How to Stop Snoring: 20 Easy Remedies
The National Sleep Foundation reports that snoring affects 90 million adults. It can lead to a poor quality of sleep, making it difficult to function the next day. Sleep apnea, a condition which causes snoring, has been linked to high blood pressure and heart disease.
Even if you don’t notice the effects yourself, loud snoring can disrupt the sleep of anyone who shares a bed with you. For these reasons and more, most people who snore are constantly looking to find ways to stop snoring and are eager to try potential snoring remedies.
Why Do People Snore?
According to the American Sleep Association, snoring is caused when air flow through the nose and mouth is restricted. When the air flow is partially obstructed by tissues, these tissues vibrate and create the snoring sound. Common causes of snoring include obesity, allergies and alcohol or sleeping pills.
Not all snoring is equal—in fact, there are several different types of snorers. Snoring types are identified based on where they originate.
Nasal snorers have partially blocked nasal passages, often caused by congestion or a deviated septum. About half of snorers are tongue-based snorers, a type of snoring that happens when the soft tissues in your mouth and throat become too relaxed and block airflow. Mouth snorers tend to breathe through their mouth when they sleep, and the soft tissues of the palate vibrate against each other.
Snoring may also be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder that happens when the throat completely narrows and restricts airflow.
20 Easy Ways to Stop Snoring
Snoring can be disruptive, frustrating and poor for health. Luckily, there are a number of easy remedies to help curb or end snoring. Read on to find out how you can stop snoring for good—tonight.
Tip 1: Change Your Sleeping Position
Sleeping on your back often makes snoring worse, since it can cause your tongue to move to the back of your throat and restrict airflow. To remedy the situation, try sleeping on your side.
You can position yourself with pillows to prevent yourself from rolling over, or make it physically uncomfortable to roll onto your back by putting tennis balls into a pillow or sewn T-shirt pocket.
Tip 2: Use a Humidifier
While a humidifier won’t cure snoring, dry air can irritate your nose and throat. Humidifiers add moisture to the air and make it more comfortable to breathe. A portable unit set up next to your bed can add moisture to the air where you need it the most. A vaporizer produces a warm mist, which is the easiest to breathe and the most soothing to throats and mouths that are dry and irritated.
Tip 3: Keep A Clean Sleep Environment
Allergens such as dust and pet hair can irritate nasal passageways, reduce air flow through the nose and trigger snoring. It may be helpful to reduce dust mites and pet dander in your bedroom by vacuuming regularly and using allergen-proof bed covers.
You may also need to change your mattress or pillow before it can break down and collect allergens.
Tip 4: Stay Hydrated
Your nose or throat can become irritated or inflamed if they are too dry, leading to snoring. Drinking the recommended amount of water (approximately 2.7 liters for women and 3.7 liters for men) during the day can ensure that mucus membranes are provided with enough water.
Stop drinking water 90 minutes before bedtime so you aren’t waking at night to use the bathroom.
Tip 5: Elevate Your Head
Sleeping in an elevated position can help keep your airways open and eliminate snoring. An adjustable bed can help prevent snoring by allowing you to elevate the head of the bed by four inches.
You may also want to try a different pillow, but be sure that your pillow doesn’t cause your head to tilt forward, which can worsen snoring.
Tip 6: Use Essential Oils
Essential oils like lavender are known to soothe and help promote sleep, while oils such as eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree and marjoram are often used to help combat congestion.
To stop snoring naturally, you can apply these oils topically (diluted with a carrier oil) or add them to a diffuser.
Tip 7: Gargle with Peppermint
Studies have shown that making a throat spray or gargling with certain essential oils can significantly reduce snoring. Peppermint has anti-inflammatory properties and can help shrink the membranes in the lining of the mouth and open the nasal passages.
Add two to three drops of peppermint essential oil to water and gargle before going to bed.
Tip 8: Lose Weight
Obesity is one of the most important risk factors of snoring and sleep apnea, especially if there is extra fatty tissue around the neck.
If you are overweight, the best thing you can do to stop snoring naturally is to exercise and lose weight.
