The problem as I see it is two-fold:
Firstly, there are various types of snoring, such as mouth, nose, tongue and throat, and I have written in more detail about these in numerous articles on this website.
So, simply trying to Google “the best snoring device” and purchasing whatever you’re greeted with could all be in vain.
Until you diagnose exactly what type of snorer you are, there is little point in trying to find a suitable cure.
Secondly, the vast majority of devices in the marketplace are just plain uncomfortable.
I don’t know about you, but just the thought of having something shoved down my throat, attached to my nose, or strapped around my head and chin is enough to give me a sleepless night anyway.
However, this of course is just my opinion, and it would be wrong of me to suggest that the plethora of devices simply don’t work. I’m sure there are many people who can attest to the success of these products.
I want to give you a brief rundown of some of the more common stop snoring devices in the marketplace. Then, I’d like to recommend an alternative that I believe is a fantastic solution for snoring.
Anti-snoring mouthpieces can also be referred to as mandibular advancement devices, snore guards, or snoring mouth guards.
They are intended for people who only snore while they sleep on their back, in other words for tongue snorers.
Tongue snoring is typically caused by the tongue falling back into the throat, which then creates a blockage of the airways, thus leading to the sound of snoring.
A snoring mouthpiece will put the lower jaw under very slight tension and then it will pull it forwards a little. This in turn will put the muscles of the tongue and the tissues of the lower jaw under tension, so they are no longer able to fall into the back of the throat.
This will ensure that the airways remain clear and the sound of snoring will no longer be heard.
Anti-snoring mouthpieces can be purchased online or over-the-counter.
They are all intended to work in the same way, i.e. bring the jaw slightly forward and stop the tongue from falling back over the throat.
You will need to mould a mouthpiece so it fits perfectly for your own mouth.
This typically involves:
- Submerging the mouthpiece into a cup of hot or boiling water until it becomes “waxy” or malleable.
- Remove and place the mould into your mouth.
- Bite down firmly on the mould for a few seconds until it begins to harden.
- Place the mould into a cup of cold water and allow the impression (of your own teeth) to set.
There are actually non-fitted mouthpieces available as well, but in all honesty I would steer clear. It can be difficult to find the exact right size and you could end up spending 3 or 4 times the amount of money until you find the perfect fit.
You can also have an anti-snoring mouthpiece custom-made by a dentist or dental technician. This will involve your dentist taking an impression of your teeth and making a dental mould from them.
A custom-made mouthpiece will generally be more comfortable to wear, offer a more precise fit, and is likely to be even more effective.
With that being said, the custom-made variety does have certain disadvantages. Due to a dentist having to customize a mouthpiece just for you it will be far more expensive than an over-the-counter option.
If for any reason the position of your teeth change (which can happen if you’re clamping your teeth down on a device on a nightly basis) a brand new mould and mouthpiece will need to be created.
What About A Snoring Mouthguard?
A snoring mouthguard is also known as a mouth shield or an oral vestibular plate. This is very different from a snoring mouthpiece.
This device is specifically aimed at mouth snorers.
Mouth snoring typically occurs when the soft tissue at the back of the mouth and throat vibrates.
The shape of a mouthguard is very similar to that of a boxer’s gum shield, but nowhere as bulky as the sport’s variety. The design is typically quite slimline and therefore should feel fairly comfortable, and many users claim that it hasn’t bothered or interrupted their sleep.
With that being said, a snoring mouthpiece is large enough that you don’t have to worry about accidentally swallowing it and risk being choked during the night.
You insert the mouthpiece and it will loosely surround the upper teeth, which means that the lower jaw is free to move.
By using a mouthguard at night you won’t have to worry about some of the other consequences of having your mouth wide open, apart from mouth snoring, e.g. bad breath, dry mucus forming, etc.
Then There Were The Nose Snorers?
There are two main types that you can use:
- Nasal strips that are used externally by placing them across the bridge of your nose.
- Internal nasal dilators which work by helping to widen your nostrils while you sleep.
