There are two types of snoring. A combination of or either one of two factors can cause snoring. The tongue relaxing and falling back into the throat against the uvula and obstructing the airway most often causes snoring. Blocked nasal passages also may cause snoring.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Appliances (CPAP)
CPAP is a special sleep mask that connects to a pump, which applies pressure through the mask to keep the throat from collapsing. CPAP is the first choice of most physicians in treating OSA. Although effective if used continually, some patients find the appliance inconvenient and uncomfortable and discontinue use within less than a year. (Price range: $1,000.00 to over $3,000.00.)
Although seldom advertised to stop snoring, an adjustable bed may help the snorer and his partner sleep more peacefully. The Vancouver Sleep and Breathing Center indicates that sleeping at an elevation of 30 degrees relieves pressure on the diaphragm and helps keep the airway open. To have the head elevated may also help keep the tongue from collapsing against the uvula. (Price Range: $800.00 to $1,000.00.)
Although there are three types of dental appliances available to reduce snoring, only one is generally considered to be both safe and effective. Tongue retaining devices and those with a tongue-retaining flange impede the userís ability to swallow during sleep. In addition, the flange may cause obstruction of small upper airways and should definitely not be used by those with OSA.
The third type of device is a Mandibular Advancement Appliance. There are several types of Mandibular Advancement devices and they are available both custom made by dental professionals and over the counter. Custom devices, although more expensive, are generally more durable, adaptable, and comfortable. (Price range: $50.00 (OTC) to $2,000.00)
Stop Snoring Pillows
Specially constructed pillows to reduce snoring are usually made out of foam and have design elements that encourage the snorer to sleep on his or her side. (Price range $23.00 to $70.00.)
Nasal Valve Dilators
The basic problem with nasal valve dilators is that they only help with the least common type of snoring, primary snoring due to clogged nasal passages.
Of the two most common types of nasal valve dilators, the least expensive is an adhesive strip worn over the bridge of the nose while sleeping. The strips arenít reusable and may fall off during sleep. Another problem is that the adhesive may cause skin irritation. Price: About 80 cents per strip.
The other common type of nasal valve dilator is a flexible piece of plastic, the ends of which are inserted into the nostrils. This type of dilator is relatively uncomfortable and needs replacement several times a year. (Price: About $20.00 each.)
Stop Snoring Sprays
For those who have blockage due to swelling of the nasal passages or increased mucous, a nasal spray may provide temporary relief. However many nasal sprays are advertised as "softening tissues" or "moistening the airway". These are probably the least effective stop-snoring products since the cause of most snoring is neither tough tissue nor dry throat. In addition, long-term use of sprays can be addictive, damage the tender mucous membranes, and lead to even more severe side effects such as heart arrhythmias and perforation of the nasal septum. (Price range: $5.00 to $30.00.)