Commercial Snoring Aids Put to the Test
Study Casts Doubt on Effectiveness of Commercial Snoring Treatments
Sept. 19, 2003 -- Searching the Internet or your local
drugstore for snoring aids isn't likely to help you (or your mate) sleep better
at night. But some treatments may take time to work.
A head-to-head comparison of three of the most popular
over-the-counter snoring treatments shows none of the products had any
significant effect in easing snoring compared with using nothing at all.
"These easily available, popular commercial snoring aids
don't work," says researcher Peter Michaelson, MD, an ear, nose, and throat
surgeon at Wilford Hall United States Air Force Medical Center in San
Michaelson says previous studies of nonprescription snoring
aids have only measured the subjective effects of the various products by
asking how users or their spouses felt they worked. But this study used
objective measurements from an at-home sleep monitoring device to compare the
effectiveness of the snoring aids as well as subjective measurements.
The snoring aids tested included a lubricating mouth spray
(Snorenz), nasal dilator strips (Breathe Right Strips), and an ergonomically
shaped pillow (Snore-No-More).
Snoring Aids Put to the Test
In the study, 37 men and women who complained of snoring that
disturbed them and their sleeping partner used each of the devices for one
night, followed by a night of sleeping without the use of any snoring
Of the three products tested, only the nasal strips indicated
that the product should be used for six consecutive nights to achieve results.
But with the design of the study and the average consumer in mind, Michaelson
said he decided to test each product for one night only.
Researchers found no significant improvements in four objective
snoring measurements, such as proportion of total snoring originating from the
soft palate -- where most snoring originates -- and snoring loudness.
The results of the study will be presented next week at the
American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Annual Meeting in
Michaelson says that without being evaluated by a medical
professional, it's impossible for people to know what the source of their
snoring is, and it's the source of the snoring that should determine the course
"About 80% of snoring comes from soft palate [back of the
mouth], but the consumer doesn't always know where their snoring is coming
from," Michaelson tells WebMD. "Certain devices might have a greater
impact based on the location of the snoring."
For example, snoring that is caused by nasal congestion might
be relieved by a product that reduces nasal congestion and improves airflow in
the nose. But these products aren't likely to help other types of snoring.
In fact, Andy Anderson, VP of regulatory affairs at CNS Inc.,
which produces Breathe Right strips, says their product is designed to reduce
snoring by alleviating nighttime nasal congestion. But it may take time to get
"One thing that comes out most clearly on this, and what we
have found in our studies, is that it really does take consecutive nights of
use of the strips [to provide relief]," says Anderson.
He says the strips work by mechanically opening the nasal
passages, which allows people to relearn how to close their mouths at