Snoring is more common than most people would believe and is often the topic of humor. But for any serious snorer (or their sleeping partner), the problem is no laughing matter. Snoring is often the symptom of an underlying health condition and results in loss of sleep which in turn can result in a variety of different health conditions.
Recent studies have shown that a lack of sleep can increase the risk of cardiovascular (heart) disease, contribute to the development of Type II Diabetes and cause weight gain (especially in women). Nasal strips are the latest in a line of devices that are designed to alleviate snoring.
But what exactly are they and how do nasal strips work for snoring?
What Are Nasal Strips?
Nasal strips are basically a reinforced band-aid that is placed over the bridge of the nose combined with plastic splints. Also referred to as nasal dilators, the strips are designed to pull the nostrils open wider to allow a greater amount of air to pass through the nose.
Apart from alleviating snoring, the strips can also be used to treat other nasal related health conditions such as allergies, colds and deviated septum. The principle aim of the strips is to alleviate congestion that results in difficulty breathing and/ or snoring. There are a number of different brands available – the most well-known of which is Breathe Right.
Do Nasal Strips Work For Snoring?
The answer is both yes and no. As mentioned above, nasal strips are designed to open the nostrils and alleviate congestion. The strips are therefore largely effective for alleviating snoring that is a result of night-time congestion which obstructs the airflow through the nose resulting in vibrations and snoring.
However, snoring from nasal congestion is rarely a chronic or constant and consistent condition but rather occurs sporadically. It is most common in allergy sufferers or when contracting a disease such as a cold or the flu which increases mucous production and therefore nasal congestion.
There are a few studies that suggest that the strips may also be effective at relieving snoring that results from nasal obstructions such as a deviated septum. These conditions are however also a rare cause of snoring and the strips may not be effective on every individual who has been diagnosed with a nasal obstructive condition. It is recommended to consult with an ENT or Rhinoplasty surgeon to determine if there is a nasal obstruction if it is causing respiratory distress or if snoring and a lack of sleep is having a negative impact on normal daily function.
Do Nasal Strips Work For Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
The above types of obstructions should not be confused with OSA which is a common cause of snoring. OSA affects the soft tissues at the back of the throat resulting in vibrations of these tissues and therefore the sound of snoring. Nasal strips have no effect on the area at the back of the throat and therefore will be entirely ineffective at alleviating snoring.
Will Nasal Strips Work For You?
There is a simple test that you can perform to see if a nasal dilator such as nasal strips will be effective at relieving your snoring:
– Squeeze one nostril shut with a finger.
– Breathe in deeply through the other nostril.
– Repeat the process on the other side.
If the nostril you are breathing through closes or collapses, a nasal dilator may be effective at alleviating your snoring simply by opening the nostrils wider allowing for airflow to pass into the nose unobstructed. If the nostril does not collapse and you continue to breathe normally, the nasal dilator is unlikely to have any effect on your snoring.
It is highly recommended to consult with a specialist to diagnose the underlying cause of snoring and recommend a suitable solution.