Snoring happens when air flows through your throat when you breathe in your sleep. This causes the relaxed tissues in your throat to vibrate, which leads to harsh, possibly irritating sounds. Snoring may disrupt your sleep or that of your partner. Even if it’s not bothering you too much, snoring is not a symptom to ignore. In fact, snoring may indicate a serious health condition, such as:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), or blocked airways
- An issue with the structure of your mouth, nose, or throat
- Sleep deprivation
In other cases, snoring may be caused by simply sleeping on your back or drinking alcohol too close to bedtime.
Home Remedies and Lifestyle Changes for Snoring
Cases of snoring caused by benign factors, such as sleep position, can often be treated with simple home remedies. Certain lifestyle changes can also help treat snoring.
Sleep on your side
Sleeping on your back sometimes causes your tongue to move to the back of your throat, which partly blocks airflow through your throat. Sleeping on your side may be all you need to do to allow air to flow easily and reduce or stop your snoring.
Get Enough Sleep
Make sure you get the 7 to 9 hours of sleep that adults need each night, per joint recommendations from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. Sleep deprivation may increase your risk of snoring. This is because it can cause your throat muscles to relax, making you more susceptible to airway obstruction. Snoring can also increase your risk of sleep deprivation since it leads to interrupted sleep.
Raise the Head of Your Bed
Elevating the head of our bed by a few inches may help reduce snoring by keeping your airways open. You can use products such as bed risers or pillows to get a little extra height.
Use Nasal Strips or a Nasal Dilator
Stick-on nasal strips can be placed on the bridge of your nose to help increase the space in the nasal passage. This can make your breathing more effective and reduce or eliminate your snoring. You could also try an external nasal dilator, which is a stiffened adhesive strip that’s applied on the top of the nose across the nostrils. This can decrease airflow resistance, making it easier to breathe. Internal nasal dilators, which you place inside of your nose, are also available.
Limit or Avoid Alcohol Before Bed
Try not to consume alcohol for at least 3 hours leading up to your bedtime. Alcohol can relax the throat muscles, causing snoring. Alcohol can also disrupt your sleep in other ways. For example, alcohol consumption is associated with shorter amounts of REM sleep, according to a 2020 study. REM sleep is important partly because memory formation and dreaming occur during this stage.
Avoid Taking Sedatives Before Bed
If you take sedatives, talk with your doctor to see what your options are. Stopping sedative use before bed may ease your snoring. Like alcohol, sedatives can also cause muscles such as your throat muscles to relax.
Try to Quit Smoking
Smoking is a habit that can worsen your snoring. One possible reason for this is that smoking may increase your risk of OSA or worsen the condition, according to a 2014 study. More conclusive research is needed. Talk with your doctor about strategies that can help you quit.
Maintain a Moderate Weight
If you are overweight, weight loss will help reduce the amount of tissue in the throat. Excess tissue might be causing your snoring. You can lose weight by reducing your overall caloric intake by eating smaller portions and more nutrient-rich foods. Try to get regular exercise daily. You may also consider reaching out to a doctor or a nutritionist for help.
When to Contact a Doctor
If you snore, you’re not alone. Around half of adults snore, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation. Snoring can disrupt your sleep and that of your partner. Besides being annoying, it may indicate a serious health condition. Connecting with a doctor and trying one or more of the above treatment options can help you manage your sleep. Reach out to a doctor if:
- You have sings or symptoms of sleep apnea, such as:
- Gasping for air while your sleep
- Nocturia, or frequent urination at night
- Hypersomnia, or excessive daytime sleepiness
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Waking up with a headache
- Snoring affects the quality of your sleep.
- Home remedies and lifestyle changes do not reduce your snoring.