Every snorer falls in one of three categories: you are open and laugh about it, you are embarrassed and hate talking about it, or you don't know you snore, but you wake up feeling lousy every day. I have always fallen in the first category.
From college roommates joking about it to girlfriends complaining, everyone has always had plenty to say about my snoring. Laughing it off was all I thought I could do.
When I started dating the lady who is now my wife, I really didn't think it would last. After all, if all my past girlfriends had problems with my snoring, I figured she would to.
Well, she stuck with me, and oddly enough, she started snoring about five years ago. She blames her hormones; I just say I rubbed off on her. We always say we are the perfect couple because no one else would want to put up with listening to either one of us snore forever.
Of course, we never considered how our snoring would affect our children until our teenage son started complaining about losing sleep because of all the noise. He was actually the one who got online and learned that snoring is bad for your health.
When he told us what he had learned at the dinner table, we both laughed it off. However, later that evening, I got on the computer to do a little digging of my own. Imagine my surprise to learn that everything my son had told us was right.
Conversation with My Wife
I thought I was a little mortified over what I had discovered, but my wife's reaction was pure panic. At first, she thought I was playing a joke on her. Then, when I started showing her all the medical sites and case studies from universities I had found, she wanted to do whatever she needed to do to stop snoring.
We were both wondering if this was why we were always so tired. We often said we were getting old because our bedtime was earlier and earlier, yet it never seemed to be enough sleep. We would have to finish off a pot of coffee just to wake up enough to get out the door in the morning. If there was a solution, we were eager to find it.
The Dreaded Doctor Appointment
Okay, I've never been one to go to the doctor, so making an appointment with one to find out what I needed to do to stop snoring was a pretty big deal. If I'm being completely honest, I rescheduled twice.
At my appointment, he asked a lot of questions and gave me a lot of suggestions, but most didn't apply. For example, he said I should avoid alcohol, but except for the occasional glass of wine with my wife I don't drink.
He asked about prescription and over-the-counter medications I may be taking, but I don't even like to take aspirin. He suggested sleeping on my side and using a higher pillow to elevate my head more. Of course, I have always been a side sleeper and I use two pillows.
Lastly, he said I should test anti snoring devices (referred to as a mouthpiece or mouth guard). Now, this actually piqued my interest because when I was doing a little research online, I kept stumbling across mouthpieces for snoring. I had just dismissed the idea, assuming it was a gimmick. Now that the doctor brought it up, I was definitely intrigued.
The doctor explained to me that when I fall asleep all the muscles in my body relax, including those in my face, mouth, and throat. The tongue collapses toward the throat, which allows the soft palate and uvula to vibrate against soft throat tissues. The vibration was causing my snoring.
He told me that anti-snoring mouthpieces help because they keep your airway clear by holding your jaw forward. He grabbed me some brochures and started going over my options. I was told that he would recommend Somnodent, Tap II, Myerson EMA, SUAD, Snore Silencer Pro, and SnoreFree.
They all pretty much looked the same to me. After all, how different could they all be from one another? I really didn't care which one I tried, I just wanted one that worked, and I needed to see about getting my wife one, too.
Then, I got a huge dose of reality. The cheapest one was $1,500 and some he was showing me were around $3,000. No problem! I have insurance I pay good money for. Oh, but guess what? My insurance wouldn't cover a mouthpiece. I left frustrated.
Mission to Find a Solution
That evening, I talked to my wife about the appointment. We considered borrowing from our savings. We even thought about selling one of the cars and just getting an old reliable grocery getter as a second vehicle. After all, now we were both concerned about our health and knew we had to do something.
The next day, I got online again to do a little more digging. I was using Google to find more information on the oral devices my doctor had recommended, but the search kept giving me options of a ton of other mouthpieces not on the list.
These mouthpieces certainly looked similar, but instead of having four-digit price tags, the ones I was finding were all around $100. Was it possible that one of these cheaper devices would actually work?
My excitement grew as I continued to research. I compared some of these products to the brochures the doctor had given me. I'm no expert, but I really didn't see a big difference. Choosing one was not going to be easy though. There were a lot available. I was actually getting a little irritated switching back and forth between sites to try to compare them.
My New Project
I couldn't help but wonder if everyone shopping for a stop snoring mouthpiece got as frustrated as I was. I showed a few options to my wife, hoping maybe she would just make the decision for both of us. Well, she did, but it really wasn't the answer I expected.
