The whole concept behind snoring aids is that it helps you sleep well – if your accomplice is keeping you awake, otherwise you wake up with your own loud snoring, the answer is the same. You need an anti-snoring device or mouthpiece to control/stop the snoring.
WHAT CAUSES SNORING?
Most people are fond of denying that they snore, and are even proud to think that they don’t. The truth, however, is that everyone snores. Some people snore more than others, but occasional snoring is nothing out of the ordinary. The important thing is to take some time to figure out what the problem is so you can find the right solution.
TYPES OF SNORING
A snore is a snore, right? This might be how the people who suffer from loud noises and uncomfortable breathing feel. There are, in fact, different types of snores, however. And it’s important to understand this if you want the stop to snoring.
The right solution for snoring depends on the type of snoring. Take some time to go over the scenarios below to help you determine what is causing the snoring, and how it can be resolved.
Some people only snore when they are lying on their backs. This sleeping position often causes neck or shoulder misalignment, and even misalignment of the spine. This can in turn cause the person to breathe through their mouths, or cause the airway to constrict, making them snore.
Some people snore when their mouths are wide open. This could mean that the tissues in the throat are causing an obstruction, resulting in the air being forced through and creating vibrations.
Some people snore even when their mouths are closed. This type of snore is often caused by the tongue falling back towards the throat. It can also be caused by a problem in the nasal passages, such as sinusitis or congestion from a cold.
Some people snore regardless of their body or mouth position. In these cases, it is wise to try to eliminate the cause by testing various remedies. You can find some of these remedies below.
If you’re still not sure about the type of snoring you or your partner suffer from after reading, try keeping a sleep diary. Having this information available will bring you closer to figuring out the problem.
THE ANATOMY OF THE HUMAN AIRWAY
Snoring happens naturally, mostly as a result of a compressed airway. During sleep, your throat relaxes and your tongue falls back towards your throat. Your jaw relaxes too, causeing the muscles around your airway to loosen up.
These jaw muscles and the muscles around your tongue connect to form a point. This is the area that becomes narrow and obstructs the flow of air. Some people who have more throat and nasal tissue, such as the uvula, are prone to snoring because this loose tissue tends to vibrate more.
The obstruction in the throat can be more pronounced in older people and those who are overweight. Aging causes the airway to lose tone, and excessive neck fat can put more pressure on it.
This causes your airway to become narrower and somewhat collapsed. The air that passes through your throat as you breathe is pushed through rather than flowing easily. It then also causes loose tissue within the airway to vibrate. This makes that noise that we all know as snoring.
FACTORS THAT CAUSE SNORING
The following can also be potential causes of snoring:
As mentioned above, the natural aging process causes the body’s tissues to loosen. It also causes the throat to narrow and the muscles in the throat to lose tone, which can lead to snoring. This usually starts to happen during middle age and continues into the golden years.
The onset of menopause brings a lot of changes. One of the symptoms that can surface during menopause is decreased muscle tone and weight gain. These changes can aggravate snoring, or cause someone who never snored before to start snoring regularly. By age 70, most women tend to snore if they have not taken care of their health.
The tendency to snore increases in people who are overweight or unfit. This applies to adults as well as children. Both overeating and a lack of exercise result in the accumulation of fat in the body, including the throat. This extra fat can cause the airway to narrow, which obstructs breathing. Snoring can be even worse for back sleepers because the extra fat puts even more pressure on the airway.
Men tend to snore more than women in general. This is because men tend to put more weight on the neck area and because they also have narrower air passages than women do. Other inborn physical traits, such as enlarged adenoids or a cleft palate, can also increase the tendency to snore.
Nasal and Sinus Conditions
When there is a blockage in the nasal passages or the sinus cavities, breathing becomes difficult. The extra strain can cause a vacuum to form in the throat, resulting in snoring. Allergens around the home, such as dust or pollen, can aggravate congestion. Poor fitness can also contribute to breathing difficulty. People who have asthma are also prone to snoring, not only because of breathing problems, but because many who suffer from sleep apnea also suffer from asthma.
