Simple Snoring Solutions for a Restful Sleep
Almost everyone will snore at some point. Often, a night of drinking, a winter cold, or seasonal allergies are to blame. If, however, you’re a habitual snorer, your sleep hygiene and overall well-being could be compromised. Beyond impacting relationships, snoring can disrupt and fragment your rest, leading to irritability, excessive daytime sleepiness, and reduced productivity.
There are many different causes of snoring, and it’s vital to get to the bottom of why you might be experiencing breathing difficulties. Once you know what is causing your snoring, it becomes easier to manage it. Whilst there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, here we will break down some methods you can try to help you stop snoring, and improve your overall sleep hygiene.
Lifestyle changes to help you stop snoring
Healthy diet and exercise
Losing even a small amount of weight can decrease any fatty tissue at the back of the throat and reduce snoring.i Try cutting back on your overall calorie intake by eating smaller portions and choosing whole foods (foods in their ‘whole’ form).
It’s also important to get regular exercise. Frequent exercise can tone the muscles in your body, including your throat, which, in turn, may decrease snoring. In addition to your regular physical activity routine, you could try strengthening the muscles in your throat with specific exercises, such as repeating each vowel (a-e-i-o-u) out loud for 3 minutes a couple of times a day.
Reduce alcohol consumption, and avoid sleeping pills and sedatives
Alcohol, sleeping pills, and sedatives relax the muscles in your throat, resulting in breathing difficulties. To alleviate its effects, try not to consume alcohol for at least two hours before bed. You may also want to talk to your doctor about any prescription medications you’re taking since some can promote deeper sleep and exacerbate snoring. To find out more about the science behind how alcohol affects the quality of your sleep, you can read this article.
Cigarette smoke aggravates the membranes in the throat and nose, which can obstruct the airways and, therefore, cause snoring.ii Although quitting is easier said than done, it’s certainly one effective way to improve snoring. Talk to your doctor about the best strategies to help you quit.
Treat chronic allergies
Allergies can contribute to snoring by reducing the airflow through your nose, forcing you to breathe through your mouth. Alongside washing your sheets and hovering regularly, you may also want to invest in an air filter. Also, you could try over-the-counter antihistamines to help manage your allergies, although you should ask your doctor before taking any new medication.
Change your sleeping position
Sometimes, sleeping on your back can make the tongue move to the back of the throat and partially block the airflow, leading to snoring. It’s very possible that sleeping on your side is all you need to do to improve the airflow and reduce your snoring.
Over-the-counter remedies to tackle snoring
Clear your nasal passages
If you suffer from nasal congestion, try saline nasal spray to rinse the nasal cavities, nasal strips, or nasal decongestant to promote better breathing while sleeping.
Invest in a humidifier
If swollen nasal tissues are contributing to snoring, using a humidifier in your bedroom may help because dry air can aggravate the membranes in your throat and nose.iii
Some essential oils can open your airways and throat and may help you breathe better at night. Use steam inhalation or take a few deep inhalations of eucalyptus or peppermint before sleeping.
Medical solutions to stop snoring
If you’ve experimented with the self-help strategies above without any success, you may be eligible for medical intervention. There are medical solutions that could significantly improve your breathing, however, these are usually a last resort. You could be given a pressurised air mask to wear over your nose at night, or a dentist may fit you with a device to manipulate your jaw and/or tongue to keep your airways open. Alternatively, there are surgical procedures available to eliminate soft tissues that may be affecting your airways.
These options should always be discussed with your GP, and no medical snoring solution should be undertaken without undergoing a sleep study.iv The treatment will depend on which part of your breathing system is causing your snoring.
Although snoring can be challenging to manage at times, tweaking some areas of your lifestyle can improve your sleep quality so you feel more energised and refreshed in the morning. For more guidance on how to achieve optimal sleep hygiene, feel free to explore the rest of our sleep hub.
NHS UK. (2019). 5 ways to stop snoring. Available online: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/5-ways-to-stop-snoring
British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association. (2018). Available online: https://britishsnoring.co.uk/stop_snoring/stop_smoking.php
6 humidifier uses: Benefits and risks. Medical News Today. (2002). Available online: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322228.php
British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association. (2018). Available online: hhttps://britishsnoring.co.uk/snoring_treatment/surgery_for_snoring.php
Olivia Salter has always been an avid health nut. After graduating from the University of Bristol, she began working for a nutritional consultancy where she discovered her passion for all things wellness-related. There, she executed much of the company’s content marketing strategy and found her niche in health writing, publishing articles in Women’s Health, Mind Body Green, Thrive and Psychologies.