She told me I should start a website to make it easy for others to compare all these mouthpieces. I said, "Why should I do it?" She replied, "Why shouldn't you?" She was right.
I had already spent a lot of time gathering a wealth of information; why not just turn it into a little project? I had also discovered that most mouthpieces had a money back guarantee, so we could just send the ones back we didn't like.
We were going to pick out 10, and put them all to the test. Of course, if you browse my site, you will see we ended up reviewing significantly more than 10. I was excited to get started and surprised at how eager my wife was to get involved, too. It was the first step we were taking together to improve our present and long-term health.
What We Looked for in Every Device
On the surface a lot of mouthpieces look the same. However, when you start really evaluating them, you find they are all quite different. Below are some of the questions I asked myself.
What is the material?
I actually assume they would all be made of a similar material, and I at least expected them to all be BPA-free, but I stumbled across a few surprises. I also made a point to find out if the product being tested was latex-free, since so many people have a latex allergy. Plus, I compared different materials and thicknesses for comfort and effectiveness. Thermoplastic and acrylic resin are two common materials you will see mentioned a lot.
How adjustable is it?
Some mouthpieces allow you to make adjustments to the lower jaw positioning. I evaluated how easily adjustments could be made, and if they made a big difference. I also paid attention to how much harder adjustable products were to clean.
Are there breathing holes?
I generally breathe through my nose unless my allergies are bothering me. However, when I am stuffy, I understand why it is so important for mouth breathers to have airflow holes.
I also discovered that all holes are definitely not the same. If holes are too small, you can barely breathe through them anyway, but if they are too big, they force your mouth to stay open a little wider, which can be uncomfortable.
Is it firm or soft?
You might expect all anti-snoring devices to be firm, but there are actually products that are flexible and soft. ZQuiet is an example of a product that is both safe and flexible. I asked myself if I thought the construction played a role in the overall comfort and effectiveness.
Does it need to be fitted?
Some products were ready-to-use right out-of-the-box, but others required a fitting process. Most mouthpieces that you need to custom fit simply require that you do a boil-and-bite fitting process, which is relatively easy.
However, there are some that send you a mold to bite and send back, and then the device gets made in the lab. While looking at these different products, I made a point to determine if those made in a lab truly fit better than the ones that you fit in the privacy of your own home.
Is it FDA-cleared?
Peace-of-mind is priceless, especially when it comes to your health. Although not every FDA-cleared product is 100 percent safe it is nice to know if a mouthpiece has at least been put to the test to determine if it is deemed safe with proper usage.
I did find that in some cases mouthpieces are made from FDA-cleared material, but the overall product hasn't been cleared. Sometimes, wording is a little misleading, so this is definitely something consumers should be aware of.
Who designed it?
Call me a mouthpiece snob, but I tend to look more favorably upon a product that has been designed by a dentist or a sleep specialist. At the very least, I like to know it is being endorsed by a medical practitioner.
Does it have a guarantee?
I'm personally not overly anxious to try a product without some sort of money back guarantee, especially if it is in the mid- to high-price range. Additionally, I want to know how hard the product is to return. Is the company easy to work with? It's nice to know if my shipping charges are getting refunded, too, but I really don't expect them to be.
Putting Them to the Test
Each mouthpiece was given at least a seven-day trial. Some highly adjustable products were tested for 14 days, just so I could try out the different jaw positions and determine if they really made a difference.
Between each new device, we went several days without wearing one. This allowed us to better evaluate comfort and jaw soreness.
It is common to be a little sore the first few days, but if you go directly from one mouthpiece to another, you don't really get a true feel for what to expect during the adjustment period.
There were some definite highs and lows. There were mouthpieces I had no desire to try because they didn't "look" like they would work that I ended up absolutely loving. Then, there were others I had really high hopes for that I found to be disappointing.
I tried a wide variety of anti-snoring devices, so you will find reviews here for all price ranges. You will also notice that I didn't just stick with mandibular advancement devices (MADs). Although that was my intention from the beginning, when I learned about tongue retaining devices (TRDs), I had to try Good Morning Snore Solution (GMSS).
In terms of MADs, SnoreRx ended up being my number one pick in that category, and I still wear it. I even put My Snoring Solution to the text, a chinstrap that I had a good laugh over with my wife, but it ended up being surprisingly comfortable and effective.
I hope my best of lists, reviews, articles, and comparisons help you in your quest to find your perfect snoring solution. Remember, you may need to go through a bit of a trial and error phase, but once you find your perfect match it will be life-changing.