Taking certain medications, drinking alcohol, smoking, and vaping have been known to cause snoring. What do all these have in common? They either encourage muscle relaxation or lead to breathing problems – both of which can cause snoring.
THE DANGERS OF SNORING
While snoring is a natural occurrence, it can have negative effects on both the health of the snorer and those affected by the noise. It can also be an indicator of a more dangerous condition.
Insomnia is very common, affecting about a third of the population. Insomnia can have many negative effects, many of which are unnoticed in the early going. In some cases, sufferers simply adjust to the effects and are not aware of their impact.
Lack of sleep can lead to numerous health problems, some of them quite serious. If snoring is affecting your ability to sleep well, you could be at risk for a host of conditions, including such as depression, abnormal weight gain (metabolic dysfunction), accelerated aging, abnormal blood pressure (hypertension), and more. You could also experience decreased cognitive function, which has been shown to impact people’s physical, mental and emotional health.
In general, insomnia has many direct and indirect effects on the whole person which can drastically increase health problems and decrease quality of life.
Snoring can be an indicator of a much more severe condition known as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is potentially life-threatening and can result in heart problems and other complications.
The condition requires medical attention and treatment to ease symptoms and prevent complications. If you snore loudly and feel tired after even a full night’s sleep, you may suffer from sleep apnea. You should seek advice from your doctor to help you get it resolved.
About 25 million adults in the US suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when throat muscles relax.
There are two other types of sleep apnea. One is central sleep apnea, which happens when there is a problem with the brain signals sent to the muscles that control breathing. The other type, complex sleep apnea syndrome (or treatment-emergent central sleep apnea), happens when both of the above conditions are present.
With sleep apnea, breathing is obstructed and so it stops and starts repeatedly. The stoppage causes the sleeper to wake up so as to be able to resume breathing. This results in fatigue and leaves the person feeling sleepy and exhausted for the whole day. Normal snoring can also affect the quality of your sleep, but not as much as sleep apnea does.
SIMPLE WAYS YOU CAN TRY TO STOP SNORING
These are some natural remedies that you can use to relieve snoring before you turn to devices or medications. It’s always a good idea to try the simpler things first before you progress to more complex solutions.
Sleep on Your Side
Since sleeping one’s back is a common cause of snoring, simply changing positions may lead to fast relief. Sleeping on your side has a lot of other health benefits, too, so it’s worth a try. If you are a restless sleeper, you may have trouble staying in one position all night long.
To help you stay on your side during sleep, try placing a body pillow or other large pillow behind you to help maintain your position and prevent you from rolling over. If you suffer from back pain, this can also provide support for your back and relieve pain during sleep. Most doctors recommend sleeping on your left side (not your right), at this alleviates heartburn.
Most people prefer side-sleeping, but back-sleeping is also common. If you must sleep on your back to be comfortable, there are a few other things you can try. Put a sausage pillow under your knees to support your spine and help align your sleeping position.
Use a pillow that supports your neck and shoulders. This keeps your head and shoulders in a more natural position and protects your airway while you sleep.
Another way to remedy back sleeping is to use a reclining bed that can keep your upper body slightly elevated while you sleep. This will also help your nasal airway passages stay open, reducing or eliminating snoring. This may not be effective, however, if relaxed throat muscles are the cause of your snoring.
As we learned above, congestion is one major cause of snoring. Relieving congestion can, therefore, give you relief from snoring as well. The following can be effective tools for fighting congestion.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Pure peppermint oil or peppermint essential oil is known to relieve congestion. Menthol, the oil’s main ingredient, reduces mucus and gets rid of phlegm, helping clear out the sinuses. Peppermint oil also provides relief for sore throat.
