRX. The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty and a two-month money back guarantee. So over the course of one year, you may demand a free replacement, no matter what the reason is.
Like the previous products, this one is FDA-cleared, hypoallergenic, latex-free, and made of medical-grade materials. Apart from being adjustable, the product is available in two sizes — for men and women. An Allen key for the adjustment and a protective case for carrying are included. Use the Allen key to adjust the mouthpiece depending on how severe you snore.
VitalSleep: Check the current price
ZQuiet Anti-Snoring Device
This item is a budget choice and will cost you less than one hundred dollars. Made from medical grade materials, latex-free, and FDA-cleared, it is quite a quality mouthpiece that was clinically proven. And yet, it looks simpler than the previous products.
It is not adjustable but for starters, there are two items of different sizes in one kit so that you can try both and chose the more comfortable one. The manufacturer suggests that the user first tries size No.1 and in case this does not help to decrease snoring, move to size No. 2. The thing is that the former provides a 2-mm jaw advancement while for the latter it is 6 mm.
ZQuiet: Check the current price
Tomiya Anti-Snoring Device
This is the cheapest option. The manufacturer says that the product is made of FDA-approved materials, however, this does not mean that the device itself was cleared by FDA.
The mouthpiece can extend the jaw up to 5 mm or up to 10 mm, but you should better first try the former and move to the second option only if snoring continues unchanged. Soft materials can be easily shaped after your jaw, which allows you to remould the mouthpiece. This sounds tempting but, again, no scientific study was cited to demonstrate that it is as effective as the adjustment. So you may experiment with this item but there is no evidence that it will comfortably fit your jaw.
Tomiya: Check the current price
Sometimes snoring is caused by the fact that a person sleeps on her or his back. If this is your case, you should not complicate the problem, what you need is to change the position and that’s it! But what if you roll over your back when asleep? Special anti-snoring devices, like Night Shift, have been invented for such a situation.
You should wear such gadget on the neck’s back. Once you are on your back, it starts vibrating, intensifying the vibration until you change the position. There are some restrictions for using this method. So for people with certain health issues like neck pain side sleeping can pose some risks. Apart from that, as Sleep Review journal indicates, the effect of such devices on snoring is variable. Those who have an elevated supine apnea index, overall snoring is likely to increase with positional therapy since supine apneas are replaced with snoring.
Smartnora Anti-Snoring Device
You may try Smart Nora device. This is the priciest one out of the products I have reviewed and, to buy it, you will have to open your wallet wide and pay several hundred dollars. So what is so good about this item called the pebble?
This is an electronic device with two charges, the base, and a pillow insert with an air tube. First, you should place the insert under the pillow, then, attach the pebble so that it will be located right above your head. And that’s it! Once you start snoring, the device detects the sounds and moves the pillow in order to interrupt the snoring. By this movement, the throat muscles are stimulated and you start breathing in a proper way.
However, it is worth noting that there is no study proving the product’s effectiveness, although there are users reporting improvements observed after the device had been used. The strong point of this solution is that you will not have to insert anything into the mouth and tolerate all the by-effects.
Smartnora: Check the current price
Anti-snoring device for nose
An internal nasal dilator is a plastic item holding the nostrils open so that there is more space for breathing. However, if you are not enthusiastic about keeping something inside your nose, try external nasal strips. They look like ordinary plasters stuck over your nose, opening up the nostrils from the outside. Both internal nasal dilators and external nasal strips are effective for mild snoring.
Experts from the University of California–Irvine note that nasal dilators have been scientifically understudied, although this method demonstrates a large potential. “Devices for which studies exist have demonstrated the ability to dilate the nasal valve and reduce resistance to airflow. However, these studies are limited to only a few devices,” they conclude. According to the researchers, these devices can be an alternative both to surgical interventions and Positive Airway Pressure.
Nasal Vents | Dortz
Well, this is perhaps the cheapest product in our review — in the price range below twenty dollars. For this price, you get a set of eight pairs of nasal vents. For your convenience, there are two types and four sizes. All of them are designed to fit the nose and are consistent with its anatomy.
The items are made of quality medical materials so feel free to insert them inside your nose. But remember that nasal dilators should be used only if it is the nose that is your problem with snoring. As I said above, for most people, the root of the problem is the throat.
Dortz: Check the current price
Chin straps will help you to keep the mouth closed while sleeping so that you can breathe through your nose. This will help to decrease snoring since breathing through your nose makes the airflow more consistent and, finally, less vibrating. However, if you have nasal obstruction, this method is definitely not for you.
And this is not the only strict contradiction for the use of chin straps. Some experts believe this method poses a certain health risk. Dr. Richard Schwab, director at Pennsylvania Sleep Center, says that a chin strap covering the entire mouth is “a terrible idea.” “You should never cover your mouth — you could choke”, he added.
