You’re exhausted. Not just a little tired, but completely, totally wiped out.
You can’t remember the last time you got a good night’s sleep, but you can remember the last time you had the chance to sleep in the same bed as your spouse, and it was very, very long ago. Unfortunately, your constant, heavy snoring means that you’ve been relegated to the guest bedroom, so that your lack of sleep doesn’t cause your loved ones to experience the same.
But if you’re being honest with yourself, your snoring still affects everyone you love—and not in a good way, either. Sure, your kids may joke around and give you a hard time about how loud you snore, but you know they’re not getting the sleep they should. And at this point, it just feels like you and your spouse are roommates, briefly saying hello as you pass each other on the way out the door each day.
Thankfully, a whole industry of anti-snoring products exist that can potentially help you—and your family—find relief from your snoring, and that might even bring back some semblance of normalcy to your upturned life.
But the downside to this abundance of anti-snoring products is finding one that actually works based on your specific circumstances. After all, you’re already at your wit’s end, and don’t need the added stress of wasting hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars in your pursuit of a solution.
Enter HighYa. We understand how important it is for you to find something that works, so we’ve whittled down 5 simple steps that you can implement right now to help you find an effective anti-snoring product.
Step 1: Visit Your Physician
What? Visit you doctor just for snoring? You bet. After all, if your snoring has progressed to the point where it’s affecting your sleep—as well as that of your family—then it’s clearly something that needs to be addressed medically.
On top of this, while snoring can certainly be annoying, it can also be life threatening. According to WebMD, 45% of normal adults snore at least occasionally, while 75% of these patients suffer from sleep apnea, which is where they “stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer. In most cases the sleeper is unaware of these breath stoppages because they don't trigger a full awakening.” Untreated, sleep apnea can lead to health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, asthma, acid reflux, and more.
With this said, if your physician diagnoses you with sleep apnea, standard consumer-grade anti-snoring products (like those included in this article) almost certainly won’t work for you. In fact, in some instances they can be downright dangerous for sleep apnea sufferers.
Step 2: Figure Out What’s Causing Your Snoring
According to the National Sleep Foundation, “While you sleep, the muscles of your throat relax, your tongue falls backward, and your throat becomes narrow and "floppy." As you breathe, the walls of the throat begin to vibrate - generally when you breathe in, but also, to a lesser extent, when you breathe out. These vibrations lead to the characteristic sound of snoring.” But while this is the physical cause of snoring, what conditions or behaviors make this more likely to occur?
HelpGuide lists 5 primary factors:
Because your throat becomes narrower and you muscle tone decreases as you get older, age is a key player in snoring.
Physical attributes can play a large role, including gender (men have narrower airways than women), a cleft palate, enlarged adenoids, nasal and sinus problems (such as allergies), and more.
If you’re overweight or out of shape, your excess fatty tissue and reduced muscle tone can lead to snoring.
Lifestyle choices, such as alcohol consumption and smoking, can relax muscles and increase snoring.
Likewise, certain medications, such as sleeping pills and other sedatives, can relax muscles and lead to snoring.
Sleep position, especially on your back where your throat is more likely to be blocked by the surrounding flesh.
If you’re just beginning to explore the cause of your snoring, this step can take time, along with a fair amount of trial and error.
Pro Tip: Keep a small notebook on your nightstand and write down what you tried during the night, whether or not it curtailed your snoring, and any other information you feel is important. This “snoring journal” will not only help you track your progress, but it can also be immensely useful to your physician when you go in for a visit.
Step 3: Try These “Free” Options First
With this said, at least in theory, this means that you may be able to stop—or at least curtail—your snoring by making lifestyle changes, such as eating right, exercising, and losing weight; quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption (especially right before you go to bed), avoiding sedative medications in the evening, keeping hydrated throughout the night (put a water bottle on your nightstand), and changing your sleep position.
At this point you’ve visited your physician, changed some of your habits that can cause snoring, diligently maintained your snoring journal, although nothing seems to help. At this point, it might be time to look at some consumer-grade anti-snoring products to see if they can provide some relief.
Step 4: Mouth or Nose?
