If you have a problem with snoring, or you live with someone who does, it not only affects your sleep but can have a long-term impact on your general health and well-being.
The good news is there are several different snoring aids available to buy online or over the counter nowadays and each can help reduce the problem.
From mouth guards and chin straps to nasal strips and patches, here we take a look at the pros and cons of the products that are currently available.
Mouthguards are a popular way to reduce snoring and, for some people, it can eradicate the problem completely. There are two types:
- Mandibular Advancement: These push the lower jaw forward, helping to open the airway so that snoring is less likely.
- Tongue Retaining: These keep the tongue in place by gripping it gently, again helping to keep the airway open.
A recent clinical trial of one tongue retaining device in the USA found that participants noticed a significant reduction in their snoring.
- The mouthguard works by keeping the airways more open and preventing too much mouth breathing, something that can cause the soft tissue at the back of the throat to vibrate.
- Some suitable devices can be moulded to the individual’s mouth by placing it in hot water and then biting down on it. This should make the mouth guard more comfortable to wear at night.
- Not all mouthguards are adjustable, and this can mean they feel a little more cumbersome and could be difficult to get used as they often cause a gagging sensation .
- You need to wash the mouth guard after use and generally keep it clean.
These are an alternative to the mouth guard if you are a mouth breather and this is causing your snoring. The chin strap is usually made from soft neoprene material and fits around the top of the head and lower jaw to close the mouth while you sleep.
A relatively small study in 2007, found that using a chin strap helped keep the airway open, particularly in older subjects. Many people sometimes combine both the chin strap and the mouth guard, particularly those with other conditions such as sleep apnea.
- Less invasive than a mouth guard, the chin strap can be adjusted easily to fit your head and does not create problems such as jaw aches or gagging.
- The strap is designed to gently keep your mouth closed so that you breathe through your nose.
- A chin strap can be uncomfortable for some people and can prevent mouth breathing which may be problematic if you suffer from sinus problems.
While both chin straps and mouthguards can cause a little discomfort and prevent some users from getting to sleep, nasal strips are much less invasive. These are small strips with an adhesive backing that when placed across the nose open up the nostrils.
Whether they work for you will depend on the underlying cause of your snoring – in short, they reduce it for some people and not for others. For example, if you have a condition such as sleep apnea in which snoring is one symptom, then it probably won’t be effective.
A study in 1997 employing one brand of nasal strip found that it could help reduce snoring and issues such as mouth dryness for participants.
- Nasal strips are a non-invasive and drug-free solution and comfortable to wear at night. They can help reduce snoring in some individuals. Some people find that the snoring noise level is also lower when using the strips.
- They can be a good choice if you suffer from sinus problems or have a cold or congestion.
- Nasal strips don’t work for everyone but are a low-cost option and easy to try out if you are on a limited budget.
For some people, the nostril can partially collapse during sleep which can lead to snoring. A nasal dilator is a small device that attaches to the bottom part of the nose and inserts into the nostrils, helping to keep the airway open and improve oxygen flow.
A study in 2019 found that both nasal strips and nasal dilators greatly decreased snoring in individuals where the narrowness of the nostrils was a cause of their problem. Many people snore because they suffer from respiratory resistance caused by the nose.
- As with nasal strips, these devices are easy to wear and cause minimum discomfort for the user.
- If you have an issue with your sinuses, a blocked nose or your nostrils tend to collapse during sleep, they can be a simple and effective tool to improve airflow.
- Nasal dilators won’t work on their own if you are a mouth breather, which is why they are often combined with mouth patches.
For many people, their snoring is largely caused because they breathe through the mouth during the night. Mouth patches are small sections of breathable tape with an adhesive backing that can fit across the lips, helping to promote nose breathing.
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that these simple patches can help reduce snoring and they are both affordable and relatively easy to apply.
Recent research has shown that mouth patches can also help if someone has a mild form of sleep apnea.
- This is a low-cost option and does not feel uncomfortable when the patch is in place.
- It encourages you to breathe through your mouth at night and can help prevent snoring for some people.
- There are a lot of different products available in this category and quality can vary.
- One of the problems with low quality mouth patches is that they can come off during the night.
It’s important when you are looking at snoring aids to find which one works for you as an individual. The good news is that most are relatively low-cost solutions. You may also find that combining different aids will help improve your snoring.
For example, using a nasal dilator with a mouth patch can improve airflow and promote better nose breathing which in turn should contribute to a better and quieter night’s sleep.