Snoring is rarely harmless. The best case scenario is a bout of snoring due to narrowed airways because of nasal congestion or over-relaxed muscles due to exhaustion—that’s understandable, and should go away once you’re back to your normal routine. However, even occasional snoring like that can affect sleep quality and cause disturbances in the sleep-wake cycle. When the snoring starts being habitual, though, is when you really need take it seriously. It may be a symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA); and even if it isn’t, incessant and loud snoring will not only interrupt your sleep, but make nighttime rest difficult for your loved ones.
Here at Good Night’s Rest, we will always recommend that you go to a healthcare professional or a sleep specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment. However, it would be remiss of us to not mention the existence of over-the-counter solutions. Enter: the ZenSleep Anti-Snoring System. It is not the first of its kind, but it may very well be one of the most comprehensive and risk-free solutions available in the market today.
The ZenSleep 5-in-1 Anti-Snoring Kit is actually a combination of ZenSleep products put together and sold as a bundle. It is marketed as a complete, all-in-one solution for every kind of snorer: habitual, occasional or serious. The kit contains five different but complementary items that can be used separately or in combination, depending on your needs.
What’s in the Box?
Of the five products included, two are what we would classify as general-purpose; rather than being specifically for snorers: the ZenMask and the ZenPlugs. The former is a blackout eye mask with adjustable straps and hook and loop fasteners—you may know this as Velcro—featuring a soft fabric and a contoured shape with a nose ridge. It is said to block 100% of ambient light and fit securely without pressing down and into your eyes while you’re wearing it. The latter is simply a set of high quality silicone earplugs that are triple-flanged, washable and reusable. They are soft and comfortable, but it should be noted that they are for noise reduction only. ZenPlugs are not noise-cancelling.
On top of the ZenMask and the ZenPlugs, ZenSleep 5-in-1 Anti-Snoring Kit also includes the ZenVents, the ZenStrap, and the ZenGuard. These three are products that are specifically designed to help stop snoring. In essence, they make up the core of the Anti-Snoring Kit.
Let’s look at the ZenVents first. As you can probably guess from its name, this accessory is meant to be used on your nose! ZenVents work by helping to dilate nasal passages and maximizing nasal airflow; so this is an ideal solution for occasional snorers that suffer from congestion due to allergies. All you need to do is secure them over your nose; it will prop up the air holes and do its work from there. Like the ZenPlugs, ZenVents are made of silicone and come with a handy container. They are also completely devoid of Bisphenol A (BPA)—an industrial chemical used in certain plastics–which has recently been the focus on several safety concerns, though the FDA continues to deem it safe in food contact materials. ZenVents also come in several sizes that are all available in the kit, so make sure that you choose the one that fit perfectly on your nose.
Next is the ZenStrap, which looks like a harness with straps. This won’t look pretty or sexy! You’re meant to wear it snug on your face; with its main portion around your chin, holes to accommodate your ears, and straps holding the device secure at the back of your head. When used properly, the ZenStrap stops snoring by supporting your lower jaw in a way that keeps your airway unrestricted—similar to the way ZenVents work on your nose. Like the ZenMask, the ZenStrap’s fabric is soft, and its fastener is the easily adjustable hook and loop kind.
Last, but definitely not the least: the ZenGuard. This is an example of what long-suffering snorers, sleep specialists, and industry veterans call a Tongue Stabilizing Device (TSD) or a Tongue Retaining Device (TRD). As you can probably surmise from that, the ZenGuard is designed to keep your tongue forward and in place as your sleep. This is particularly useful for the excessive snoring that is indicative of sleep apnea; as this is normally caused in part by the tongue falling to the back of the mouth and greatly obstructing airflow. This obstruction also causes throat constriction, which further complicates breathing. Like other TSDs, ZenGuard is used to stop snoring that originates from the throat and mouth—as opposed to ZenVents, which concentrate on nasal snoring. And because of the way it’s used, it may also help prevent teeth grinding. Like ZenVents, ZenGuard is made of silicone and is entirely BPA-free.
How’s the Product Quality?
The ZenSleep products included in their 5-in-1 Anti-Snoring Kit are all good quality, and overall this bundle provides greater value than if you were to purchase the items separately. These aren’t products that will break down after only a few uses; if they do, you may want to contact ZenSleep! Of particular note: The silicone-made products are BPA-free; the ZenMask and ZenStrap come with easily adjustable straps; and the smaller products—the ZenPlugs, the ZenVents and the ZenGuard—each come with their own separate containers for easy storage.
