There are about 45% of adults who snore at least occasionally.
Although it is not a real concern if it happens at times, it becomes an issue which requires action especially if you snore quite often in the evening. Snoring affects the level of your sleep which can lead to insufficient daytime performance as well as increases the risk for heart diseases.
What is more, snoring is a big issue if you sleep with a partner. In case you have a snoring spouse, you know first-hand how unpleasant the experience is. Snoring is, in fact, a serious problem in a marriage or a relationship, as it may even lead to partners sleeping in different bedrooms!
Thankfully, there are more you can do about snoring before resorting to this extreme solution; in fact there several bedtime routines, lifestyle changes and medical solutions to try and overcome snoring.
Besides, if you have a partner who snores, you can also try these tips to help you fall asleep faster.
Here’s what you are going to find out in this article:
What is snoring?
Snoring is a condition when air circulation, while you sleep through your nose and throat, is insufficient or blocked. As a result, the commonly reported sound of snoring occurs which happens when the tissues around the throat and nose vibrate.
It is often the case that snorers frequently have excess throat and nasal tissue or tissue which is more likely going to vibrate. Sometimes the way your tongue is positioned also affects your breathing.
Snoring or more than that?
Sometimes it is best not to disregard snoring as something insignificant since it potentially undermines a life-threating risk, sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is defined as a serious sleep disorder in which your breathing is disrupted up to a couple of hundreds of times at night. Regular snoring will not interrupt the quality of sleep as much as sleep apnea, so if you feel overly fatigue and sleepiness during the day, then you should be inclined to consider sleep apnea as the cause of your problem.
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What type of snorer are you?
Sleep experts suggest that the best way to determine techniques which can help reduce or entirely stop snoring is to identify what type of snorer you are. This is the best route to a solution from this persistent sleep “troublemaker”!
One easy way to determine what kind of sleeper you are is to ask your partner to monitor your snoring. This is a solid way to seek an appropriate solution. Let’s see what type of snorers there are:
This type of snorer is one who has clogged nasal passages or collapsing nostrils which lead to breathing from the mouth.
- Mouth breather
You belong in this category if you sleep with your mouth open and have a loose jaw.
If your tongue drops to the back of the mouth and thus block airways, then you are a tongue snorer.
- Palatal flutterer
If your soft palate and uvula vibrate, then you are snorer known as “palatal flutterer”.
If some or all of the above is the case, then you are a multifactorial snorer.
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What are the causes of snoring?
Lack of fitness
More commonly, snore happens as a result of excessive fat around the throat, usually when you are obese or overweight. Snoring and sleep apnea are more common in obese children according to a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health.
Women who go through menopause are more likely to snore and by the age of 70, they will probably snore as much as men of the same age. This is one more reason to try and stay fit and healthy as you grow up.
People aged 45-64 will typically experience a narrower throat and have decreased muscle tone in their throat. To relieve these snoring patterns, and even eliminate these symptoms overall, try one of the solutions recommended further below in this article.
Men snore more – true
Men’s air passages are narrower than women, which results in them snoring more. Not all men snore though and this is because features like a narrow throat, a cleft palate, and enlarged adenoids are often hereditary.
Nasal and sinus problems
It is much more difficult to inhale properly when you have clogged airways or stuffy nose. This leads to not breathing easily and also snoring.
Addictions, alcohol, medication
Increased amounts of alcohol, some pills and other addictions like smoking can ease the muscles so much so that if you are prone to snoring, will intensify the problem.
The way you sleep is one frequent cause and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Several studies back up the evidence of maximized snoring due to supine and non-supine positions.
An increasing amount of evidence in recent years suggests that sleep apnea is more prominent among patients who suffer from asthma. Commonly found in combination with intermittent hypoxia, nerve reflex, inflammation and leptin, asthma is linked with intense snoring. Treating the problem, in this case, could focus on asthma natural remedies as a means to reduce or eliminate snoring.back to menu ↑
How to stop snoring: scientifically-proven strategies
The following tips and strategies are proposed by doctors, sleep experts, and researchers intended to help relieve snoring.
Remember: You should not treat the problem as if you or your partner who snores is at fault. It is a physical condition from which you suffer and you should deal it with patience, persistence and not anger or resentment.
Of course, there could be deeper issues involved such as when your snoring is caused by habits like smoking, being overweight or consuming excessive alcohol, yet this is still an issue to be resolved with discussion and calmness.
Bedtime solutions to stop snoring
Change your sleeping position: try sleeping on your side
In case you are experiencing snoring, research evidence suggests side sleeping can reduce the chance. This is, in fact, the best-recommended sleeping position according to scientists. Lying on your back causes the base of your tongue and soft palate collapse to the back of your throat, thus blocking your breathing airway and leading to annoying snoring.
