If you’re a snorer, you’re not alone — an estimated 57 percent of men and 40 percent of women snore. For the snorer, it’s usually harmless and not anything to worry about, but for anyone who you share a bed with, it’s often slightly more problematic.
Snoring is caused when vibrations occur in the nose or mouth as you sleep. “Anything obstructive in the mouth or nose can increase your chance of snoring or the volume of it, but both oral snoring and nasal snoring are caused by vibration of soft tissue,” confirmed Dr Karina Patel from The London Sleep Centre. “For example, if you’ve got congestion or inflammation in your nose, the air passing through your nose creates the sound. With your mouth, it could be the position of your tongue, or the front and back ways of the airway rubbing together. Basically, anything that’s narrowing the airspace.”
All kinds of things can affect your propensity to snore, be that your very cranial structure, chronic allergies that block your sinuses, alcohol and smoking, and even if you carry more weight around your face than other parts of your body. Also a big factor is age: “I would say it’s almost an expectation of middle to late adulthood to begin snoring,” said Professor Guy Leschziner, a neurologist who specializes in sleep disorders, and author of The Secret World of Sleep. “As we age, we have changes in dentition and a loss of muscle tone all over, but especially in the throat, which makes snoring all the more likely.”
So, if you’re hunting for some relief, we asked five experts what they’d recommend for every kind of snoring. Read on for the best anti-snoring aids, from nose strips to orthpaedic pillows.
The Best Nose Strips For Snoring
Both Dr. Patel and GP Dr. Rasha Gadelrab said nasal strips are a good first port of call for mild snoring. “Many people try nasal strips and report a positive response, and they are well-tolerated (i.e, no real side effects) and easy to use. You can also buy them easily over the counter at a pharmacy. However, they are single-use so they might not be sustainable in the long term,” said Dr. Gadelrab. Dr. Patel suggested Breath Right Strips, saying: “They work by gently pulling on the outside of the nose, which dilates the nostrils and reduces the vibrations.” Of course, for these to work, you’ll need to be snoring from your nose rather than your mouth. If you’re not sure where you’re snoring from, it’s easy to work out: if you have a partner, ask them to listen out or check if your mouth is open when you snore. If you’d rather conduct your experiments in private, Dr. Patel said you can download the SnoreLab app (free on Google Play Store and the App Store), and use it to record your snoring.
The Best Nose Sprays For Snoring
Nasal sprays can also be effective, according to Professor Leschziner, Dr. Gadelrab and Dr. Martin Sawiers, a Harley Street GP. There’s essentially two kinds: saline sprays, and steroid sprays. “Saline sprays work for any kind of generally blocked up nose, or sinus pain that’s also referred to the cheekbones or forehead,” said Dr. Sawiers, who suggested NeilMed Sinus Spray. “They’re good for allergy sufferers, be that hay fever or dust allergies, as it can help relieve the irritation that can go on to cause snoring,” he added.
Dr. Gadelrab agreed, saying, “Saline sprays work by cleaning out the sinus and the airway. If you have a chronically runny and congested nose, you might want to try a nasal steroid spray either after the saline, or on its own. The steroid will reduce mucus build-up, and in turn reduce the inflammation.” Dr. Sawiers suggested Beconase Spray for this purpose, with Dr. Gadelrab also underscoring that steroid sprays should only be used for a maximum of four weeks, and if it doesn’t improve by then, you should see your doctor.
The Best Pillow For Snoring
More often than not, people snore when they lie on their backs, as Dr. Patel explained: “If you’re lying on your back, your jaw will fall backwards, and then because you’re asleep and all your muscles are relaxed, that will cause a narrowing in the back of the throat, which causes you to snore.” Both Professor Leschziner and Dr. Sawiers suggested getting a side sleeping pillow to stop you rolling over, with Professor Leschziner saying, “In the NHS, we often recommend people to sew a tennis ball or something into the back of an old t-shirt, but if you don’t fancy doing that, one of these pillows can be helpful.” Dr. Sawiers agreed, saying “If you get too hot at night to wear a T-shirt or want something more straightforward, get a specially shaped pillow to help keep you on your side.” TempurPedic has a range of solid memory-foam pillows which are ideal for keeping you on your side, as they quickly contour to your head. The Ombracio pillow is star-shaped, allowing you to wrap your arms around it for maximum comfort and optimum head/neck positioning.
The Best Back Support For Snoring
Another option is something like the Zzoma Positional Belt, said Dr. Rexford Muza, a physician who specializes in sleep disorders at 25 Harley Street. “It’s a belt with a hump on the back that discourages you from lying on your back. The results are almost immediate and with time, side sleeping will become a habit,” said Dr. Muza. The other benefits of the belt is that it’s less obstructive than masks or mouth devices — as Dr. Muza said, “It’s a very simple form of therapy that doesn’t involve a machine.”
The Best Mouth Guard For Snoring
If your snoring is persistent and definitely not nasal, you might want to opt for a mouth guard, said Dr. Patel, Dr Gadelrab and Dr. Muza — though the technical term is a mandibular advancement device. “These work by pulling the lower jaw slightly forwards and upwards and thus open up the upper airway,” explained Dr. Muza. “There may be a week of acclimatisation required to get used to the device, and after that the benefits of reduced snoring can be realized.” You can buy these over the counter, or speak to your dentist or a specialist doctor about getting one contoured to your mouth, but as Dr. Muza noted, “They usually need to be replaced annually because of wear and tear, but they’re good for chronic snorers with good dental health.” Dr. Muza said there’s a variety of so-called “boil and bite” options, wherein you soften the device under boiling water and then bite into it, and then allow it to set, giving you a more personalized fit. He suggested the SomnoGuard line, which have a hole in the front to make swallowing easier and to minimize discomfort.
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