It is not uncommon for someone to snore when air passes through the relaxed tissues of the throat while sleeping. But not all snoring is the same. Snoring can range from a minor annoyance to an indicator of a more serious condition like sleep apnea.
For many people, a few lifestyle changes and home modifications can help reduce or stop snoring. Here are some tips to try, and when it’s time to see a doctor about your snoring.
There are many possible causes of snoring.
Snoring occurs when the throat tissues relax during sleep, partially blocking the airways and vibrating as air passes. The more restricted the air flow, the more the tissues vibrate, increasing the sound of snoring. There are several possible causes for the restricted airflow:
Chronic nasal congestion or deviated nasal septum
Drink alcohol before bed
Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
Have a low, thick and soft palate
Not getting enough sleep
Sleeping on your back
Continuous or worsened snoring can lead to more serious conditions.
Regular snoring may not be a noticeable problem for you if you sleep alone, and if you sleep with a partner you may think that it is nothing more than a nuisance to the other person. However, if snoring is associated with obstructive sleep apnea (when you or almost stop breathing, several times a night), it can lead to more serious problems.
For example, you may experience daytime sleepiness or have difficulty concentrating. You may also experience frequent frustration or anger due to a lack of quality sleep. Because you’re not getting a good night’s sleep, you could also be at risk for heart problems, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Stop snoring naturally with a few key lifestyle changes.
To stop snoring naturally, there are several lifestyle changes you can try that can have the effect you want. The first is to lose weight. Since being overweight or obese is a risk factor for snoring, weight loss can reduce or even eliminate snoring altogether.
Another lifestyle change is to avoid drinking alcohol near bedtime. Alcohol relaxes the muscles in the throat, which can increase the risk of snoring.
Changing your sleeping position can also reduce or stop snoring naturally. Most people tend to snore the most (and the loudest) when sleeping on their backs. The effects of gravity on the soft tissues near the throat narrows the airways, restricting air flow. Sleeping on your side can improve air circulation and reduce snoring.
Finally, if you smoke, quitting smoking can help snoring because it can help open narrowed airways.
Treatment for snoring can also include several home remedies.
There are a number of home remedies you can try to reduce or stop snoring. For example, raising the head of your bed about 4 inches can help open your airways while you sleep, thereby reducing snoring. If you suffer from nasal congestion, you can try a decongestant to clear up the congestion and improve air circulation. Using a humidifier to increase the humidity in the air can also help reduce nasal congestion. In addition, adhesive nasal strips applied to the bridge of the nose can help open the airways.
To stop snoring, tongue and face exercises can help.
According to the Sleep Foundation, there are a variety of exercises you can try to help reduce or eliminate snoring. These exercises focus on strengthening the tongue, facial muscles and throat. They understand:
Stick your tongue out as far as possible, trying to touch your chin while looking at the ceiling. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Each time, try to increase the amount of time you hold your tongue.
Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth and hold for 10 seconds.
Close your mouth by pursing your lips, then slowly open while releasing your jaw and lips.
Pull lightly on your right cheek using a hooked finger. Use your facial muscles to pull your cheek back. Repeat on the left side.
Medical treatments for snoring include appliances and surgery.
If your snoring is accompanied by obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor may prescribe medical treatment for snoring to help resolve the problem. A common medical treatment for snoring is an oral appliance, which is a dental mouthpiece that positions your jaw, tongue, and palate to promote optimal air circulation.
Another effective medical treatment for snoring is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. With a CPAP, you place a mask over your nose or mouth while sleeping. The machine pumps pressurized air into your airways to keep them open. Although it can be an effective treatment to stop snoring, many people find it difficult to adjust to the machine.
If your snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are severe, your doctor may recommend upper airway surgery to open the airways and prevent them from contracting. There are several of these procedures, including uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), maxillomandibular advancement (MMA), radiofrequency tissue ablation, and hypoglossal nerve stimulation.
It may take a while to find the right snoring solution for you. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options so that you can find relief and reap the many benefits of a good night’s sleep.