Snoring Remedies: Ratings of Sources
The Mayo Clinic provides an excellent overview of snoring -- its symptoms, causes, complications and treatments -- based on medical science. It explains the various types of treatments, from surgery to tried-and-true behavior changes. Editors mention two throat-strengthening therapies (singing and playing the didgeridoo) that show promise in studies.
The UK-version of the Good Housekeeping Institute tests eight over-the-counter snoring remedies on both male and female snorers, rating each on a 100-point scale. Nasal strips, throat sprays and anti-snoring pillows work best, although some testers notice no difference. The worst performers include internal nasal dilators, over-the-counter mouthpieces, and a wristwatch-type device that zaps the snorer with an electrical shock. Similar products are available in the US.
The presidents of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine discuss causes of snoring and how to find a remedy that works. These experts recommend behavior changes, Breathe Right-type nasal strips (if you snore because you're congested) or -- for sleep apnea suffers -- a custom-fitted mouthpiece or CPAP machine. Surgery is a last resort. Other over-the-counter remedies have little evidence to back them up, the experts say.
Maria Carter consults studies and other medical sources to find the anti-snoring remedies that have some science to back them up. Her picks include lifestyle remedies (avoiding alcohol, staying hydrated), nasal strips, and custom-fit mouth guards. The newest item on the list is Nora, a bedside gadget that detects snoring and wakes the sleeper with a gentle shake – but since it hasn't actually hit the market yet, the basis for this choice is unclear.
Dr. M. Safwan Badr, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, explains what causes snoring and which at-home remedies are most and least likely to help. Badr doesn't recommend any specific brands, but he compares general types of products and therapies, including nasal strips, custom mouthpieces, and fancy pillows. However, he says you're most likely to get relief with lifestyle remedies like losing weight, sleeping on your side, and skipping alcohol.
This website from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine reviews various snoring remedies. Editors say behavioral changes like switching sleep positions and avoiding alcohol are most likely to be effective. For more severe cases, a custom-fitted mouthpiece or surgery may help. The article does not recommend any over-the-counter sleep aids but notes that a T-shirt with a tennis ball attached to the back can encourage side sleeping.
The BBC recaps a snoring remedy test (no longer available on line) done by Which? magazine, the UK's version of ConsumerReports.org. Seven couples test seven remedies, including chin-up strips, a throat spray, a nostril dilator, an over-the-counter mouthpiece and a wrist-worn electrical shock device. Editors only recommend two: Breathe Right Nasal Strips for people who snore because of a nasal problem, and a "Singing for Snorers" CD designed to tone the throat muscles, which provided some relief.
Linda Melone interviews several top sleep doctors to find out which snoring remedies really work. The experts say over-the-counter sleep aids are seldom helpful and recommend lifestyle remedies, such as using a body pillow to sleep on your side and keeping a bottle of saltwater rinse in the shower to rinse your nasal passages regularly. The only sleep aid they say can sometimes work is nasal strips.
This website from the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association (accredited by the British government as a trustworthy source of health information) describes simple tests you can do to see what kind of snorer you are, and links to products that might help. The products, sold on the site, include nasal strips, internal nasal dilators, throat sprays, chin-up strips, and mouthpieces. The same products or similar ones are available in the US.
Amazon offers hundreds of anti-snoring remedies, and some of them have collected hundreds-- and sometimes thousands -- of user reviews, but most receive only fair to middling overall ratings. However, we found four products – one brand of nasal strips and three nasal dilators – with good overall ratings from 250 users or more.
Drugstore.com has a much smaller selection of snoring remedies than Amazon.com, and the products on the site get far fewer reviews from users. Only one product, Breathe Right Nasal Strips, receives good overall ratings (about 4.5 stars overall) from at least 50 users (divided up among the product's different varieties). Although most reviewers use the strips just to aid breathing at night, some say they also reduce snoring.
In this amusing article, Chip Brantley describes his experience with six anti-snoring remedies, rating them for ease of use, sleep quality, and his wife's irritation level. He gets the best results from a tennis ball safety-pinned to the back of his t-shirt.
Journalist Rory Clements tries 10 methods in 10 days in an effort to stop his snoring, but abstaining from alcohol for four hours before bed is what finally did the trick for him. A respiratory doctor adds that losing weight can also help.