For the life of me, I can’t figure out how snoring has survived all these eons, in an evolutionary sense. You’d think that back in the day, when our earliest ancestors were trying to avoid predators, snorers would have given their positions away and made for easy snacking. Thus, natural selection being what it is, nighttime log sawyers should have been weeded out of the gene pool years ago.
And yet, I’m living proof – much to my wife’s chagrin – that snoring persists and is just as irritating today as it must have been all those years ago. And unfortunately, it’s a condition that seems to have gotten louder as I’ve aged, or at least that’s what I’m told.
Something needed to be done, so I looked up potential solutions. One choice was surgery, which was impossible for financial reasons. Another was losing weight. Yeah, right. That meant that I was going to have to look into anti-snoring devices, which can take the form of chin straps, mouth guards or devices designed to hold your tongue forward. All three methods purport to stop or reduce snoring by opening the airway at the back of the throat and making breathing easier.
After much research, I chose a device called VitalSleep, a mouth guard for both the top and bottom teeth that boasts the slogan “Reclaim a good night’s sleep.” At the hinge where the two pieces of the device meet, there are tiny plastic screws that allow you to make adjustments that move the lower jaw slightly forward while you sleep. This position is supposed to create less obstruction in the airway.
I dipped the VitalSleep in hot water as instructed but found that the heated plastic did little to form fit to my teeth; it basically stayed exactly as it was. Then I put it in for a few hours as a trial run. It wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, my lips could barely close over the front of it, and I had to fight a little not to drool at first. This was not exactly an auspicious debut.
That night I was able to fall asleep, but I woke up in the wee hours and took the contraption out of my mouth for the rest of the night. I noticed that my bottom teeth were sore for awhile afterward.
With each successive night, I’ve slept better and noticed the VitalSleep less and less. Unlike some anti-snoring devices, its design allows me to breathe through my nose or mouth, which has been big during pollen season, and the drooling issue became an afterthought after about two nights. The VitalSleep still leaves my bottom teeth a little sore, though, and I have to admit that I can’t wait to take it out in the morning.
But what about the real test? Has the VitalSleep succeeded in curing my snoring or at least bringing it down to reasonable levels? I can’t say, as I always seem to be asleep when all the alleged snoring goes on, so I asked my wife.
“Definitely,” she said. “I’ve been sleeping much better.”
So it looks like the VitalSleep is here to stay, whether I like it or not. I just hope my beloved realizes what a sacrifice I’m making. I should be nominated for a Nobel Prize or something.