Tip 9: Avoid Eating Big Meals Before Bed
A full stomach can affect your breathing because the digestive process relaxes the throat and tongue muscles. Avoid heavy meals or snacks three hours before retiring to sleep.
Be cautious of what you eat as well; you should avoid especially spicy foods which can trigger indigestion and irritate the throat.
Tip 10: Cut out Alcohol Before Bed
Alcohol causes the muscles to relax, which can lead to snoring or make it worse. Even people who don’t normally snore may snore after drinking alcohol. Avoid alcohol four hours before bedtime to decrease the likelihood of snoring.
Tip 11: Avoid Eating Dairy Before Bed
Milk-based or high-fat foods have been proven to thicken mucus in air passageways and make existing mucus harder to loosen, which can restrict airflow and make snoring worse.
This is true for those who are lactose-intolerant as well as those who aren’t. Reduce or eliminate dairy close to bedtime for a better night’s sleep.
Tip 12: Keep Your Nose Clear
You are more likely to snore if you breathe through your mouth rather than your nose. Insert a nasal dilator into your nostrils before sleeping to open your nasal pathways and increase airflow. Or use an over-the-counter nasal spray to open up your nasal cavities and help ease the symptoms of blocked passageways.
Tip 13: Watch out for Seasonal Allergies
Allergies that cause nasal congestion or cause scratchy throats could cause snoring. If you have chronic or seasonal allergies, ask your doctor for advice on how to reduce symptoms with an allergy medication.
Be aware that antihistamines can be a cause of snoring, however, because they relax the tongue and throat muscles. Using nasal saline irrigation to rinse out nasal passages with salt water can help you breathe easier.
Tip 14: Stop Smoking
Smoking irritates the nose and the throat and causes trouble breathing through the nose. If you need help quitting smoking, ask your doctor about aids such as gum or patches to help you kick the habit.
You should see an improvement in your snoring a couple weeks after quitting.
Tip 15: Get More Sleep
Snoring can be more prevalent during the early stages of falling asleep or during lighter sleep so being overtired or having poor sleep habits can cause snoring.
Establishing a regular sleep pattern and improving your sleep hygiene could help you get into a deeper sleep and “skip” the snoring.
Tip 16: Avoid Sleeping Pills
Sedatives, muscle relaxers, sleeping pills and antihistamines can relax the mouth and throat muscles and cause snoring. You may hope to improve your sleep quality by taking these types of medications, but you may find you actually sleep better and snore less without them.
Tip 17: Exercise Your Facial Muscles
Studies have shown that mouth and tongue exercises significantly curb snoring. One oropharyngeal exercise is to push the tip of the tongue against the roof of your mouth and slide your tongue backward.
Even chewing gum or playing wind instruments such as the didgeridoo can strengthen the airways and help treat sleep apnea.
Tip 18: Use an Anti-Snoring Device
Dental-made appliances such as mouthguards bring your lower jaw and/or tongue forward to help open your airways. Other devices such as anti-snoring pillows, pills and nasal strips are available, and all are designed with the intention of increasing airflow in your nose and/or throat.
The results vary from person to person and may not work depending on the cause of your snoring.
Tip 19: Rule Out Serious Medical Conditions
Loud snoring could be an indicator of something more serious, such as sleep apnea. Other common symptoms of sleep apnea are witnessed pauses in breathing, gasping for air during sleep and restless sleep.
Since there are health risks associated with untreated sleep apnea, you may want to undergo a sleep study or consult a sleep specialist to get a diagnosis.
Tip 20: Consider a Medical Cure
If the above remedies don’t work but your snoring isn’t the result of an underlying medical condition, a doctor could recommend a medical device or surgical procedure. Some treatments include: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP), Palatal implants or the Pillar procedure or Somnoplasty.
Your doctor or sleep specialist can talk to you about the potential for success and possible complications to determine which one is right for you.
Snoring can be disruptive to your sleep. Luckily, simple behavioral remedies can mean that you wake up well-rested and refreshed. If snoring has affected your partner’s sleep quality, these changes can also help improve your relationship.
If you are looking for ways to stop snoring fast, taking measures such as sleeping on your side, cutting out alcohol and establish regular sleep patterns can lead to immediate improvement.