Disruptive to both the snorer and their partner, snoring is a loud emission of noise caused by abnormal vibration of the respiratory structures. This if most often caused by an obstruction in the airway, either in the nasal passage or by the tongue blocking air flow, and can be reduced or eliminated by maintaining an open airway. This is most easily done with either nasal strips, breathing aids or mouth guards and mouthpieces, depending on the type of blockage. However, there are other causes of snoring that are connected to unhealthy lifestyles such as obesity and alcohol and drug consumption. In cases where obesity is the cause of snoring, the tissues around the throat contain more fat and restrict the airflow, causing the vibrations that result in snoring. Alcohol and other harmful substances relax the muscles in the back of the throat, allowing the tongue to fall back and block the airway. Regardless of the specific reason, snoring is caused by airway obstruction and limit the bodily intake of oxygen, leading to health problems.
There are dozens of options when it comes to anti-snoring methods that have been made available for all types of snorers;
- For people who suffer from snoring caused by obstruction of the nasal passage:
- Nasal strips, such as Breathe Right strips, are an affordable and simple option that works by gently opening the nasal passage to allow for greater air intake. The strips are easy to apply, work instantly and can be found in almost any drugstore. Breathe Right offers dozens of choices when it comes to nasal strips; varying sizes, colors, scented strips and extra-strength.
- Nasal breathing clips work in the same way as nasal strips but rather than adhere to the nose, they clip to the septum in order to open the nasal passage. Many snorers choose the clip over the strip because the adhesive on the nasal strip can cause skin pulling and irritation. The clip is a comfortable choice for people with sensitive skin and cannot use the strip. Most drugstores also carry nasal clips along with the nasal strips.
- The neti pot is a teapot-like device that directs a stream of saline solution (salt water) through the nasal passage, from one nostril to the other, clearing the nose and opening the airway. Saline helps to clear congestion and any blockage in the nasal passage, providing relief from snoring when used before bed.
For people whose snoring is caused by obstruction due to the placement of the tongue:
- Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD) are mouthpieces worn during sleep that adjust the jaw into a forward position, tensing the muscles in the back of the throat and securing the tongue from blocking the airway. There are several brands of MADs and they range in cost from $50.00 to $150.00 but must be replaced every 10 to 12 months… these mouthpieces are not for everyone, however.
- Tongue Stabilizing Devices (TSD) are mouthpieces that focus on securing the tongue in order to maintain a clear airway. These devices are safe for denture wearers or people with cap, crowns and loose teeth but also are expensive and must be replaced annually.
- Zyppah is a mouthpiece that combines the concepts of both MAD and TSD in order to eliminate snoring completely. It is a highly rated device and guaranteed to stop snoring immediately.
- Sleeping on your back often leads to the tongue falling into the airway and avoiding this position can help keep the airway open. Many people have claimed that attaching tennis balls to the back of your pajamas will naturally deter you from sleeping on your back and force you to reposition to your side during the night.
- Inclined sleeping is a more comfortable option and works in a subtler way. Adding flat planks to the head of the bed underneath the mattress will help to elevate the head of the snorer and help keep the tongue from falling back. Extra pillows could be used also instead of planks, or any objects that comfortably prop up the head by 4 or 5 inches.
- For people who snore due to obesity or unhealthy lifestyles:
- Losing weight is the only option when obesity is the sole factor of snoring and of course, countless other health benefits will follow.
- Refraining from drinking alcohol or consuming other sedatives 4 or 5 hours before bed should reduce snoring and will help attribute to a healthier lifestyle.