We all know how annoying it can be to live with a snorer. Snoring is the most common sleep problem for many people, which may indicate a severe underlying problem like obstructive sleep apnea (OSP).
What This Article Is All About?
According to the Sleep Health Foundation, loud snoring affects 10% of the population of Australia with frequent breathing pauses. There are numerous treatment options available to tackle this problem. Some of them are very simple, while others are more invasive and intricate.
In this article, we are going to discuss whether a nasal spray for snoring is a good option or not. Let’s start by discussing the role of your nose in snoring.
How Your Nose Is Important in Normal Breathing?
Your nose is the first structural boundary of the upper airway that serves to help you breathe safely. The nose and nasal cavity assist in breathing by providing a passage so that you can inhale and exhale air efficiently. After passing through the nasal cavity, the air is warmed, filtered, and humidified by the mucous membrane present in your nose. The mucus lining traps dust particles and bacteria to ensure the flow of clean air.
Your nose is specially designed to help in efficient breathing because it:
- Humidifies Inhaled Air: Nasal breathing moistens and warms the air you breathe in and prevents the airways from drying out (1).
- Filters Out Harmful Invaders: The nasal cavity contains nasal hair and mucus, which trap foreign invaders like bacteria, allergens, and dust particles and filter them out. Removal of these foreign particles is essential for healthy lungs.
- Produces Nitric Oxide: Nasal breathing causes your nose to produce nitric oxide (NO). NO expands your blood vessels by acting as a vasodilator, resulting in improved blood circulation (2).
Role of the Nose in Snoring
When you breathe, your nose and mouth pass the air to your lungs. Sometimes, when you’re asleep, your throat muscles relax, resulting in the narrowing of the area at the back of your throat. The air passing through this area cannot move freely, making the surrounding tissues vibrate. This vibration creates a harsh and noisy sound during your sleep, which is called snoring. (3).
The nasal passage and nostrils are integral parts of the breathing mechanism. Inflammation in any of these areas due to illness or allergies like pet dander, pollen, trees, and dust can result in restricted airflow to your lungs, disrupting your breathing pattern and sleep. A partially blocked nose can create suction forces that can generate enough vibrations in the soft palate and uvula, leading to snoring (4,5).
There are various causes of snoring that can obstruct the airflow and lead to snoring. They include a deviated septum, sleep apnea, sleeping on your back, low muscle tone, obesity, and nasal congestion.
Nasal Spray For Snoring
A partially blocked nose creates suction forces that cause a vibration in the soft palate and uvula, resulting in snoring. A fully blocked nose also results in snoring because it makes you breathe through the mouth when you sleep.
One treatment method that can help you treat snoring is nasal sprays. When used for snoring, Nasal spray enables you to unblock your nose and provides ease in breathing.
Nasal sprays aim to reduce snoring by relieving nasal congestion. Some nasal sprays are also used to treat snoring associated with sleep apnea. Such products for snoring function by relaxing the muscles of your throat and reducing snoring. Nasal sprays come in steroid and non-steroid forms (6).
How Does a Nasal Spray Work?
Persistent snoring can cause inflammation of blood vessels and lining tissues of your nose, resulting in airways obstruction. The swollen and inflamed blood vessels can be the aftermath of allergies, flu, or a cold, which end up blocking your nose.
A nasal spray for snoring works to reduce snoring by constricting/shrinking the blood vessels to open up the nasal passages. Nasal sprays are applied by squirting the content into each nostril.
Nasal sprays also reduce allergies-related snoring by reducing cytokines in the body. When you are exposed to an allergen, cytokines in the immune system activate and cause inflammation contributing to nasal congestion.
Composition of Nasal Sprays
A wide array of nasal sprays are available depending on their composition, which can help you determine the type of nasal spray that best suits your snoring cause. You might have noticed the word “topical” with nasal sprays. Topical means the direct application of a drug to the site; for example, nasal sprays are directly squirted into the nostrils.
Based on composition, there are different types of nasal sprays:
1. Steroid Nasal Sprays: These nasal sprays aim to reduce the cause of snoring like inflammation, allergies, or nasal polyps. Steroid nasal sprays have been linked with increased nasal breathing by decreasing mouth breathing at night, resulting in reduced snoring frequency. Beclomethasone, fluticasone, and mometasone are some examples of steroid nasal sprays (7,8).
2. Decongestant Nasal Sprays: Nasal congestion causes the blood vessels to dilate and restrict the airflow, resulting in snoring. The active ingredient (phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine) in decongestant nasal sprays widens your nasal passages by shrinking the blood vessels (9).
3. Saline Nasal Sprays: As the name suggests, saline nasal sprays are only a mixture of salt (sodium chloride) and water. These non-medicated nasal sprays reduce snoring by breaking down excess mucus in the nose, reducing inflammation, and moisturizing the nasal passages (10).
4. Antihistamine Nasal Sprays: If you have a snoring problem due to an allergy, these nasal sprays are then a suitable option. Allergens may include pollen spores or dust in the home that leads to a stuffy nose and results in snoring.
Your immune system overreacts as a result of your exposure to allergens and immediately releases high quantities of histamine. Histamine binds to specific receptors when allergens are detected and causes an aggressive inflammatory response, contributing to snoring.
Antihistamine nasal sprays aim to stop snoring by preventing the binding of histamines and reducing inflammation to relieve your stuffy nose (11).