Goldenseal is a natural supplement that can be taken orally to help with congestion. It works for congestion in both the chest and nasal passages. In powder form, it can be mixed with liquids, and in liquid or capsule form, it can be directly consumed. Adding peppermint oil to a liquid preparation of Goldenseal can increase its efficacy.
Eucalyptus and Peppermint
Eucalyptus is an age-old remedy for chest congestion. Eucalyptus oil and leaves have been used in salves and steam to open up the airways. The leaves of the eucalyptus tree can be used in a steam inhaler and breathed in through the mouth and nose to help clear the sinuses.
If you don’t have an inhaler, a big bowl of boiling water will do. Just position yourself above the bowl at a sufficient distance so that you don’t burn yourself. Then place a towel over your head to collect the maximum amount of steam. This also works with a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Adding peppermint essential oil can again improve its effectiveness as a decongestant.
You can also use a neti pot with salts and water, but do not add essential oils to the mix as this can burn the membranes of your nasal passages.
Repeat the process before heading to bed every night to clear up your airways and reduce any nasal inflammation that may be contributing to the snoring problem.
Get a Humidifier
Dry throat or nasal passages can also be a cause of snoring. Dryness causes irritation and congestion, which aggravates snoring. Using a humidifier, even for just a couple of hours during the night, can help fight the problem. Adding eucalyptus and peppermint essentials oils to the humidifier can enhance its effects.
Take More Vitamin C
Congestion is often caused by allergies and colds, so upping your intake of vitamin C can help you keep it at bay. Vitamin C boosts the immune system, clearing out your sinuses and reducing congestion.
The best way to load up on vitamin C is to eat foods that naturally contain this wonder vitamin. A few examples of these foods are papaya, red bell peppers, and broccoli. Pineapple is also rich in vitamin C, and contains bromelain, which benefits the sinuses. Citrus fruit is also a good source of vitamin C, but it has been known to aggravate asthma and some allergies. If you suffer from these, consult your doctor before eating an entire bag of oranges.
Digestion may not be the first thing you think of as the cause of your snoring. It does have close ties with sleep patterns, however, and can in fact also cause snoring. Spearmint and fenugreek are both very good for digestion, as they can help stop snoring caused by issues such as acid reflux.
Another digestive-related tip is avoiding big meals before bedtime. A full stomach can increase pressure on the diaphragm, which affects breathing. It can also aggravate acid reflux and indigestion.
A lot of people have been told that drinking a warm glass of milk can help them sleep better. It does work for some, but consuming dairy products before bedtime is bad for snoring. Dairy leaves a layer of mucus in the mouth and throat, blocking the airway and aggravating snoring.
Limit or Avoid Alcohol
As mentioned above, alcohol causes the body to relax, and this causes the throat and tongue to relax, too, obstructing your air passages. Alcohol has also been known to affect the quality of sleep by creating a reduction in rapid eye movement (REM), the most important type of sleep.
Getting in shape is great advice whether you snore or not. But it can drastically reduce or even eliminate snoring. For starters, when you lose weight and add tone to your muscles, you remove several factors that cause snoring. Extra body weight and poor muscle tone make for increased pressure on the airways, and looser tissues tend to vibrate more. Eating healthy and exercising can also do wonders for you if you suffer from sinus or nasal congestion.
Fitness is also an important factor here because it reduces your chances of developing conditions related to sleep deprivation. Regular exercise and a good diet help you sleep better, and improves the condition of your digestive tract.
Throat and Tongue Exercises
Exercise keeps the body more active as it fights fatigue and encourages better sleep. Fatigue is one symptom of poor sleep, and exercise is one of the best remedies. But have you ever heard of doing exercises for your throat or your tongue? Most people have not.
Exercising the throat and the tongue can reduce snoring as it firms up the tongue and the surrounding muscles. This will prevent the tongue from slipping into the throat while you sleep.
