Do you snore? Maybe you don’t, but someone you love (and sleep next to!) does. Either way, snoring can drive you crazy. It can wake you up in the middle of the night and keep you up for hours. This leaves you sleep-deprived and unable to function well when it comes to higher level processing and creativity.
If you or someone you love snores, make sure you get checked out by a doctor. After all, snoring can be a sign of a serious sleep condition, like sleep apnea. If everything checks out fine, try some of the tricks below to reduce or eliminate snoring.
Avoid Sleeping on Your Back
When you sleep on your back, your throat muscles can collapse. This causes the base of your tongue and even some chin tissue to fall into the open space created by the collapse. All of this tissue gets in way of the air passing through your throat, which can cause loud snoring. While your body still relaxes when you sleep in a different position, the relaxed tissue is less likely to block your airway.
If you always end up on your back, try sleeping on your side with a pillow behind you so it’s harder to roll over. You can also put a tennis ball under your sheet on that side. This will make rolling onto your back uncomfortable.
Open Your Nasal Passages
Clogged nasal passages can also cause snoring. Your stuffy nose can create a vacuum in your throat and you will make a lot of noise when you breathe. The best way to counteract this problem is to keep your nasal passages open.
If you struggle with this, try taking a warm shower right before you go to bed. If you’re really brave, turn on the hot water for a while, then make it as cold as you can stand for a few minutes before turning it back to hot again. This helps thin your mucus and constrict the blood vessels that can make your nose inflamed.
You can also try diffusing some essential oils in your room. Eucalyptus and peppermint are great for keeping your nasal passages open. Nasal strips can also hold your nose open from the outside, and nasal dilators will work from the inside. Try these solutions until you find what works for you.
Treat Your Allergies
Allergies commonly cause blocked nasal passages. If you can’t find a solution that works for you, there’s a good chance you’re allergic to something. Many people with underlying or low-level allergies don’t even notice that their nose is blocked until they try to fall asleep. They may find that one side is blocked more often than the other, too. Treating these can help keep those nasal passages open.
In addition, chronic untreated allergies can cause sinusitis, which leads to even more nasal blockage. Cut your allergies off at the pass before it gets this far by treating those allergies early.
Get a New Pillow
The right pillow will support your head and neck to keep your spine in neutral alignment all night long. Even if you can only sleep on your back, the right pillow will help support the muscles in your neck so they don’t collapse and cause snoring. On the other hand, the right pillow may allow you to sleep on your side instead of on your back, so you won’t have to worry as much about snoring.
Raise Your Head
Another solution for those folks who can only sleep on their backs, or for those whose nasal passages are stubbornly clogged, is to raise the head of your bed. This is easiest if you have an automatic bed that will do it for you. However, you can find pillows designed to raise the head in any bed. You only need to go up about 4 inches to reduce your snoring, so you shouldn’t notice much of a change in comfort levels at night.
Wear a Mouthpiece
There are several different kinds of mouthpieces you can wear, depending on why you snore, how badly you snore, and what your doctor and dentist think might work best for you. These work to keep your mouth closed, your airways open, and your tongue from falling down your throat.
They can take some getting used to, but the improved sleep quality is worth it. See your doctor or dentist to talk about getting one of these made. The process can take up to a few weeks and might be expensive, so be prepared before you go in.
If your snoring has gotten worse as you’ve gained weight, chances are that losing some pounds would help the snoring problem, too. Overweight people have more fatty tissue around the neck, which can cause snoring or make it worse. They can also have more trouble breathing, so they end up breathing with their mouths open, which can also lead to snoring.
Being overweight also puts you at a greater risk for sleep apnea, which usually involves some snoring. If you’re not sure how to lose weight, talk to your doctor to get started.
Drink More Water
When you’re dehydrated, even just a little bit, your airways will be more likely to get sticky. This can cause mucus to build up inside of them, which can lead to snoring. Drink more water, and your airways will be healthier all the way around, not just at night.
Rather than drinking a ton of water right before bed, which can keep you running to the bathroom all night, work to drink throughout the day. This will keep you hydrated all the time, not just when you’re trying to sleep.
Drink Less Alcohol Before Bed
If you drink regularly within a couple of hours before bedtime, try to figure out if your snoring is worse on the nights you drink. Your significant other should be able to help you here! If drinking alcohol makes your snoring worse, try to stop drinking before bed, or give yourself 3-4 hours between drinking and sleeping.
Alcohol can make snoring worse because it relaxes the muscles in the body, including the ones in your throat. This makes it more likely that your tongue will slip backward and cause the throat snoring.
Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs, but for all of your airways. It irritates them, making them more likely to inflame. On top of that, it dries them out so that reducing inflammation is more difficult. Both of these things can lead to a buildup of mucus in the airways, and this can cause snoring or make it worse.
It can be difficult to stop smoking on your own. If you need some help or you’re not sure where to start, talk to your doctor. They should be able to devise a solution that will work for you.
You don’t have to live with snoring, whether it’s your own or someone else’s. If the tips and tricks here don’t help, talk to your doctor about finding a solution. Snoring is almost always preventable, and your sleep is important enough to take the time to find a solution that works for you.