A Guide to Neti Pots

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A Guide to Neti Pots

Nasal irrigation with a neti pot can help reduce snoring caused by a congested nose or sinuses.

Neti pots are devices used to flush out your nasal passages. Often resembling a small teapot, they are used to pour salt water through your nasal cavity. They can be extremely effective at reducing snoring caused by a blocked nose.

 

SnoreLab’s recommended neti pots

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If a stuffy nose is causing you to snore, nasal irrigation has benefits over other anti-snoring methods. Neti pots are:

  • Inexpensive and simple
  • Non-medicated
  • Unlikely to produce side effects
  • Able to relieve cold and allergy symptoms

Neti pots have their origins in an ancient Hindu practice of health and wellbeing, where nasal irrigation, or “jala-neti”, was practiced daily as a cleansing ritual. This alternative medicine technique has stood the test of time and has been adopted by many snorers with very successful outcomes.

“My snoring has stopped, I now sleep and breathe better. It’s so nice to find something that can solve a huge problem in my life so easily”

How do neti pots work to stop snoring?

When your nose is congested your normal breathing is disrupted. Breathing through a partially blocked nose creates suction forces that act on your airway which causes it to narrow.

When you can’t breathe through your nose, mouth breathing ensues. This yields some shape changes to your airways which disrupts airflow and brings on snoring.

Using a neti pot helps to clear your nose and encourage healthier, quieter nasal breathing. Nasal irrigation:

  • Soothes inflamed tissue. Reducing inflammation widens the nasal passages.
  • Flushes out allergens and other potential irritants.
  • Breaks down and clears excess mucus.

Who can benefit from a neti pot?

If a blocked nose is making you snore, a neti pot can be an extremely effective way of reducing this blockage and sleeping quieter. We recommend them for:

How to use a neti pot

Despite the well documented benefits, snorers are often deterred from using a neti pot because it just seems a bit weird and gross. Like anything, it gets easier with practice.

“The first few times you use it, you may feel that the sensation is a little weird. With regular use this will become something normal, not a big issue and will only make you feel better.”

There are four important things to get right when using a neti pot:

  1. Use the correct water
  2. Use the correct salts
  3. Use the correct technique
  4. Use the correct cleaning methods to decontaminate your neti pot

Here is SnoreLab’s process to get safe and effective use from your neti pot:

1. Choosing the right water

Unclean water can introduce harmful bacteria into your nose. DO NOT use untreated tap water. You have several safe water options:

  • Bottled water that is labelled as “distilled”.
  • Tap water that has been boiled for around 5 minutes and left to cool to a lukewarm temperature. This kills any potentially harmful invaders.
  • Tap water that has been passed through a filter with pores 1 micron (one thousandth of a millimeter) or smaller.

2. Preparing the salt solution

The salt solution is important to help break down the excess mucus in your nose.

Many neti pots can be bought as kits where the appropriate salt mixture is provided in a sachet. These can also be bought separately.

If you want to make your own salt solution, DO NOT use standard table salt. Find a pure salt that is:

  • Non-iodized
  • Free from caking agents
  • Free from additives

Recipes for homemade solutions vary, but a good guide is to add ½ teaspoon of the appropriate salt to the water, along with ¼ teaspoon of baking powder.

3. Using the neti pot

Now for the gross bit. With practice this will get much easier. To properly use the neti pot, water should be poured into one nostril so it comes out of the other. Follow these steps:

  1. Tilt your head sideways over the sink.
  2. Breathe through an open mouth.
  3. Place the spout of the neti pot on your upper nostril so that it forms a tight seal.
  4. Pour half of the contents slowly.
  5. Allow the water to run through your nose and out of your lower nostril.
  6. Repeat for the other side.
  7. Once done, gently blow your nose without pinching your nose to remove excess water.

4. Cleaning the neti pot

This part varies depending on what type of material your neti pot is made from. Regardless of material, thorough cleaning is a must to prevent the build-up of harmful bacteria in your neti pot.

Some neti pots can simply be put in the dishwasher. Others can be boiled wher

eas some need some scrubbing with warm water and soap.

Once done, let your neti pot air dry.

What should you look for when purchasing a neti pot?

Whilst a neti pot might seem like a simple device, there are a few features you should look for when deciding on which neti pot is best for you …

Material

Neti pots are available in different materials, each with their relative merits (jump to different neti pot materials: the pros and cons):

  • Ceramic
  • Plastic
  • Steel

Easy to clean

Neti pots need to be properly cleaned to be used safely. This is to stop you inadvertently introducing harmful bacteria that might lurk in the recesses of your neti pot, into your nose.

Look for a simple shape with a wide opening that has no difficult-to-reach nooks where mold and bacteria can hide. Also check that the design has no cavities within the handle as it is almost impossible to clean this effectively.

Consider that different materials have to be cleaned differently.

Comfort

You need a reasonably tight seal on your nostril to use a neti pot effectively, therefore it is important to consider how the spout will feel on your nose.

