How to Help Reduce SnoringDecember 14, 2022
Do you snore? Chances are, you do. In fact, 48% of American adults snore, according to research from the CDC. So if you’re among the many who snore or share your bed with someone who does, you may be looking for ways to reduce or even eliminate the snoring. We’ll walk you through what snoring is, what causes it and strategies for reducing snoring. From swapping mattresses to offer more sleep position possibilities to healthy lifestyle habits, we’ll cover it all.
What Is Snoring?
Snoring is the rough sound that happens when air flows over relaxed tissues in your throat, triggering the tissues to vibrate. This usually happens when you sleep on your back, which allows your tongue and soft palate to collapse into your airway. The resulting obstruction partially blocks airflow, and turbulence causes the tissues to vibrate, leading to that characteristic snoring sound.
What Causes Snoring?
Many considerations can contribute to snoring, including:
- Being overweight or obese – Fatty tissue around the neck can narrow the airway, making snoring more likely.
- Use of alcohol or sedatives – These substances relax the muscles in your throat, making it more likely for your airway to collapse during sleep.
- Nasal congestion – A stuffy nose makes airflow through your nasal passages difficult, so it’s more likely to escape through your mouth while you sleep.
- Sleep position – Sleeping on your back allows gravity to pull the tongue and soft palate back into the throat, which can block the airway and cause snoring.
Tips for Reducing Snoring
Whether you’re snoring up a storm each night and disturbing your partner or they’re the one bothering you, there are things that you can both do to help reduce snoring.
1. See a Doctor
You must see a doctor to rule out any underlying health conditions if you snore regularly. Sleep apnea, for example, is a severe condition that can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and other health problems. A doctor can also prescribe treatments that can help to reduce or eliminate snoring.
2. Change Your Sleep Position
Sleeping on your back can cause the soft tissue in your throat to collapse and block your airway, leading to snoring. Sleeping on your side can help to prevent this from happening. If you’ve always slept on your back, it might take a bit to get used to sleeping on your side. But trust us, it’s worth it. If sleeping on your side leaves you cramped or sore, you may need to replace your mattress. Memory foam mattresses are great for side sleeping because they provide the support and pressure relief that side sleepers need.
3. Elevate Your Head While You Sleep
Sleeping with your head elevated can help prevent snoring by keeping the soft tissue in your throat from collapsing and blocking your airway. You can use bedding pillows to prop up your head or invest in a special pillow designed for this purpose. Alternatively, you may want to consider adjustable beds, which can be raised or lowered to achieve the perfect sleeping position.
4. Use Nasal Strips
Nasal strips are small strips of tape that you place over your nose to help keep your nasal passages open. This can help to reduce or eliminate snoring by allowing more air to flow through your nose. You can find these strips at most drugstores.
5. Try a Mouthguard
Mouthguards are designed to keep the soft tissue in your throat from collapsing and blocking your airway. Pulling your lower jaw forward keeps the airway open and cuts down on those vibrations that cause snoring. You can find mouthguards at most drugstores or online. They are similar to the mouthguards worn by athletes and can be purchased at most drugstores or online. Learning to sleep with a mouthguard may take some time, but it’s worth it if it means getting a good night’s sleep.
6. Avoid Alcohol Before Bedtime
Drinking alcohol before bedtime relaxes the muscles in your throat and makes it more likely that you will snore. If you regularly drink alcohol before bedtime, try cutting back or avoiding it altogether to see if it makes a difference in your snoring.
7. Stop Taking Sedatives
Similar to alcohol use, sedatives relax the muscles in your throat and make snoring more likely. If you take sedatives regularly, talk to your doctor about other options. There may be a non-sedative option that can help you sleep without causing snoring.
8. Keep Your Nasal Passages Clear
If you have nasal congestion, it can make snoring worse. To clear your nasal passages, use a saline spray or neti pot to rinse away irritants and allergens. You can also take an over-the-counter medication like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) to dry up excess mucus. Just be sure that it isn’t a non-drowsy formula, as these may contain stimulants that will keep you awake at night.
9. Lose Weight
If you are overweight, losing a few pounds can make a big difference in your snoring. Excess weight can cause the soft tissue in your throat to collapse and block your airway. Losing even a little bit of weight can help reduce or eliminate snoring.
10. Quit Smoking
Smoking cigarettes causes inflammation and swelling in the throat’s tissues, leading to snoring. If you smoke cigarettes, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your health and your snoring problem. If you’re having issues with stopping, speak to your doctor or pharmacist about nicotine replacement products or other options that can help.
11. Treat and Prevent Allergies
Allergies cause many problems for those suffering from them and can also worsen snoring. Steps to prevent allergies, like using HEPA filters in your home and a saline nasal spray, can help. If you’re already suffering from allergies, talk to your doctor about medications that can help to relieve your symptoms.
12. Use a Humidifier
Last, using a humidifier can help keep the tissues in your throat moist, reducing swelling and inflammation. This can lead to less snoring. Be sure to clean your humidifier regularly to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
These are just a few things you can do to reduce or eliminate snoring. If you’re struggling to find a solution that works for you, talk to your doctor or sleep specialist about other options. With a little trial and error, you should be able to find a way to stop the snoring and get a good night’s sleep.