Which snoring remedies actually work?
Marjoram oil, $8.99; electric aromatherapy diffuser, $12.99
In the aromatherapy world, marjoram oil is known as a respiratory aid and a soothing agent. It seemed perfect: Not only was it noninvasive and mildly culinary (I love marjoram!), but it could also cover our bedroom with a blanket of thick, resinous calm.
It was definitely thick and resinous. When we plugged in the marjoram-filled electric diffuser every night, we were hit with an herbal bomb that pregnant Elizabeth, nauseated by the smell of strong herbs like rosemary, found overpowering.
I did feel like I'd slept better and clearer on the last three mornings, but according to Elizabeth, the snoring rarely tapered. And even if the marjoram oil had worked, the scent was creating a new sleep barrier for my wife, which hurt its score.
Ease of use: 4
E's reaction: 9
Morning after: 3
Anti Snor Therapeutic Ring, $44.95
For $49.90 (with shipping), I got a thin sterling silver ring with two acupressure balls on the underside. The ring goes on the left-hand pinky and is supposed to stimulate the heart meridian and give energy to something called the "upper jiao." Elizabeth and I were both skeptical, but the ring was so easy to use—slip it on 30 minutes before bed, take it off in the morning—that there was nothing to actively dislike. Well, two things.
First, my pinky was sore every morning in the spot where the balls pressed against it. Second, according to Elizabeth, it didn't help much. That said, I did notice that she wasn't as vehement about dismissing the ring as she'd been with some other remedies. And when I asked her to describe the snoring, she couldn't provide much detail, which led me to believe it may have worked a little. Also, neither Elizabeth nor I resorted to our sleep selves. Finally, aside from the tender spot on my pinky, I felt pretty good when I woke up. The placebo effect, or an energized upper jiao? Who cares?
Ease of use: 1
E's reaction: 7
Morning after: 2
Tennis ball, $2.50 for can of three
The MacGyver remedy. Or, as I like to call it, fetching with Pavlov's dog. Put a tennis ball in a sock, and then safety pin the sock to the middle of the back of a T-shirt. When you sleep in this T-shirt, it's painful to sleep on your back, so you turn on your side, where you're less likely to snore. If you sleep with the sock enough, your sleep self will supposedly associate sleeping on your back with pain, and you won't need the T-shirt anymore.
I'm not used to sleeping with a shirt on, so this—not to mention the heavy sock tugging at the back—took some getting used to. Also, it is surprisingly painful to have a Wilson jut into your back. But the remedy worked immediately. The morning after the first night, Elizabeth reported no snoring. I felt great, too. The second night, my deceitful sleep self did manage to outmaneuver the sock, swinging the tennis ball between my arm and side, allowing me to sleep on my back and snore. But the next day I adjusted the sock so that it was tighter against the shirt and could not be stretched out. For the rest of the trial, there was no snoring.
By the fifth night, I was attached to the ensemble. There was something ritualistic about putting the shirt on every night, and the thought of moving on to test another remedy made me sad. Elizabeth loved it, too. Improbably, she even found the get-up cute, which solidified this remedy's place as the clear winner.
Ease of use: 5
E's reaction: 1
Morning after: 1
Chip Brantley is the author of The Perfect Fruit, a book about pluots.
Illustration by Robert Neubecker.