Steel and copper pots are hard and cold, whereas plastics can be softer. Cheaper designs might have some rough edges whereas some pots come with a little silicon cap to provide enhanced comfort.

Breakability/longevity

Are you likely to travel with your neti pot? If so, consider that ceramic neti pot materials are more breakable than others.

Whilst plastic pots are less likely to break if dropped, if they are made from thinner plastics (such as squeezable ones) they will probably wear out faster than steel or ceramic ones.

Squeezable material

Some neti pots are made from soft plastics that can be squeezed. This allows you to control the pressure of the water going into your nose.

Appearance

It might sound silly, but good ceramic neti pots can look like a nice, simple ornament. On the flip side, some plastic ones can be rather inappropriately shaped! Are you likely to leave it lying around?

Different neti pot materials: the pros and cons

Ceramic

This is the most common type of neti pot and the one that we recommend the most.

Pros:

  • Comfortable on the nostrils
  • Hygienic and easy to clean
  • Simple designs with few nooks for mold and bacteria build-up
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Looks good

Cons:

  • Breakable
  • Usually has less capacity than pots made from other materials
  • Heavy
  • Lower quality ceramics can have pores that trap mold

We recommend the Himalayan Chandra Ceramic Neti Pot. It has a smooth design that doesn’t allow mold build-up, the starter kit comes with a 10-ounce salt pot and measuring spoon, and it is not bad looking either.

 

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Plastic

Pros:

  • Cheaper
  • Not breakable
  • Light
  • Suitable for travel
  • Softer plastics can be squeezed to control water pressure
  • Clear plastics allow you to see the water level and potential dirt build-up

Cons:

  • Some designs have cavities where mold and bacteria can accumulate
  • Not often dishwasher safe
  • Less long-lasting. Can be degraded by salt water.

We like Dr Hana’s Nasopure. It has a very simple ergonomic design that is easy to use and easy to clean, with no handle, hence no cavity. The shape and squeezable material allows you to use this neti pot without having to tilt your head. The kit also contains 20 salt packets.

 

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SteelPros:

  • Hygienic. Unlikely to trap bacteria.
  • Not fragile
  • Easy to clean
  • Good sizes available

Cons:

  • Can rust if not dried properly
  • Hard and cold feeling on the nostrils

Our steel neti pot pick is the Health and Yoga Stainless Steel Neti Pot. It is large enough to not need refilling during a single irrigation, it has a nicely shaped conical tip, is very robust and has a simple design with very few areas for mold to form.

 

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Buying Guide: Anti-Snoring Mouthpieces

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Buying Guide: Anti-Snoring Mouthpieces

Back sleepers, tongue snorers and many other people too – they can all benefit from an anti-snoring mouthpiece. But what should you look out for?

What are anti-snoring mouthpieces and how do they work?

Mandibular advancement splints, mandibular repositioning devices, protrusion splints and mandibular advancement devices (MADs for short) are all the same type of snoring remedy. These are anti-snoring mouthpieces that fit in your mouth, covering your teeth like a gumshield.

These devices work by positioning your lower jaw (your mandible) further forward (or advancing it).

Snoring comes as a result of a narrowed airway. This can be caused by over-relaxed soft tissue or the base of your tongue falling back to obstruct your breathing passageways.

Mouthpieces help to tighten the tissues in your airway that become slack during sleep. It also brings the base of your tongue away from the back of your throat, clearing it from obstruction.

A note on tongue retainers

Whilst technically an “anti-snoring mouthpiece”, tongue retaining devices (TRDs) work differently, and are not the focus of this article. These use a suction cup to pull the tongue away from the back of the throat and can still be extremely effective for tongue-based snorers [1].

 

SnoreLab’s recommended tongue retainer, the Good Morning Snore Solution, here.

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Who can they help?

Some research has shown that two thirds of snorers can benefit from an anti-snoring mouthpiece. Studies also indicate that mouthpieces can be a better treatment than CPAP for mild to moderate sleep apnea sufferers [2].

At SnoreLab, we recommend mouthpieces for a number of different snorers:

Like most snoring remedies, there are some people who should avoid using anti-snoring mouthpieces:

  • Those who wear dentures or a missing a significant number of teeth
  • People who have dental decay
  • Those who suffer from jaw ache
  • People with chronic nasal blockage
  • Epilepsy sufferers. Mouthpieces can break into small parts due to the strong biting down that can accompany severe seizures.

Custom-made mouthpieces

Custom-made mouthpieces are bespoke devices made in specialist dental labs. Because these mouthpieces are made to fit only you, they often provide more comfort than generic mouthpieces bought online.

Discomfort is the main barrier to success when it comes to using anti-snoring mouthpieces. For this reason, custom-made mouthpieces show greater success in scientific trials simply because people are more likely to stick with them [5].

