Most people snore every now and then, but those that snore frequently find that it can impact the quality of the sleep their family or roommates can get. Loud snoring can lead to irritability, daytime fatigue and health problems. If you are keeping your partner awake at night because you are snoring it can lead to relationship trouble as well.
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring is caused when air is not able to move freely through the mouth and nose when you are sleeping. This can be caused by a narrowing of the airway, wither caused by abnormalities in the tissue in this area or by poor posture while sleeping. When this airway is narrowed it will cause harsh breathing that creates the noise we know as snoring.
People snore for different reasons, so determining why you are snoring is an essential part of the process of stopping snoring. Some people have excess or "floppy" nasal or throat tissue that vibrates more violently when they breathe. In some cases, the tongue is getting in the way of the person's breathing while they sleep. Finding a way to monitor your breathing when you sleep can help you determine why you are snoring so you can determine how to stop snoring.
Sleeping on your back, being out of shape or overweight or simply having an abnormality in your throat can cause snoring to occur. Sinus problems or nasal congestion can also cause snoring. Some people's throats become narrower as they age, causing snoring to occur. Those that smoke or drink alcohol can also snore more than others. Certain medications can also cause the tissue in the throat to excessively relax, leading to snoring at night.
How to Stop Snoring
1. Lifestyle Changes
- Lose weight- Losing weight will reduce the amount of tatty tissue around the back of the throat which may eliminate your snoring.
- Work out- Toning the abs, legs or arms will in turn tone the muscles in the throat, leading to fewer nights of snoring.
- Ban smoking- Smokers are much more likely to snore because this habit blocks the airways by irritating the membranes in the throat and nose. Stop smoking and you will likely stop snoring as well.
- Regulate your sleep- Making a point of creating a consistent bedtime ritual will help you sleep more soundly, helping you to avoid snoring.
- Drink plenty of fluids- If your mouth or throat is dry you are more likely to snore. Staying hydrated throughout the day can cut down on this problem.
- Avoid heavy meals and caffeine- Consuming large quantities or products like caffeine or dairy products can interrupt your sleep, making you more likely to snore.
2. Bedtime Remedies
- Clear your nasal passage- If your nose is stuffed up it will be difficult for you to breathe properly. This creates a vacuum in the throat, causing snoring. Rinsing the nasal passages with a Neti pot or taking a decongestant can help you breathe easier.
- Breathe through your nose- If you sleep with your mouth open you will breathe through the mouth, increasing the vibrations in the throat that cause you to snore. Working to breathe through the nose instead can help eliminate this problem.
- Use a humidifier- Humidifiers will keep your bedroom air moist so they membranes in the throat and nose do not become irritated.
- Watch for your pillows- Elevating the head four inches can help move the jaw and tongue forward so you are less likely to snore. Special pillows that will help you keep this position are available.
- Change sleeping posture- Sleeping on the side will help the soft tissues and tongue drop out of the way so you can breathe more easily.
- Try the tennis ball- If you find sleeping on your back is causing you to snore, place a tennis ball in the back of your pajama shirt, sewing it in place if necessary. If you roll over onto your back, this ball will make you uncomfortable, causing you to turn back onto your side so you will not snore.
- Deal with allergies- If your pillows are old they can be covered in dust mites, pet dander and other issues that can irritate your sinuses while you are trying to sleep. Dust areas like the ceiling fan, wash the bedding and ban pets that might be contributing to your allergies to help you breathe easier at night.
3. Avoid Muscle Relaxers
Medications that relax the muscles in the throat will interfere with the way you breathe. If you are taking these types of medications talk with your doctor about what you can adjust to fix this problem. Medications that put you in a deeper level of sleep can also cause these problems.
4. Practice Throat Exercises
Throat exercises can help build the muscles so you are less likely to snore. Place the tip of the tongue behind the top teeth and slide it backwards for three minutes each day. You can also repeat the vowels a few times or hold the lips in a pursed position for 30 seconds. Opening the mouth and moving the jaw back and forth, holding it on each side for 30 seconds is also effective. You can also open the mouth and contract the muscles in the back of the throat to build your strength.
5. Medical Cures
- CRAP- Continuous positive airway pressure or CRAP is a machine that will blow pressurized air through a mask that you wear on your nose, helping to keep your airways open throughout the night.
- External devices- These devices are similar to a mouth guard. They hold the lower jaw forward, getting the tongue out of the way so you can breathe easier while you sleep.
- Surgeries- Your doctor can surgically remove tissue from the throat or place implants into the soft palate which will be stiffened with scar tissue so your mouth will not vibrate as much when you sleep.
In some cases snoring is a sign that you have an underlying condition that will require further medical treatment. If you snore very loudly or heavily and tend to feel tired throughout the day. Fall asleep suddenly at inappropriate times such as in the middle of a meal or you tend to choke, gasp or stop breathing when you sleep you should contact your doctor right away.