Many of us snore (or at least have been informed that we snore). But what exactly causes it, and can a fancy new mattress actually help?

By Dan Nosowitz
August 01, 2019
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Snoring: it’s loud, disruptive, and probably all too familiar to anyone sleeping in your bed (or in particularly loud cases, those in another room of the house). But it’s also considered a warning sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that finds sleepers stopping and starting breathing at night.

Sleep apnea can be a serious health problem, associated with higher rates of heart disease and stroke. In response, various companies have introduced tech-based ways to address snoring. The latest? A mattress that adjusts itself silently while you sleep.

Image courtesy of Tempur-Pedic.

Tempur-Pedic, one of the country’s most well-known mattress companies, recently unveiled a new system called the TEMPUR-Ergo Smart Base with Sleeptracker technology. If you got bogged down by the name, let us clarify: It's essentially a platform bed that tracks sleep and adjusts its position accordingly.

So how does it prevent snoring? Sensors within the bed listen for the vibrations of snoring and can adjust the angle of the mattress at the head of the bed. The goal is to stop you from snoring without even waking you up.

Snoring can be caused by several different factors. Some are obvious, like a stuffy nose, which restricts airflow. Overweight sleepers may also be more likely to snore; excess weight around the neck, according to Consumer Reports, can have that same restrictive effect. Substance use, especially alcohol and tobacco, are also associated with snoring. But other causes are more easily addressed.

Sleeping on your back, for example, causes your tongue to drop back towards your throat. That can cause the telltale snoring sounds, as air has to work its way past your tongue. And that same issue can be caused if your head isn’t elevated enough. The smart Tempur-Pedic bed might not be able to unclog your nasal passages or convince you to skip that third glass of wine at dinner, but it can detect when your head should be elevated—and that could help you curb your snoring.

A queen-size TEMPUR-Ergo Smart Base system starts at $1,799, so it's definitely an investment, but one worth considering if you or your partner are struggling with snoring. It's available this August and is compatible with both Google Home and Amazon Alexa, so you can tell your smart device to adjust the bed as needed. Plus, it delivers sleep tips and reports straight to your phone.

If you're not ready to invest that much cash on a mattress, there are more affordable options for preventing snoring. Nose vents—kind of the new version of Breathe-Right strips—can open your nasal passages. Certain mouth guards, like the Zyppah, are designed to keep your tongue from slipping too far back. You can also invest in a wedge-style pillow, which can help keep your head inclined.

No matter which option you choose, it’s important to know that snoring doesn’t have to be a permanent part of your nightlife.

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