Before bedtime, open your mouth wide until you feel the back of your mouth open up. If you need help, lightly stretch your jaw from the sides where your molars are. Be gentle – you don’t want to hurt your jaw. Hold that position for a second or two and twist your tongue from side to side a few times. Then release and close your mouth. Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times every night.
You may find after trying them for a couple of weeks that the natural methods above are somehow difficult for you, or ineffective. If nothing works, the best solution is to try an anti-snoring device.
ANTI-SNORING DEVICES HELP YOU BREATHE EASY
Before you start shopping for snoring aids, you need to talk to your doctor and your dentist. Your doctor will need to check your symptoms and may propose more beneficial remedies.
Your dentist can inform you about which dental appliances can prevent your tongue from obstructing your airway. The American Academy of Dental Sleep recommends oral appliance therapy as a treatment option for snoring and sleep apnea. The American Dental Association acknowledges sleeping aids are effective for reducing sleep apnea and snoring.
An anti-snoring mouthpiece fits into the mouth much like the mouth guards used in sports. They work by keeping the jaw in a forward position, thus maintaining an open airway and preventing the blockage that causes snoring.
The easiest and safest way to stop snoring is to use an anti-snoring mouthpiece. These snoring aids are designed to keep your airway open so you can breathe easy. By supporting the airway, an anti-snoring mouthpiece ensures that your breath can pass unobstructed.
There are about 40 different types of snoring aids on the market today. Each one serves the same purpose – keeping the airway open while you sleep – but not all anti-snoring devices are equal.
CHOOSING A SNORING AID
There are two main types of snoring aids: Tongue Retaining Devices (TRDs), and Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs). As you read through what these two anti-snoring devices are and how they work, take a few notes. The goal here is to find the snoring mouthpiece that will best help you breathe freely from your nose.
Tongue Retaining Device (TRD)
Tongue retaining devices (TRDs), also known as tongue stabilizing devices (TSDs), are called this because they work by holding the tongue forward. By keeping the tongue in a forward position, the organ cannot slide back as it would normally do when relaxed.
TRDs have been proven to help relieve mild to moderate snoring. The symptoms are reduced particularly for people whose snoring is caused by a tongue that is too large for the mouth, or tonsils that are larger than average. Both of these conditions cause blockage by reducing the size of the airway. Sleep further reduces the breathing space available as the body and all its muscles relax.
There are many different types of TRDs on the market today. For example, one type of TRD keeps the tongue in place by attaching to the organ’s tip. TRDs such as this one have been known to help treat mild cases of both snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
TRDs are quite comfortable since they are made to fit only around the tongue. TRDs are also therefore made from a smooth, soft material such as medical-grade silicone. They, therefore, do not cause irritation in the mouth, especially since these areas are usually sensitive (the lips, gums, tongue, or palate can be easily irritated by foreign bodies).
Any anti-snoring mouthpiece will take some getting used to. A TRD, as soft as it is, can cause some initial discomfort until you get used to wearing it. Some people experience soreness in the tongue when first wearing the night device. This is caused not by the material, but by the being forced into a tight position. As the tongue grows accustomed to being engaged in an active position all night, it will grow stronger and the soreness will subside.
TRD snoring aids also use suction to keep the tongue in a forward position, which can also cause mild discomfort. Your tongue will work harder for a few days, but like any other muscle in your body, it will adjust before too long.
One example of a TRD is the ZenGuard from Zensleep. This is a high-quality snore guard made from medical grade silicone. The ZenGuard is a bulb-shaped TRD that is designed to hold the tongue forward during sleep to prevent airway obstruction as described above.
This type of night device comes straight out of the box and takes some getting used to. It is larger than some of the other TRDs out there, and provides very strong suction. This can be uncomfortable at first. Holding it under hot water can help soften the material and make it easier to slip on.
Anti-Snoring Devices ReviewsWearing TRDs for the first time requires some practice because of the suction. By holding the tongue forward, the device can put a strain on the organ and surrounding muscles that they are not used to.
