How to Stop Snoring: Tips And Remedies
There are many ways to address the underlying issues and stop snoring. Snoring has ruined many a peaceful night’s sleep in countless households. Not only can someone's snoring make it difficult for their cohabitants to get a decent night's rest, but it can also pose significant health risks.
We will walk you through common ways to help with snoring.
What Is Snoring?
Snoring is a harsh rattling or grumbling sound that occurs when airflow in the mouth, nose, and throat is obstructed by relaxed tissues during sleep.
Snoring is fairly common among adults. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, roughly 45 percent of adults snore on occasion, while a quarter of all adults can be considered regular snorers.
Snoring is more common in middle-aged and elderly men, postmenopausal women, and people who are overweight.
Why Do You Snore?
You snore because of air passing through a constricted airway.
When you fall asleep, all the muscles in your neck and throat relax. That sounds like a good thing, but sometimes these muscles can become too relaxed. When that happens, the airway through your nose and throat gets narrower, making it difficult for air to pass through as you breathe.
When air passes through a narrow airway, the tissues inside it vibrate – creating a most horrible concerto that no one enjoys listening to. The narrower your airway, the louder the snoring.
Some people are more predisposed to snoring thanks to the composition of their mouth, nose, and/or throat muscles and tissues. Others become more prone to snoring due to certain lifestyle choices and habits. Snoring can be caused or worsened by:
- Drinking alcohol or taking medication that can restrict airflow such as muscle relaxants or tranquilizers
- Having an enlarged or inflamed tongue, tonsils, or uvula
- Congested and inflamed airways due to a cold, allergies, or flu
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy
- Being overweight and having excess body fat, particularly around the face and neck
Does Snoring Mean You Have Sleep Apnea?
Snoring doesn't necessarily mean you have sleep apnea. Most of the time, snoring is considered a minor issue that can be remedied with some simple techniques and habit changes that help keep that airway more open.
Sleep apnea, on the other hand, causes brief interruptions in breathing during sleep. This happens periodically throughout the night and can last anywhere between a few seconds to over a minute. Because sleep apnea cuts off one's oxygen supply so often, it can eventually lead to serious health conditions such as hypertension, cardiomyopathy, heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.
There are three major types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the throat muscles relax, obstructing airflow. It’s the most common type of sleep apnea.
- Central sleep apnea (CSA): When your brain doesn’t send the signals to your muscles to breathe, it results in CSA.
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome (CompSAS): CompSAS is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Aside from putting sufferers at greater risk for cardiovascular problems and diabetes, sleep apnea also often leaves people sleep-deprived. This eventually leads to excessive daytime sleepiness, chronic fatigue, poor memory and concentration, depression, and anxiety.
How Can I Stop Snoring?
You can stop or manage mild snoring through various lifestyle changes, such as:
Get Plenty Of Exercise
This seems to be the answer for almost everything, doesn’t it? Believe it or not, exercise can help improve muscle tone in the neck and throat, which helps keep you from snoring during the night.
Sleepers who are overweight are up to two times more likely to snore than those who aren’t – they may have extra tissues in the throat that narrow their airways and lead to chronic snoring.
Change Your Sleep Position
Back sleepers are typically the most likely to start snoring. When you sleep on your back, it’s easy for your tongue to fall backward into your throat, which makes you snore while breathing.
If you try sleeping on your side instead, you and your sleeping partner may notice a dramatic drop in snoring activity. Raising your head can help open your airways a bit more to make breathing quieter.
You can always invest in an adjustable bed frame. With this type of bed frame, you can change the incline of the head of the bed so you can sleep more upright without any additional pillows (or tennis balls) propping you up.
Read more on adjustable bed frames and snoring.
Snoring is just one of the many health problems exacerbated by smoking. Smoking irritates and inflames the lining of your airways as well as encourages mucus production, both things that make people more likely to snore.
If you think you’ll have trouble quitting, your doctor can recommend a good plan to help you stop the habit for good.
Use A Humidifier
Sometimes, dry air in your bedroom can cause your throat and nose to dry out and become irritated, which leads to snoring. Using a humidifier can help keep you breathing moist air that’s more soothing and comfortable for a good night’s sleep. The extra humidity in the room also helps air to pass through your nose and throat more easily — and more quietly.