Chin straps can be made of a number of types of flexible materials and are attached under the chin. Some of the products can be adjustable while others are just available in different sizes — from small to large ones. One of the key advantages of this method is its convenience since you do not need to place it inside the mouth or nose, American Sleep Association points out.
Anti-snoring Chin Strap
Now, look at this anti-snoring chin strap. It is really convenient and, above all, is made of a non-itchy material. In addition, it can be adjusted to fit you better — just tighten or loosen the strap. The product will not cost you much and is definitely cheaper than most of MADs I have mentioned above. And finally, it is easy to maintain as the strap can be washed.
The producer also advises to use the device in combination with a CPAP mask. And yet, do not forget that this solution poses a risk of choking. So be careful and test it before going to bed.
Anti-snoring Chin Strap: Check the current price
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
Positive airway pressure is the most widespread treatment for people with OSA and has long proved to be successful. Actually, this is the only recognized full-fledged alternative to a surgical intervention. CPAP helps people with all kinds of health issues and is suitable for nearly any patient’s condition, so no wonder that the device is a must-have item even in a hole-in-the-wall hospital.
A person suffering from snoring should place a mask on his face so that compressed air can be blown into the lungs. This prevents the airway collapse and, as a result, the person does not snore. Unlike the above-mentioned methods, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure will work even for people with severe sleep apnea. As experts at Cedar-Sinai Program note, the patient’s condition normally improves after using CPAP. However, they stress that this is not about curing the disorder — if you cease using the machine, snoring will be back.
The main downside of the method is that a significant portion of those who tried CPAP abandoned the practice. According to the data published at the website of Harvard Medical School, almost forty percent of the patients failed to get used to the device. Their main arguments are that the mask makes them feel claustrophobic and the background noise is annoying as well as leaks and dryness making the person feel uncomfortable. And again, the partner is often the one who is frustrated with the idea of his beloved sleeping in a mask.
Comparison table of the effectiveness of anti-snoring devices
F.A.Q. on how to use anti-snoring devices
How to clean anti-snoring devices?
You should maintain hygiene when cleaning the item. You may use a toothbrush, toothpaste, and warm water. Do it twice a week and the device will not only be clean but will have its lifespan prolonged as well. Another option is soaking it in warm water on a daily basis. In addition, you may use all sorts of dental pastes and even an ultrasonic cleaner that will remove all bacteria from the device.
How long do snoring devices last?
Typically, anti-snoring devices can serve about a year but it largely depends on the type, quality and maintenance of the item. Also, there is a high chance that you may damage it when wearing.
Do I need a physician’s prescription or order for these treatments?
It depends on the device. For example, you need a prescription for starting CPAP therapy. This is well justified because you have to know the exact diagnosis as well as some details like pressure settings that can be provided only by a professional. Oral anti-snoring devices can be sold without a prescription if the package contained the required direction for use.
What if snoring persists while using the snore device?
There can be various reasons for that. First of all, you should consult a doctor since this can be the indication that you have a serious disease which causes snoring. And, therefore, the cause, not the symptom, has to be targeted. Then, you may use the device improperly or it may be of low quality.
Can people with dental issues use anti-snoring mouthpieces?
Having dental issues is a contraindication to wearing some of the appliances. For example, you cannot use MADs.
Are anti-snoring mouthpieces adjustable?
Some of them can be adjusted to fit the user while others cannot. Generally, this depends on the price and the adjustable devices are more expensive. The best adjustment is that made by an expert, so custom items are usually more effective though more expensive.
So what to do? Which one to choose?
Indeed, there is an ocean of solutions, some of which will work for you while others will not. Which one to choose? First of all, you should not reduce the choice to just another purchase of goods.
Please, consult the doctor before doing anything else. Snoring may be an alarm bell for you, indicating that there is something wrong with your health. If concerns are confirmed, first tackle the health issue — be it obesity or allergies.
Secondly, the doctor will help you to determine the severity of the disorder. This will allow you to choose a proper treatment method. Maybe you will need a surgical procedure or anti-snoring devices will cope with the task.
As for choosing an anti-snoring device, there is no universal recommendation. Everything is very individual.
CPAP is the most effective way to decrease snoring without surgical intervention. But it can be so damn annoying! Enough to disturb your sleeping — something that actually happens to many people, making them abandon the idea of using CPAP. What’s the point of making you snore less if this will make you sleep less? I by no means discourage you from opting for this method since there is a lot of people who think it is OK.
I just wanted to explain why other stuff is in demand among the numberless army of snorers. This stuff — all sorts of mouthpieces, nasal dilators, chin straps, etc — can be helpful but only partially, with MADs being obviously the most effective ones. If applied correctly, they can decrease snoring, however, they will not solve the problem. And of course, anti-snoring devices are recommended for mild or moderate snorers only. So if you do not want to make a wrong choice, first and foremost define the problem!