How To Stop Snoring: 10 Ways That Actually Work
If you’re reading this blog it’s likely you’re fed up with being woken from slumber to the sound of snores, or you may even be the culprit behind some nasty night time noises yourself. Whether it’s a deep, low grumble akin to a grizzly bear in a cave, or a repetitive racket as loud as a jackhammer, snoring is a real bedtime buzzkill.
Fear not snoring sufferers: you are not alone. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the problem affects 90 million Americans (with 37 million of us experiencing it on a regular basis). Whilst the occasional snort in your sleep is pretty harmless, persistent snoring can lead to headaches, impaired mental health, relationship problems, and even heart disease.
For some, snoring may be a sign of a serious underlying health issue. About half of people who snore loudly have obstructive sleep apnea. This is a sleep disorder where pauses of at least 10 seconds interrupt breathing, causing fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels. The condition may lead to hypertension, heart disease, and mood and memory problems, so it’s imperative you consult a doctor if you experience signs of this issue.
Typical Symptoms Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA):
- Breathing pauses during sleep
- Concentration issues
- Gasping or choking at night
- High blood pressure
- Chest pain at night
- Daytime fatigue
- Morning headaches and/or sore throat
- Snoring so loud it disrupts the sleep of others
OSA sufferers often snore loudly, before a period of silence where their breathing stops. Loud snorts or gasping sounds occur when the individual is woken by the lack of breath. This disruption is a pattern that can be repeated many times during the night, typically with at least five stops to the breath during every hour of sleep, resulting in a severely compromised sleep quality.
If you believe you may be experiencing any of the above symptoms, keep a diary or ask a partner to jot down what they observe in the night, as this will aid your doctor with diagnosing your sleep disorder.
Why Do I Snore?
Not all snorers have OSA. In general, snoring happens because air cannot move freely through your nose and throat during sleep, making the surrounding tissues vibrate to create the familiar snoring sound. It’s normal for your muscles to relax as you transition into a deeper sleep, but in heavy snorers the airway narrows more dramatically, causing louder vibrations and therefore louder snoring.
Causes And Risk Factors Associated With Heavy Snoring:
- Age (changes to muscle tone in the throat occur around middle age)
- Being overweight
- Genetic predisposition
- Nasal and sinus problems
- Alcohol consumption
- Certain medications (e.g. tranquilizers like lorazepam and diazepam)
- Poor sleep posture (avoid sleeping flat on your back)
- Sleep deprivation
How Can I Stop Snoring?
Luckily for you or your long-suffering partner, we at Organica have compiled 10 top tips to stop snoring in its tracks. Whether you’re a loud foghorn or just a snuffly snorter, this advice should encourage your airways into a more quiet night’s sleep.
1. Stay Hydrated
You’ve heard it before: drink 8 glasses of water a day to get blemish-free skin, lose weight, feel more energetic, look like a supermodel... there’s seemingly nothing getting more H2O on board can’t do!
In all seriousness, if you aren’t already hitting your hydration goal, it’s worth finding a way to track how much water you drink daily (there are apps or even special water bottles for this purpose). When you’re dehydrated, secretions in the nose and soft palate become stickier, making snoring worse. Try to pace yourself with your water intake throughout the day, so you don’t end up disturbing your sleep with toilet trips.
2. Try A Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets are popular as a remedy for all sorts of scenarios: a sensory comfort for those with autism, to alleviate symptoms of anxiety or depression, and to relieve pain in those with conditions like fibromyalgia. But they are also being recommended for mild snorers too.
The weight of the blanket surrounds your body, relaxing your respiratory system so that your breathing is more even and you sleep more soundly. Easier breathing provides relief for mild snorers, though the method should not be used by those with obstructive sleep apnea or respiratory conditions such as asthma, as these individuals may have difficulty breathing under the extra weight of the blanket.
3. Banish Dust From The Bedroom
Dust mites can accumulate in various places in the bedroom, providing potential obstructions for your airways that will lead to snoring. Change your pillowcases regularly, and put your bedding and pillows through a thorough wash every few months to cleanse them of allergens. Look out for dust that gathers in blinds and ceiling fans too.
Whilst many of us love our pets like part of the family, it may also be worth considering whether your bedroom should become a pet-free zone if you find your breathing is often obstructed at night. Animal dander is a particular irritant for the airways and can make snoring worse. Sorry four-legged friends!