There are generally two ways to obtain a custom-made mouthpiece:

  • Medical referral. After seeing a specialist about your sleep breathing problems, you may be recommended a custom mouthpiece. You are likely to undergo an assessment with a dental specialist who will assess your suitability for a mouthpiece and who will take multiple measurements and impressions of your teeth.
  • Online services. Some companies offer a service to get a custom-made mouthpiece via the internet. After requesting, you are sent an impression kit in the post. Here, you create the indentations for your teeth and jaw alignment, send it off, and then receive the custom-made mouthpiece a few weeks later.

Due to the extra time, effort and materials invested in creating a custom-made mouthpiece, these are usually more expensive than the generic alternatives.

Generic mouthpieces – what to look for

Less expensive generic mouthpieces bought online needn’t be inferior. There are many mouthpieces available to buy online, some better quality than others.

Look out for the following key features to get a good quality generic mouthpiece that can be just as effective as the more expensive custom-made alternatives …

Custom-moldable

Custom-moldable mouthpieces use the same principles as the bespoke devices, where the mouthpiece is shaped to fit the impression of your teeth.

These devices employ a boil and bite method of molding to the shape of your teeth, whereby the mouthpiece is soaked in hot water to soften the moldable padding. After biting into the padding, holding for a period and allowing the device to cool, the mouthpiece contains an impression of your teeth, improving fit and comfort.

Adjustable

It is important to be able to adjust your mouthpiece to reduce the chance of jaw pain.

Holding your lower jaw in a protruded position is not a natural state, therefore takes some getting used to. If you advance your jaw too far too soon, you can sometimes get temporomandibular joint disorder, a condition that causes pain in your jaw joints.

Starting with the lowest protrusion setting is a great way of easing yourself into mandibular advancement. There are different mechanisms available: some squeeze, some wind and others require plastic spacers. When buying an adjustable mouthpiece, make sure the adjustment is secure, precise and easy to perform.

Allows some jaw movement

A little jaw movement whilst wearing the mouthpiece gives greater comfort.

Mouthpieces are usually built from either one piece of material (monobloc) or two pieces attached to each other (bibloc).

Whilst a bibloc mouthpiece still holds your jaw advanced forward, it usually allows more lateral movement once in your mouth, reducing the chance of jaw aches.

Breathing vents

Breathing vents allow you to breathe through your mouth whilst wearing the mouthpiece.

You may be able to breathe well through your nose before you go to sleep, but this can change throughout the night. It is therefore important that your mouthpiece allows for some mouth breathing so you can still comfortably wear it.

Some mouthpieces are hinged, allowing you to open your mouth a little. Others contain a breathing hole in the front of the device.

If your nose is severely blocked, a mouthpiece might not be suitable.

Quality materials

Mouthpieces that use high-quality, medical-grade materials will last longer and are safer to use.

Also make sure that your mouthpiece is BPA-free and latex free. Better quality materials feel more comfortable in your mouth, are easier to clean and are less likely to rub uncomfortably on your gums.

Also check for FDA approval, a sign that the mouthpiece meets medical device regulations.

Slim design and sizing options

Slimmer, less bulky mouthpieces are easier to wear and more comfortable.

Intelligently designed mouthpieces can have adjustment mechanisms and moldable materials but still be low-profile and easy to wear in your mouth. This allows you to sleep more naturally and get used to the mouthpiece sooner.

Also check to see if the mouthpiece comes in different sizes. Even moldable, adjustable mouthpieces can be sized differently to provide an optimal fit for people’s varying face shapes and jaw profiles.

Lifespan and warranties

Higher quality, slightly more expensive mouthpieces are likely to last longer.

Make sure that buying cheap mouthpieces is not a false economy, as you may have to replace these more often. Generally, a good mouthpiece should last you more than 9 months.

Check if the provider offers a warranty for free replacement if the mouthpiece becomes unusable sooner than it should.

Bear in mind that if you grind your teeth in your sleep, your mouthpiece might wear out faster.

Money-back guarantees

Mandibular advancement can be a great way to reduce snoring, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Therefore, it is important to be able to change your mind.

Lots of mouthpiece manufacturers offer a money-back guarantee if after a certain period you feel that the mouthpiece isn’t right for you. This is a great way to trial the device risk-free, meaning you have nothing to lose but stand to gain much quieter nights.

The usual trial period is 30-nights but some providers offer 60-night money-back guarantees.

VitalSleep

VitalSleep is a quality mouthpiece at a very reasonable price point. The mouthpiece’s features and company’s guarantees tick many boxes to make it one of our top picks:

  • Adjustable up to 8mm. Use a unique Accu-Adjust System that allows for easy and precise adjustment that holds firmly.
  • Moldable. Boil and bite materials allow for custom-molding to get a comfortable and secure fit.
  • Slim design. VitalSleep has a much lower profile than many mouthpieces of a similar price.
  • Quality materials. VitalSleep is FDA approved and uses medical-grade materials that are free from BPA and latex.
  • Large front vent.
  • Two different sizes.
  • One-year unlimited warranty.
  • 60-night money-back guarantee.
  • Free international shipping with the code FREESHIP.

