Snoring can be incredibly frustrating, affecting about 45% of adults, with 75% of them also experiencing sleep apnea, a condition where breathing is disrupted during sleep, increasing the risk of heart disease.
If your partner’s snoring is causing relationship issues, you’ve likely scoured the internet for solutions without much success. Over-the-counter pills and sprays can be risky without consulting a doctor.
Fortunately, there are natural remedies you can try that don’t involve medication. Adopting a healthier lifestyle can make a significant difference in reducing snoring. Here are some easy methods to help you stop snoring:
To assist you in finding a solution for your sleepless nights, we’ve conducted thorough research to compile a list of the most effective ways to combat snoring.
Method #1: Improve Your Sleep Position to Reduce Snoring
Many people don’t realise that how you sleep can significantly impact your snoring. Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue and palate to collapse to the back of your throat, leading to vibrations when you breathe and snoring. Changing your sleep position can align your body differently and potentially stop the snoring. If you frequently snore while lying on your back, it’s advisable to try sleeping on your side instead.
Medical experts suggest that body pillows can be a simple solution to prevent you from rolling onto your back during the night. Just place a long pillow against your back to encourage side sleeping, and it can make a noticeable difference. Some individuals even attach tennis balls to the back of their pyjamas to discourage back sleeping. Studies in the Netherlands support the idea that side sleeping can reduce snoring. The rationale behind this is that your airways are less likely to collapse when you sleep on your side.
If you’re considering buying new pillows to help with snoring, don’t forget to replace your old ones. Allergens in your bedroom may contribute to snoring, and when was the last time you changed the pillow you rest your head on every night? Regular fluffing and cleaning of pillows, along with replacement every 6 to 12 months, is recommended.
Another approach is to elevate your head while sleeping to open up your nasal passages, potentially reducing snoring. Some pillows claim to be designed to prevent snoring by providing extra elevation. However, this position might lead to neck discomfort in some cases, so keep that in mind. If your snoring persists even after changing your sleep position, it’s advisable to consult a doctor, as it could be a sign of a more serious condition like sleep apnea.
Method #2: Shed Extra Pounds to Reduce Snoring
A study in the Sleep and Biological Rhythms journal revealed that overweight individuals are 50% more likely to develop snoring issues over a four-year period compared to those at a healthy weight. While weight loss is a recommended strategy to decrease the likelihood of snoring, it may not be effective for everyone.
If you’ve recently gained weight and started snoring for the first time, shedding a few kilograms can be beneficial. This is because the extra weight around your neck can narrow your throat’s internal diameter, making it more prone to collapsing while you sleep. Even losing a small amount of weight, like 2 kilograms, can help by reducing the excess buildup around your neck.
Snoring occurs when the airway collapses, resulting in tighter-than-normal air passage, leading to wheezing or snoring sounds. Weight gain becomes more common as you age, which is why it’s often recommended as a way to address snoring. However, it’s essential to note that weight loss isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and if snoring persists after losing weight, an alternative approach may be necessary.
Staying well-hydrated is another useful method to reduce snoring, particularly during weight loss efforts. Dehydration can cause nasal secretions and the palate to become stickier, increasing the likelihood of airway collapse and snoring. On average, women should aim for 11 cups of water per day, while men should aim for 15 to 16 cups. Prioritising both good hydration and weight management can lead to reduced snoring, so remember to get enough rest in addition to drinking water and losing weight to promote overall health.
Method #3: Say No to Alcohol and Smoking to Reduce Snoring
Consuming alcohol and smoking are significant contributors to developing snoring issues. When you drink alcohol or take sedatives, the muscles in the back of your throat lose their tone. As a result, there’s a common theme here: a relaxed airway is more likely to collapse, leading to snoring. Medical experts have pointed out that even consuming alcohol 4 to 5 hours before bedtime can worsen your snoring. Even individuals who don’t typically snore may snore after drinking.
Often overlooked, common sedatives like sleeping pills can also contribute to snoring. These medications are intended to relax your muscles, but they can inadvertently relax the muscles in your neck, causing your airway to collapse. A narrower airway leads to more noise and snoring.
According to a study from Howard University, smokers are twice as likely to snore compared to non-smokers. Smoking irritates your nasal passages, reducing airflow and making it harder to breathe through your nose.
External factors that irritate your airways or relax your muscles are more likely to make you snore. You can witness this in real-life scenarios, such as when someone has recently undergone surgery and is on strong painkillers and sedatives; they tend to snore loudly due to these substances.
Method #4: Clear Your Nasal Passages to Reduce Snoring
If your snoring seems to originate from your nose, making sure your nasal passages are open can be a helpful solution. Opening these passages allows air to flow more smoothly, reducing the noise when you breathe. To visualise this, think of a garden hose with water running through it, which is being squeezed. The narrower the passage, the faster the water flows. Release the pressure, and the passage widens, causing the water to flow more slowly and steadily—similar to the way you breathe.
If you have allergies, consider using antihistamines to prevent any obstructions in your nasal passages while you sleep. Taking a hot shower before bedtime can also help open up your nasal passages. Neglecting to clean or replace your pillow regularly may lead to a buildup of dust mites, potentially clogging your sinuses. It’s essential to fluff and clean your pillow regularly.
Rinsing your nasal passages with a saltwater solution, whether in or out of the shower, can also be effective. This clears your passages and helps keep them open during sleep. Neti pots are useful tools for this purpose, especially for those with allergies.
If your snoring issue is related to your nose rather than your soft palate, you can also try nasal strips. These strips lift your nasal passages, which can help alleviate snoring.
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Method #5: Incorporate Exercise to Reduce Snoring
Exercise offers various benefits beyond weight loss. It helps you build strength and tone multiple muscles throughout your body, including your arms, legs, chest, and even the muscles in your throat. Strengthening your throat muscles can reduce the likelihood of your airway collapsing and, in turn, decrease your snoring. You can perform specific exercises during the day or before bedtime to target these throat muscles.
Engaging in certain exercises that work the muscles in your upper respiratory tract has been shown to reduce snoring. Here are some exercises that may help:
- Repeat all the vowels out loud three to five times daily.
- Place your tongue behind your top teeth and move it backwards for 3 minutes each day.
- Purse your lips with your mouth closed for 30 seconds.
- Hold your jaw to the right and left with your mouth open for 30 seconds on each side.
- Contract the muscles at the back of your throat with your mouth open for 30 seconds. If done correctly, you should see your uvula moving up and down in a mirror.
- Singing is an effective exercise for strengthening throat muscles. Researchers have found that people who sing are less likely to snore, thanks to the consistent workout their throat muscles receive, reducing the risk of airway collapse.
Last modified: November 6, 2023[mc4wp_form id="5485"]