Snoring remedies: How can I stop snoring?
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, it could have a knock-on effect on your overall wellbeing. Beyond impacting relationships, snoring can also disrupt and fragment your rest, leading to irritability, excessive daytime sleepiness, and reduced productivity.
There are many causes of snoring– some are related to lifestyle, some are related to structural abnormalities – but it’s important to get to the bottom of why you might be experiencing breathing difficulties at night. Once you understand the root cause, snoring becomes easier to manage. And, reassuringly, there are plenty of snoring remedies on hand to help.
Is snoring a sign of bad health?
Despite its disruptive nature, snoring is generally seen as harmless. However, for some people, snoring can signal a more serious sleep disorder or underlying medical condition that warrants further investigation.
Indeed, snoring is the most common symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea, a condition caused by a blockage that limits respiratory activity in the upper airway. If you have obstructive sleep apnoea, you may rouse in the night gasping for air. Left untreated, this condition may lead to cardiovascular issues and weight gain.
Like any sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnoea should be taken seriously. Look out for warning signs that you might be snoring: waking with a dry mouth or throat, or having difficulty concentrating during the day. In addition, you may want to use an app on your phone to confirm if you’re snoring.
If you or your partner is worried about heavy, chronic snoring, it’s important to have a chat with your GP.
Home remedies for snoring
Aim for a healthy weight
Losing even a small amount of weight may help reduce the build-up of fatty tissue at the back of the throat that might cause snoring1. Try to incorporate more movement into your day – aim for at least 150 minutes of activity every week and 10,000 steps a day – and choose mainly whole foods (foods in their ‘whole’ form) instead of refined and processed goods. Intermittent fasting – eating in an 8-hour window – and having smaller meals may also facilitate weight loss.
Frequent exercise can also tone the muscles in your body, including the throat, which may help mitigate snoring. You could even try strengthening your throat muscles with specific activities, such as repeating each vowel (a-e-i-o-u) out loud for 3 minutes a couple of times a day.
Interestingly, a study found that singing strengthens the muscles in the soft palate and throat and may naturally reducing snoring2. Researchers discovered that choir signers scored much lower on the snoring scale than their non-snoring counterparts even when overall health and weight were similar.
Reduce alcohol consumption, and avoid sleeping pills and sedatives
Alcohol relaxes the muscles in your throat and makes them ‘floppier’, often resulting in breathing difficulties at night3. With this in mind, avoid drinking alcohol for at least two to three hours before bed. Try to have several alcohol-free nights a week, too.
Sleeping pills and sedatives do much the same, if not worse. It might be idea to talk to your GP about any prescription medications that promote deeper sleep and exacerbate snoring.
You can learn more about the science of how alcohol affects the quality of your sleep here.
Cigarette smoke aggravates the membranes in the throat and nose, obstructing the airways and causing snoring4. Quitting won’t only improve your sleep hygiene; it will improve your overall health, too. If your need support, talk to your GP about the best ways to break this habit.
Treat chronic allergies
Allergies can reduce the airflow through your nose and force you to breathe through your mouth, contributing to snoring. Alongside washing your sheets and hovering regularly, you may want to invest in an air filter.
To manage allergies, you could also try over-the-counter antihistamines, although you should always consult your GP before taking any new medication.
Some people find taking Quercetin helpful during the summer months.
Change your sleeping position
Sleeping on your back can make your tongue fall to the back of the throat, partially blocking airflow and leading to snoring. However, one study reported that participants using a specially designed head-positioning pillow to prevent back sleeping overwhelmingly reduced snoring severity5. It’s very possible that sleeping on your side is all you need to do to improve airflow and reduce snoring.
What can I eat to stop snoring?
Limit dairy and gluten
Dairy and gluten are often considered to be inflammatory foods, which may inflame the tissues in your throat and nose and contribute to snoring. You may want to try cutting these food groups out of your diet to improve airflow in the upper airways.
Avoid big meals before bed
Eating heavy late-night meal may also lead to snoring. A full stomach can press up against your diaphragm and impact breathing. Try to have your evening meal around 7pm so your stomach enough time to digest.
If you’ve been told you’re a snorer, it’s even more important to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Dehydration can make your nasal passages and mouth dry and lead to snoring. Not drinking enough water can also thicken the mucus in your throat, which may aggravate snoring.
Over-the-counter snoring remedies
Clear your nasal passages
If you suffer from nasal congestion, you could try a simple saline nasal spray or Neti pot to rinse the nasal cavities. Nasal strips or nasal decongestant work much the same. Using these products during the day and just before bed may promote better breathing at night.
Invest in a humidifier
Since dry air can aggravate the membranes in your throat and nose, you may benefit from using a humidifier in your bedroom to keep the air moist and clear6.
Some essential oils – namely, eucalyptus or peppermint oil – are widely known to open the airways and throat and may help you breathe better at night. Before bed, you could try a steam inhalation or add a few drops to a warm bath.
Medical snoring remedies
If you’ve experimented with the snoring remedies above without success, you may need to go down the medical route. Although some medical solutions can significantly improve your breathing at night, they should only be used as a last resort.
In some instances, you may 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, you may be advised to undergo a surgical procedure to remove the 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 rigorous sleep study7. The treatment will depend on which part of your breathing system causes your snoring.
Although snoring can be challenging and frustrating to manage at times, tweaking some areas of your lifestyle can significantly improve your sleep quality, leaving you feeling more energised and refreshed in the morning. If, however, you or your partner feels concerned about your snoring, it’s always best to speak to your GP.
For more guidance on how to improve your sleep hygiene, please explore the rest of our sleep hub.
- nhs.uk. (2019). 5 ways to stop snoring. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/5-ways-to-stop-snoring/
- Pai, I., Lo, S., Wolf, D. and Kajieker, A., 2008. The effect of singing on snoring and daytime somnolence. Sleep and Breathing, 12(3), pp.265-268.
- Peppard, P. E., Austin, D., & Brown, R. L. (2007). Association of alcohol consumption and sleep disordered breathing in men and women. Journal of clinical sleep medicine: JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 3(3), 265–270.
- Association, B. (2019). British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association. [ONLINE] Britishsnoring.co.uk. Available at: https://britishsnoring.co.uk/stop_snoring/stop_smoking.php
- Chen, W. C., Lee, L. A., Chen, N. H., Fang, T. J., Huang, C. G., Cheng, W. N., & Li, H. Y. (2015). Treatment of snoring with positional therapy in patients with positional obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Scientific reports, 5, 18188.
- Karen Gill, M. (2019). 6 humidifier uses: Benefits and risks. [ONLINE] Medical News Today. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322228.php
- Association, B. (2019). British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association. [ONLINE] Britishsnoring.co.uk. Available at: https://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.