PREFERENCES & OTHER POINTS TO CONSIDER
The ZenSleep 5-in-1 Anti-Snoring Kit seems to have been created as a response to an all-encompassing need for better sleep. There are products included for different snoring problems; along with more traditional sleep aid items like the eye mask and earplugs. In lieu of a proper diagnosis—if, for whatever reason, you have not yet gone to a sleep specialist or a doctor—this array of helpful products will probably be more useful to you than, say, just buying a mouthpiece. After all, if you’re not sure what’s causing your snoring, you may find that not every over-the-counter solution works. On the other hand, if you are currently seeing a healthcare professional for your snoring, you may have been advised to use a prescription-only TSD, or even a CPAP machine—both of which will be more expensive than more easily accessible solutions like ZenSleep’s products. If you’re worried about the cost of those more high end anti-snoring devices, we urge you to talk to your doctor about ZenSleep and see if trying this 5-in-1 Anti-Snoring Kit can be considered a step in the right direction for your particular condition.
A critical piece of information that may be a deal breaker for your doctor is the fact that while ZenSleep claims to manufacture their products in an FDA-approved facility, we cannot find a single reference online that supports this. ZenSleep doesn’t show in any listings on the official website of the FDA. This may just mean that that ZenSleep and ZenGuard were registered under a different name, though. Why is this important to a doctor? TSDs are considered class II medical devices by the FDA, and as such, must be cleared by the department before it’s sold to the public.
How Easy Are They to Use?
The ZenMask and ZenPlugs are very basic items, in that everyone should know how to use them! The only thing to remember is that ZenPlugs should really be washed after each use for hygiene purposes; just running warm water over them should suffice. ZenVents aren’t as basic, but as long as you pick the right size for your nose, you should be able to wear it and keep it on with no issue.
It’s the ZenStrap and the ZenGuard that really require some getting used to, but a quick search online reveals very helpful user instructions for both on ZenSleep’s official website. The ZenStrap is just a matter of fit, but the ZenGuard has been known to be difficult to put on and use right away. The company even recommends that your wear it for short periods during the day just to get used to it, before taking the plunge and using it throughout sleep. The bottom line: It shouldn’t hurt to use the ZenGuard! If you feel noticeable discomfort, then either you are using it incorrectly or this product isn’t for you.
How Does It Feel to Wear Them All Night?
We’ll go through all five products one by one, so please bear with us if this part gets long-winded. First and foremost, though: We do advise that you try these products one at a time, or in tandem at most. This is important in order to ensure that you identify which ones you actually need. You don’t want to be worrying about wearing something all night, and then find out later that it doesn’t help you at all.
The ZenPlugs are similarly comfortable and can actually be used while you’re not sleeping–in loud public spaces, when you’re trying to concentrate, for example. We’ve found no complaints about ZenPlugs save for some that expect too much from them. Again, they’re noise reducing and not noise cancelling.
The ZenMask is reportedly very comfortable, but if not secured correctly the straps may break or start to dig into your skin. The solution is to not wear them too tightly; just secure enough do it doesn’t get displaced while you’re asleep. You may have difficulty finding the balance between too tight and too loose if you’re an active sleeper, as sleepers who move around a lot tend to have trouble keeping wearable sleep aids on. The ZenStrap is not as easy to accidentally move out of position because it’s basically wrapped around the head, but if incorrectly secured it may cause discomfort. Some people with thick hair or thick beards may also find it difficult to secure the straps in the first place—if you’ve ever had your hair stuck in Velcro, you’ll know what this means.
The ZenVents are generally unobtrusive, but not all people are the same. If your tactile sensitivity is higher than usual, you may feel some nasal discomfort—though keep in mind that it may just be due to an adjustment period that you’re going through because your nasal passages may not be used to being dilated. As with the ZenMask, displacement during the night is also an issue with ZenVents.
