Snoring is one of the most common sleep disruptors in the United States.
It impacts around 57% of men and 40% of women. Even kids are affected by it – up to 27% of American children snore.
Snoring occurs when airflow past your relaxed throat tissues as you sleep. This airflow causes the tissues to rattle and vibrate, causing the noise we call snoring.
5 Ways to Stop Snoring
While many people snore lightly with little cause for concern, snoring can also signify underlying health issues.
Want to stop snoring? If snoring impacts your sleep – and your life – here are five tips on taking control.
1. Avoid Alcohol, Smoking, and Medications
When you drink alcohol, the muscles in your throat are more relaxed when you sleep and, therefore, more likely to vibrate when air flows through the area. So, you’re more likely to snore when you drink a few hours before bed, even if you don’t typically snore.
If you don’t want to abstain from alcohol use, you should at least stop drinking several hours before bed.
Sedatives and other medications also depress the central nervous system and similarly relax these throat muscles, setting the stage for the occurrence of snoring. Sedatives are commonly used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. If possible, abstain from these medications and find natural ways to relax.
You’re more likely to snore if you smoke, as well. Smoking affects the membranes in your throat in a different way, though.
Smoke inhalation inflames these membranes, irritating them and causing them to block your airways. This will also cause a rattling, snoring sound. If possible, quit smoking, or at least cutback.
2. Change Your Sleep Position to Stop Snoring
Your sleep posture can affect your snoring.
Sleep on your side instead of your back. When you sleep on your back, your tongue might fall back and block your airway, causing snoring.
Also, try slightly elevating yourself before falling asleep to lessen the compression on your airways. Use pillows to prop yourself up.
3. Lose Weight to Stop Snoring
If you’re overweight, you’re more likely to snore. If you have more fatty tissue and untoned muscle in your neck and throat, it’s more likely to vibrate when you’re sleeping.
You’re less likely to snore at night by losing weight and toning your muscles.
Eat healthier meals and smaller portions, and add exercise to your daily regimen. The exercise will also help you sleep better at night.
4. Use Nasal Strips, Oral Appliances, or CPAP Machines
There are plenty of tools available to assist you with your snoring problem. Nasal strips help you breathe better while you sleep by opening your nasal passages and reducing the likelihood of snoring.
There are also oral appliances shaped like a retainer and worn only when you’re sleeping. These appliances shape your mouth while sleeping to keep your airways open and unobstructed.
Meanwhile, CPAP – for continuous positive airway pressure – machines are commonly used to treat snoring. You wear these mouth devices for sleep apnea over your nose and mouth while you sleep. They blow air down your throat and help keep your airways open.
To receive sleep apnea treatment, you must see a sleep specialist or Ear Nose & Throat (ENT) doctor diagnose and prescribe a CPAP.
5. Try Mouth and Throat Exercises
There are several mouth, throat, and tongue exercises you should try to control your snoring. These targeted exercises strengthen the muscles in these areas, making them less likely to vibrate and cause snoring while you sleep.
Repeat each vowel in the alphabet out loud in one exercise while making exaggerated mouth movements.
Another exercise involves placing the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, starting behind your teeth, and sliding your tongue backward.
Also, open your mouth, press your tongue against the roof, and suck upward. Studies also show that singing regularly strengthens these same muscles.