Snorers--and their long-suffering partners--can get desperate for decent night's sleep. Earplugs aren't always enough; booting the snorer out of the conjugal bed seldom enhances a couple's relationship. Then there's sewing a tennis ball into a T shirt. That's supposed to prevent offenders rolling onto their backs, but, as anyone who has ever slept with a snorer knows all too well, side-sleepers can make plenty of noise too.
With so much at stake, it's not surprising that a host of companies are selling all kinds of contraptions to help stop the nightly racket. Many of these products don't have much scientific backing, and some of them sound mighty uncomfortable, but at the very least, they're amusing. Here are some of the wackiest noise-busters out there. (For the latest medically recommended treatments, read our special report on snoring here.
1. Serious Headgear. The Snorender is a thick, headbandlike strap you wear around your jaw and skull to keep your mouth closed at night. It also incorporates acupressure and magnetic therapy to help you sleep a little better, according to its inventor.
2. The Computer Pillow. German scientist Daryoush Bazargani has designed a pillow attached to a computer that analyzes a sleeper's snoring. The computer compresses or inflates different air pockets in the pillow until the head shifts enough for the sleeper to stop snoring. The inventor says several American firms are interested in manufacturing his invention, which can also be used for neck massages.
3. Tape Your Mouth Shut. Snoreseal is essentially a piece of double-sided tape that reduces airflow through the mouth, collapsing when you draw in too much air and forcing you to breathe through your nose, instead. No word on whether you wake up every time your oxygen supply is cut off abruptly.
4. The McGyver Solution. EasyAir is a device made of a bent, very thin metal rod. It's inserted up your nose to keep the nostrils open and air flowing. According to its Web site, a Norwegian biathlon Olympian uses it to ease breathing while competing.
5. Magnetic Detraction. Snoreclipse is like a nose ring with a cause: inserted over the septum, it uses magnets to apply the pressure needed to keep nostrils from closing at night.
6. Rollover Prevention. The Thompsen patented anti-snoring pillow uses "anti-schnarch" technology to force sleepers onto their sides: the pillow is slightly raised in the middle, preventing the user from lying on their back. It also comes with a "snoring damper" to help keep the mouth closed.
The medically recommended at-home remedies aren't as exciting, but they are tried and true. They include: avoiding big meals, avoiding sedating drugs and alcohol before bed, maintaining a healthy weight, treating allergies and colds and of course sleeping on your side. (For that, the trusty tennis ball might just work.) Experts say that if snoring is a consistent problem, you should talk to your doctor. There are serious health risks related to both snoring and a more severe form of the condition called sleep apnea.