 

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SnoreRx

SnoreRx is one of the best quality mouthpieces you can buy online. It is a professional mouthpiece with the features of a premium custom dental mouthpiece, but without the premium price tag:

  • Professional design and materials. Uses FDA approved medical-grade plastics that are BPA and latex free which feel comfortable and last long.
  • Moldable. SnoreRx uses a thermal matrix design that gives top-quality custom molding with the option to re-mold if necessary.
  • Precise and secure adjustment. Easy adjustment in 1mm increments that requires no tools and holds firm. Simply squeeze the sides and slide.
  • Large breathing vent.
  • No small parts. SnoreRx is consists of two pieces with no metal screws or rubber bands, making it very safe to use.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • Save 10% with the code SNORELAB.

 

SnoreLab’s full review of SnoreRx.

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ZQuiet

ZQuiet has a simple and effective design, is very reasonably priced, includes two sizes and allows more lateral movement than alternatives:

  • Hinged design. Spring materials allow for some jaw movement for greater comfort.
  • Quality materials. Thin, low-profile and lightweight, ZQuiet uses FDA-approved thermoplastic elastomers free from BPA giving safe use and longevity.
  • Works straight away. ZQuiet is ready to use straight out of the box requiring no molding or adjustments.
  • Two sizes. The ZQuiet set includes two mouthpieces with different degrees of jaw advancement allowing you to ease yourself into using an anti-snoring mouthpiece.
  • Save $10 with an exclusive SnoreLab discount code.

 

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Buying Guide: Air Purifiers

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Buying Guide: Air Purifiers



Air purifiers can help snoring triggered by allergies and pollution. Poor quality air can irritate our upper airways, leading to stuffy and inflamed noses and throats. Air purifiers filter out the harmful particles that bring on these symptoms and can massively reduce snoring as a result.

You may think that your home has much cleaner air than outside, but there are some studies that suggest that indoor air is 2 to 5 times more polluted than air outside.

Who can benefit from an air purifier?

Air purifiers can reduce snoring triggered by reactions to airborne particles. These particles can block your nose and irritate your throat, causing airway obstruction that brings on snoring. Cleaning the air with an air purifier has shown to be very effective for:

  • Hay fever sufferers
  • People with dust allergies
  • Households with pets
  • Those who live in polluted areas
  • Households with smokers

How air purifiers work

Air purifiers use internal fans to pull in the air and the harmful particles it contains. Once drawn inside the device, the particles are either trapped in a filter or are treated to stick to surfaces as opposed to floating around in the air.

What to look for in an air purifier

There are many different air purifiers available and choosing the right one can be a bit confusing. Look out for the following key features to help you make the right decision:

Size – can it be moved from room to room?

There are air purifiers that sit on desks and there are those that are the size of desks. If you want to move it around with you from room to room, consider a small one that can be easily picked up and placed anywhere.

Type of filtration

Air purifiers employ several methods to clean the air, some we recommend, others not so much:

  • True HEPA filter (highly recommended) – to be considered a true HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter, it must meet standards set by the US Environmental Department. These filters eliminate 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns or bigger. That means for every 10,000 particles that hit the filter, only 3 get through!
  • HEPA-type filter (recommended cheaper alternative) – the HEPA-type filter works in the same way but less efficiently, eliminating 99% of particles 2 micron or bigger. Generally, this will still filter out pollen and dust mites but will not trap smoke particles.
  • Activated carbon filter (highly recommended) – these filters use tiny pores between carbon atoms to trap harmful particles that pass through.
  • Ionizing/UV filter (proceed with caution) – these types of air purifier make passing particles more reactive so that they stick to surfaces instead of floating in the air. Unfortunately, this can produce harmful by-products like ozone. If you do choose an air purifier that uses this technology, make sure the manufacturer states that the quantity of ozone produced is negligible and well within regulatory limits.

A note on ozone

If an air purifier produces ozone, this is something to be wary of and it is a good idea to look into the technical specifications.

Some air purifiers use UV-C light to charge particles, getting them to stick to surfaces as opposed to floating around in the air. Unfortunately, this also charges the oxygen in the air (O2) causing the formation of ozone (O3).

Whilst ozone is useful high up in the atmosphere where it protects us from harmful UV radiation, it can be dangerous if inhaled. Ozone is unstable and can react with the cells in our respiratory tracts.

Replacing filters

Different filters require different treatment to keep them working. Standard large particle filters can often be removed and washed for reuse.

Many finer filters like the HEPA filters will require replacement after a period of use. How often you need to replace them depends on your use of the air purifier. The default that many makers state is to replace the filters every six months to ensure the unit still functions well. However, this will vary depending on your level of use.

Some air purifiers come with a very useful indicator that alerts you when your HEPA filter needs replacing.