4. Drink Less Alcohol
If you love an evening vino, this one won’t be your favorite. But if your partner snores, you’ve probably noticed it’s worse after they’ve had a few drinks. That’s because alcohol is a depressant, the sedative effect of which relaxes your jaw and throat muscles. As a result, your airway becomes restricted and the obstructed airflow leads to snoring.
Alcohol also dehydrates you, drying out your mouth and throat muscles so that when you do snore, the air rattles against dryer membranes in your throat and the snoring is made even louder! Try to avoid or reduce alcohol consumption to ease your snoring symptoms.
5. Use Essential Oils In The Evening
Many essential oils are known for their calming properties and can create a peaceful state conducive to a good night’s sleep. As many snorers (and their partners!) often struggle to get much beyond light sleep of a nighttime, it’s important to ease the body into restful relaxation to encourage a deeper, undisturbed slumber.
Lavender is the most commonly used natural oil for the treatment of a whole host of sleep disorders, as it triggers the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Similarly, Cedarwood oil, with its lovely, woody aroma, helps to reduce anxiety and relax the mind and muscles before bed. The tree oil can induce the release of serotonin, which converts into melatonin in the brain to encourage a night of deep sleep.
At Organica we combine these two key essential oils with luxurious moisturizing almond oil and oatmeal, to create our fan-favorite sleep formula: Dream Lotion. From our loyal customer base, we have received many stories of relationships rescued from the brink by the magic Dream Lotion has performed, relieving the sleep-disturbing symptoms of restless legs syndrome, snoring, and pruritus (night-time skin itching). So it’s with confidence that we recommend Dream Lotion as a solution to your snoring nightmares!
6. Try A Humidifier
While we’re on the topic of essential oils, using a humidifier combined with a few drops of essential oils is a great way to combine the benefits of two methods of snoring prevention.
A humidifier works against snoring by adding moisture to the air, to loosen mucus and promote drainage. With less mucus in your throat, there will be less irritation and swelling to restrict the air passages. It can also prevent other symptoms caused by snoring, such as a dry mouth or sore throat.
If you’re opting to add lavender oil, or any other sleep-promoting essential oil to your humidifier, do so only after reading the instructions for your particular device, as guidance for diffusing will vary.
7. Practise Mouth Exercises
It might seem strange, but the authors of a Brazilian study into the effectiveness of ‘oropharyngeal’ exercises found they led to a significant reduction in the amount of snoring. Snorers should try the following methods to ease their symptoms:
- Pushing the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth and sliding the tongue backward
- Sucking the tongue upward against the roof of the mouth, and pressing the entire tongue against the roof of the mouth
- Forcing the back of the tongue against the floor of the mouth while keeping the tip of the tongue in contact with the bottom, front teeth
- And elevating the back of the roof of the mouth and uvula while saying the vowel "A"
8. Open Up The Nasal Passages
If your snoring is made worse by nasal congestion, there are a few potential solutions to the issue. You may have already tried wearing those glamorous-looking nasal strips in a bid to lift your nasal passages, or another option is to spritz the nostrils with a saltwater nasal spray to encourage the airways to open up.
Here’s a little trick you could try right now, no equipment necessary: press the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth, then release, now press your index and middle fingers against your forehead between your eyebrows - repeat for 20 seconds.
Alternatively, try tipping back your head, pinching your nose and holding your breath for as long as possible. Exhale and tilt your head forward; you should now be feeling less congested. If all else fails, consult your doctor to see whether prescription nasal steroid relief is necessary at this stage.
9. Shift A Few Pounds
As mentioned previously, excess weight increases your likelihood of being prone to snoring. Thin people snore too, but those with lots of fatty tissue and poor muscle tone are at risk. Gaining weight around the neck squeezes the internal diameter of the throat, putting pressure on the airways during sleep when the muscles relax, which triggers snoring.
So if you’ve gotten out of shape recently, why not set a goal to help you lose weight, such as establishing daily steps or calories target? Drinking more water can aid weight loss and help prevent snoring, so be sure to combine these two methods for optimum results.
10. Get Fitted For A Mouth Guard
Anti-snoring mouth guards are another glamorous way to prevent or lessen snoring. They work by moving the jaw forward, opening up the airway to increase airflow without obstruction. If you’re a teeth grinder, the mouth guard has the added benefit of protecting your enamel from erosion.
Mouthguards are available on the market or you can purchase a customized mouthguard from your dentist, though whether or not this is covered by your insurance will be dependent on your particular plan.
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