Can wearing nasal strips really help alleviate snoring?

Craig L. Schwimmer, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)
Nasal strips are not an effective means of treating snoring. In fact, studies show that no over the counter devices really work. However, they are inexpensive and safe, so it couldn't hurt to try them. If wearing nasal strips doesn't solve your snoring problem, don't give up - discuss it with your ENT.
It depends upon the cause of the snoring and your type of nose. There are several physical places inside the nasal cavity and throat where snoring can occur (it is often a combination of areas).  If the snoring is purely nasal in nature, and the individual has a narrow nose, then a nasal strip can be effective. However, proper placement of the strip is often the key to its effectiveness.  It is meant to be worn in the mid or lower portion of the nose.  Positioning it too high across the bridge of the nose will decrease its effectiveness. 
Snoring is caused by a restriction of airflow, which makes the air move faster through the throat and nasal passageways. The air passes loose tissue in the throat or nose, causing a vibration, which causes a noise – the snore.  If you can open the nasal airway with the strip this may cause a slight reduction in the noise level.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Those wacky nose strips worn by football players won't significantly increase the amount of oxygen you breathe in, according to scientific studies. But they can likely make a difference for the average snorer or allergy sufferer. They keep your nostrils apart, which can help prevent snoring and also help move nitric oxide from your nasal passage into your lungs, which improves lung function.

Don't use nasal strips as alternative to seeking treatment, however. A visit to the neighborhood ENT (that's ear, nose, and throat doc) may reveal a structural problem (like mucous build up) that can easily be cured with a minor procedure, or by using a Neti-pot.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.