Snoring is a chronic condition, and at this point there is no known actual cure – instead a treatment strategy is the main course of action.
Lifestyle modifications can assist with snoring as a first line of treatment.
Even moderate weight loss has been shown to reduce or stop snoring.
Avoid sleeping pills, tranquillisers and muscle relaxants if possible as they will all allow your throat muscles to collapse and induce snoring. Talk to your doctor about alternatives to medication for anxiety and sleep problems, such as cognitive behavioural therapy.
Don't drink alcohol for at least three to four hours before going to bed or consider skipping it.
Stop smoking as it's common for smokers to snore.
Many people only snore when they lie on their back – the tongue and throat muscles relax, and slump backwards causing a partial blockage of the airway. Lying on your side may reduce this problem and is called
positional therapy which involves techniques designed to make you sleep in a position where you don't snore, usually on your side.
Some people claim to prevent their snoring with certain pillows designed to hold the head in a certain position –perhaps to encourage you to sleep on your side, or to 'correct head and spine alignment'. Unfortunately it's tricky for a person to stay in one position for the whole night, particularly if you toss and turn.
These are sticky strips that adhere either side of the nostrils to open and enlarge them. They are great for people who don't normally snore such as women during pregnancy, if you have a cold, if you use the anti-snore guard but find you develop horizontal stuffiness in the nose. They do not work for heavy snoring.
Some people are not suitable for SnoreAssist as they do not have a reasonably full set of teeth in order to hold the guard in position. For these people a device that holds the tongue gently forward by suction may be successful.
Do you have sleep apnoea?
Many regular snorers, in particular heavy snorers, have sleep apnoea. Sleep apnoea may lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Poor sleep due to sleep apnoea can lead to daytime drowsiness, which interferes with job performance and increases the risk of work or driving accidents.
If you or your partner pause in your breathing and then gulps for air or snores very loudly on a regular basis please ensure a doctor is consulted. They will most likely arrange a referral for a sleep study to rule out sleep apnoea.
While you are waiting for your appointment it is certainly worth trialing a mandibular splint like SnoreAssist's. Many people with OSA use the CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure) at home and use our anti-snore guards when travelling, camping, boating etc or if they have a cold, or in areas of uncertain power supply. CPAP machines are the gold standard treatment for OSA, however some people cannot tolerate them for various reasons and do find the anti-snore guards successful for mild to moderate cases.
Some surgical procedures tighten the palate by inducing tissue scarring/shrinkage, making harder to vibrate. These treatments include laser treatment (non-ablative laser that doesn't remove or cut tissue), radio frequency treatment and 'snoreplasty' – injections of hardening (sclerosing) agents into the palate. Another treatment is the Pillar implant system, where small plastic rods are inserted in the palate, causing it to become firm and reduce vibration.
These therapies are very expensive and may not last indefinitely. There's also some concern that scarring could make other treatments, such as CPAP, more difficult if needed in the future.
More invasive surgical procedures can assist for those who have a large palate, a nasal blockage, enlarged tonsils or an enlarged tongue that causes obstruction.
Always ask your doctor how long the results from your procedure will last and feel comfortable getting a second opinion re surgery.