A year ago, I was diagnosed with nasal polyps and regularly snored like a wild boar. I’ve had the polyps removed, but the snoring continues. I’m not alone. According to Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (Fifth Edition), “about 40 percent of the adult population” snores. Sometimes my snoring wakes up my husband (and vice versa), so I decided to try out six popular over-the-counter anti-snoring contraptions.
To get a baseline measurement of how much I was snoring without any intervention, I used SnoreLab, a highly rated app that listens for snoring sounds, records clips, and analyzes your resting audio. After calculating an average of four nights’ intervention-free snoring readings to get a starting “sleep score,” I then slept with each anti-snoring device for several nights and tracked my SnoreLab results against that baseline. (Note that some of these devices may work for you and not me — and none of them should be used to treat sleep apnea. If you’re having restless sleep, gasping awake, or even feeling tired and foggy in the daytime, see a doctor.)
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While longer-term testing is needed before we could confidently recommend any of these, a few devices showed promise in our preliminary — and far from scientific — trials. Here’s how they did, in order of how much I found they helped:
Smart Nora, $329 at the time of publication
This system will slightly move your head when it catches you snoring. It includes a wireless, mic-equipped device that can sit bedside or be wall-mounted to detect snoring. Once it does that, it communicates with an under-bed base station that pumps air through a tube to an insert that lives inside your pillow. That motion gently adjusts your head position to reduce snoring (in my case, it effectively did so without waking me up). It sounds bizarre, but this was actually the most effective device I tried, cutting my total snoring in half, according to my SnoreLab sleep scores. It is also the most expensive. There are many options for personalization, which we will continue to test.
Venyn Nose Vents, $22 (set of four) at the time of publication
This is basically a pair of tiny silicone funnels that sit inside your nose to dilate your nostrils. The set comes with four different sizes for a perfect fit. It didn’t totally keep me from snoring, but they reduced it by a third during one of the three nights I used it, which warrants additional testing. I just don’t love how it made the inside of my nose crusty each morning. It sounds gross, but the vents are easy to clean with just a little soap and warm water.
Philips SmartSleep Snoring Relief Band, $200 at the time of publication
This band straps a small electronic device to your chest. When it senses you’re on your back, it vibrates so you’ll reposition yourself. According to American Academy of Sleep Medicine spokesman Nitun Verma, M.D., when you sleep on your back, your chin and tongue are pulled down by gravity, making the space behind your tongue smaller and promoting snoring. Unfortunately, I snore while sleeping on all sides, so this wasn’t a good solution for me. Also, I couldn’t always tell if the band was working because the controls are confusing.
ZEEQ Smart Pillow, $50 at the time of publication
This memory foam pillow pairs with a smartphone app that detects snoring and causes the pillow to vibrate, prompting you to shift positions. (The ZEEQ can also stream music from your phone via Bluetooth, if you find that helpful to falling asleep.) The pillow comes with extra shredded memory foam to help mask the electronics; out of the box it’s comfy, although difficult to squeeze into a standard pillowcase. It also didn’t do anything to reduce my snoring.
Breathe Right Lavender Scented Strips, $12.50 (pack of 26) at the time of publication
This stiff, Band-Aid-like adhesive strip pulls the sides of your nose to open up your nasal passages. It promises instant relief from congestion — and delivered it, although I’m not sure if it was because of the actual strip, the pressure needed to apply it, or the pleasant lavender smell. However, by morning, it was always peeling off, which may explain why there was no significant change in my snoring overnight.
Copeaky Anti Snoring Chin Strap, $11 at the time of publication
This looks like something you’d wear for a wrestling match: The chin strap pushes your mouth shut so you’re forced to breathe through your nose. It doesn’t come with instructions, but I managed to squish my face into this thing and (somehow) fall asleep, only to be woken up at 3 a.m., uncomfortable and drenched in drool. It also did nothing for my snoring.
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A version of this article appears at Wirecutter.com.