Snoring isn’t fun for anyone, and it can disrupt not only your own sleep but the sleep of everyone around you. Anyone who has had to share a bed with someone who snores knows the frustration of being kept awake all night by the noise! It can cause issues with sleep and even relationships, if it causes a couple to have to sleep in separate rooms. Additionally, while snoring may be relatively harmless (other than the aforementioned annoyances!), it can also be a sign of bigger health issues.
All that to say, snoring kind of sucks! So, in the interest of helping anyone affected to get a better sleep, we’ve put together this blog post to help you discover some natural ways to stop snoring, and start sleeping, tonight. If you’re concerned that your snoring may be a sign of a bigger health issue, consult your health practitioner.
Before we jump into our tips, let’s take a look at what causes snoring in the first place.
What causes snoring?
The actual cause of snoring is air flowing past soft tissues in the back of your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate. There is a whole list of factors that can cause or exacerbate this including but not limited to
- The anatomy of some people’s throats makes snoring more likely, such as large tonsils or a soft palate.
- Nasal problems. Being very congested or having a nasal issue, such as a deviated septum, may increase snoring.
- Being overweight may make you more likely to snore because the excess fat around your neck can constrict your airway.
- Alcohol consumption. When we drink, we’re more relaxed, and this includes the tissues in our throat, so we’re more likely to snore.
- As we get older, the tissues in our throat are more relaxed, making us more likely to snore.
- Sleep position. People who sleep on their back typically snore more because gravity pulls the tissues down, constricting the airway.
- Being overtired. When we’re very tired, our throats may relax more than usual, making us more likely to snore.
- Men are more likely to snore than women
Interestingly (but unfortunately), another cause of snoring in baby boomers may be the dental work they received as teenagers. At the time, it was a common practice for those who had braces to get their bicuspids, or “premolars,” removed, and this resulted in adults having a larger tongue in a smaller mouth, which can lead to snoring.
What you can do about it
Because snoring can have so many different causes and factors, there’s no one size fits all solution. Snoring can also have a wide range in severity and may also range from a subtle annoyance to a major issue. If you’re concerned about your snoring, the best thing to do is contact a medical practitioner.
There are some procedures used to treat snoring, includingUvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) and Somnoplasty, but they aren’t always the best solutions. UPP is a surgery that rearranges tissues to increase airway size, but it comes along with some complications including difficulty swallowing and a feeling like there’s something stuck in the back of your throat.
Somnoplasty is a procedure that microwaves the soft tissues in your palate, causing them to shrink. Some people experience voice changes, and for some, the tissues re-elongate and the problem returns.
So, while there are procedures available, they might not necessarily be the best option for everyone. Luckily though, there are lots of simple and natural solutions you can try at home. There’s no telling until you try them if they’ll work for your particular case, but they are worth checking out. Also, a number of factors that contribute to snoring are unhealthy habits to begin with, so addressing them with the following tips will be beneficial whether or not they take care of your snoring.
Clear a stuffy nose
If you’re stuffed up for whatever reason, cold, allergies, dry air, etc., you’re more likely to snore, so taking care of any stuffiness before you go to sleep can help with snoring (plus you’ll feel so much more comfortable!).
If you’re stuffed up from a cold or dry air, you can try steaming your face over a bowl of hot water to alleviate congestion and hydrate your nasal passages. Another great option is to use a humidifier in your room. Breathing in dry air all night can be tough on your nasal passages and breathing, so adding hydration back into the air can be a great way to correct this.
If you’re suffering from allergies, make sure to keep your room allergen free. This seems like an obvious statement, but there can be lots of allergens hiding away in places you wouldn’t expect, like your bedding for instance! Down products in particular, can hold onto a lot of allergens if the down hasn’t been cleaned properly. At SOL, all of our down products are hypoallergenic, so you can ensure that your bedding is allergen free!
Also make sure to wash your sheets regularly, to keep things like dust mites and other allergens out of your bed.
Manage your weight
If extra weight is causing your snoring issues then your snoring problem, and your sleep, may benefit from managing your weight. There are lots of marketing gimmicks out there aimed at helping people to lose weight in unhealthy ways, and it can be difficult to navigating the world of healthy eating and weight management. If you’re looking for support in your weight loss efforts, we suggest consulting a health care practitioner specializing in weight management.
Cut down on cigarettes and alcohol
Both of these substances can contribute to snoring- alcohol by relaxing the tissues in your throat and smoking by irritating and inflaming your throat- so cutting out, or at least cutting back on, both can really help with any snoring problems. Especially with alcohol, cutting down will also help to greatly improve the quality of your sleep.
Change your sleeping position
As we mentioned, sleeping on your back can cause you to snore, and this is because gravity will often cause your airway to restrict in this position. A simple solution here is simply to change your sleep position. This make take some time getting used to, as we all tend to favor a certain sleeping position, but most people can get used to it with time.
You can also try elevating your head slightly to prevent restriction. Just be careful not to elevate your neck too high or you can cause more restriction and neck pain. Aim to have your head in line with the rest of your spine, regardless of the sleep position you choose.
Try nasal trips or a nasal dilator
There are a number of both nasal strips and nasal dilators available on the market that help to increase the space in your nasal passage so you can breathe easier. While we’ve never tried them, it seems they offer varying results, so we recommend doing some research before making a purchase.
Get a good night’s sleep
Being overtired may cause you to snore more than usual, so aim to get in a good night’s sleep every night (or as often as possible) so you’re well rested and less prone to snoring.