One of the most common recommendations that doctors give for snoring is to sleep with a tennis ball attached to the back while sleeping. This is so that you’ll stay off your back. A simple way to do this is to place a tennis ball inside an old sock, roll it up and pin it to the back of your pajamas, between your shoulder blades.
For people who have positional sleep apnea (those that stop breathing much more on their backs versus other sleep positions), anything that keeps you off your back will help, to various degrees. In my experience, most people find it too uncomfortable to use regularly or just sleep on top of it.
Australian researchers reported in this month’s issue of Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine that while it can be effective initially in lowering the apnea hypopnea index (the number of times you stop breathing per hour), most people just stop using it after a few years. After about 30 months, only 6% were still using it, 13% trained themselves to stay off the back, and 81% stopped using it for various reasons (mainly discomfort and ineffectiveness).
There are now other options besides tennis balls to keep you off your including Zzoma, and the Antisnoreshirt. One patient misunderstood me and slept with a backpack filled with tennis balls. He slept much better.
My biggest criticism of these methods, while they do work to some degree in some people, will only delay the diagnosis of significant obstructive sleep apnea in most people who snore and try to treat this on their own.
Have you tried sleeping with a tennis ball? What have you tried to keep yourself off you back? Please enter your experiences below in the comments box.