7 Easy Fixes for Snoring
You may be among the 45% of adults who snore at least occasionally or you likely know someone who does. They may be the brunt of jokes ("Uncle Joe snores so loudly he rattles the windows!"), but snoring is serious business.
Not only is snoring a nuisance, but 75% of people who snore have obstructive sleep apnea (when breathing is disrupted during sleep for short periods), which raises the risk of developing heart disease, Slaughter says.
1. Change Your Sleep Position.
Lying on your back makes the base of your tongue and soft palate collapse to the back wall of your throat, causing a vibrating sound during sleep. Sleeping on your side may help prevent this.
2. Lose Weight.
Weight loss helps some people but not everyone. "Thin people snore, too," Slaughter says.
If you've gained weight and started snoring and did not snore before you gained weight, weight loss may help. "If you gain weight around your neck, it squeezes the internal diameter of the throat, making it more likely to collapse during sleep, triggering snoring," Slaughter says.
3. Avoid Alcohol.
Alcohol and sedatives reduce the resting tone of the muscles in the back of your throat, making it more likely you'll snore. "Drinking alcohol four to five hours before sleeping makes snoring worse," Chokroverty says. "People who don't normally snore will snore after drinking alcohol."
4. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene.
Bad sleep habits (also known as poor sleep "hygiene") can have an effect similar to that of drinking alcohol, Slaughter says. Working long hours without enough sleep, for example, means when you finally hit the sack you're overtired.
5. Open Nasal Passages.
If snoring starts in your nose, keeping nasal passages open may help. It allows air to move through slower, Slaughter says. "Imagine a narrow garden hose with water running through. The narrower the hose, the faster the water rushes through."
6. Change Your Pillows.
Allergens in your bedroom and in your pillow may contribute to snoring. When did you last dust the overhead ceiling fan? Replace your pillows?
7. Stay Well Hydrated.
Drink plenty of fluids. "Secretions in your nose and soft palate become stickier when you're dehydrated," Slaughter says. "This can create more snoring." According to the Institute of Medicine, healthy women should have about 11 cups of total water (from all drinks and food) a day; men need about 16 cups.