What You Need to Know About the VitalSleep Anti-Snoring Device
Everyone snores some of the time. How often you snore can depend on your health, weight, the advent of allergy season, and other factors. However, for some people, snoring is a chronic condition that not only prevents their partner from getting a good night’s sleep, it can signal deeper health issues for the snorer.
To get relief for their snoring, many people turn to anti-snoring devices. However, there are so many options available to purchase, it can be difficult to know which to choose.
This post takes a look at one of the more popular anti-snoring devices available — the VitalSleep mouthpiece. It covers reviews and testimonials by users of the device and attempts to provide a balanced, unbiased overview of the mouthpiece so you can decide if it’s right for you.
What is the VitalSleep Mouthpiece?
VitalSleep is a mandibular advancement device (MAD) — a type of anti-snoring device that has been in use since 1902. According to the documentation included with the device, VitalSleep is a self-molded, anti-snoring device developed and marketed by The Snore Reliever Company, LLC.
This company was founded in 2012 and is based in New York City. Its stated mission is “…to help people who snore, along with their partners.”
The company’s website calls the VitalSleep device a collaboration between a long-time snorer and a medical doctor. The device’s documentation claims it uses a patented Accu-Adjust System®, explained further below.
As of January 2020, The Snore Reliever Company has sold more than 400,000 units in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and parts of Europe, making it the market leader for this type of device.
Many people who use VitalSleep have been able to get relief for their snoring. In this article, we’ll provide an unbiased overview of the VitalSleep device, including a description of the device, how it works, who can use it, and the positive and negative aspects reviewers have observed about the device.
Before reviewing the device itself, it’s important to understand the root causes of snoring and how the VitalSleep addresses them to help people find relief.
What Causes Snoring?
The sound of snoring tells you that the free flow of air through your respiratory system is being obstructed while you sleep. Several conditions and factors can cause snoring to occur. Snoring has both environmental causes and medical (physical) causes. You may require the services of a healthcare provider to determine the true cause of your snoring.
Environmental Causes of Snoring
Environmental causes of snoring include alcohol consumption, allergies, medication use, smoking, and sleeping position.
- Drinking Alcohol: Alcohol is a muscular depressant and causes the throat muscles to relax too much. It also slows reflexes, including your ability to recognize and respond to discomfort while sleeping by rousing or moving.
- Allergies: Many types of allergies, including seasonal allergies, cause inflammation in the throat and nasal passages. As your sinuses and throat tissue swell and excess mucus is generated, snoring may occur.
- Medication: Like alcohol, medication can also cause overrelaxation, irritation, or inflammation that contributes to snoring.
- Smoking: A significant throat irritant, smoking causes inflammation throughout the respiratory system. This inflammation narrows the airways and causes snoring.
- Sleeping Position: Your sleeping position can cause snoring. Many snorers are back sleepers. In this position, your tongue tends to fall back and obstruct your airway. If your pillow is too large, you may have the same problem if your neck flexes forward too much.
Medical Causes of Snoring
Medical and physical causes of snoring can include:
- Age: Aging causes your membranes and tissues to lose elasticity. Loose tissues and a softer palate may collapse and narrow your air passages.
- Anatomical Abnormalities: Physical abnormalities may create narrow or obstructed airways or an uneven airflow. These abnormalities can include deviated septums, nasal polyps, enlarged adenoids or tonsils, scar tissue, an enlarged uvula, other enlarged tissue, and other types of abnormalities.
- Sleep Apnea: This condition, which should be diagnosed by a qualified healthcare provider, stops you from breathing during sleep. The reasons for this include physical airway blockage or incorrect signals from the part of the brain that controls the muscles used for breathing.
- Illness: People with colds, the flu, or respiratory infections often snore due to sinus congestion.
- Weight: Obesity or being overweight, especially with excess weight around the head and neck, can cause airways to narrow and collapse, causing snoring. The issue is worse when you recline and relax.