But first, keep in mind that, although it might seem obvious, there are only 2 ways that air enters and leaves your body; through your mouth and through your nose. And the type of snorer you are will directly affect the type of anti-snoring product you need to purchase.
As such, you’ll need to figure out if you’re a mouth or a nose snorer, which might require that you enlist the help of other household members (let’s be honest though; they can probably tell you right off the bat). In their absence, you can also put yourself through a series of quick snoring tests.
Step 5: Find the Anti-Snoring Product That Works Best for You
Here’s where all your hard work from the previous steps will pay off. You’ve visited your doctor, honed in on what’s causing your snoring, attempted to implement different solutions, and discerned whether or not you’re a mouth or a nose snorer. Based on this information, you’re now armed with everything you need in order to find an anti-snoring product that works for you. After all, snoring is an individualized problem, so what works for your friends or neighbors might not work for you.
Even if you tried changing your sleep position in Step 3, you might consider trying out a new pillow or two. There are dozens of different pillow designs from just as many manufacturers, so finding the right one may take some trial and error. This includes options such as Side Right Pillow and Sobakawa Cloud Pillow.
Pro tip: While the marketing for many online anti-snoring pillows and wedges is often top-notch, you can almost certainly find nearly identical options at a big box retailer near you. Ultimately, this can help you save money on S&H charges in the event you’re dissatisfied.
Products for Mouth Snorers
Mouthpieces typically address snoring from 2 different angles. A tongue stabilizer (TSD) “is a small piece of plastic that sits at your lips and resembles a large pacifier with a hole into which you can insert your tongue. When used, it can hold your tongue forward, which might alleviate snoring or sleep apnea that occurs with an obstructed airway.” On the other hand, a mandibular advancement device (MAD) “treats snoring and sleep apnea by moving the lower jaw forward slightly, which tightens the soft tissue and muscles of the upper airway to prevent obstruction of the airway during sleep.”
As with any other medical products, your physician might be able to provide some insight as to which of these mouthpieces is best based on your specific diagnosis. Also, your personal preference (e.g. which one is more comfortable and therefore promotes better sleep) will be a big deciding factor. With this said, it appears that in many instances, patients tend to prefer MAD devices over TSD ones.
In comparison to mouthpieces, chinstraps are among the oldest anti-snoring products, and as a result, come in a wide variety of styles and materials. When trying to decide which anti-snoring chinstrap is right for you, SnoringDevicesThatWork recommends looking for comfortable materials and general design (stay away from anything with buckles or an excessive number of straps). In many cases, if an anti-snoring chinstrap looks uncomfortable, it probably is.
Pro Tip: If you’re an especially fitful sleeper and move frequently throughout the night, anti-snoring chinstraps have a tendency to slip out of place, and may not be ideal. In addition, if you suffer from sleep apnea, chinstraps can aggravate the condition and impact your overall health.
Finally, mouth snorers can also benefit from different anti-snoring sprays and lozenges, although these tend to be much less effective than physical devices.
Products for Nose Snorers
If you snore through your nose, the good news is that you’ve got a few more options to choose from that mouth snorers. This includes nasal strips, nose clips, and nasal expansion devices such as Breathe Active.
Pro tip: Again, instead of wasting a lot of money trying out a bunch of nose-snoring products, you’ll want to speak with your physician and see if they have any recommendations based on your specific diagnosis. However, a lot of it will come down to personal preference, although your doctor can at least point you in the right direction.
Should You Try Supplements and Sleep Aids to Prevent Snoring?
While you can certainly choose where to spend your hard-earned money, anti-snoring nutritional supplements are often overpriced, may not disclose all of their included ingredients, often have very little clinical support for their claims, and may only be sold through free trials and subsequent autoship programs. As such, you’ll want to be especially wary if you’re considering an anti-snoring supplement.
As we mentioned in Step 2 above, sedatives can often make snoring worse, which means that, despite how tired you are, you’ll probably want to avoid taking any sleep aids.
While the thought of weeding through all the anti-snoring products available can initially seem daunting, if you take it step-by-step as we’ve outlined here, you can find the right one for you—and your family.