Establish A Consistent Sleep Routine
Having a regular bedtime schedule and getting a consistent amount of restful sleep every night can go a long way toward cutting down on snoring.
Studies show that sleep deprivation is a common cause of snoring. When you’re overtired, you tend to get more deep sleep, which makes the muscles of the neck and throat even less likely to properly support your airway. If you’re an adult, you should be getting at least seven hours of sleep per night.
Clean Nasal Passages Before Bed
A nasal saline rinse is a simple way to help cut down on snoring. If you’re wrestling with allergies or nasal congestion, that often causes mouth breathing while you sleep, which compresses your throat and can lead to – you guessed it – snoring. In addition, narrowed nasal passages just make it difficult for air to move through your nose comfortably and without noise.
Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Certain foods are known to increase inflammation within our bodies – and increased inflammation can also lead to snoring. The two most likely culprits are dairy and gluten, so if your diet is heavy on those two items, look for ways to cut back.
You don’t have to panic and quit everything cold turkey, but if you have an opportunity to reduce the amounts of gluten and dairy in your diet, it might be worth doing so to see if that helps reduce your snoring.
Be Careful With Alcohol And Sedatives
Many people like to have a glass of wine before bed or use medication to wind down and help them fall asleep, but a habit like this can lead you down a slippery slope. Drugs and sedatives are known to relax the throat muscles, which can cause you to snore.
Reduce Bedroom Allergens
Everything from dust to outdoor allergens can find its way into your bedroom and your bed. Make sure you’re changing and cleaning your beddings regularly to rid yourself of allergens and environmental irritants that can make it difficult to breathe without snoring. Dust mites, especially, can build up in your pillow. If you have a pet that sleeps with you, there may be pet dander added to the mix as well.
More info on bedroom allergies.
Treat Sleep Apnea
If all of these treatments have led you to a dead end, it may be time to talk with your doctor about whether there’s a relationship between your snoring and sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea cannot be treated with lifestyle changes and natural remedies alone. For some patients, wearing a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask during sleep is the most effective solution. This mask feeds pressurized air into the airway throughout the night to keep it open and reduce snoring.
Other people are fitted with a type of mouth device that can adjust the position of their jaw, tongue, and soft palate. This is to be worn during sleep as it keeps the air passage open throughout the night.
Surgery may be required to address severe sleep apnea.
Other Snoring And Sleep Tips From Men's Health
In addition to the ten tips mentioned above, here’s some extra advice to prevent snoring and get a good night’s sleep:
- Take a hot shower before bed to unclog your nose and prevent snoring.
- Do breathing exercises to center yourself and condition your body to sleep.
- Avoid drinking coffee or tea after midday.
- Switch electronic screens off one hour before bed.
- Turn all the lights off before you sleep at night.
When To Talk To Your Doctor
While approaching a doctor or a sleep expert for snoring may seem embarrassing, you shouldn't feel that way. Snoring is incredibly common and hundreds of people seek treatments for snoring all the time. Here are some tell-tale signs that it's time to consult a doctor for your snoring:
- You experience symptoms of sleep apnea such as loud snoring that can be heard in another room, choking or gasping for air in your sleep, and waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat.
- You are frequently fighting sleep during the day.
- You feel constantly fatigued and do not feel well-rested despite getting enough sleep.
- You frequently wake up with a headache.
- You have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night.
- Any of the aforementioned remedies do not do anything to reduce your snoring.
Stop Snoring Now
Whether you have sleep apnea or not, there’s a big difference between the infrequent bout of snoring and consistent, trumpeting, keep-everyone-else-awake snoring that can lead to poor sleep for both the snorer and his/her sleeping partner.
If you want to sleep better and improve your overall quality of life, consider the aforementioned tips to stop snoring. Some people will have to keep experimenting until they find a viable treatment (or combination of treatments) for their heavy snoring.
Just remember to be patient. Soon enough, you'll be well on your way to a quiet and restful night’s sleep – for everyone in the house. Sweet dreams!
How do you stop snoring quickly?
One of the quickest ways to stop or reduce snoring is by changing your sleep posture. Sleeping on your side or keeping your head elevated are known to keep snoring at a minimum.
Can I train myself not to snore?
You can train yourself not to snore with various mouth exercises and even singing.
What is a natural cure for snoring?
Exercise is an excellent natural cure for snoring. It keeps you from becoming overweight, which is a leading cause of snoring.