One the simplest snoring cessation devices on the market is the internal nasal dilator. They are not solely used to help snorers though – athletes and allergy sufferers can also put them to good use. This article explores the pros and cons.
What Will I Learn?
Do Internal Nasal Dilators Work?
Devices of this nature work very well for some people but they are not the best option for all. Typical examples of this kind of snoring prevention device is Mute Snoring from Rhinomed and Venyn Snore Guard.
When you are trying to find the best way to stop snoring, you need to ask yourself what type of snorer you are—a nose snorer, or a mouth snorer.
If you are a nose snorer, internal nasal dilators can be an excellent choice.
Mouth snoring is far more common than nose snoring.
The fact that you are reading this article suggests you have a problem with snoring, are looking for a way to get it under control, and are presently exploring the pros and cons of using internal nasal dilators as an anti-snoring device.
If so, plenty of people are in the same boat.
Will dilating your nostrils during sleep offer you the help you require though?
Before exploring the value of nasal dilation, let’s look at a quick way to test if your nasal passages are clear.
How to Test for Nasal Obstruction
The nasal snoring test is not difficult to do and it can save you money by helping you to avoid buying the wrong type of anti-snoring device.
It may be best to do this test with the help of a mirror. Begin by using a finger to apply pressure to one of your nostrils. You need to press hard enough to close the nostril.
Next, try to inhale through the open nostril. If you can do so easily, it shows neither congestion nor obstructions are affecting your ability to breathe through your nose at that side.
Repeat the test by closing the other nostril. If nasal breathing is not a problem on that side of the nose either, a nasal dilator won’t offer much value to you. Nasal strips won’t either.
However, if nasal breathing is impossible through either nostril or forces the open nostril to collapse, a nasal dilator could provide you with the snoring relief you seek.
If any attempt at nasal breathing forces the open nostril to collapse, there is a further test you can do.
Take a teaspoon in your other hand and use the tip of its handle to stretch your nostril open (while still keeping the other nostril closed).
If breathing through the nostril becomes significantly easier, take it a sign that using a nasal dilator may be a good way to keep your snoring under control.
If the spoon test does not provide relief, it may indicate the presence of a notable obstruction. Where this is the case, it’s a good idea to visit a doctor and get expert advice.
What Are Internal Nasal Dilators?
Internal nasal dilators are plastic devices you place inside your nostrils before going to sleep. They temporarily enlarge the nostrils. This helps to increase airflow and makes it easier to breathe through your nose.
Nasals strips do this as well but they work from the outside of the nose instead of the inside.
However, internal nasal dilators tend to be more effective for holding the nostrils open and unlike using nasal strips, they do not present an ongoing expense. You can use your dilators night after night.
With strips, it’s a case of using them once and then throwing them away.
There are two main types of nasal dilation device.
One type consists of a couple of conical tubes that are joined by a thin strip of material that sits between the nostrils on the outside of the nose. You can use this strip as a pull-handle when you are ready to remove the dilators from your nose.
The other type of nasal dilator is essentially the same but, it has two wing-shaped sections instead of two tubes.
Wing-shaped internal nasal dilators tend to work better than dilators with tubes. However, many people find tube-type dilators are more comfortable to use.
How Internal Nasal Dilators Help You Not to Snore
If you are a nose snorer, the grunting noises you make during sleep come from the back of your nose.
This is because nasal congestion or other obstructions, such as a bent septum, are creating turbulence within the nose and causing the soft flesh within to vibrate.
By restoring efficient airflow, a nasal dilator prevents the vibration that causes the noise.
Nasal dilators may also offer value to some mouth snorers by helping them to sleep with their mouths closed.
If problems in the nasal passages prevent normal breathing through the nose, it makes you more likely to sleep with your mouth open.
When you sleep with your mouth open, the jaw relaxes, making it easier for the tongue to drop towards the back of the throat.
This obstructs airflow at the back of the throat, causing turbulence that can cause the tissues at the back of the throat to vibrate.
Although nasal dilators may prevent this scenario by making it easier to breathe through the nose, there are no guarantees.
Many mouth snorers sleep with their mouth open even though nasal breathing is easy for them.
For this reason, if you are a mouth snorer, a MAD or TSD that works by pulling the tongue forward may be a better option for you. However, some people who use MADs and TSDs use them in conjunction with a nasal dilator.
This could be seen as an attempt to cover all the bases. There is nothing wrong with that course of action but some snorers actually do this because they find improving nasal airflow makes it easier for them to sleep.
Internal Nasal Dilators: Typical Users
As well as being a popular option with people who snore, internal nasal dilators also offer value to sportspeople.
Many athletes insert this type of device inside their nostrils. Others open their nostrils by applying nasal strips to the outside of the nose.
Expanding the nostrils allows people who do cycling, running, or other endurance sports to get extra oxygen into their blood. Some research suggests improving nasal breathing may enhance physical performance by up to 30 percent.
However, although this shows how effective such devices can be, it’s a little off-topic. Let’s get return to the subject of snoring.
People who use nasal dilation devices may be habitual snorers or they may fall into one of several groups.
1. OSA Patients
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a dangerous condition that causes people to stop breathing during sleep.
Some people who have OSA find internal nasal dilators help keep the problem under control. There is also some research attached to the method.
However, people who expand their nostrils in this way don’t rely on such devices alone. More often than not, OSA sufferers are using a CPAP machine to improve their breathing as well.
2. People with Vestibular Stenosis
Vestibular stenosis is a medical condition that causes the nasal valves to collapse during inhalation. Needles to say, this condition makes it very difficult to breathe through the nose.
Vestibular stenosis is not a particularly common condition and there are surgical procedures that can correct it.
However, for obvious reasons, some people who snore due to vestibular stenosis prefer to manage their snoring by inserting a device into their nose.
3. People with Allergies
People who have allergies, particularly those who are allergic to pollen or dust, often find internal nasal dilators are good for keeping their snoring under control.
However, they normally choose tube-type dilators with an integral air filter.
The filter traps the particles that would normally cause irritation.
In so doing, as well as helping to prevent snoring, they can help prevent allergy symptoms that may interfere with sleep.
4. People who Snore Due to Chronic Rhinitis
Chronic rhinitis is a form of nasal congestion caused by inflammation or viral infection. Sometimes it’s a result of allergies. Other times it is not. [source]
Regardless of the cause, if your snoring is a result of chronic rhinitis, using internal nasal dilators may be a good way to keep it under control.
Internal Nasal Dilators – The Bottom Line
Internal nasal dilators are one of several options available to people who are looking for a safe and effective way to control their snoring.
This type of device probably offers the most value to people who have nasal problems that cause the tissue to vibrate at the back of the nose.
They may also prove effective for some people who snore because they are in the habit of opening their mouth during sleep.
Due to their ability to pull the tongue forward, MADs and TSDs are generally better options for keeping mouth snoring under control but internal nasal dilators can be good for providing additional support.
Some people suffering from OSA also use them as a secondary device.
Unlike nasal strips, nasal dilators are not a throwaway option. In the long run that can make them cheaper to use, but it’s generally a good idea to replace them once every three months.
Sleeping with something within the nose may feel a little strange at first but most people find internal nasal dilators are more comfortable than devices that fit inside the mouth.
So, although they are not the best option for all, internal nasal dilators are an anti-snoring device that is unlikely to interfere with your ability to sleep.