The external nasal strips have what I like to call a “springboard effect”. They aim to open the nasal valve, which is the narrowest part of your nose. When they are placed over the bridge of the nose the bands of rigid plastic will recoil outwards, thus opening the nasal passages.
The internal nasal dilators work as stents and by opening up the nostrils they allow the steady flow of air. They typically come in various shapes and sizes, so can be used by just about every nose snorer.
They are especially effective for people who have chronic sinus issues or a deviated septum.
Air Purifiers and Humidifiers
Air purifiers are generally used by people who snore due to allergies or air pollution. Certain allergens and irritants can cause the upper airways to become inflamed, which in turn can lead to a stuffy nose or the throat becoming swollen.
An air purifier may be the ideal solution for your snoring if you suffer from hay fever or dust allergies, have pets, smoke or live with a smoker, or if you live in a polluted area.
I would suggest you pay particular attention to the noise an air purifier makes, as it’s all well-and-good to purify the air to help you breathe easier, but not much use if the noise keeps you awake at night.
A humidifier will add moisture to the air, as dry air can often be the cause for someone’s snoring.
You can use a humidifier as an aid to snoring if you typically sleep with your mouth open, often have colds or sinus issues, live in a dry climate, use air conditioning in your home, or if you use a CPAP machine to treat sleep apnea and find that this dries your airways.
The Ridiculous Looking Chinstrap
Okay, how you look while you sleep probably isn’t majorly important, as long as you can at least find a solution for your snoring.
The chin strap is yet another device aimed at mouth snorers (although mouth snoring is far more common than nose snoring).
The strap is generally made from a flexible fabric that wraps around the top of your head and your chin.
It is aimed at keeping the mouth shut tight, therefore no snoring sound can be emitted from the mouth.
I’ve seen many manufacturers jump on the bandwagon, claiming that their chinstrap is the ideal solution for snoring. In fact, the American Sleep Association (ASA) identified literally hundreds of different types and brands of chinstrap.
However, the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine published an article as long ago as August 2014 which reported their results from a clinical study of chinstraps. It was found that a chinstrap wasn’t an effective treatment on its own, it didn’t improve sleep-disordered breathing, and was ineffective at improving the symptoms of snoring.
I would further suggest that a chinstrap is likely to be the most uncomfortable “solution” when it comes to snoring. Anything that is placed over your face and restricts movement is going to cause some level of discomfort, and it will take some getting used to.
So, possibly a lot of sleepless nights are on the cards as well.
So, How Do You Treat Snoring Then?
I’m sure there are many people who feel that some of these devices have helped either reduce or completely eliminate their snoring… but it’s not for me.
However, don’t let my opinion put you off. If you really want to try one of these devices then please be my guest.
For me, the solution to snoring has always been a natural one. A solution that doesn’t require any device or contraption, and one that uses completely natural methods.
I’ve mentioned in this article (and various articles on this website) that there are many types of snoring, so diagnosing what type of snorer you are should always be the first thing you do.
Your snoring could be caused by:
- Your throat clamping down, which is most commonly associated with sleep apnea.
- The tongue falls back into your throat while you sleep and causes a blockage.
- Your nose is blocked due to congestion or narrow nasal passages.
- There is tension in the jaw which leads to your air passages becoming narrowed.
- The soft palate causes a blockage of the airways from either being weak or too big.
All of these issues can be solved with the use of simple strengthening exercises.
There are various exercises which can strengthen the muscles of the mouth, tongue, soft palate and throat, as well as breathing exercises that open up the nasal passages and make it far easier to breathe while you sleep.
I have reviewed a specific program that will help you to diagnose exactly what type of snorer you are once you’ve answered a few simple questions.
Then depending on whether your snoring is caused by your mouth, tongue, nose, throat or soft palate you will be recommended 3-4 exercises (out of a total of 24 exercises available).
You should practice the exercises for around 3-5 minutes a day and continue using them until your snoring has completely stopped.
You can check out my review of the Stop Snoring and Sleep Apnea Exercise Program, which goes into much further detail (and also explains how certain lifestyle changes can reduce or eliminate snoring).