If you snore at least every once in a while, you’re among the 45% of adults in the U.S. who suffer from this issue. And if you’re not a snorer, you probably know someone who is. While your family and friends may tease you for your loud snoring, this is actually a serious condition that requires treatment.
One major complaint about snoring is that it keeps other people awake. Your snoring could affect your spouse’s sleep and may lead you and your partner to start sleeping in separate bedrooms. Dr. Daniel P. Slaughter, a snoring expert, an otolaryngologist at Capital Otolaryngology in Austin, Texas, says that snoring can create serious relationship issues.
Snoring is annoying to hear, but it is also indicative of obstructive sleep apnea, which is present in about 75% of people who snore. Slaughter asserts that sleep apnea raises the risk of heart disease.
Sudhansu Chokroverty, MD, FRCP, FACP, and program director for Clinical Neurophysiology and Sleep Medicine at Edison, New Jersey’s JFK Medical Center, states that many over-the-counter snoring aids are not supported by scientific studies. This is why it’s best to talk to your doctor before trying any non-prescription snoring remedies.
However, you can incorporate some natural remedies and lifestyle adjustments into your sleeping routine that may help you sleep without snoring.
Change Your Sleeping Position
When you lie on your back, your soft palate and the base of your tongue fall to the back of your throat which causes you to produce a deep, vibrating noise while sleeping. If you sleep on your side, you may be able to stop snoring. Slaughter shares that sleeping on a body pillow can help you remain on your side throughout the night. Chokroverty suggests taping tennis balls to the back of your pajamas to keep your nasal passages open and prevent snoring.
Weight loss can also help reduce or eliminate snoring, but this doesn’t work for everyone. Dr. Slaughter asserts that thin people can also suffer from snoring. However, if you gained weight and didn’t snore before gaining the weight, incorporating an improved diet and exercise plan may help. This is especially important if you gain weight in your neck area since this closes the diameter of the throat and increases the chances of snoring.
Don’t Drink Alcohol Before Bed
Alcohol can reduce resting muscle tone in the back of your throat, making you more likely to snore. Chokroverty says that if you drink alcohol four or five hours before going to bed can exacerbate snoring. If you don’t normally snore, you may snore after having a few drinks.
Develop a Good Sleep Hygiene Routine
Unhealthy sleep habits or poor sleep “hygiene” affects your body much like alcohol consumption, according to Dr. Slaughter. If you aren’t getting enough sleep because you work long hours, your body is overtired once you finally have a chance to go to be. The deeper you sleep, the floppier your muscles become, which can lead to snoring.
Open Your Nasal Passages
Opening your nasal passages is helpful if snoring begins in your nose. Dr. Slaughter says this helps the air to move through your nasal cavities at a slower rate. If your nose is narrowed because of a cold or allergies, the rapidly moving air will cause a snoring sound. To open your nasal passages, take a hot shower, Dr. Slaughter recommends. You should also keep a salt water rinse in your shower so you can rinse your nose out while you’re bathing to clear your sinuses.
You can also use a neti pot or nasal strips to help reduce snoring.
Change Your Pillows
The allergens on your pillow and in your bedroom can make snoring worse. Make sure you replace your pillows about every six months. Be sure to dust your ceiling fan as well since the dust from the fan falls on you while you’re sleeping. The dust mites that accumulate on your pillow can lead to allergic reactions which can cause snoring. Don’t allow your pets to sleep in your bedroom if your snore since pet dander can irritate your nasal passages.
Make sure you drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, especially a few hours before bed. Dr. Slaughter asserts that the secretions in your soft palate and nose get stickier when your body is dehydrated, and this creates more snoring. The Institute of Medicine states that women should consume around 11 cups of water from all foods and beverages and men should consume around 16 cups.
Overall, it’s important to make sure that you get adequate sleep, avoid alcohol before bed, and sleep on your side. You should also try taking hot showers before bed if your nose is stuffy or you have clogged nasal passages. These simple solutions can improve your sleep and prevent snoring.