When assessing the cost effectiveness of an air purifier, consider the price of replacement filters as they vary from brand to brand.

Noise

Noise, or lack thereof, is particularly important when looking for an effective air purifier, especially if you plan to run it at night. Most air purifiers have different speed settings, with the lowest settings being noticeably quieter than the highest.

If you plan to use the unit at night, make sure to get one with a very quiet low speed, and run the high-speed setting before you go to sleep to prepare the room.

Bigger units at low speeds can be just as effective as smaller ones at high speeds, but much quieter. However, there are some portable air purifiers available that are still very effective at low speeds, such as our pick.

“It has completely transformed our home’s air quality, on the low setting it is still very effective!”

Additional features

There is a host of other features to look out for:

  • Dual functionality as a fan
  • Oscillating movements – by rotating, the purifier can take in air from multiple angles.
  • Timers – very useful if you want to program the device to work automatically whilst you are out of the house.
  • Air quality sensors – these air purifiers are smart enough to gauge the air quality and automatically start if it dips below a certain point.
  • Smart units – link your air purifier to your smart phone, allowing remote operation and the ability to see the quality of the air in your home.
  • Night lights

SnoreLab’s choice – Levoit LV-H132 Compact HEPA Air Purifier

“My husband snores much, much less since we started using this purifier. Very high quality and effective!”

At SnoreLab, we like Levoit’s Compact HEPA Air Purifier. It is quiet, effective, easy to operate and comes at a very reasonable price point. There are a number of features that we believe make it an ideal air purifier that ticks a lot of boxes:

Effective and safe filtration

With the sophisticated filtration in Levoit’s compact air purifier, you can rid your room of:

  • Dust and dust mites
  • Pollen
  • Smoke
  • Airborne bacteria
  • Pollution

Levoit’s compact air purifier boasts three stages of filtration. This effective system meets the US Department of Energy’s standards by filtering out 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns or bigger (for some perspective, the thinnest human hairs are 57 times wider than this).

This system uses three filters, none of which produce ozone:

  1. Fine preliminary filter – this neutralizes bacteria, pet dander, mold and fungal spores.
  2. True HEPA filter – traps dust mites, large pollutant particles and pollen.
  3. Activated carbon filter – this captures odors and fine particles like those in cigarette smoke.

Multi-directional shape

This air purifier doesn’t need to oscillate as it is already facing all possible angles. Its rounded shape means it doesn’t just take in air from one place but instead attracts air all around, cleaning the room more efficiently.

Small and portable

Just over a foot tall and weighing a little over six pounds, this air purifier can be moved from room to room with ease and placed on tables and desks.

Other features

The Levoit Compact HEPA Air Purifier also has three speed settings, an optional night light and is very easy to use.

“I suffer terribly from seasonal allergies. I keep one of these units in my bedroom. Now, I can sleep all night without any breathing problems waking me up.”

Top of the range – Alen Customizable Air Purifier

For more money, you get a lot more features. The Alen Customizable Air Purifier is perfect for large rooms, using four modes of filtrations to quietly, efficiently and thoroughly clean the air. It gets outstanding reviews and includes some great features:

  • Auto mode – laser sensors detect the level of pollution in the air as the unit adjusts accordingly.
  • Air quality indicator.
  • Customizable appearance – there are fourteen designer panel options that allow you to tailor the design to suit your home.
  • Quiet and powerful – uses pink noise to eliminate high-frequency sounds.
  • Energy efficient – this makes the unit cheap to run.
  • Filtration options – of the four filters, one is an ionizer which can produce a negligible amount of ozone. This feature can be turned on and off as you wish.
  • Cleans large rooms.
  • Lifetime warranty.

“My husband used to wake me up with his constant snoring, and since we started using this, I finally sleep without ear plugs.”

SnoreLab only endorses products that we have tested and verified give great results for our users. We earn a small commission on purchase made through our app and website which support the app’s development at no extra cost to you.

Buying Guide: Humidifiers

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Buying Guide: Humidifiers

Humidifiers can help snoring triggered by breathing in dry air. They can be a great way to help snoring caused by nasal congestion and throat irritation.

Dry air can aggravate the tissues of your nose and throat, causing irritation and inflammation that can worsen snoring. Additionally, dry and dehydrated airways have thicker mucus which increases surface tension and heightens the risk of snoring [1].

Who can benefit from a humidifier?

A humidifier on its own probably won’t cure your snoring. Used in conjunction with other remedies and techniques, a humidifier can be a great addition to help snoring triggered by:

Things to consider when purchasing a humidifier

Noise

If you intend on using your humidifier at night (which is a good idea if you want to combat snoring), it is important that the unit is quiet enough to not disrupt your sleep. Humidifiers that use fans are generally louder than those that don’t.

Size

Smaller humidifiers will add moisture to a smaller area, but are easier to move around your home. Consider the reservoir volume; how much water can it take and how long with that volume last. Some humidifiers come with an automatic shutoff feature for when the tank runs dry.

