When you first begin exploring your options of snoring solutions, you can expect to feel a little overloaded with information.
There is a lot to read, and probably more solutions than you expected to be faced with. So, if you are scratching your head, and just not quite sure which method you should be taking a closer look at, this is perfectly normal.
Understand that although there are many solutions available, they will not all deliver the results you may be hoping for. Not to mention, not all are very comfortable either. To make an educated decision, it is helpful to become familiar with all of your options. In this overview I will introduce you to mouthpieces, chin straps, CPAP systems, pillows, medications and natural herbs, and surgery options, as well as a few unusual options that don’t fall under any category at all.
Oral options are the most commonly used solutions. They come in two very distinct styles.
The first is a jaw retaining mouthpiece, also known as a mandibular advancement device, or MAD. Basically, once it is properly fitted, it will reposition your jaw forward ever so slightly. By doing this, your tongue is unable to drop backward, which naturally creates a wider air passage in your throat.
Jaw retaining mouthpieces are easy to fit, proven safe, and can be quite effective. However, depending on what country you live in, you might need to go to the dentist and get a prescription for one. This variety cannot be used by denture wearers, and it will need to be replaced a few times a year.
The second type is called a tongue retaining mouthpiece, also known as tongue stabilizing device, or TSD. Many do not realize that the tongue is the culprit behind this disruptive noise. The sound is created when the air flow is obstructed where the upper throat and tongue meet the uvula and soft palate. When these structures are permitted to vibrate against one another, snoring noises are resulted.
Your tongue can easily obstruct your airway, and believe it or not, your age, body fat level, muscle tone, and sex can dictate how susceptible you are to this occurrence. The logical solution is to hold your tongue in place, which is exactly what tongue retaining mouthpieces do.
These appliances simply keep your tongue where it should be, and they do it in the most comfortable way possible. Although not common, some do complain that jaw holding products cause facial pain and promote an under or overbite. With the tongue holding variety, you don’t have these concerns.
The shape of it is designed in such a way that when you put it in your mouth, a slight suction develops between the device and your tongue. By holding onto the top of your tongue, it is able to keep it in place. Both varieties are effective and comfortable for most people, and have unique advantages and disadvantages.
Continuous positive airway pressure, more commonly referred to as CPAP is a method proven to work, but it is also one of the least preferred options.
The CPAP system was originally developed to treat sleep apnea. It works by pumping air into your lungs while you sleep. The air is pushed into a nasal mask via a tube. It then passes into your throat. This slight pressure is enough to keep the upper airway open.
However, although effective, it is really hard, if not impossible to learn to like this option. If putting on this bulky device is not uncomfortable enough, general operation maybe trickier than flying a helicopter. These appliances come with an owner’s manual that you will need to get acquainted with to safely use one.
Solutions don’t get much more classic than chin straps. These are comparable to the oversized Motorola bag phones of the early 90s. They were a great concept, and even worked sometimes, but they certainly can’t be compared to the smartphones of today. As simple as they are, chin straps can work for the right people.
They were designed based on the notion that snoring is resulted from jaw positioning. For some people, this is a problem, which is why there are folks who have experienced success with this method. Unless you are an open mouth snorer though, a chin strap is going to do little to help you.
This anti-snoring device is made of neoprene, nylon, or something similar. It is worn with a piece under the chin and the other half around the head. A chin strap can be dangerous, if worn by an individual with allergies, sinus issues, or other similar problems. If nasal cavities are blocked, and the jaw is held closed, getting enough oxygen could become difficult.
The concept of these miracle pillows is actually kind of cool, but unless you hold perfectly still like a mannequin in your sleep, they won’t do you much good. These pillows are designed to put your head and neck in a perfect position that allows your airway to be kept open.
This keeps the area free of obstructions and promotes air flow. Unfortunately, as soon as you move, or your cat jumps on the back of your pillow to sleep, the position is compromised, and you go back to snoring.
Medication and Herbal Remedies
The only time traditional medication can be helpful with snoring is if the condition is caused from nasal congestion. If you have a cold or allergies then decongestants and inhaled corticosteroids can be helpful to reduce snoring.
If you prefer to take the more natural approach, there are essential oils and herbs that can clear the air passages in your respiratory tract, loosen phlegm in the throat, and dissolve hardened mucous. A few include marjoram, thyme, fenugreek, eucalyptus, peppermint, valerian, jasmine, and ginger.
However, if you are reading this, chances are good that your snoring problem is likely a little more permanent. In this case, these remedies aren’t going to help you.
Surgery may not be appealing, but it is still a valid option. The most common procedures to reduce or eliminate snoring include:
- Palate Surgery – Your doctor removes soft palate tissue responsible for obstructing your breathing when you sleep.
- Somnoplasty – This method reduces the amount of tissue in the back of the throat or upper airway.
- Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy – The tonsils and/or adenoids are removed in this procedure.
Surgery is rarely recommended for a few different reasons. First, it is painful! The recovery time is long, and the risk of infection and other complications is there. Also, it is rarely a permanent solution.
In many cases the problem returns again. Most doctors will only use surgery as a last resort, and even then, a more minimally invasive method is typically suggested. The Pillar Procedure is a good example, as it puts three polyester implants into the soft palate to offer structural support and reduce tissue collapse.
The problem being is that the risk of long-term side effects is unknown at this point, and any time you add any type of implant to your body, there is always a risk of future complications.
Nearly everyone has seen commercials on television for nasal devices that miraculously stop the snoring, even though they do nothing to address the position of the tongue or open air flow. If you are shaking your head and feeling a little furious over the money you have wasted on one of these products you are certainly not alone.
You may be thinking the product you bought was a huge ripoff. However, just because it didn’t work for you, doesn’t mean the product isn’t helpful for someone else. Nasal products, such as adhesive strip and nasal cones you insert in your nostrils can be effective, if you are a nasal snorer.
Today, you can find everything from watches to rings that are made to stop snoring. Wouldn’t it be cool if one of these gadgets actually worked?
Manufacturers claim that they use transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation technology to provide a minor jolt when it senses that you are snoring. So, instead of your significant other elbowing you in the ribs when you are at the peak of your snoring symphony, you get a jolt to your system instead. All it does is interrupt the snoring; not fix it. If you snore all night, you will be replacing those batteries daily! This is like putting a Band-Aid on a broken bone.
By the time you are reading this, you are probably at a place where you are beyond frustrated. Maybe you have wasted money on gimmicks and gadgets already.
I understand that at this point all you want is for something to finally work, and it would be nice if that particular something was actually comfortable, safe, and didn’t break the bank.
There are many options, but in my opinion, MAD and TRD mouthpieces are really the most practical solutions. I have tried the other anti-snoring solutions, and although helpful, I found none to be as comfortable, convenient, or effective as oral devices. They are affordable, easy to wear, and most importantly, they work.
So, right about now, you are probably asking, “Which mouthpiece should I buy?” Well, there are a generous number of these oral devices to choose from, so take a few minutes and read my reviews on them. This will help you determine which one is right for you.
If you prefer to skip all the reviews, feel free to go directly to my article “My Recommended Devices.” In my opinion, the three mouthpieces covered are the best ones.
Which Product Should I Choose?
Every person has a unique mouth and needs, so one that is perfect for one person may not be the best option for another.
There are well over 100 products on the market, so making a decision can be quite daunting.
You will find a lot of helpful information in the comparison chart, and I have written reviews of several products.
If you would rather not spend a lot of time reading reviews, please consult my article titled “My Mouthpiece Recommendation”. I have compiled a list of three products that I believe are the best options, based on my experience.