Snoring can lead to you experiencing poor sleep but also for anyone that you also share the bed with. Snoring is caused when the muscles in the roof of your mouth and throat relax which then leads to vibrations occurring which result in the sound of snoring.
However just because you snore, it doesn’t mean that this can’t be reduced or even stopped altogether. We’ve outlined 14 simple ways that you can reduce the effects of snoring leading to a more restful night’s sleep.
1. Change Sleeping Position
Your sleeping position has a significant effect on the amount that you snore. Lying on your back increases the risk of snoring because this causes the base of your tongue and soft palate to change position and collapse into the back wall of the throat. This leads to more vibrating which increases the sound of snoring.
Sleeping on your side is the best position for snoring because it stops the base of the tongue and soft palate from collapsing. If you aren’t used to sleeping on your side then hugging a full sized pillow or your partner can help you to adjust to the new position.
2. Use a Tennis Ball
Following on from the previous tip about changing your sleeping position, if you’re someone that sleeps on your back and finds it difficult to adjust to a new sleeping position, then this is the remedy for you.
You need to place a tennis ball in the shirt pocket of an unused old shirt and then sew it onto the mid-back of the shirt that you sleep in. This means that anytime you turn onto your back, you’ll feel the tennis ball which will then force you to turn back onto your side.
This may seem extreme, but after a couple of weeks you’ll no longer need this reminder to sleep on your side, and you’ll do it naturally.
3. Lose Weight
If you’re overweight, then this can cause more fat to accumulate across your body which then heightens the chance of fat placing increased pressure on your throat. The more weight you lose, the more your snoring will reduce.
The fat tissue around your neck puts more pressure on the airways which restricts the amount of air that can freely flow in and out. By changing your diet and exercising regularly, you can begin to lose weight and this not only positively affects your snoring but also your general wellbeing.
4. Exercise Your Tongue and Jaw
Strengthening the muscles in your tongue and throat can reduce the amount that you snore because it decreases the number of times that it slips to the back of your throat.
It's even more frequent as we age as our muscles lose strength and overall elasticity which means it becomes more common for our airways to become blocked as we age.
However, you can strengthen these muscles using a range of exercises which are recommended by doctors.
- With your teeth exposed, protrude your lower jaw over your upper jaw and hold this position for 10 seconds. This should be repeated five to ten times daily.
- Repeat a tongue twister phrase such as ‘the lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue’ 10 to 20 times before sleeping, this will work to strengthen your tongue
- Stick out your tongue perfectly straight as far as you possibly can. You then need to alternate movement from the left to the right touching the corner of each lip.
It’s easier to ensure that you’re performing these exercises correctly if you do this in front of a mirror.
5. Flush Nasal Passages
Before you go to bed, clearing your sinuses can have a positive effect on the amount that you snore, and it’s not uncommon for this to be the main reason why most people snore.
Sinus spray should be used just before you go to bed and can be bought over the counter. However, if you need a remedy that has a stronger formula, then you can also get this via a prescription from your regular GP.
This will help to clear your airways allowing for air to pass more freely without being blocked.
Sleeping in a room that has dry air can contribute to the amount that you snore, and you may not even realise it. Dry air causes your throat and nasal membranes to dry out which leads to overall congestion and snoring. It's because air movement is then restricted which results in your throat tissues vibrating.
One way to treat the dry air is to use a humidifier which adds moisture to the dry air which then makes your tongue and throat less dry, reducing the amount that you snore.
Even if dry air isn’t causing your snoring, it’s always good to use a humidifier because it can solve other breathing issues that you may be suffering from.
7. Stop Smoking
When you smoke cigarettes, the smoke irritates the lining inside your throat and nose which leads to swelling. This means that the passage is smaller so less air can flow in and out which then leads to snoring as the level of vibrations increases significantly.
If you stop smoking, this can not only reduce the amount that you snore but also can reduce the risk of cancers, lung disease and cholesterol in addition to all the money that you’ll save from no longer having to buy cigarettes. So there is a range of benefits from doing this.
8. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
If possible, you should limit your consumption of alcohol two to three hours before you plan on going to sleep. Alcohol affects snoring because it causes the muscles in the back of the throat and tongue to relax more than they usually would which leads to them obstructing the airways.
This increased relaxed stated then leads to more muscle vibrations which make your snoring worse.
Reducing alcohol before sleep increases the quality of your sleep because you remain more hydrated. Alcohol also wakes you up in the middle of the night to use the toilet which is especially bad if this interrupts your REM sleep.
9. Change Pillows
Pillows can be one of the causes of your snoring. This can be easier to notice by merely sleeping outside of your bedroom, and if you realise that you don’t snore then, this could be the fault of your pillow.
Pillows are the ideal environment for dust mites to thrive which can cause your blockages in your nasal passages. You should regularly clean your pillow and then replace them every six months ideally.
Also, the pillows you buy should be, and you should also decrease the amount that your pets are in your bedroom as this can increase the number of irritants.
10. Adjust Your Pillow Height
The position of your head on your pillow can play a significant role in the amount that you snore. Having your head in a raised position can help to clear your airways to ease your breathing. However, if your head is too high, then this can make your snoring worse as it can constrict your airways.
You can do this by either sleeping on a thick pillow or using multiple pillows to change the height, but you may need to experiment with different heights until you find the right one for you that’s both comfortable and reduces your snoring.
11. Regularly Clean
Although nobody likes to clean, this is vital to ensure that your living space is free of allergens such as pollen and dust.
These irritants can cause congestion of the airways which contributes to your snoring. You need to ensure that once you’ve vacuumed that you empty the dirt regularly and also change the air filters.
12. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration can cause thick mucus to form in the throat and mouth, and the lack of moisture can cause the mucus to stick together which then causes snoring. The most effective way to avoid this is by drinking enough water at regular intervals throughout the day to stay hydrated.
The recommended water intake per day is 2.5 litres of water for men and 2 litres for women per day. This is through both liquid and foods because fruit and vegetables contain large amounts of water.
13. Anti Snoring Mouthpieces
An anti-snoring mouth guard is an oral device that you wear throughout the night while you sleep and it works to decrease the noise of your snoring. Once worn, it alters the position of the jaw to a forward position or places pressure on your tongue.
This stops it from rolling back and causing blockages which allows you to breathe while decreasing the blocking effect that usually leads to snoring vibrations.
14. See a Specialist
There's no magic cure to stopping snoring so if you tried many different remedies and they haven't had the desired effect, then it's time to visit a specialist. This will allow for a full diagnosis as you could have a serious underlying issue that could become chronic over time.
There isn’t a one size fits all solution for snoring, so you need to experiment with different things to see what works best for you whether this be weight loss, facial exercises or any of the other tips listed in this guide.