- Pregnancy: Pregnant people can experience physical changes that may result in snoring. New weight gain, back sleeping, pressure from the uterus on the diaphragm, and excess congestion can create the conditions for snoring.
Snoring vs. Sleep Apnea
While the narrowing of your airways can cause snoring for the various reasons above, sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that should be diagnosed by a doctor and addressed as soon as possible. Sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing for several seconds, sometimes several times a minute, and can be very dangerous to your health.
Besides daytime sleepiness and exhaustion, sleep apnea and snoring can be accompanied by high blood pressure, heart disease, and other serious side effects. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, or suspect you may have it, talk to your doctor first before using a device like the VitalSleep.
About the VitalSleep Mouthpiece
The VitalSleep Anti-Snoring Mouthpiece is an adjustable mandibular advancement device that claims to help people who snore obtain restful sleep. The adjustable fit seems to be a main difference between the VitalSleep device and other similar devices.
The device is made from medical-grade raw materials that are hypoallergenic, latex-free, and BPA-free. The Snore Reliever Company boasts there are more than 400,000 satisfied users of VitalSleep and claims the device works well for eight out of ten people.
What Is a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD)?
A mandibular advancement device, like the VitalSleep, fits inside the mouth. It has two trays to hold the teeth — one for the upper set and one for the lower. It looks much like a boxer’s gum shield. A mandibular advancement device pulls the lower jaw forward using the lower teeth. Using the device increases airflow at the back of the throat to reduce or stop snoring.
For many MADs, the sleep position doesn’t matter and the snorer may sleep in any position desired. Also, it doesn’t matter if the sleeper breathes through their nose or mouth — the MAD operates either way.
Mandibular advancement devices are sometimes called by other names, including:
- Mandibular adjustment device
- Mandibular advancement splint (MAS)
- Anti-snoring gum shield
- Anti-snoring mouthguard
When snoring is caused by environmental or physical factors that relax the jaw muscles and create an environment in which the soft tissues at the back of the throat begin to vibrate, MADs may be effective at stopping it. Pulling the lower jaw forward also pulls the tongue forward, keeping the airway open enough to prevent some situations that lead to snoring.
How Does VitalSleep Work?
When you sleep, the tongue can relax and tend to drop back toward the throat, partially blocking the airway. This results in an opening that allows air to pass such that the tissues vibrate and create the typical snoring noise.
VitalSleep depends on the fact that the tongue is attached to the lower jaw. By drawing the jaw forward, the tongue is pulled forward as well. The airway does not become partially blocked, and the conditions that create snoring are reduced or eliminated.
How Is VitalSleep Different From Other Devices?
A key feature of the VitalSleep device is that it is “adjustable.” Many mandibular advancement devices like ZQuiet are a single size and the distance by which your lower jaw gets pulled forward is fixed. This works well for some people, but for others, the distance can be too far, too shallow, or even cause pain.
The Snore Reliever Company developed their device to allow users to adjust the distance the lower jaw advances. This provides a more accurate fit and allows wearers to gradually increase the distance so they are able to get used to wearing the device.
How to Use the VitalSleep MAD
The first step is fitting the device to your mouth. Getting the right size and fit is essential to the comfort and effectiveness of the device.
The Snore Reliever Company is one of only a few companies that offer more than one size of device. The VitalSleep device is available in two sizes:
- Large: 60mm wide, 55mm long, 27mm high. This size is recommended for most men.
- Small: 56mm wide, 46mm long, 25mm high. This size is recommended for women. The small size is approximately 10% smaller than the large.
The company offers a free size exchange if you find you’ve ordered the wrong one. Once you have the right size, it’s time to customize the bite trays.
Boil and Bite Fitting
Many MADs are created from custom molds made by specialists at an office or clinic. These molds are then sent away to another facility where they are used to create a custom MAD. The device is then shipped back to the specialist and the customer returns to their office for a fit check. At least two office visits are required in this process and it can take days, or even weeks, to finally get your mouthpiece.