Replacements

Smaller humidifiers are usually cheaper. Make sure this isn’t a false economy as the cheaper models will probably need replacing sooner. Also consider the mechanisms; if the unit uses a filter system, these will often need replacing. Make sure any replacements are easy to get hold of and not too expensive.

Safety

Anything that is perpetually wet will start to accumulate bacteria, mold and fungi. Certain types of humidifier are easier to clean than others, with warm mist types using heat to kill the majority of harmful spores.

Those with children or pets should consider the potentially harmful effects of hot water in certain types of humidifier. Pay attention to the build quality to ensure against leakage. Read user reviews, and check the length of the cord to make sure it can be placed safely and not tripped over and spilled.

Climate

Humidifiers can release either cool or warm vapors. If battling seasonal colds and allergies, think about what season you are likely to use the device. Also consider to your general climate. Warm mist in cool environments, and cool mist in warm environments are the ideal matches.

Different types of humidifier

There are two distinct types of air purifier: cool mist and warm mist. Both add moisture to the air and neither is better than the other at alleviating snoring and other symptoms.

However, there are some key practical differences that should be considered when purchasing a humidifier for your snoring.

Cool Mist

As the name suggests, these humidifiers add moisture to the air using cool water. There are two distinct types of cool mist humidifier:

  • Evaporative. These devices use a cool water reservoir, a wick filter and a fan. The water is drawn through the wick and dispersed to the surroundings using the fan.
  • Ultrasonic. This type of humidifier disperses cool water using high-frequency vibrations that create tiny water droplets.

Cool mist humidifiers tend to be the more popular option. But like everything, they have their good and bad points:

Pros of a cool mist humidifier:

  • The cool water poses no scalding risk if the humidifier is knocked over or if it leaks. This is particularly important if you have children or pets in your home.
  • Less energy is needed to run cool mist humidifiers compared to warm mist.
  • The cool water can serve to cool down a room, so is ideal for warm climates.

Cons of a cool mist humidifier:

  • These devices can develop mold, bacteria and fungi so must be cleaned regularly.
  • Wick filters will often need frequent replacement.
  • Evaporative humidifiers use a fan which can sometimes be a bit noisy.
  • Ultrasonic humidifiers often deposit white dust on the surroundings. It’s important to note that this is harmless and can be mitigated by using distilled water in the reservoir.

Warm mist

Warm mist humidifiers have a heating element that boils the water in the reservoir to disperse steam to the surroundings. This gives it some distinct advantages over cool mist humidifiers.

Pros of a warm mist humidifier:

  • Doesn’t use a fan therefore is much quieter and therefore suitable to run whilst you sleep.
  • Heat gets rid of bacteria and mold that might start developing in the humidifier
  • Can operate without having to change filters
  • Some have absorption pads to soak up minerals
  • Warm mist can heat the room slightly, making these types ideal for cooler climates and winter time.
  • Can have medicated aromas added.

Cons of a warm mist humidifier:

  • Poses scald risk if it leaks or is knocked over. Extra caution should be exercised in homes with children or pets.
  • Due to the heating element, warm mist devices usually require more energy to run.

At SnoreLab, we like the Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier. It doesn’t use any filters, it’s small enough to be easily moved around the house, it’s quiet, easy to clean and can be used with Vicks medicated aromas.

Anti-Snoring Pillows

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Anti-Snoring Pillows

Can a pillow really stop your snoring? What types of anti-snoring pillow are available and which one is best for you?

Addressing the problems with your sleeping position is a great excuse to invest in a new pillow. There are many specialist pillows available that are designed to stop your snoring in different ways, so it’s best to do some research first.

First, ask yourself what you want the pillow to do. There are many different types with a variety of functions:

A bad sleeping position massively increases your risk of snoring. If you sleep on your back, gravity compresses your airway and sends your tongue and jaw backwards, all leading to a greater chance of obstruction and noise.

Though they are effective for many people, specialist pillows don’t work for everybody. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, pillows are only usually effective if you have the mild or moderate form.

1. Pillows to encourage side sleeping

Some pillows have ridges to encourage users to roll onto their side like the Posiform Anti-Snore pillow (pictured).

These have proven effective in clinical trials through reducing snoring and apnea events triggered by back-sleeping [1].

“[Using a head positioning pillow] both snoring severity and snoring index were found to be significantly improved in normal-weight patients.”

Many people unaccustomed to sleeping on their side find it uncomfortable. Some pillows address this and promote side sleeping with a triangular shape, or by allowing you to insert your arm into a hole built into it.

Not all pillows have to be for your head. Anti-snoring back pillows that behave like a backpack can also be very effective at preventing you from rolling onto your back.Sometimes, clever configuration of normal pillows can help you to sleep on your side. Read Michael’s story, a SnoreLab user who came up with a creative way of using a camping pillow to keep him sleeping on his side.

