Are you one of the 45% of adults who snore? It may not wake you up, but it almost certainly prevents your sleeping partner from enjoying a good night’s rest.
To function well in the day time, you both need a good night’s sleep. If snoring is a problem, you should have a medical check-up to be certain you do not have sleep apnea, which can have serious health consequences.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to stop snoring, and here are some ideas.
Change Your Sleep Position
If you sleep on your back, your tongue can fall back, partially blocking your airway and resulting in vibratory snoring. Sleeping on your side may prevent this. You can use pillows or a long body pillow to prevent rolling onto your back.
Another way to prevent yourself from sleeping on your back is to tape a tennis ball to the back of your pajamas. Trying to adjust just the position of your head with special pillows, sold with the promise of positioning your neck in an extended position, can result in a stiff neck the next day. You may even find that sleeping with no pillow has its advantages.
Thin people snore too, but having a thick neck increases the chance of fat pushing down on the internal throat, narrowing the airway which makes snoring worse. Losing weight is especially helpful if you have gained weight and didn’t snore before.
There are special neck exercises that may be useful for some people. They firm up the muscles of the neck, which are less likely to flop in the night. This firmer tone enables the muscles to keep the soft tissues in place.
Alcohol has a sedative effect. This sedative effect means the muscles at the back of your throat relax more than usual when you sleep – and this allows the tongue and soft tissues of the pharynx to droop and partially close off your airway.
To prevent this, avoid drinking alcohol for at least four hours before bed time, and if you are trying to lose weight, remember that alcohol is rich in calories.
Being overtired may worsen snoring, as when you do rest, you sleep deeply and your muscles in your neck flop down, increasing snoring.
Allergies cause swelling of the cells lining the nose and an increase in the secretions from the nose and upper airways. The house dust mite is a common irritant, but pet dander, and some types of bedding may also contribute to snoring. Using smooth material for bedding, curtains and floor covering can help the allergy sufferer, as can frequent vacuuming of the bed and daily wet dusting. This cleansing can be quite a chore, so it’s easier just to ban pets from your bed and change your sheets and pillow cases frequently.
You should change your pillows every six months or so anyway, to eliminate the house dust mite and other irritants.
If allergies are a severe problem for you, your doctor may be able to suggest a remedy such as antihistamines, which are themselves sleep provoking, but also muscle relaxing, which can make snoring worse. If your snoring persists discuss alternatives with your doctor.
You need to keep your tissues well hydrated. Secretions in your nose and soft palate become stickier when they are dry – and this makes snoring more likely. Men need about 16 cups of fluid and women around 11 cups a day. Taking a hot shower before bed can also loosen the secretions. As can rinsing out your nose with salt water using a neti pot.
Smoking is another cause of nasal congestion and inflammation. This congestion and inflammation makes snoring worse – so giving it up will help, as well as helping your general health. There are many anti-smoking aids and clinics. You can try the electronic cigarettes or even hypnosis – which has a very good success rate.
Devices which may help
If you snore through your nose, keeping your nose open with nasal strips is easy to test out.
If you snore through your open mouth, you need a device which keeps your mouth closed. There are specially designed mouth guards and chin straps which can be very effective.
If you snore because your tongue falls back, a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) will help to keep your jaw in a forward position, thus reducing snoring.
This option is a last resort. It is not easy, it is not always effective, it is painful, and it is also expensive.
Chief editor here at Snore Nation and a proud father of two cool boys. I am a reformed snorer, a reformed smoker, a reformed overeater, a reformed city dweller and a reformed workaholic stress monster on the mission to share my insider tips to restore that quality sleep for you and your partner!