To avoid this hassle, VitalSleep uses a special kind of plastic in its devices that becomes pliable when boiled in hot water but is rigid once cooled. This process, known as boil and bite fitting, provides a quick, custom mouthpiece at home without office visits, molds, or wait time.
To mold the VitalSleep to your bite, place the device in boiling water for 60 seconds, then remove it and allow it to cool for three seconds. Once cooled slightly, place the device in your mouth and bite down into the softened plastic. Continue to bite down until the plastic has cooled and is no longer pliable.
If you don’t get the correct fit the first time, the mouthpiece can be boiled again, remolded, and readjusted — multiple times if needed.
Wearing the VitalSleep Mouthpiece
In the beginning, the company recommends little, if any, advancement of the jaw. By starting with a neutral position, you can get used to having the device in your mouth and reduce any soreness caused by the device.
Over the next days and weeks, you adjust the VitalSleep by small amounts, pausing to allow yourself to become used to each change. Once you reach the optimum setting, stop the adjustments.
What Is the Accu-Adjust System?
Many adjustable MADs have set positions. This means you are limited to moving the device to those positions, which may not be optimal for you. VitalSleep has a sliding adjustment device to optimize the advancement for each wearer that it calls an Accu-Adjust System.
A tool provided with the device fits into a lock on either side of the trays. You turn it clockwise to bring the bottom of your jaw forward. The adjustment is made on both sides and must be made equally.
You continue adjusting the bottom tray each night in small increments until you reduce or eliminate your snoring. The device can be adjusted up to 8mm and allows the mouth to open up to 25 degrees.
VitalSleep Maintenance and Durability
You keep your VitalSleep device clean by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and some water. You can use toothpaste, if you prefer. Dry it and store it in the plastic case provided.
An alternative method of cleaning the VitalSleep is soaking the device in denture cleaner. The Snore Reliever Company also sells a spray for cleaning and refreshing your mouthpiece, but it isn’t required.
The company provides a warranty that guarantees the VitalSleep device for a full year of use, or more, depending on the frequency of use. It’s possible to get two years of service from one mouthpiece if worn infrequently. Most mandibular advancement devices only last six to twelve months.
VitalSleep Costs, Shipping, and Returns
Part of the attraction of the VitalSleep mouthpiece is the price. Seeing a dentist or specialist to have a custom mouthpiece made can cost $3,000 or more. It also requires multiple appointments at an office or clinic and a waiting period between molding and receiving the finished product. If the fit isn’t perfect or your bite changes, you need to go through the process again.
The list price for the VitalSleep mandibular advancement device was initially $99.95 USD, but the company often runs promotions or provides discounts that can decrease the cost. Coupon codes and military discounts are also available in some countries.
At the time of this writing, the VitalSleep website offers a free, 30-day trial if you pay for shipping and handling. If you keep the mouthpiece after this free trial period, the cost is $59.95 USD. With this offer, the mouthpiece also comes with a sleep mask, earplug set, and canvas carrying case as free gifts.
The mouthpiece can be ordered from the manufacturer’s website. The Snore Reliever Company offers same-day shipping. If you live in the U.S., you will typically receive your device within two to four days. Outside the U.S., you’ll receive your order in seven to ten days.
Regardless of the purchase price or free trial period, the VitalSleep comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee. It also comes with a one-year unconditional warranty. A free, postage-paid label for returns and exchanges is included with your purchase.
Who Can Use VitalSleep?
The VitalSleep device is designed for someone who experiences snoring due to vibrating tissues in the throat. People who suffer from bruxism, or grinding of the teeth, may also find relief. Those who snore because they are overweight or have mild sleep apnea may also benefit from a VitalSleep mouthpiece.
To help you decide if VitalSleep is right for you, the company provides a health screening questionnaire on the second page of the checkout process. You cannot complete an order without completing the questionnaire in its entirety.
Who Shouldn’t Use a VitalSleep MAD?
