Non-Surgical Treatments for Snoring
Before you can attempt to treat your snoring by means of a non-surgical method, it is important to form a baseline. This will aid in comparing the results of various methods, and deciding which are effective. This can be a difficult proposition. If you have a willing partner (and what partner would be unwilling to work toward a quiet night’s sleep), it may be as simple as them identifying whether or not they notice an improvement once a treatment is underway. If you live alone, you could resort to recordings yourself as you sleep in order to assess the effectiveness of any treatments you might try.
There are three basic groups into which drug-based treatments can be categorized. The first group works to stimulate respiration, the second to open the airways and the third works to prevent the patient from entering REM sleep.
All stages of sleep, especially the REM stage, have been proven to be necessary to maintain health and wellbeing so one must question the validity of taking any drug that interferes with natural sleep patterns.
Some over-the-counter decongestant inhalers work well to keep nasal passageways open. Even a simple saline nasal spray will work to keep the mucous membranes moist and unclogged, reducing the noise cause by vibration. See Over The Counter Remedies for more information.
Generally, drugs used to stimulate respiration require a prescription, and may be an extreme solution to end snoring.
There are numerous anti-snoring devices available on the market. One such product is a pillow that forces the snorer to sleep on their side. Sleep position is known to contribute to snoring and those who sleep on their backs tend to be worse snorers so a side sleep position is to be encouraged.
Another device to discourage snorers from adopting a back-sleeping position is the snore ball. While these gadgets are available for purchase they can also be easily improvised from materials available in the home. A small ball, such as a tennis ball, is confined into a pocket sewn into the back of the snorer’s sleepwear. This makes it very uncomfortable for them to sleep while lying on their backs (think The Princess and the Pea).
Sleep position is obviously thought to be a major contributing factor to the problem of snoring as yet another device exists–the sleep position monitor–that registers a change in position and emits a beeping alarm. The thought being that the snorer becomes programmed not to sleep on their back and the alarm can eventually be discarded.
Nasal strips can be purchased which are applied externally to the nose and act to widen the nasal passages. Even athletes use these strips to promote respiratory efficiency. An alternative device that works on the same principles is a nasal dilator that consists of a plastic or metal coil that is inserted into the nostrils before sleep and acts to keep the nasal passages open during sleep. These two devices both seem to cut down on the vibratory noise that many snorers emit.
The market is full of oral appliances, tongue trainers and even a little device that emits an electric shock when it senses its wearer is snoring. The number of products available is astounding.
Diet and Exercise
In the quest to find a non-surgical snoring solution, a full examination of both diet and food allergies or intolerances should not be neglected. Allergies often affect the mucous membranes which become inflamed and congested. The congestion blocks the airway and snoring occurs. Some people have reported an improvement in their snoring if they avoid dairy products and others report that vitamin C actually worsens their condition. Weight loss should also be considered. There is a direct link between snoring and obesity or even excess weight. Therefore, once serious underlying conditions have been ruled out, weight loss should be one of the first treatments considered. There are, of course, many added bonuses to being a healthy weight for your height including a reduced risk of developing many other health conditions.
Avoiding alcohol and sedatives can do much to improve a snoring problem as it is often relaxed tissue that collapses and causes the obstruction that leads to snoring.
There are many available alternatives to surgery in the quest to end snoring. You should evaluate each of the possible treatments, and try them out. One may work for you.