Snooze Without Snoring With These 10 Simple Remedies

Snoring is serious business. It can lead to poor sleep (for the snorer and whoever shares the bed, room, or in extreme cases, the people next door), daytime fatigue, irritability, and increased health problems. It can also create major relationship problems with your partner.

45% of normal adults snore at least occasionally. This nuisance habit happens when you can't move air freely through your nose and throat during sleep. This makes the surrounding tissues vibrate, which produces the familiar snoring sound. People who snore often have too much throat and nasal tissue or “floppy” tissue that is more prone to vibrate. The position of your tongue can also get in the way of smooth breathing. 

Snoring could also be an indication of sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening condition that should receive medical attention. Sleep apnea is typically caused by a breathing obstruction, which awakens the sleeper, at which point the person begins breathing again.

Thankfully, sleeping in separate bedrooms isn’t the only remedy for snoring. Try these simple solutions and lifestyle changes, which may help you stop snoring:

Sewn-in tennis ball
Lying on your back makes the base of your tongue and soft palate collapse to the back wall of your throat, causing a vibrating sound during sleep. Sleeping on your side may help prevent this. Sew a little pouch on the back of your pajama top and tuck a tennis ball inside. At night, if you start to roll on your back while you’re sleeping, you’ll get a nudge from that tennis ball, prompting you to get back on your side.

Lose weight
If you’re overweight, dropping even a few pounds can reduce fatty tissue at the back of the throat and decrease or even stop snoring.

Quit smoking
Quitting is easier said than done, but smoking irritates the membranes in the nose and throat which can block the airways and cause snoring.

Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills, and sedatives
Alcohol, sleeping pills, and sedatives relax the muscles in the throat and interfere with breathing. Talk to your doctor about any prescription medications you’re taking, as some encourage a deeper level of sleep which can make snoring worse.

Tape your nose open
Tape your nose open with nasal strips, available at most drugstores. Follow the directions on the package, tape one of the strips to the outside of your nose before you fall asleep. They’ll lift and open your nostrils to increase airflow. They may look odd, but who’s watching?

Take a decongestant or antihistamine
If nasal congestion is causing your snoring, take a decongestant or antihistamine before you sleep.

Prop yourself up in bed
Buy yourself a few extra pillows and prop yourself up in bed, rather than lying flat on your back. You’ll prevent the tissues in your throat from falling into your air passages.

Raise the head of your bed
You can raise the head of your bed about 4 inches or so, which may help keep your tongue from falling back and blocking your throat, and may help open up your airways a little bit.

Humidify your room
Dry air can contribute to snoring. It dries out your throat and nasal membranes and contributes to congestion. This makes air movement restricted, and will set your tissues vibrating. A humidifier or steam vaporizer in the bedroom can keep your air passages moist. Or before bedtime, you can fill a bowl with hot water, drape a towel over your head, bend over the bowl so your nose is roughly 15 centimeters from the water, and breathe deeply through your nose for a few minutes.

Gargle with a peppermint mouthwash
Gargle with a peppermint mouthwash to shrink the lining of your nose and throat is especially effective if your snoring is a temporary condition caused by a head cold or an allergy. To mix up the herbal gargle, add one drop of peppermint oil to a glass of cold water.

To stop snoring, it’s necessary to first identify exactly how and why you’re snoring. The good news is that no matter the cause, there are solutions to relieve your snoring and help you and your loved one deal with complaints, resentments, and other relationship issues caused by your snoring.

Loud, excessive snoring can signal sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous condition that requires treatment. Contact your doctor if you’re a loud snorer who stops breathing for short periods when you’re asleep. You should also notify the doctor if you sometimes wake up gasping for breath, if you wake up with headaches, or if you’re sleepy during the day. Sleep apnea can reduce levels of oxygen in the blood, eventually leading to elevated blood pressure and an enlarged heart.

photo: i.huffpost.com

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