After years of sleeping next to a snoring partner, can putting an end to noisy nights really be as simple as clicking “Buy It Now” on Amazon?

Our willing guinea pig tried all three devices at once — not advised if you want to be able to breathe. Share on Pinterest
Our willing guinea pig tried all three devices at once — not advised if you want to be able to breathe. Photo via Jase Peeples

We’ve all seen those devices. You know, the ones in infomercials and Instagram ads that are somehow each “clinically proven” to be a miracle snoring solution.

I used to roll my eyes every time I came across a commercial for one of these contraptions. But then I started to live with someone who snores.

I can’t count how many times I’ve been jolted awake in our San Francisco home thinking “the big one” just hit California, only to realize the rumble that shook me out of my dream was simply my husband, John, snoring less than a foot away.

Suddenly, those ads for over-the-counter snoring gadgets began to look pretty promising.

So, after a particularly noisy night, we recently looked at some of the top options on Amazon and decided to give three different devices a try.

Anti Snore Chin Strap

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Yes, it looks ridiculous. Photo via Jase Peeples

The first device we ordered gave us both a good laugh when it arrived. John tried it on the second we opened the package, and yes, the Anti Snore Chin Strap looks every bit as ridiculous as you think.

It’s a simple neoprene strap that fits under the chin, wraps around the sides of the head, and fastens with adjustable Velcro straps at the back.

The purpose of the strap is to hold the wearer’s mouth closed as they sleep in order to keep open-mouth snoring from occurring throughout the night.

2 in 1: Anti Snoring & Air Purifier

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It promises not only to stop snoring but also purify the air. Photo via Jase Peeples

Made of plastic and medical-grade silicone, this anti-snoring gadget comes in a reusable case and is supposed to fit snugly in the wearer’s nostrils.

The packaging claims the front “snore reduction vents have been scientifically designed to maximize airflow through the nasal passage ways” and the silicone prongs that are inserted into the wearer’s nose “comfortably fit different size of nasal passages.”

Right out of the box, the 2 in 1: Anti Snoring & Air Purifier gave off what John described as a “gross plastic chemical smell” when he held it up to his nose. In fact, it was so strong he couldn’t try it on until we thoroughly washed it with soap and warm water twice to reduce the harsh scent.

Breathe Right Nasal Strips

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The classic anti-snoring device. Photo via Jase Peeples

These clear plastic adhesive strips are worn over the bridge of the nose and have “spring-like” bands that lift the nasal passages, supposedly opening them wider to improve airflow.

Each strip is individually packaged and has a peel-away backing (similar to bandages) for easy application over the nose.

However, because these disposable strips are only good for one use each, there’s quite a bit of unnecessary waste associated with this product.

Anti Snore Chin Strap

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It wasn’t the most comfortable. Photo via Jase Peeples

Though the Anti Snore Chin Strap is advertised on its packaging as being made from a “breathable” and “comfortable” material, John found the device made his head feel “a little too warm” in the spots it covered about 15 minutes after he put it on.

He described it as, “not the worst thing, but definitely not comfortable either.”

Shortly after John fell asleep that night, he began to snore. However, I quickly noticed the sound of his snoring was different. It came in starts and stops, a choppy noise that wasn’t like his normal snoring at all.

In fact, it sounded like he was having a more difficult time breathing.

Concerned, I woke him up and had him take it off. Not only did the Anti Snore Chin Strap fail to stop John’s snoring, it was now keeping me awake with worry it would interfere with his breathing while he slept.

2 in 1: Anti Snoring & Air Purifier

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This seemed to make breathing more difficult. Photo via Jase Peeples

The instructions that came with the next device we tested claimed it would keep the wearer’s airway open to “improve nose breathing and reduce snoring.”

However, aside from being Instagram gold (John looked like he was wearing scuba diving gear straight out of a science fiction film when he shoved this thing in his nose), the 2 in 1 device was completely useless.

In fact, John said he had more difficulty exhaling out of his nose with the device in, making it more difficult for him to fall asleep.

Once he did fall asleep, the device kept falling out as he tossed throughout the night. The two ribbed silicone tubes that gently hug the wearer’s nasal septum don’t apply enough pressure to hold the device in place as they toss and turn throughout the night.

It neither improved his breathing, nor did it reduce his snoring.

Breathe Right Nasal Strips

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The most famous anti-snoring device seemed to help. Photo via Jase Peeples

The final treatment we tried was also the one we were most skeptical about: Breathe Right Nasal Strips.

Though they did not “stop” John’s snoring, I was pleasantly surprised to see (and hear) they did seem to mildly reduce the severity of it.

John did snore a little more quietly and he felt he could breathe easier through his nose when he wore the strips.

I was happy we found something that seemed to make a small difference, but I wanted to know more.

Why did the nasal strips seem to affect John’s snoring when the other devices failed? And why didn’t any of these devices turn out to be the “snoring solution” their bright packages claimed they were?

Why do we snore anyway?

Dr. Brandon Peters-Mathews, a board-certified physician in both neurology and sleep medicine who currently practices at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, explained that snoring occurs due to the vibration of tissues within the throat when the airway muscles relax during sleep.

“Most commonly, this is due to turbulent airflow affecting the soft palate, uvula, or base of the tongue,” Peters-Mathews said.

“Difficulty breathing through the nose may predispose toward mouth breathing and snoring. If the mouth comes open at night, the lower jaw and tongue may shift backwards, affecting airflow through the throat,” he added.

So, could snoring be dangerous?

“If snoring occurs infrequently without other associated symptoms, it alone may not be problematic,” Peters-Mathews said. “However, it is often a sign of underlying problems breathing during sleep. It may be a warning sign of associated sleep apnea (a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts).”

When I told him about our experience using the different devices we tried, Peters-Mathews said he wasn’t surprised by the outcome.

“Both external and internal nasal dilators may increase airflow through the nose and reduce snoring,” he said. “Unfortunately, these would not be expected to adequately resolve associated sleep apnea.”

He also advised against using a chinstrap to treat snoring. He pointed out that while a chinstrap may stabilize the jaw in a forward position, mouth breathing could become necessary if a nasal obstruction is present or if the person has difficulty breathing through their nose.

This seemed to explain why the sound of John’s snoring changed when he tried the chinstrap. He may have been having difficulty getting enough air through his nose and was struggling to breathe. I was doubly thankful I had him take the device off when I did.

Instead of turning to over-the-counter devices, Peters-Mathews advises that all chronic snoring should be evaluated by a sleep physician.

He said “even mild or intermittent snoring may be a problem if it is associated with other symptoms” such as:

  • gasping at night
  • unrefreshing sleep
  • frequent waking up
  • peeing more than once at night
  • teeth grinding
  • night sweats
  • morning headaches
  • daytime sleepiness
  • memory problems
  • depression
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • atrial fibrillation

“These findings may be suggestive of sleep apnea. It is best to err on the side of caution and get it checked out,” Peters-Mathews said. “Treatment options may include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, an oral appliance from a dental specialist, or even surgery. Fortunately, effective therapy can resolve snoring and improve sleep.”

Basically, no. None of the devices worked well enough to put into regular use.

Since our experiment, John has undergone a sleep study, but the doctors didn’t identify a clear cause for his snoring.

At the moment we’re still looking for a snoring “solution,” but I don’t think we’ll be relying on Amazon this time.