Using the device for a few hours each night before actually sleeping with it on can help a lot. You may feel some soreness for a few days, which is perfectly normal, since your mouth will not be used to having your tongue sticking out this way for a prolonged period.
As you test these kinds of snoring aids, you can adjust how much suction you need. Create enough suction so that the device does not fall off, but not so much that it is uncomfortable.
The ZenGuard is actually quite easy to use once you get the hang of it. The tongue simply slips into the snore guard, then gentle pumps on the bulb part create suction. The edges at the base of the bulb act as stoppers needed to keep the tongue in a forward position.
When you’re ready to take it off, just press gently on the sides to allow a little air inside the bulb. This releases the suction hold so you can take your tongue out. It’s really a simple yet very effective design. Device maintenance is also very simple – just rinse the TRD with hot water after each use.
MANDIBULAR ADVANCEMENT DEVICE (MAD)
Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs) work by holding the jaw in a forward position. In this way, they support the muscles around the throat to keep the airway open, as well as keep the tongue from sliding toward the throat.
MADs prevent blockage by pulling and holding the tongue and the muscles around it and the airway forward. The tissue tightens with the MAD in place, and the airway opens and remains open through the night as the anti-snoring mouthpiece is worn. Thus, the airway remains open and air can flow through the air passages without obstruction. When breathing is unobstructed, most types of snoring will stop completely.
MADs, unlike TSDs, are larger since they work inside the mouth rather than just holding the tongue. MADs are like the mouth guards that boxers wear to protect their teeth during a fight. MADs are made to rest inside the mouth, fitting around the jaw and held between the upper and lower teeth. Here are a few examples of common MADs:
Every mouth has its own unique shape, so when choosing a MAD, you need find a device that fits your mouth perfectly. No amount of advice can help you find this, but matching up your preferences and circumstances with others who are using or have used MADs in the past can still help you to narrow down your choices. Talking to medical professionals who have a wealth of experience can also help a lot.
When choosing a MAD, never sacrifice your comfort for the level of support that one anti-snoring mouthpiece gives over another. Your comfort is a very important factor in how effective your MAD is going to be in helping you to stop snoring.
Some MADs can be boiled in water to heat them up to make them soft. This can help you to adjust the way that they fit inside your mouth. This is known as the boil-and-bite process, or the dental impression fitting process In general.
These types of MADs are the most comfortable and effective ones because they can better fit your mouth. There are always exceptions, though, so you might not have to go through this process. Some anti-snoring devices are made to be trimmed down little by little using a file, until you get just the right fit.
Always remember to carefully read the instructions that you get with any new snore guard so that you will know what methods you can apply to get them to fit right. Not all MADs are made to be boiled, and not all of them are made to be filed down, either. Make sure that you are using the indicated measure for fitting the device so that you don’t damage it or end up hurting yourself.
Which One is Better?
If you have already determined that it’s not your nasal passages that are the problem, either a TSD or a MAD can solve the problem. If you are unable to breathe comfortably through your nose at night, then a MAD is probably the better option.
Most MADs are made with an airhole in them that is designed to allow you to breathe through your mouth. This is very helpful for people who suffer from breathing problems due to congestion, such as chronic sinus problems, nasal polyps, or a deviated septum.
Both TSDs and MADs are highly effective snoring aids that can help you stop snoring and have you sleeping better. The choice really boils down to what causes your snoring and which device you are more comfortable using.
Consult your doctor and your dentist about these devices. They will have more experience with them and can share a lot of tips with you about how each type performs. They will also be able to share some information with you about how other patients have reacted to these anti-snoring devices. This can help you to narrow down your options before you go out there to buy every single one on the market.
Sleeping Aid Varieties
Remember also that there are a lot of different options out there, especially nowadays. Snoring aids come in almost 40 different varieties. You will need to find the one that you feel will best suit both your needs and preferences.
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