How to Stop Snoring
If your snoring disturbs your sleep, you may not know what causes it, or whether the bothersome noise originates in your nose or in your mouth. But, knowing the particular cause of your snoring is the first step toward eliminating or reducing it.
Several factors can result in snoring, such as anatomy variations, behavior, age, and weight gain. Ruling out the easier-to-fix causes first can save you valuable time, money, and effort. Speak to your physician about snoring, and try these strategies to stop snoring naturally.
Change Your Sleep Position
Your sleep position can worsen or even cause snoring. Sleeping on your back — called the supine position — results in the most snoring. Sleeping on your side — called the lateral position — results in less snoring. In sleepers who do not have an underlying sleep disorder, 65% of snoring is dependent on sleep position.
Instead of sleeping on your back, stay on your side to prevent your relaxed tongue from falling too far back into your throat and partially obstructing your airway. Try stacking pillows or putting a rolled towel behind you to keep yourself from rolling on your back again during the night. Alternatively, you may want to consider investing in a pillow that keeps your head positioned on its side. Technology also exists to vibrate or otherwise alert you when you have rolled onto your back during the night. If your sleep position is the only cause of snoring, these techniques can help resolve it.
While mild sleep apnea may only lead to snoring when lying on your back, it is important to discuss any symptoms of sleep apnea with your physician to determine the best course of treatment.
Reduce Pet Dander and Dust Mites
Snoring can be caused by an allergic reaction to something in the environment. In this case, your nasal air passages may be obstructed by irritation due to allergens, like pet dander and dust mites, that collect in or on your pillows, sheets, ceiling fan, carpet, and elsewhere in your bedroom.
If your primary care doctor or allergist confirms that your snoring is caused or exacerbated by allergies, cleanliness is key. It is beneficial to keep your pets out of your bedroom, get new pillows if you have not replaced them in the last six months, wash your sheets weekly, vacuum or mop, and dust the furniture in your bedroom.
Since inhaling steam can help open your nasal passages and make you feel less congested, taking a warm shower before bedtime may help you breathe more easily before you fall asleep. A physician can also help develop a treatment plan for your allergies if these measures are not sufficient.
Avoid Alcohol and Sedatives
Drinking alcohol worsens sleep in multiple ways and increases snoring. Alcohol is a sedative, and sedatives can impact the body in a way that leads to partial airway obstruction. Sedatives impact the airway by relaxing muscles in charge of dilating your pharynx, the cavity connecting your nose and mouth. This causes partial obstruction of your airway because the air has less room to move through. Avoid consuming alcohol or sedating medications often and in the hours before bedtime to see if that reduces or eliminates snoring.
When to Talk to Your Doctor
If you have tried tips to stop snoring but continue to snore, if your bed partner has noticed that your breathing pauses throughout the night, or if you wake up feeling unrested and feel drowsy during the day, it is time to make an appointment with your primary care physician.
Your doctor can diagnose the cause of your snoring and recommend treatments. They may also want to ask your sleep partner a few questions, refer you to a sleep specialist, or have you complete a sleep study. Your doctor’s evaluations may include ruling out obstructive sleep apnea, examining you for a respiratory infection, checking the anatomy of your nose and throat, testing for allergies, and evaluating weight gain to determine if it is a contributing factor.
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