American Sleep Union is a night guard for your mouth that claims to stop snoring and sleep apnea and is the #1 tray in the world. American Sleep Union touts their sleep apnea device is cleared by the FDA, is comfortable and safe so you will enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.
What is sleep apnea and why do I have it?
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects 18-22 million Americans; although anyone can get it, it is primarily found in overweight men over 40 years of age.
The most common type of sleep apnea is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), where the soft tissue in the back of the mouth relaxes, partially closing or blocking airflow. This results in the person stopping breathing temporarily, which can possibly lead to your body and brain not getting enough oxygen.
OSA can cause a person to be very tired during the day or have headaches as well as lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart failure. In other words, left untreated it can seriously affect your health and your life.
There is another type of sleep apnea called Central Sleep Apnea (CSA), which is a failure of the brain to send a signal to the lungs to breathe. This is less common but potentially more serious. (American Sleep Union’s sleep apnea device only treats OSA.)
How does American Sleep Union claim to treat my sleep apnea?
American Sleep Union is a device said to be cleared by the FDA for sleep apnea. This means that the mouthpiece is similar enough to another legally marketed device that it can be sold without rigorous testing so long as they submit the proper paperwork.
American Sleep Union is essentially a custom-fitted night guard that is said to move the jaw forward, causing the throat to open and air to flow into the lungs unobstructed.
To use/wear American Sleep Union, you need mold it to your teeth. This is not as difficult as it may sound, as they send you a kit containing everything you need, but you must do it carefully and correctly. This involves heating the trays in the oven for 7 minutes, and biting into the soft material for 5 minutes for both the upper and lower teeth.
Since this is a medical device, the next important thing you need is a signature from your dentist, which you must include on the form you send to American Sleep Union along with your trays.
American Sleep Union will then “make necessary adjustments” to make the device move your jaw forward (meaning the American Sleep Union trays are connected together with Velcro) and send it back to you, ready to use.
Is there any proof that American Sleep Union will work for my sleep apnea?
American Sleep Union cites a study by the California Dental Board, which they say concluded the American Sleep Union oral appliance was the most comfortable to wear and easiest to use.
In this report, they note that the American Sleep Union appliance is referred to as the Hilsen appliance. Indeed, the report does say “The Hilsen appliance was extremely easy to deliver and very comfortable and effective,” which is highlighted in yellow.
However, not highlighted is: “The edge of the Velcro was bothersome to the tongue until it was trimmed with an acrylic bur.”
And: “The Hilsen seems to fit more loosely over time, and the Velcro strips seem to partly tear loose but they are secured with monofilament thread.”
The Hilsen appliance is FDA approved, and does receive a strong endorsement in a video from Feller Dental, where a dentist says the Hilsen is durable and comfortable.
The Hilsen appliance is said to require 2 visits to the dentist to make and looks like this:
On the other hand, the American Sleep Union appliance requires just a dentist’s signature and looks like this:
Conclusion: the American Sleep Union mouthpiece may be based upon the design of the Hilsen (which is why it is FDA cleared) but it is likely less durable and form-fitting for your mouth.
How much does American Sleep Union charge for their sleep apnea mouth guard?
American Sleep Union offers a trial of their appliance for $9.95 shipping. What this means is they will ship you the kit to make your molds, which you must bite and send back to them as indicated above.
If you like American Sleep Union, they tell you to do nothing and continue enjoying the device. After 30 days from the initial shipment date, you will be charged $59.95 and then again at the 60 day mark for a total of $129.85.
Is there a refund for American Sleep Union’s sleep apnea appliance?
No. American Sleep Union has a return policy where if they receive it before any payment is due, they will not charge your credit card.
American Sleep Union customer service: 866-669-1340.
Is there a warranty for American Sleep Union?
Yes. American Sleep Union states there is a 6-month warranty where they will repair or replace the device under normal use.
Is there a guarantee that American Sleep Union will work?
No. The website states “an oral appliance for sleep apnea and snoring is effective 80% of the time in mild to moderate sleep apnea and is under 50% for extreme sleep apnea.” Therefore, they state they can only guarantee it is “as effective as other oral appliances and cannot guarantee the results.”
Bottom Line: Is American Sleep Union a good appliance to stop my sleep apnea?
Probably not. Generally speaking, it is true that an oral appliance is a useful alternative to the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP machine) machine prescribed by many doctors and considered the most effective solution to eliminating sleep apnea.
But these CPAP machines are bulky – you essentially are wearing a breathing mask all night long that forces oxygen into your lungs – and many people eventually stop using them because of difficulty adjusting to it. While an oral appliance is not as effective, studies show they are worn 77% of the time at night. However, not all makes and models of sleep apnea mouthpieces are equal.
“All three times I put it in my mouth I gagged within 30 seconds,” reads one review, that also notes they don’t give refunds. A positive reviewer counters that aside from a soreness in the jaw, it is a much better alternative to the CPAP.
But HERE’S the main problem with both American Sleep Union: the window you have to try them is shorter than most customers realize, which causes them to lose at least $69.90.
This is because your 60 days begin from the date the product is first SHIPPED to you. Then you have to ship it back to get it fitted and then it is returned to you for use. If you do return the appliance it must also be RECEIVED before the time period is up.
We called customer service and they explained in addition to the 3-5 days it takes for you to get American Sleep Union, it will likely take 3-5 days to ship it back to them. Then it takes 5-7 days for them to fit it and ship it back to you.
This means you may eat up at least15 days of your 30-day trial before you even get to try it. Once day 30 passes, they will charge you $59.95 and again at the 60 day mark and no refunds are allowed. No wonder consumers are so irate!
We suggest: talking to your doctor/dentist and making sure you are diagnosed with sleep apnea first, then discuss treatment options with them. Oral appliances are not a cure-all but seem to be less of a pain than the CPAP or surgery. (An easier remedy is to lose some weight.)
Let us know what you think below!