Anybody who has experienced nighttime snoring knows the unseen struggles that come along with the condition. Snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnea (which often go hand in hand) can have severe effects on your ability to get enough good quality sleep, not to mention affecting anyone who might be trying to sleep next to you (in my case my wife).
However, there are anti-snoring mouthpieces that really work, and can relieve even chronic snoring. There are more than 30 different high-quality options on the market, but in my opinion, there are a few that stand out above the rest.
ZenGuard by ZenSleep is a recent addition to the options available. This anti-snoring product offers low cost, high-quality options for snoring solutions. I tested it out and compared the results to other popular mouthguard options.
The Technical Stuff
Before looking at how to fix snoring, it’s a good idea to look at what snoring actually is. Snoring is more than just the sound snorers make when asleep. The noise shows that there are physical issues that are happening when your airway is obstructed.
When we sleep, all the muscles in our mouth relax, including your tongue, jaw and the muscles surrounding your airway. Relaxed, untoned muscles around the airway narrow the passage that air has to take, and air intake makes loose tissues vibrate which creates the sound that we associate with snoring.
Younger people often have less issues with snoring as their airways are firm and unobstructed, but as people age the airways can become looser and less toned. Weight has a role in snoring as excess neck fat can also create pressure that blocks the airway and makes it harder to breathe.
When the tongue is relaxed, it can collapse against the back of the throat, blocking the airway and causing snoring. Other issues that can cause snoring are a large tongue or enlarged tonsils – however, in most cases snoring is caused by a decrease in muscle tone around the airways which obstructs breathing.
That’s what makes this mouthpiece so useful. To keep your airways clear, you can choose between a tongue stabilizing device (TSD) (which is sometimes called a tongue retaining device or TRD), or a mandibular advancement device (MAD). MAD devices are inserted into the mouth to keep the jaw pulled forward and all the muscles away from the airways.
It is a TSD, which means that it attaches to your tongue to pull it forward, which keeps all the other muscles from relaxing and blocking your airways. It’s shaped like a bulb, and you squeeze it and suction it onto the end of your tongue. It’s more comfortable than it sounds, I promise!
The Zenguard has extensions on the upper and lower sides that look like little wings, which stay between your lips and gums (where a mouthguard would sit). Those little flaps combined with the suction grip on your tongue keep the muscles pulled away from the airways.
It does make you look a little like you’re using a pacifier, but I guarantee your spouse won’t laugh at you after their first quiet night free from snoring!
It is made of medical grade silicone, which is free of controversial synthetic plastic compounds called BPA. It is especially important to know the material that your mouthpiece is made of because the device will be put into your mouth each night, and remain there while you sleep. Silicone is a non-reactive material that is soft and comfortable to wear, and won’t cause health problems.
The ZenGuard also has a specialized V-shaped notch to fit comfortably over the frenulum, the piece of skin that attaches the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth – commonly known as a “tongue tie.”
The company who makes the product is called Zensleep. They’re fairly new on the anti-snoring scene. Based out of Scottsdale, Arizona, they cater for an American market.
As well as the ZenGuard, ZenSleep also sells other sleep aids such as the ZenVents, which are nose vents that aerate your nasal passages, the ZenStrap which is a chinstrap that keeps your jaw closed, a face mask called the ZenMask and earplugs called ZenPlugs. They also sell a kit that contains one of each product.
The relative anonymity of ZenSleep has two major benefits – ZenSleep sells their mouthguards at a comparatively low price, and you don’t require a prescription to purchase one – unlike similar models. Their products are still made from high-quality materials and have high-performance ratings from users as well as a money back guarantee, which makes them a great option for a TSD.
While it might be a new product on the market, similar TSD devices have been available for over a decade. There has been a lot of research into their effectiveness at preventing snoring and mild sleep apnea, and they have been proven to be just as good at their job as MAD devices.
The ZenGuard is worth trying because it is a relatively low-cost option, it has a money back guarantee, it does the same job as some similar items that cost a lot more, and really does work for most people – and I can say the same for me personally.
One of the only drawbacks to the device is the lack of FDA approval. I had a look at some similar devices that did have FDA approval to see whether it was worth purchasing.
The ZenGuard closely resembles a TSD called aveoTSD. One of the first TSDs available on the market, the aveoTSD has been around for over a decade. It was developed by a sleep specialist and orthodontist and is FDA approved.
However, you will need a prescription to access this device, and it costs more than the ZenGuard. I would personally prefer to pay less for the same results, so my preference is the ZG in this case, even without FDA clearance.
One of the most popular models that the ZenGuard is often compared to is the Good Morning Snore Solution. This device functions in a similar manner to the ZG and is fairly comparable in pricing and the materials used.