2. Wedge pillows


“Though experimenting with SnoreLab, I’ve found that by simply raising my head with a wedge pillow, I can cut my snoring by more than half!”
If you always revert to sleeping on your back, fear not. A foam wedge pillow allows you to sleep on your back whilst effectively reducing your snoring.

Wedge pillows prevent you from being entirely flat – the position where your airway is most prone to obstruction and snoring.

Studies have found that even slightly elevating your head can have dramatic effects on both snoring and sleep apnea, with patients showing an average 32% reduction in their AHI score [2].

Indeed, our own findings back this up. SnoreLab has found that the humble wedge pillow can yield dramatic reductions in Snore Score.

 

Read Fiona’s story, a SnoreLab user who dramatically improved her snoring after we recommended her a wedge pillow.

Many other users have also contacted us about their wedge pillows. We received this App Store review:

“When I first started using SnoreLab, my Snore Score was anywhere between 50 and 96. I started to try some of the different remedies. So I bought a wedge pillow and in one night my Snore Score went down to near zero and has stayed near zero ever since using the pillow. I had seen three doctors, two specialists, one dentist and had a sleep study conducted – they all pointed me to dental appliances which I had trouble wearing. No one had suggested a wedge pillow. Thank you SnoreLab!”

Side note: wedge pillows also help acid reflux

Reflux is where stomach acid comes back into your esophagus and throat causing irritation, disrupting sleep and sometimes influencing snoring in the case of “airway reflux”. If you suspect reflux has a part to play in your snoring, make sure you check out our four-hour-fast technique to your evening meal worsening youre snoring.

 

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Memory Foam Wedge Pillows

3. CPAP mask pillows

CPAP pillows have cutaways in the sides allowing space for CPAP masks. These significantly improve the comfort of wearing a CPAP mask by lessening the pressure and misalignment that a standard pillow can cause.

Whilst these pillows don’t show a direct impact on apnea reduction [3], they can make wearing a CPAP mask much more comfortable.

The indirect benefits of this are massive; one of the main problems with CPAP is that people don’t stick to it. This bit of added comfort can make the difference between giving up or persisting.

 

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CPAP pillows

4. Realignment pillows

“This pillow is amazing! Not only is it comfortable and helped my neck pain and headaches, but it has reduced the snoring too!”

Many people sleep with a pillow that puts their head either too high or too low which can cause plenty of niggling problems.

There are multiple pillows available that align the head and neck correctly to prevent airway compression. This “cervical positioning” technique can improve snoring as well as producing better sleep and reducing awakenings [4].

 

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Cervical repositioning pillows

5. Smart pillows

 

“This product is amazing, it really works to cut snoring. Several times, my scores were off the charts compared to other users, but with Smart Nora, they dropped off incredibly!”

 

Smart pillows detect snoring and act to stop it. Some pillows vibrate, effectively becoming a snore alarm, whereas others move to stimulate your airways.

A revolutionary new system is the Smart Nora device.

This isn’t actually a pillow. Instead, it manipulates your current pillow. It consists of three main parts: an inflatable insert that fits underneath your ordinary pillow, a pump and a bedside unit (pebble) that listens for snoring.

When you snore, the pebble detects this sound and sends information to the insert which then inflates under your pillow. This gently moves your head, bringing back some muscular tone to your airways so they can open up, shutting down snoring. It does this all whilst keeping you and your partner undisturbed and sleeping peacefully.

 

Full review of Smart Nora

Read

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Conclusion

Bad breathing and the snoring it brings can be the result of bad sleeping positions. If you consider that snoring is a problem with your head and neck, it makes sense to address the thing your head and neck are resting on for one third of your life!

By using SnoreLab to gain insights into your snoring, you should have a good idea of what you want a pillow to do. Whether you want to turn onto your side, stay on your back, get better comfort from a CPAP mask or just sleep more comfortably, there are huge selection of pillows to choose from the could make a huge difference to your snoring.

Nasal Strips and Dilators for Snoring

Solutions

A Guide to Nasal Dilators

Many people snore due to a blocked nose. There are several options when it comes to opening your nasal passageways to stop your snoring. One popular option is to use a nasal dilator.

Nasal dilators work by mechanically opening your nasal passages, decreasing the resistance to incoming air without resorting to medication. There are two main types of nasal dilators: external and internal.

External dilators pull from the outside, whereas internal devices push from the inside.

Breathing through your nose reduces snoring

It’s all too easy to get a blocked nose and snore as a result. Allergies and colds can come on suddenly, ruining your breathing and sleep. Long-term, chronic problems can arise from pollution, medication, hormones and even your nose-structure.

Having a blocked nose can force you to breathe through your mouth, massively increasing your chances of snoring as your jaw and tongue compress the airway. If you breathe through a partially blocked nose, this can also cause snoring due to the increased pressure and suction forces created [1].

