There’s a common misconception about snoring out there. Watch any cartoon and you’ll assume that loud seesaw snoring is that sign of a strong and satisfying sleep. While I hate to ruin the reality of cartoons for you, I’m sad to say that’s just not the case. Quite the opposite in fact. Snoring often disturbs your sleep, not to mention the sleep of the unfortunate person sleeping next to your snoring mouth or even your neighbours.
Snoring occurs when the muscles of your soft palate, throat, and tongue relax. Your throat’s tissues get relaxed to the point that they partly constrict your airway, vibrating as air flows past them. It’s like a gentle form of choking while you sleep, not some satisfying sleep sound.
So what do you do if you’re a snorer who wants to make it stop and start sleeping soundly? Well, there are a variety of options because there are a variety of factors that contribute to snoring (anything from the anatomy of your mouth to drinking alcohol). Thankfully there are a number of easy and natural ways to stop your snoring without resorting to awkward sleep studies or uncomfortable sleep masks. Want to know what they are? Then keep your eyes glued to this page and scroll away!
1. Use A Tennis Ball
If you’re someone who sleeps on their back for the most part, place a tennis ball in a shirt pocket of an old shirt and sew it to your pyjama top’s mid-back (the top should be a snug fit.) Now, every time you roll over, the discomfort from your tennis ball will force your sleeping self to roll back to the side, without interrupting your sleep. This may seem like a bizarre solution, but if you’re able to sleep through your partner’s many elbows, a tennis ball won’t be much trouble. You could also go for strapping a tennis ball on but it will be neither practical nor very comfortable.
2. Make Sure Your Room Has Plenty Of Humidification
If your bedroom’s air is dry, it can potentially contribute to, or cause, snoring. The dry air makes your throat and nasal membranes dry too, besides causing congestion. This leads to restricted air flow which in turn causes your throat tissues to vibrate. There are two ways to go about to resolve the humidity issue – install a humidifier, or, change your home to a tropical setting!
You can also enhance the humidifier by adding differing oils to it – for instance, peppermint oil helps in clearing your airways and opening your sinuses as you sleep.
3. Lose Some Weight If You’re Packing Extra Bulk
Being overweight can add to, or even directly cause, your snoring problem. An overweight individual may have additional tissues in their throat which make the snores noisier – they constrict the air flow in their throat even further which causes even stronger vibrations and worse snoring. Even worse, snoring during your sleep also causes weight gain… a vicious cycle.
4. Raise Your Bed’s Head
Raising the top of your head by around four inches might help you prevent your tongue from falling back and constricting your throat leading to better air flow hopefully. You’ll need some sturdy wooden blocks around 1 to 2 inches thick – or you can use books!
More on preventing snoring here.
5. Do Regular Housecleaning
No one does it happily, but keeping your living area clean and tidy will pay off eventually. Allergens such as dust, dander, pollen, etc. can lead to congestion and irritation of your airways, which in turn lead to snoring. Another thing, keep changing your air filters periodically.
6. Adjust Your Pillows
Keeping your head raised can aid in clearing up your airways and easing breathing – but a head too high will also lead to constriction of airways and thus, snoring. If you sleep on a thick pillow, or more than one pillows, try changing their heights. Having a pillow which is a balance between fluffy and flat is the key to finding the optimal head rest. Go for a pillow which keeps your head and neck correctly positioned so you’re able to breathe correctly.
7. Change Your Pillows
Pillows are a nexus for dust mites which lead to allergic reactions that can cause snoring. If you let your pets sleep on your bed, it may expose you to animal dander, which is another common irritant.
If you’re OK during daytime naps out of your bedroom but experience snoring during the night, these may be the culprits.
Your pillows should be treated with an air fluff cycle bi-weekly, and replaced every six months to ensure your safety from dust mites and other allergens. Also, try keeping the pets away from your bedroom.
Don’t immediately go for ‘special’ pillows that claim to prevent snoring. They may work by propping up your head – it will fix nasal problems but lead to neck pain.
8. Anti-snoring Pills
You can consume herbal pills designed to reduce snoring. They consist of enzymes which alleviate nasal congestion, which in turn reduces snoring. There isn’t any concrete scientific evidence that they work, but it is something you should look at if you’re interested in unconventional treatment methods.
9. Try Out Pranayama
This is a yoga exercise which focuses on learning to control your breathing. You will learn how to take slow, deep breaths and take the most out of inhaled air. It assists in delivering blood to your brain and enhances general circulation. It’s also a great technique to help you relax. Pranayama has been utilized to deal with a number of sleep disorders e.g. Sleep Apnea. Look for classes near you or follow Yoga With Adrienne on Youtube to learn more about practicing Pranayama or other types of Yoga.
10. Try Out Throat And Tongue Exercises
By strengthening the muscles of your throat and tongue, you’ll be able to reduce snoring since it lowers the odds of them slipping back limply while you rest. Our tendency to snore increases as we age because our tissues lose their elasticity and strength so that they clog up our airways more than before. You can try out many different exercises – many of them are utilized by doctors and speech pathologists to assist their patients who have problems swallowing.
Some ideas include:
- With your teeth exposed, protrude your lower jaw over your upper jaw while slowly counting to ten. Do this five to ten times daily.
- Repeat a tongue twister phrase 10 to 20 times before sleeping – this will give your tongue a workout.
- Put out your tongue perfectly straight as much as you can. Move it right, then left as it touches the corner of your lips – ensuring that it remains straight all the time. Watch your reflection in a mirror while you do this exercise twice daily.
11. Stay Clear Of Alcoholic Drinks And Sedatives Before Going To Bed
Don’t consume alcohol or any other sedative at least a couple of hours before bed. They can cause your throat tissue to relax and expand so it starts blocking your airways, which, you guess it… can lead to snoring.
12. Drink Plenty Of Fluids
When you’re dehydrated, the secretions of your soft palate and nose become stickier. As per the American Beverage Association, healthy men and women should consume around 11-16 cups of water daily (including that from drinks and food).
Snoring is a problematic condition since there isn’t a cure per se. Lifestyle changes are essential in order to control and cease your snoring. Weight loss, exercise, allergy management and varying your sleeping positions are some of the things which work for some of the people, but just like all other remedies, they won’t work for everyone. Your best bet is to figure out the underlying cause of your snoring so you can work on taking care of it as effectively as possible.