Snoring is an issue that has been a household nuisance since the beginning of time and continues to cause disturbances in many marriages today. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons suggest that up to 50% of people in the United States snore either occasionally or on a nightly basis. Excessive snoring often causes relationship problems, especially when it comes to newlyweds. Those with snoring partners often choose to sleep in separate bedrooms which according to some experts, can be damaging to their relationship.
There are several reasons why we snore which include age, the physical characteristics of our airways, and nasal issues. These are contributing factors that are not within our control. Excessive weight, smoking, sleep positions, and sedative use are contributing factors that are within our control. Whatever the reason may be, it’s important to first consult with a medical doctor who is qualified to perform an assessment which includes determining the presence of snoring and eliminating the possibility of the presence of a more serious sleep condition such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Once it has been established that your snoring is simple snoring and not a symptom of a more serious condition, you may then want to consider your treatment options.
Natural and OTC simple snoring treatment options
There are several treatment options for snoring including a handful of products, some of which can be purchased over the counter while others are by prescription only. Then there is of course surgical treatments which should be reserved if the problem persists after trying several treatment options. Here are a few natural and non prescription over-the-counter treatment options to consider for the relief of simple snoring.
Change sleep position
One of the easiest and most effective ways to control your snoring is to simply change the position in which you sleep. Many people are positional snorers, meaning that they snore only while sleeping in a certain position. In most cases snoring occurs while sleeping on your back. The soft palate (look down your throat – it’s the area at the back of the throat from which the uvula hangs) relaxes while sleeping and typically falls towards the airway, causing it to flap around while breathing in and out. This is what usually causes the sound of snoring that we all are familiar with.
By sleeping on your side, the tissues at the back of your mouth often fall to the side or forward and remain out of your air passage. If you find it difficult to remain on your side during the night, try sewing a pocket into the center back of a comfortable tee shirt and place a tennis ball inside the pocket. When you try to roll over, your body will sense the ball and return to the side position. There are also specially made positional devices that can be purchased that will help to accomplish the same task.
Drop a few pounds
It’s well known that the more overweight one is, the more likely that they will snore. The reasoning is simple – fat deposits around the neck can often restrict breathing, causing tissues to flap around and create the sound of snoring. While there are plenty of snorers who are not at all overweight, there is a definite correlation between being overweight and snoring. The Eastern Virginia Medical School suggests that even a small amount of weight loss can significantly reduce snoring. In many cases, overweight people who lose weight will stop snoring completely.
Try incline therapy
By raising your upper body 4″- 8″ you can reduce or eliminate snoring. This is also an excellent treatment for those who suffer from acid reflex at night. There are actually a couple of ways that you can practice incline therapy. Perhaps the easiest solution is to elevate the head of your bed using books, magazines, blocks, etc. Simply place them under the front two feet of your bed, raising it up a few inches.
Another option is to purchase a “bed wedge” which is typically a wedge shaped block of foam that elevates your upper body. This is perhaps a better solution if you sleep with a partner who is not willing to sleep on an incline. Keep in mind that either solution will work.
Over the counter snoring treatments
Did you know that the sleep industry, including snoring treatments, is rapidly growing with an annual growth rate of 8.8%? In recent years it has quickly grown to a $32 billion industry. Anti-snoring products are only a small segment of this number but are also growing by leaps and bounds. There are literally hundreds of different treatment options, some quite effective while others are somewhat comical. Here’s a look at a few of the more popular over the counter treatments.
Over the past 3 decades, numerous studies have been conducted on various anti-snoring devices. Perhaps one of the most notable devices has been the Mandibular Advancement Device, more commonly referred to as the snoring mouthpiece. This device fits into the mouth, sort of like a mouth guard that athletes wear. It works by holding the lower jaw forward, tightening loose muscles, and preventing obstructions in the airway. The said degree to which these devices are effective in the prevention of snoring often varies from one study to another. Generally speaking, they are typically 80% to 90% effective at treating snoring. In many cases, MAD’s are also used to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea under a doctor’s supervision.
Professionally fitted custom mouthpieces are certainly the best option but are usually very costly. Dentists often charge several thousands of dollars to create a custom oral appliance. An alternative is the over the counter snoring mouthpiece.
These devices can be purchased online or found in drug stores (depending on the country in which you live). Most are constructed of a soft thermoplastic material which changes shape when heated in hot or boiling water. Once heated, they are placed into the mouth and are formed by biting down and slightly moving the jaw forward. Before going to bed, the snorer inserts the device into their mouth and removes it upon awakening.
When choosing an OTC snoring mouthpiece, it is best to choose one that allows small 1 mm adjustments. Having the ability to make adjustments is a key feature when it comes to controlling snoring. Often times, snoring will persist until the jaw is adjusted to just the right advancement position. If snoring persists, advance the lower jaw 1 mm at a time until it ceases.
Keep in mind that this type of snoring treatment should only be used by those who have healthy teeth and healthy gums. Speak with your dentist before using an oral appliance. Have them check the condition of your teeth beforehand and periodically check your teeth for signs of movement while using an oral appliance.
The over the counter oral appliance can be purchased between $40 and $200, depending on the design and manufacturer that you choose.
The chin strap is a snoring remedy that has been around for years now. It is simply an elastic band that fits over the top of one’s head and stretches under the chin. Most of these devices are designed to keep your lower jaw closed and in the forward position. As mentioned earlier, keeping the jaw forward helps to prevent airway blockage as throat muscles tend to relax as we fall into a deep sleep.
The chinstrap is a popular choice, although many say that it’s not nearly effective at controlling snoring when compared to a mouthpiece. They typically sell for between $10 for a simple one up to $35 for more complex ones.
Advanced micro-valve treatment
A newer form of therapy for snorers is advanced micro-valve treatment. This snoring solution was originally created and sold on a prescription only basis under the name Provent. It was used by sleep apnea sufferers as an alternative to the CPAP machine. Today, they are made specifically for the treatment of snoring and are marketed under the name Theravent.
The Theravent is sold as a snoring treatment and resembles a bandage. Each night, the snorer places this bandage like device over their nostrils and sleeps as they normally would. It essentially acts as a one-way check valve, allowing air in through the nose while breathing in, while preventing it from escaping through the nose while breathing out. The closed valve naturally creates pressure which keeps the throat clear of any loose tissues that may be in the way.
Then manufacturer claims that it’s FDA approved and clinically proven to reduce snoring by 76%.
Unfortunately, this device can only be used once and must be replaced on a nightly basis. A 30 day supply currently costs $24.99 so the annual cost can be quite substantial compared to other treatment options.
Herbal supplements and other gadgets
There are numerous additional products on the market that all claim to reduce your snoring. Among these are herbal supplement, aroma therapy oils, rings that go around your finger, mysterious throat sprays, nose cones and nose clips.
While some of these may be effective when it comes to treating snoring, they are generally seen as less effective when compared to the other treatments that were discussed. Before trying any of these products, ensure that you understand exactly what you are buying including any ingredients that they may contain.
Final thoughts on snoring treatment
Before treating your snoring, speak with your doctor in order to eliminate the possibility that you are suffering from a sleep related disorder or breathing obstructions. While using any over the counter snoring solution, keep your doctor in the loop by making them aware of any OTC medications or devices that you are using.
Snoring is a common issue that affects over 100 million Americans. While you may not consider simple snoring an issue, it can really affect your relationship with your partner.
Robert Thomas is an expert writer and reviewer for http://www.snoringmouthpieceguide.com. He writes on topics such as snoring, sleep apnea, CPAP treatment, Mandibular Advancement Devices, and natural snoring therapy.