If you are having difficulty switching to sleeping on your side, try sewing a tennis ball on the back of your pajamas or nightshirt. This way you will feel uncomfortable sleeping on your back and might switch to your side. If you sleep to your side and still continue to snore, you should consider seeking a doctor’s advice, since you may have obstructive sleep apnea.
Change your mattress
Sleep is so critical to your wellbeing. When you snore, it is highly unlikely that you get a good night’s sleep. Another factor frequently overlooked if you are concerned about the cause is your old mattress.
An old mattress can trigger your allergies which in return can worsen your breathing and block your airways, hence increasing your snoring.
Apart from this, if your mattress does not support your body substantially, then your airways could be pressured or the tissues might sink.
An old mattress has usually taken the body shape of the sleeper, thus the airways are blocked more easily and intensify snoring.
In this sense, when thinking of solutions, you may want to consider getting a new mattress. You can take a look at some of the best mattresses on the market here.
Change your pillows
It is likely that your snoring is a result of allergens on the inside of your pillow. In this case, you might want to change your pillow. If you have just replaced your pillow and it still occurs, it is also possible that it has fur which could be the cause of nasal passage clotting.
Use an anti-snoring mouth device
Anti-snoring mouthpieces are a solution to which many resorts and are considered quite effective for treating snoring and even mild to moderate instances of sleep apnea. It could be that you find it a bit overwhelming to decide which anti-snoring device is best, yet we assure you there are many quality products on the market which will deliver top quality.
Clear nasal passages
Snoring is often caused because something like an allergy is blocking your nose and makes you breathe through your mouth. To solve the problem, you can try things like taking a hot shower before going to bed, where you rinse your nose out with saltwater. If an allergy like sinusitis is the cause of your nose clogging, then we suggest using antihistamine tablets or a nasal spray.
Another way to keep your nasal passages open is using a neti pot with a salt-water solution. If the cause of the nasal blockage is in your nose and not within the soft palate, then nasal strips.
Maintain your bedroom air moistly
Since dryness is another common cause, an effective solution comes in the form of a humidifier as it is thought that this could minimize your chance of keeping your breathing channels moist.
It has been found that being overweight may lead to snoring, although it is not for granted that slim people do not snore. However, having a lot of extra pounds increases the fatty tissue or weight around your neck which puts pressure on your throat and ultimately leads to snoring as it squeezes the airway and prevents air flow.
Stay well hydrated
Although you may not see the connection right away, it is important to stay hydrated before going to bed. The reason being, if you are dehydrated it is likely that secretions in your nose and soft palate will become stickier and could lead to more snoring. So, try drinking lots of fluids during the day, to avoid snoring as a side effect of dehydration.
If you want to get rid of it, consider quitting or cutting down on smoking, which anyway has extremely harmful consequences for your body. As far as snoring, in particular, cigarette smoke can cause swelling and catarrh. Having congested nasal passages means it will be a lot more difficult to breathe.
Avoid alcohol, sedatives and sleeping pills
Alcohol, sedatives, and sleeping pills can all make your muscles relax more than usual, which often causes the back of the throat to collapse. It would be best to avoid consuming these substances shortly before you go to bed, especially if you are prone to snoring.
Try Good Sleep Hygiene
you don’t get enough sleep, or tend to work late at night and therefore lose important sleep, it is likely that you will be extremely tired when you go to bed. This ultimately leads to sleeping hard and deep, causing the muscles to become floppier, and thus snore. Try to establish a good sleep routine, which not only helps perform will better overall in your daily activities, but also reduce your snoring.
Take caution on what you eat shortly before bedtime
It has been empirically proven that consuming big meals late at night or certain foods like dairy products just before you go to bed, could be a snore-hazard. This is due to the fact that dairy products create more mucus, and that mucus could be even thicker than usual. Experts, therefore, advise avoiding these type of foods shortly before hitting the sack to minimize the potential for snoring.
It might be useful to keep a food diary and monitor the way you respond to elimination diets! Of course, you will need to have a partner willing to do this for you. Use a scale of 1 -10 where 1 = little or no snoring and 10 = unbearable levels of snoring, to record your performance.
It could be that you can make the connection, yet it is not entirely obvious so here you go. Exercising can help minimize snoring, whether you lose weight or not. The reason is, when you train your body muscles, the muscles in your throat also get toned. This means you are less likely to snore if you exercise regularly.
Try Regular Throat and Tongue Exercises
There are several targeted tongue and throat exercises you can try to help you stop snoring.
Brazilian scientists focus on tongue exercises you can practice every day:back to menu ↑
Peppermint Oil and Goldenseal
Whilst there are certain foods which can increase the chance, there are also several others which can help decrease the problem. For instance, if your snoring is due to either nasal or chest congestion, using peppermint oil in a pure form is a great reliever as it contains strong anti-inflammatory properties.
