While it’s easy to make jokes about someone’s window-rattling, dog-howling, air-raid siren snores, the truth is that chronic snoring affects up to 45% of the adult population, and can be the cause of a host of physical and emotional problems. Snoring’s serious business. If you or your partner struggle with this issue, taking preventative measures will help ensure that you’re able to get a solid night of rest. Keep reading to learn how to diagnose the causes of your snoring and plan for a cure.
Method 1 of 4: Preventing Snoring
Diagnose your particular snore. Do you snore with your mouth open or closed? Learning to distinguish between kinds of snoring will help you to address the particular causes of that kind of snoring.
Closed-mouth snoring indicates that your tongue is the cause of your snoring, and that some exercises and lifestyle changes should help eliminate the snoring.
Open-mouthed snoring can be caused by sinus trouble or by posture in bed, and can be remedied by addressing those issues.
Snoring from any position might indicate apnea or other significant issues that will require more substantial medical treatment to address.
Avoid things that make snoring worse. Alcohol, sleeping pills, coffee, and fatty foods before bedtime can all increase snoring by making your throat muscles relax and narrowing your airway. Large meals and fatty foods likewise restricts your airflow by pushing up on your diaphragm.
Smoking can also be a frequent cause of snoring, and is a health hazard in general. If you’re a smoker and struggle with snoring, consider quitting.
Consider losing weight. Fatty tissue in the back of the throat is often the cause of snoring. Losing even a little bit of weight can be greatly beneficial if you want to stop.
If you regularly take any kind of medication, talk to your doctor about alternatives. The drugs you’re ingesting might be making your snoring worse.
Keep your bedroom more humid. Dryness is often a cause of snoring, so using a humidifier or taking a hot bath or shower before bed can help alleviate snoring by keeping the breathing channels moist.
Take up the didgeridoo or practice singing. While it may sound strange, singing or instrumental practice that strengthens the throat muscles will firm the tissue of your throat and mouth. Doing some simple mouth and throat exercises like singing will strengthen your throat so that it does not relax and block air when you sleep. The throat muscles involving in playing the didgeridoo are perfect for preventing snoring.
While you’re driving to work, turn up the radio and sing as loudly as you want to the tunes. Singing several times throughout the day will give your throat a workout and keep your sleep more sound.
If you’re not into singing, develop some exercises. Stick your tongue out as far as you can, then relax. Repeat 10 times. Stick your tongue out again, and try to touch your chin. Hold. Repeat with trying to touch your nose. Repeat 10 times.
Method 2 of 4: Correcting Your Sleep Position
Prop yourself up for sleeping. If you sleep on your back, buy yourself a few extra pillows and prop yourself up in bed, rather than lying flat on your back. Also, raise the head of your bed. An easy way to do this is to place several flat boards under the legs at the top end of the bed. A couple of old phone books under each leg should also raise the bed enough to do the trick.
Try sleeping on your side. There’s a good reason you don’t want to sleep on your back: in that position, your tongue and soft palate rest against the back of your throat, blocking the airway.
Try the tennis ball trick. Sew a tennis ball to the back of your sleeping shirt, to make it uncomfortable to roll onto your back.
Try mouthpiece devices. Also known as dental appliances or mandibular advancement splints, these are usually small plastic devices worn in the mouth during sleep to prevent the soft throat tissues from collapsing and obstructing the airway. They do this by bringing your lower jaw forward and/or by lifting your soft palate. Some devices also stop the tongue from falling back over your windpipe
Talk to your dentist about these kinds of devices, or consult a sleep therapist.
Method 3 of 4: Preventing Sinus Problems
Address any nasal congestion. Try taking a decongestant or antihistamine if nasal congestion is causing your snoring. Use these only as a temporary measure if you suspect that a cold or allergy is to blame. Prolonged use of either can be harmful.
Gargle with a peppermint mouthwash to shrink the lining of your nose and throat. This is especially effective if your snoring is a temporary condition caused by a head cold or an allergy.
Change your sheets and pillowcases often to relieve nasal stuffiness, alleviate bedroom allergens. Try to vacuum your floors and wash your curtains often too.
Tape your nose open with nasal strips. These are available at most pharmacies. They may look odd, but who’s looking? Following the directions on the package and tape one of the strips to the outside of your nose. They work by lifting and opening your nostrils to increase airflow.
Consider using a sinus/nasal rinse. These are designed in such a way that the debris and mucus formed in the nose is completely flushed out. Rinsing will be helpful in relieving yourself of the snoring.
You can try to have a warm shower or bath. Hot moist air will be helpful in draining the mucus from the sinuses, thereby reducing the possibility of snoring.
Raise the head portion of your bed. This will be helpful in reducing the amount of mucus draining down and blocking your nasal passages. When nasal passages are not blocked, you will not snore.
Talk to your doctor. If you struggle with chronic sinus infections, get a prescription for nasal decongestants. Reducing the infection will help to cure your snoring.
Method 4 of 4: Talking to Your Partner about Snoring
Pick a time to talk. Confronting your partner about their snoring in the middle of the night or immediately upon waking after a restless and sleepless night can cause resentment and arguments. Avoid angry discussions about sleeping, and keep the discussion light.
If your partner’s snoring is chronic, talk after dinner when there’ll be time to calmly prepare for the night’s sleep and address your concerns.
Remember that snoring is a physical problem. Whether you’re a snorer or live with one, there’s nothing to be embarrassed or angry about. It’s not a conscious choice the snorer is making, but it is a physical concern that can be remedied with a little planning.
If you’ve got a snoring problem and your partner complains, you need to take it seriously. If you’re sleeping through your bouts of snoring, you need to take their word for it.
If your partner snores chronically, bring it up sooner rather than later. Taking “behind the back” precautions like using ear plugs as a way of avoiding hurting their feelings may end up making them more embarrassed, as if it were an issue to be avoided. Talk about it and plan together for a cure.
Be aware of deeper issues. Talking about snoring may inadvertently lead you into discussing smoking, drinking, weight, or other sensitive issues that may be affecting your relationship with your partner. Be aware of the territory your conversation might get into, and communicate thoughtfully and tactfully throughout the discussion.
Bottom of Form
Consider the underlying cause. Discuss with your physician the possibility of a sleep disorder which may be more serious than just the snoring. The current gold standard for obstructive sleep apnea treatment is a continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP) which opens the airway with pressurized air delivered through a mask or a nose-mounted appliance.
There are physicians who specialize in sleep medicine and dental sleep medicine. If you are snoring but are feeling unrefreshed after waking, you may choose to see one of these specialists. You can find these by going to either the American Dental Sleep Academy website or to sleepeducation.com.