At its worst, snoring can be a manifestation of sleep apnea — periods of arrested breathing during sleep that are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular problems.
More than 300 remedies for snoring are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office. Some of these patented products, and many others as well, are described at Web sites on the Internet.
Included among them are hypnosis; a 3-CD set of anti-snoring exercises; “Singing for Snorers” (a complete program of singing exercises); Snore Free™ (a plastic ring with magnets that is attached to the nose); AntiSnore™ (a therapeutic ring worn on the little finger); the Snore Stopper™ (“a natural biofeedback sleep aid device” worn on the wrist); and the Silent Nite™, a device that can be custom-made by some dentists.
Frankly, I would not try any of these remedies for my own snoring without some evidence that they work. Their effectiveness is supported only by personal testimonials and a few studies sponsored by the manufacturers of the products. What is needed is research done by individuals who have nothing to gain, or lose, from the outcomes of the studies. At least one such study has been done.
This research tested three different, commercially available devices in 40 snorers: Snorenz™, an oral spray lubricant applied to the back of the throat before bedtime; Breathe Right® Strips, a nasal dilation strip applied to the nose to keep the nasal valve open; and Snore-No-More™, a specially shaped pillow that positions the head just so. The authors of the report concluded that none of these devices significantly reduced the amount or volume of the snoring.
What are the other options? The following anti-snoring techniques are frequently recommended by doctors and worth a try:
·Lose weight if you are overweight.
·Avoid alcohol, tranquilizers, anti-histamines, and heavy meals before bedtime.
·Don’t sleep on your back. (Suggestions to avoid this sleeping position include fastening a tennis ball or a rolled-up pair of socks to the back of your pajama tops.)
·Raise the head of your bed.
·Eliminate nasal obstruction with treatments for allergies or with a decongestant spray when you have a cold. You may need to consult an allergy specialist for tests and treatments.
·Maintain a good flow of fresh air into your bedroom and possibly use a humidifier to help moisten your nasal passages.
To be perfectly honest, most of these measures have not been proven to be any better than the devices mentioned earlier. In studies of weight loss, for example, snoring improved in some of those who lost weight, but not many — and most of the individuals did not lose significant amounts of weight.
But weight loss and smoking cessation are certainly good general health measures, anyway.
The other techniques all make sense and are recommended because they have reduced problems in people with sleep apnea. Severe sleep apnea is a serious condition, and people suffering from it need to consider surgical methods to maintain an open airway while sleeping.
For many less serious snorers, the most effective solution may be for those trying to sleep nearby to purchase earplugs.
What Increases Your Risk
Factors that may increase your risk of snoring include :
Male gender. Men are more likely to snore than women.
Age. Snoring is most common in middle-aged people. One study reports that among men, the chance that they will begin snoring increases until 50 to 60 years of age and then decreases.
Heredity. Snoring may run in families.
Weight gain and obesity.
Smoking. Exposing children to tobacco smoke may also increase their risk of snoring.
Use of alcohol or sedative medications.
Chronic nasal congestion during sleep. This is often caused by colds or allergies.
Jaw abnormalities, such as a small chin and overbite (class II malocclusion—the upper jaw and teeth overlap the bottom jaw and teeth). This may be an especially important factor in women.