It is especially recommended to relieve from a sore throat, which can free the nasal passages and stop snoring due to congestion issues. Peppermint could help a smooth and easy breathing if you suffer from a cold, allergy, or dry air.
Some recommended ways to treat snoring using peppermint include gargle your mouth and throat before bedtime with warm water in which you placed a few drops of peppermint oil. You can also use a few drops in the humidifier before you snooze or even rub a little peppermint oil into your nose before going to bed.
Another vastly recommended home remedy is goldenseal, as a supplement to relieve congestion in your chest and nasal passages. You can usually find goldenseal in the form of a powder, liquid or capsule.
Also, try a cup of herbal tea with peppermint or goldenseal to soothe infected mucous membranes. Try 2 tablespoons of dried goldenseal herb in your tea. Another way of using goldenseal to stop snoring is through pouring half a tablespoon of goldenseal extract or tincture in a neti pot and mixing it with water to rinse your sinus daily.
Another great solution to snoring is honey; this substance contains anti-inflammatory properties which are critical to relieving swelling around the throat, one of the reasons to airway obstruction. Honey is good to clear your throat and keep the snoring vibration from occurring.
One resourceful way is using one tablespoon of honey with a glass of warm water. Try stirring well and drink this honey solution. Alternatively, you can drink herbal tea with honey.
Spearmint and Fenugreek
One common cause for snoring is digestive problems cause by acid problems in the digestive tract. There are several herbal remedies to help address these issues and ultimately put a stop to snoring. Spearmint is one good solution. This herbal comes in different forms, for instance, it could be liquid, powder, or in a capsule.
Fenugreek similar to spearmint is among the different herbs which contribute to treating snoring caused due to digestive issues. Such herbs could relieve indigestion, the acid problem causing these issues.
In particular, fenugreek is thought to be of the best natural remedies for fighting sleep apnea, whilst spearmint can treat mostly indigestion and acid reflux symptoms which have also been found as contributing to snoring.
Vitamin C, found in papaya, pineapple, broccoli, red bell peppers, orange and other citrus fruits, to name a few, are some of the best foods you can try for treating obstructed airways due to sinuses. Sinuses obstruct the airways causing the mouth to open; consequently, the uvula vibrates and you snore. These Vitamin C rich foods contain sinus-fighting bromelain, a substance which can clear the sinuses.
Eucalyptus and eucalyptus oil is one other natural herb which can help reduce snoring. You can try putting eucalyptus leaves in a steam inhaler and breathe in through your mouth or nose to clear your sinuses.
An alternative solution is to sit above a steam bowl with 5 drops of eucalyptus and peppermint oils respectively. Cover your head with a towel and inhale the steam; be careful though not to get burnt.
If you don’t fancy a steam bowl, try using a neti pot instead.back to menu ↑
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
If you are diagnosed to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), then Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is recommended. The CPAP machine maintains your airways open at night, by blowing air compressed into a mask which you adjust on your face.
Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD)
In case you know you are a tongue based snorer, then we would recommend trying out a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD). This custom-fitted dental device and lower jaw positioner machine work similar to a vestibular shield, yet it is designed to help move your jaw forward and prevent your tongue from blocking the back of your throat during sleep.
As the picture shows, prior to using a MAD, the airway is restricted, causing the tongue to vibrate and thus makes you snore. With MAD, air flows in more easily. Make sure to seek the advice of a specialist to equip you with this device.
Called palatal implants or the Pillar palatal implant procedure, is one empirically proven effective strategy to relieve persistent snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnea. This surgical procedure involves placing small plastic implants into the soft palate. This way the soft palate does not collapse. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published guidance about soft palate implants and suggested there are no safety concerns over its use, still, not so much research evidence on their effectiveness is available.
Somnoplasty is a procedure where low levels of radiofrequency heat are employed to take out tissues of the uvula and soft palate which vibrate and produce snoring. This is not an extensive surgical procedure; it takes approximately 30 minutes to complete under local anesthesia.back to menu ↑
Bottom line to stop snoring
It is no wonder that you and your partner are puzzled by the constant snoring which disrupts your sleep. Thankfully, there are several solutions proposed by researchers, sleep experts and others which can comfort you.
Depending on your type of snoring and its causes, you should try different strategies which can minimize the irritating snoring and help improve the quality of sleep as well as your quality of life overall.
Choose among the different techniques the one that suits you best, taking into consideration your symptoms. It is best not to leave your snoring untreated, as there is always the risk snoring is caused by obstructive sleep apnea.
Follow the techniques and tricks provided, whether these are more invasive or not, and you will certainly find some relief for treating snoring. Come back soon to let us know if any of these strategies worked and how. Take care and stay tuned for the next post.