Again, it’s the ZenGuard has has issues with ease of use. First of all, it may feel silly to use something that resembles a pacifier! That is nothing, though, compared to some of the reported side effects. According to ZenSleep themselves, over half of ZenGuard users experience an increase in salivation when they first try the product. It is the body’s natural reaction, and should not last very long. However, if you find that the salivation is very excessive, you may want to stop using the product or change your sleeping position; as in large amounts, saliva can actually cause gagging, especially if you are lying on your back. Tongue discomfort is also a big issue, due to the suction-based attachment process that you need to do in order to use ZenGuard properly. Too little suction, and the device can fall off in the middle of the night. Too much suction, and you may experience discomfort ranging from mild numbness to soreness and heightened sensitivity of the tongue—even tongue discoloration in some cases. These side effects may seem alarming, but it’s worth mentioning that the salivation and tongue discomfort are bodily reactions that ZenSleep themselves warns about; in most people, these initial effects will subside with ZenGuard’s continuous use.
PROMISE & POTENTIAL
A good product—or a set thereof—that can stand on its own figurative feet is always going to be impressive. ZenSleep has that, for sure; not one, but five products that are all above average enough to be in high demand. They’re even sold as a bundle.
However, there’s not denying that have a reputable developer and manufacturer helps; especially in a highly competitive industry. ZenSleep claims on their official website that they are the top rated anti-snoring sleep lab in the world, but honestly, the jury’s still out on that one. Having been founded in December 2014, the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company is still relatively new; with no notable or high profile sleep specialist or orthodontist as a known founder or endorser, and no easily accessible and published research or studies under its name. Even if they did have these, though, it still would be difficult to back up a claim like that.
Having said that, though, we’ve found no truly terrible customer reviews of ZenSleep products, and you’ll find out why shortly.
How Is Customer Support?
Customer support is mediocre at best. They have a telephone number that you can all, an email address, and a contact form on the website. Some customer reviews have complained that it’s difficult to contact ZenSleep, but it may just be in comparison to industry counterparts with more active social media or more points of customer support. Notable here is the lack of live chat on the official website; though, of course, this is by no means a requirement—just a nice feature that could be added for potential customers.
Is There a Trial Period with a Return Policy?
Here is where ZenSleep truly shines. This is also probably why even the most negative customer reviews just stop with variations of “it doesn’t work for me”, instead of launching into a full-on tirade. The company implements what it calls a 100% Results Guarantee, which translates to a very generous trial period and return policy. If you contact ZenSleep regarding a return and send back the product/s within 90 days of your purchase, you will be granted a full refund after the products are received and subsequently inspected. If you purchase and then receive a ZenSleep product that is defective or damaged, you may also contact the company for an exchange.
Regarding the ZenGuard: Note that you should never clean or store it submerged in mouthwash or any alcohol-based solution. According to ZenSleep, it will not only damage the product, but will also void the warranty. There is no other mention of that warranty anywhere on the official website or elsewhere online, though; so we don’t know it that is supposed to be a reference to the 90-day guarantee or not.
As of this writing, the ZenSleep 5-in-1 Anti-Snoring Kit is currently available on the company’s official website for $95. This is a steal! Consider the individual prices of the separate anti-snoring devices: The ZenGuard is priced at $89, the ZenStrap is priced a little lower at $79, and the ZenVents are at $49. When you add the prices of the other two products to the mix, the Anti-Snoring Kit is actually worth $285—which means that buying it would save you a total of $190. On top of that, there’s free US shipping; and it’s guaranteed to be same-day, too.
Looking at the price points, it’s clear that the 5-in-1 Anti-Snoring Kit is likely a promotional bundle; by themselves, these anti-snoring devices are pretty expensive for over-the-counter appliances. We can’t be sure, though! When we visit the official website, we’re greeted by a lot of marketing text. ZenSleep pushes their products hard, and with the 90-day guarantee, it can be easy to just lose focus and buy the $95 Anti-Snoring Kit when all you really need is—for example—an eye mask. This is heightened even more by the uncertainty, because it feels like the kit isn’t a regularly stocked bundle. Keep this in mind when making your purchase.
As with any product that has received generally positive customer feedback and also boasts of a generous trial and return policy, we do recommend that you try it if you have the cash to spare. Better yet, if you show this kit to your doctor and they think it might help you, we will gladly add our enthusiastic thumbs up to that! This probably isn’t the best purchase if you’re a serious snorer on a budget, though—no matter how good of a deal it seems to be. The truth is that you probably don’t need all five of these products! We came across multiple positive reviews that mentioned the customer using only one or two of the ZenSleep products, then lending or giving away the rest. This is a great purchase if you and a loved one or two all have have snoring or sleep problems, though; you can end up with just the right combination of appliances to greatly improve physical and sleep health of two or more people. Bottom line: Get it if you don’t mind spending, but be aware that you will most likely not use all of the items.