The VitalSleep website terms and conditions specify that the mouthpiece is to be used only to help reduce snoring and that it is not intended to treat any other sleep disorders. It is not promoted as a replacement for a CPAP or BiPAP device and can’t be used in place of sleep apnea devices or machines.
If you use a CPAP, BiPAP, or other respiratory assistance device while sleeping, you should speak with your doctor before considering a MAD. Some doctors and sleep specialists do recommend MADs for people with sleep apnea on a case-by-case basis.
Use of the VitalSleep MAD is not recommended if you have any of the following conditions:
- Central sleep apnea
- Any respiratory disorder, including emphysema or asthma
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) or any form of jaw pain
- Loose teeth or clicking in your jaw
- Braces, retainers, other orthodontic treatments, or recent dental implants
- Advanced periodontal disease
- Significant overbite
VitalSleep Side Effects
The VitalSleep MAD has many of the same side effects as other mandibular advancement devices.
- Discomfort: Most mandibular advancement devices cause discomfort, at least in the short term. Adjustable MADs tend to cause less discomfort than fixed appliances.
- Fit Problems: If you use a boil and bite device, you will need to stretch your jaw forward to the right distance while molding the plastic to your teeth or the MAD may not keep your airway open. You may have difficulties getting the fit right.
- Jaw Pain: Advancing your jaw too much can cause jaw joint pain or headaches. With adjustable MADs, you can select less advancement for the first few nights until you become accustomed to it.
- Dental Issues: To use a MAD, you must have strong front teeth. If you have crowns, implants, gum disease, or other dental issues, you should get your dentist’s approval before using a MAD.
- Tooth Movement: Some users experience tooth movement and changes in their bite after long-term wear of a MAD.
- Drooling: You may experience excess salivation or drooling due to the device’s position in your mouth.
- Obstruction: Some devices can obstruct mouth breathing.
Most of these side effects are troublesome but not dangerous. However, people with extensive gum and tooth disease should speak to their dentist before using a MAD.
VitalSleep Pros and Cons
If you’re trying to decide whether this device is right for you, it can help to weigh the benefits and drawbacks carefully.
On one hand, customers regularly provide positive feedback about the device and the company that produces it. In addition:
- The device is approved by the FDA.
- It contains no latex or BPA.
- It comes with a one-year replacement warranty.
- You get a 60-day money-back guarantee.
- It lasts twice as long as many other MADs.
- It comes with a free e-book and is often bundled with other free accessories.
- It’s faster and less expensive than visiting a dentist for a custom-made device.
- It comes in two sizes and can be gradually adjusted for the best fit.
On the other hand, the device can cause several side effects as mentioned above. In addition:
- It isn’t available in all countries.
- It cannot be used if you have braces or retainers.
- You need a perfect fit for it to be effective and getting this fit can be difficult.
- It may loosen dental crowns, caps, bridges, or other dental appliances.
- Long-term use may shift your teeth or adjust your bite.
- It may cause mouth soreness or jaw pain.
- The company does not accept liability for any damage caused by wearing the device.
Some snorers may be better served by seeing a dentist, orthodontist, or another specialist for a custom-made mandibular advancement device.
VitalSleep Reviews and Testimonials
According to testimonials on the VitalSleep website, most users are happy with the device and the level of service provided by the company. The most common complaint is a feeling of soreness in the mouth that goes away shortly after awakening.
Most people with normal teeth and few dental conditions can use the VitalSleep mouthpiece in their efforts to control snoring. There may be some soreness and drooling as you adapt to the device, but this diminishes over time.
Should You Try VitalSleep?
The VitalSleep mandibular advancement device is priced lower than many competitors and costs much less than obtaining a custom mouthpiece from an orthodontist or other specialist. A money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty make the purchase less risky, and its adjustable advancement technology may help you sleep more comfortably than other MADs.
Overall, the VitalSleep mouthpiece may be an appropriate device to help mitigate or eliminate snoring for many people. Check out our reviews on other products, like our Sleep Nora Review for more restful sleep solutions.