6 Ways to Stop Snoring

Chronic snoring has serious consequences. Here are 6 ways you can stop.

Do you snore? If you don’t know, almost certainly the person you sleep with will have an opinion on the subject. The world’s largest association of Ear, Nose and Throat doctors tells us that 45% of adults snore occasionally and 25% do it all the time.

Snoring is a big deal. Your own loud snoring can disrupt your bed partner’s sleep (so-called second hand exhaustion). If you make so much noise that your own sleep is disturbed you might have a much more serious problem, such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The snoring-induced chronic sleepiness that you both experience leads to grumpy people. Relationships suffer, which is never good. Does this sound familiar? Read on for some tips on how to prevent your nightly noise.

Basic Snoring Mechanisms

Where does your snoring come from? There’s a variety of locales to blame. But, snoring is most often generated from a combination of places.

Palate – that thing that dangles at the back of the throat has a name, the Uvula. It is part of the “soft palate”, or the floppy tissue at the back of the throat. When you are asleep it slackens. Snoring can happen if your breathing vibrates the uvula.

Tongue – when you sleep your tongue relaxes along with the rest of your body. If it falls backwards into your throat it will shake, rattle, and roll you to a poor night’s sleep.

Nasal Constriction or Congestion – congestion due to cold or allergy, collapsing nostrils or constriction farther up your nasal airways can all be causes of snoring. Inhaling through a congested or narrowed nose contributes to palatal vibration and tongue collapse.

Six Simple Tips You Can Try to Stop Snoring (and restore bliss in your house)

  1. Don’t sleep on your back. This may sound easy, but it’s more complicated than it seems. When you are asleep you don’t have control over how your body position. Even if you tell yourself to sleep on your side, your sleeping mind will put you in whatever position you are used to. One classic answer is to sleep in a tee shirt with a tennis ball sewn to the back – it works! Wedging a full-length body pillow behind you may help keep you on your side. Either way is better than your partner’s elbow hitting you repeatedly after you roll onto your back and the snoring starts again.
  2. Don’t drink alcohol before bedtime. A nightcap might sound useful, but the effect of alcohol on your sleep is not so great. Intoxication can interfere with sleep quality, and more relaxed throat muscles could make you more likely to snore. Booze and bedtime are not a great combination.
  3. Change your pillows. Sometimes allergens are living right under your nose. If you are sensitive to dust and dust mites, consider getting a fresh start with hypoallergenic pillows. Vacuuming dust off your ceiling fan, blinds, and curtains also decreases your exposure to irritants that could affect your nose and trigger your snoring.
  4. Open the inside of your nasal passages. Nasal allergies may contribute to your snoring. Treating nasal allergies with home remedies like nasal saline rinses or non-prescription medicines including nasal steroids could help open nasal passages and decrease snoring.
  5. Open the outside of your nose. Nasal strips gently pull open the sides of the nose, increasing internal airflow. These are particularly helpful if your nose collapses when you inhale. Unfortunately, as a fashion statement they are usually best worn in the bedroom.
  6. Lose Weight. This sounds so easy, and turns out to be so hard. But losing weight to a healthy level is positive on so many levels. Losing fat around the waist is easy to understand, but fatty tissue can also affect overweight and obese people in the neck and the throat. Dropping weight can help relieve narrowing in your throat. A less constricted throat can mean less annoying snoring, and better sleep for you and your bed partner!

Work your way through this list to learn which suggestions work for you. If you have tried just about everything but are still being kicked out of the bedroom, you should see your doctor, because loud and persistent snoring may be a sign of a more serious health problem. Your doctor might refer you to a snoring specialist who will have tests for assessing your problem snoring, and tools for stopping it.

About The Author: Mark T. Brown, MD, MBA is the author of the book Smarter Sleep: Real Answers, Science-Based Solutions, Healthier Sleep. He is the founder of Great Hills ENT and Sleep Lab, in Austin, Texas.

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