How to Use a Nasal Spray Effectively?
Here are some of the step-by-step instructions to properly use a nasal spray by yourself (12):
- Before using the nasal spray, the nostril that is not receiving any medications should be closed with the help of a finger by gently pressing it.
- Hold the bottle of the nasal spray and insert its tip into the respective nostril.
- Squeeze the bottle and take a deep breath through the nostril. Sniff one or two times after using the nasal spray.
- Repeat these steps for the other nostril. Don’t forget to wash your hands after using the nasal spray.
Is Nasal Spray For Snoring Effective?
Snoring results from many causes, including nasal congestion, allergies, and inflammation, which impair breathing. If you do not know the exact cause of your snoring, you can determine it in these two simple ways:
1. If you wake up with a dry mouth or if your mouth is open while you snore, this indicates that you must have a nasal blockage.
2. Before you sleep, close one side of the nose with your finger and try to breathe in when closing your mouth. You find it difficult to breathe. This is an indication of nasal congestion.
You can reduce snoring with the help of the right nasal spray. Anti-snoring nasal sprays come with different purposes because they effectively reduce inflammation, mild congestion, loosening mucus, and unblocking the nasal passages.
A nasal spray with an oil-free formula and no chemicals is an ideal option because chemical-based nasal sprays only lubricate nasal passages instead of treating symptoms that are actually causing snoring.
If you do not have any nasal congestion, you need to think about two locations that could contribute to snoring: the back of the throat and mouth.
Who Should and Should Not Use Nasal Spray?
Nasal sprays are safe and effective for most people. If you have any issue that leads to snoring, you can use the right nasal spray for you. You should not use a nasal spray if:
- You’re breastfeeding or pregnant.
- Have an infection of the nose or tuberculosis (TB).
- Are having a treatment with steroid injections or steroid tablets.
- Have had any past allergic reactions to steroids (13).
In addition, nasal sprays are probably not going to do wonders for you if your snoring is the result of an underlying disease or condition. For instance, if your snoring is the result of a deviated nasal spectrum or it is due to obesity, using a nasal spray will not address the underlying issue. Therefore, a nasal spray might not be the best choice.
If you have been using nasal sprays for your snoring issue for some time and have not been getting anywhere with it then perhaps it indicates a more sinister underlying health issue. It is always a good idea to consult a qualified healthcare provider before you try anything new or if you suspect if snoring is the result of any other health problem.
Are There Any Side Effects of Nasal Sprays?
The right and correct dose of nasal sprays does not cause any significant side effects. However, some of the common side effects may include:
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Irritated, dry throat
- Swelling, redness, and itchiness in the nose
- A burning sensation in the nose
- Chest pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms (aches, fevers)
If your snoring problem does not improve with nasal sprays, you can opt for several other alternative treatments. For example, you can use nasal dilator strips during sleep for improved airflow and breathing. If you have a snoring problem because of sleep apnea, you can improve your breathing by using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) during the night.
Prescription medications are also used for chronic nasal congestion. However, if your snoring problem does not go away and persists for an extended period, you must consult your doctor.
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- Dubois AB, Douglas JS, Stitt JT, Mohsenin V. Production and absorption of nitric oxide gas in the nose. J Appl Physiol 1998;84:1217–24. https://doi.org/10.1152/jappl.19188.8.131.527.
- Sankar V. Physiologic Approach in Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Overview of Sleep-Disordered Breathing, Terminology in Sleep-Disordered Breathing, Sleep Studies and Stages n.d. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/869941-overview
- Deary V, Ellis JG, Wilson JA, Coulter C, Barclay NL. Simple snoring: Not quite so simple after all? Sleep Med Rev 2014;18:453–62. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2014.04.006.
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- Djupesland PG. Nasal drug delivery devices: characteristics and performance in a clinical perspective—a review. Drug Deliv Transl Res 2013;3:42–62. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13346-012-0108-9.
- Rhen T, Cidlowski JA. Antiinflammatory Action of Glucocorticoids — New Mechanisms for Old Drugs. N Engl J Med 2005;353:1711–23. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMra050541.
- Hultcrantz E, Harder L, Harder H, Zetterlund E-L, Roberg K. To treat snoring with nasal steroids – effects on more than one level? Acta Otolaryngol 2010;130:124–31. https://doi.org/10.3109/00016480902934211.
- Decongestants for a Stuffy Nose. WebMD n.d. https://www.webmd.com/allergies/decongestants
- Tano L, Tano K. A Daily Nasal Spray with Saline Prevents Symptoms of Rhinitis. Acta Otolaryngol 2004;124:1059–62. https://doi.org/10.1080/00016480410017657.
- Berlin JM, Golden SJ, Teets S, Lehman EB, Lucas T, Craig TJ. Efficacy of a steroid nasal spray compared with an antihistamine nasal spray in the treatment of perennial allergic rhinitis. J Osteopath Med 2000;100:8–13.
- Nasal Sprays. Safemedication n.d. https://www.safemedication.com/how-to-use-medication/nasal-sprays
- Steroid nasal sprays – NHS. UK n.d. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/steroid-nasal-sprays/
Dr. Muhammad Usman is a Doctor, Nutritionist, Wellness Coach and a Researcher with a deep insight into all aspects of writing related to health and science.