In the world of snoring remedies, it seems that the effectiveness of a product is inversely proportional to the number of times it's indexed on search engines like Google. The Internet teems with websites consisting of some variant of "stopsnoringforever.com" or "theonlysnoringcurethatreallyworks.com," which pop up prominently when you search for the word "snoring." The information on these sites seems reasonable and scientific, until the writer leads you to the conclusion that the only way you'll ever stop snoring is by ordering an expensive magnet from Peru.
Needless to say, doctors and consumer organizations don't have kind things to say about these stop-snoring products, which seem designed to snag the credit card numbers of snorers (or their partners) whose judgment has been clouded by lack of sleep. We've combed through the fluff to find products that will empty your wallet, and still leave you a chronic snorer. Here's what doesn't work:
Shock bracelets. These wristwatch-like devices deliver a weak electric shock whenever they detect the sound of snoring -- or at least, that's the theory. In reality, reviews say it's almost impossible to set them to a level that will stop snoring without waking you up. Testers at both Which? magazine and Good Housekeeping (UK) say a device called the Stop Snoring Advance (formerly available from Lloyd's Pharmacy) went off when they coughed, sneezed, or hiccupped. One user was awakened 20 times in one night. And nearly all users found the device uncomfortable to wear.
Although the Stop Snoring Advance is no longer available, we found several similar shock-bands on Amazon.com, ranging from $10 to $25 in price -- with similarly disappointing reviews. Although there are occasional satisfied customers, the majority of users say the wristbands either didn't work at all or shocked them constantly.
Acupressure rings. A good example of this type of remedy is the Antisnor Acupressure Ring, which Slate's Chip Brantley describes as "a thin sterling silver ring with two acupressure balls on the underside. The ring goes on the left-hand pinky and is supposed to stimulate the heart meridian and give energy to something called the 'upper jiao.'" Brantley gives this new-age cure a fairly good score, based largely on the fact that his long-suffering wife hated it a bit less than the other remedies but she also says it was ineffective.
Testers at Good Housekeeping (UK) are similarly unimpressed with the Good Night Anti-Snoring Ring (Est. $40). It reduces the volume of their snoring marginally, but doesn't eliminate it, and several of the testers find the ring uncomfortable.
Chin-up strips. These sticky strips are designed to hold your mouth closed so you'll breathe through your nose. The British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association (BSSAA) says they can be helpful for "mouth breathers," but testers report no luck with them. Roy Clements of the Daily Mail (UK) reports, "I feel like a muzzled pit bull terrier and Naomi says I look like Hannibal Lecter." The strip does nothing to stop his snoring and is so uncomfortable that he ends up ripping it off.
Likewise, testers at Good Housekeeping (UK) give Snore Calm Chin Up Strips (available only in the UK) just 46 points out of 100. They work for one snorer, but the sticky, skin-pulling strip keeps another tester wide awake. And a BBC News article reports that one tester at Which? magazine found the strips did reduce his snoring – but he suspects it's only because the discomfort kept him awake.
Throat sprays/oral strips. Herbal throat sprays and oral strips are easy to use: You simply spray them at the back of your throat or, with oral strips, let them dissolve on your tongue. The products contain herbal oils such as peppermint designed to soothe and lubricate the palate.
The BSSAA recommends a product called Rhynil (Est. $30), a spray for the nose and throat containing the herb eyebright. This supposedly tightens up the nasal membranes and the tissue at the roof of the mouth, reducing vibration and aiding breathing. However, Clements says Rhynil doesn't stop his snoring, though it does seem to soften it somewhat.
Testers at Good Housekeeping (UK) also enjoy their experience with the two sprays they try: Helps Stop Snoring (Est. $12) and Snoreeze Throat Spray (Est. $20). One tester says, "I woke less and felt brighter and more alert the next day," and half the testers say they would use the sprays again. However, other reviewers are less impressed. The editors at Which? say Helps Stop Snoring has no evidence to back it up, and Clements says Snoreeze, although it has a pleasant, minty taste, leaves him snoring non-stop.