While both are TSDs and work by creating a suction to hold the tongue in place, in my opinion, the GMSS is slightly better in a number of ways. It is FDA approved, and the company is accredited with the Better Business Bureau.
The GMSS was designed by a dentist and is suitable to use with dentures, which is handy for a large portion of snorers. It’s smaller than the ZenGuard and doesn’t take up as much room in your mouth. I would still say that the ZenGuard is a good option, it’s just that the GMSS is slightly better, most of all because it is FDA approved.
Having decided that the ZG was worth a try, I bought it really easily online. While they do offer free shipping, I decided to pay a bit extra to have it shipped faster. I also bought a $10 warranty to be extra safe – some TSDs aren’t comfortable, and I wanted to know what I was getting myself in for before committing to one device.
I have tried so many different models that it takes a high-quality product to impress. The product looked exactly as expected, and came on time with the promised free shipping. It looked and felt high quality, made from soft materials that were flexible and fit well.
After rinsing the mouthpiece in hot water, I pushed my tongue gently into the ZenGuard until it touched the sides, and then squeezed the bulb which creates the suction. The amount of squeezing varies the suction you will experience.
Sometimes I needed to use a gentle pumping action to draw my tongue properly into the device. When I was ready to remove the device, I pressed on the sides to break suction and easily removed the mouthpiece.
It was absolutely effective in stopping my snoring, and my wife noticed that the quality of my sleep had improved when she woke and didn’t hear the usual noises. I found it very comfortable and easy to use, although new users of a TSD might have a slightly sore tongue in the morning or have some saliva on their pillow in the morning.
I didn’t experience these negative side effects, but it could be because I am used to trialing these anti-snoring devices. With prolonged use, you will become more comfortable – and of course, it is worth it for the benefits.
Don’t expect to use the device perfectly on the first day you receive it – the best idea (and one suggested by the manufacturer) is to accustom yourself to the right amount of suction, and the proper placement of the anti-snoring appliance.
Too much suction will cause discomfort, and too little suction will mean the mouthpiece will slip over your tongue. I practiced for a few days while watching television before bed, so I could get used to the placement that was right for me.
I rinsed it in hot water before using it, with the V notch facing downwards, to help soften the silicone which makes it easier to fit onto the tongue. After each use, it’s a good idea to wash the TSD with hot water, and maybe a very mild detergent – mouthwash or chemical products will damage the silicone, void the warranty and shorten the lifespan of the mouthpiece.
Sometimes it can be hard to decide if a device is working. Unless you get your wife to monitor your snoring (mine wasn’t interested in staying awake to watch me sleep) you really need another way to measure the effect that it has on your nighttime snoring.
There are many great apps available for smartphones that can measure your snoring, and many modern fitness trackers can provide data about the quality of your sleep which is useful for comparison.
I was somewhat surprised that a cheaper model TSD that has no explicit approval from the FDA would work so well, but it really did the job. With free shipping and the money back guarantee, it’s really low risk for you to try, especially if you are wondering if a TSD might be right for you or you don’t want to get a prescription.
Cost can vary widely between each type of mouthpiece, and can be a major deciding factor when people choose an anti-snoring device. In my opinion, it has a very achievable price, as it retails for around $99 and includes free shipping. However, this anti-snoring mouthpiece seems to only be available within the United States.
It does come with a money-back guarantee, stating:
“If you are not completely satisfied, simply return your purchase within 90-days for a full refund. We believe in our devices and offer a 100% guaranteed result.”
That means that you can trial the product at a low price with free shipping, and return it if you’re not satisfied with the results. The ZenGuard is a very low-risk purchase that could significantly improve the quality of your sleep.
The website does give you the option to pay for faster shipping, and you can also purchase an extra $10 warranty for it.
My Last Words
I can’t say that the ZenGuard is the very best anti-snoring product on the market as the GMSS is slightly better with their FDA clearance, but it is definitely one of the best options for the price, function, and ease of access to the product.
The device is made from high-quality materials, is easy to use and easy to clean, is very durable and does a good job to reduce or eliminate snoring. The results are comparable to other models that cost a lot more than the ZenGuard.
There might be some discomfort initially, and there is a definite learning curve while practicing how to achieve the best fit. The company is not quite as well-known as other manufacturers making similar products.
However, on the other hand, no prescription is needed so you can trial it straight away without having to make a separate doctor’s appointment or consulting with a sleep specialist.
The best thing about the ZenGuard is the value for money. For a device that generally costs a great deal more, you can expect the same or similar results as the more expensive models of anti-snoring device.
I think that with the money back guarantee and free shipping, it’s worth giving this product a try and seeing if you can reduce your snoring with this simple device.
Official website: www.zensleep.com