Advantages over other remedies

“Big snorer for decades. SnoreLab helped me analyze patterns and review remedies. I use a nasal dilator now … no more snoring!”

So why choose nasal dilators over other nasal treatments? There are other ways to open your nose and reduce snoring such as using nasal sprays. Nasal dilators, both internal and external have distinct advantages over other methods. Nasal dilators:

  • Are non-medicated, therefore are suitable for more people
  • Provide instantaneous relief
  • Are non-invasive
  • Do not become less effective with continued use
  • Have no side-effects (some nasal sprays have been known cause nosebleeds, stinging sensations and withdrawal)

External nasal dilators

External nasal dilators are also known as nasal strips. You may recognize them from professional sport as they are popular with athletes looking to improve their breathing efficiency.

There is limited evidence to suggest that they help athletes perform better. However, there is a wealth of scientific study related to snoring, and the verdict is that external nasal dilators can really reduce your snoring if you have a blocked nose.

At SnoreLab, we like the Breathe Right nasal strips.

How do they work?

These simple devices open up your nasal passageways by sticking to the external surface of your nose (unlike internal nasal dilators which are inserted into the nostrils).

Nasal strips look and behave like a plaster. They have a gentle adhesive that sticks to the outside of your nose just above the nostrils.

The parallel bands of rigid plastic use a springboard action to open up your nasal passageways; when bent across your nose they try to straighten. This “recoil” or “springboard” force gently pulls your nasal passageways open.

By positioning them just below the bone of your nose, the strips act on the narrowest part of your nose, the nasal valve. This bottleneck is most prone to blockage and sits one centimeter behind the nostril opening where nasal strips should be placed.

What’s the evidence?

In addition to the extensive (and often null) research into athletic performance, there have been multiple studies that assess nasal strips and their impact on people’s nightly vocal performances.

Plenty of studies have produced positive results, with most subjects showing significant reductions in the amount of snoring when wearing nasal strips. Importantly, these studies are robust and reliable, using placebo strips without rigid bands as a means of comparison [2].

Who are they for?

Chronic nasal congestion arises for a variety of reasons and nasal strips have proven useful regardless of the cause [2]. Because nasal strips are non-medicated, they are suitable for everyone whose snoring is caused by a blocked nose.

Studies have shown nasal strips have benefits for a variety of people with chronic or acute nasal blockage, including pregnant women [3] and even those with a deviated septum [4].

Are they right for me?

Just like all snoring remedies, external nasal dilators have good and not-so-good points.

Pros:

  • Non-complicated and easy to apply
  • Affordable
  • Non-invasive
  • No side effects

Cons:

  • Not reusable
  • Can loosen during the night
  • Can cause minor skin blemishes

 

External nasal dilators

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Internal nasal dilators

Nasal cones, clips, prongs and stents are all simply internal nasal dilators. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials, and can dramatically reduce snoring associated with a blocked nose.

We recommend the ZQuiet Breathe Intra-Nasal Breathing Aids with their tried and tested design to increase airflow, and flexible wings to give an optimal fit.

How do they work?

Internal nasal dilators reduce airflow resistance by propping open your nostrils. The springy material forces outwards when compressed to fit inside your nostrils, expanding the alar cartilage on your nose which is very prone to collapse [5].

This mechanism can be particularly helpful for snorers who have a deviated septum where one nostril is smaller or collapses often with inhalation.

What’s the evidence?

There is only a handful of studies that look at the benefits of using internal nasal dilators [6]. Max-Air Nose Cones, Airmax nasal dilators and NoZovent clips have been shown to increase nasal airflow, with both NoZovent and Max-Air performing better than external nasal strips [5].

Which type should I choose?

Because these devices go inside your nose, extra consideration needs to be given to the type you choose, so as to avoid negative reactions or discomfort. Look for types that use medical-grade silicone as they are anti-bacterial and easy to clean.

Whilst there are only three types backed up by hard science, they all function in a very similar way. The ones without scientific backing are still likely to be very effective, so your choice should be based on cost, material and comfort.

There are so many internal nasal dilators on the market that choosing a specific one can be difficult. To help you make the best decision, look out for the following:

  • Size – are there different sizes available to get the best fit?
  • Storage – do the dilators come with a case to keep them clean when not being used?
  • Shape – internal nasal dilators can be smooth, ribbed, winged or vented, the comfort of each being highly subjective. Some packs include a variety to help you try them all and decide for yourself.
  • Material – medical-grade silicone is ideal.
  • Lifespan – the great advantage of internal over external dilators is that they are reusable, make sure this isn’t a false economy by getting ones that last a reasonable length of time. Three months is a good benchmark.

Are they right for me?

Although they do the same thing, internal and external nasal dilators have different advantages and disadvantages.

Pros:

  • Quick and easy to use
  • Reusable
  • Different sizes for optimum fit

Cons:

  • Can be uncomfortable if not fitted correctly
  • Require frequent cleaning

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