First thing's first: Go see a doctor
Before trying any anti-snoring tactic or product, get your snorer to a doctor. Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder where the snorer stops breathing for short episodes throughout the night. Sleep apnea has been associated with hypertension and cardiovascular disease, as well as dangerous daytime fatigue, which can lead to impaired immune function, and even accidents on the road or on the job.
A family doctor can assess if further consultation with an ear, nose and throat specialist is required.
Tip: Ask your doc if weight-loss might help too. It can sometimes reduce snoring in overweight patients.
Do-it-yourself anti-snoring tactics
Once you've got the all clear from your doctor, you can try these simple anti-snoring tricks.
Help your partner sleep on his side
• Use a simple running stitch and extra fabric to sew a pocket into the back of the snorer's pajamas. Tuck a tennis ball into the pocket. Because of the tennis ball, the snorer will find it uncomfortable to sleep on his back and he will stick to sleeping on his side -- a less snore-inducing position.
Keep pets out of the bedroom
Yes, we know your pets are part of the family. However, if your partner is even a touch allergic, having a cat or dog sleeping in the bedroom can lead to worsening nasal congestion and snoring. Move Fido or Ferdinand to another room and you may find snoring less of an issue.
Try distraction or evasion
As a last resort, non-snorers may want to block out the noise with earplugs. There are a number of products on the market, costing from under $1 to over $100 per pair for custom-molded models, or those with built-in white-noise audio components. Materials range from silicone, PVC and polyurethane to old-fashioned wax-and-cotton. The cheapest plugs are actually often the best, so start with drugstore options before considering custom models.
Page 1 of 2 -- Still not sleeping soundly? Try these products designed to help stop snoring on page 2Anti-snoring products
Here are some commercial anti-snoring products that you may want to try. We spoke with Dr. Glendon Sullivan, deputy director of the Saint John, N.B.-based, Atlantic Health Sciences Sleep Centre, to get his take on them.
Bottom line: There are no magic bullets. All these products target one problem area, but snoring is often the result of a combination of contributing factors.
"Snoring is due to the vibrations of the palate caused by turbulent airflow," explains Dr. Sullivan. "Usually in any one person, there's more than one site of increased resistance," he says. These can include: the nose (due to polyps or a deviated septum), the mouth (because of an overly large tongue), the neck (because of deep tissue fat which compresses the airway) or a jaw which is set too far back.
Without addressing all your problem spots, most anti-snoring products won't hit the mark. But here are a few that could work for you.
Mandibular advancement devices
These include products like the SnoreMate or R.I.P. Snore. The mouthpiece is worn at night and is said to move the lower jaw forward, opening the airway and reducing the vibrations of the palate, thus reducing the snoring noise.
"Long-term compliance is poor and can cause headaches and throw off your dental occlusion," cautions Dr. Sullivan. He also recommends only using oral appliances customized for you by an orthodontist or dentist who specializes in this area.
Breathe Right Nasal Strips
These spring-like bands adhere to the exterior of your nose and help hold nasal passages open so you can breathe deeply through your nose, reducing snoring.
"Breathe Right strips just deal with the nose," says Dr. Sullivan. "But if that is your one problem area (perhaps you suffer from seasonal allergic congestion), that may be fine for you."
Positional therapy pillows
Pillows like the Obus Forme Sleep Obstruction Clearing Pillow encourage snorers to sleep on their sides – not backs. "Positional therapy helps to negate the gravity effects of allowing the tongue to fall back and some people are very sensitive to this and it can work well," says Dr. Sullivan.
But Dr. Sullivan maintains that the 'tennis ball in the pajamas' technique is more effective for keeping snorers on their sides.
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