According to the National Sleep Foundation, 90 million American adults snore sometimes, and 37 million people snore on a regular basis.
The causes of snoring are usually not serious. However, it may indicate that changes to lifestyle would improve a person's health.
There are many snoring remedies available, and some are more effective than others.
The following lifestyle changes and tips may reduce or stop a person's snoring.
1. Losing weight
Overweight individuals are more likely to snore. Fatty tissue and poor muscle tone, particularly around the throat, contribute to snoring.
Eating a calorie-controlled, healthful diet and regularly exercising are the best ways to lose weight.
2. Sleeping on one side
A person is more likely to snore if they lie on their back, which can cause the tongue to move to the back of the throat. This makes breathing harder and can cause the vibrations of snoring.
Sleeping on one side may allow the air to flow more smoothly, reducing the vibrations. This may either stop the sound of a snore or make it quieter.
3. Quitting smoking
In addition to harming overall health, smoking irritates the airways, and this can make snoring worse.
If a person smokes, quitting may help them to snore less, if at all.
4. Avoiding alcohol
Drinking a significant amount of alcohol relaxes the throat muscles. When these muscles relax, they are more likely to vibrate.
Avoiding alcohol before bed may reduce or stop snoring.
5. Avoiding sleeping pills
Sedative medications, or sleeping pills, can lead to very deep sleep. This may have a relaxing effect on the throat muscles and cause snoring.
A doctor can recommend healthful ways to ensure a good night's sleep.
6. Elevating the head
Elevating the head using additional pillows may help to open the airways, reducing or eliminating snoring.
Marketers offer pillows designed to prop up the body and prevent snoring. These are available to buy online.
7. Treating allergies
An allergic reaction may lead to congestion and blocked airways. This can make snoring worse.
If a person's snoring is caused by allergies, getting effective treatment can help.
8. Mandibular advancement device
If a person's tongue is partially blocking the back of the throat during sleep, this can cause snoring.
A mandibular advancement device is worn in the mouth, to bring the tongue forward.
9. Vestibular shield
A vestibular shield is also worn in the mouth.
Snoring can be caused by the mouth falling open during sleep, and this device encourages a person to breathe through their nose.
10. Nasal dilators or strips
Blocked or narrow airways may also cause snoring, and a nasal dilator or strip can help.
They are designed to keep a person's nose open while they sleep. This helps them to breath more easily and may stop or reduce snoring.
11. Nasal sprays
When blocked or narrow airways cause snoring, a nasal spray may also be useful.
Nasal sprays can help to reduce inflammation in the nose and airways, opening them up.
If a person is looking for a long-lasting snoring remedy, they may consider surgery. Several types of surgery are available.
Long-lasting remedies may include surgical options, such as an uvulopalatopharyngoplasty.
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) requires a general anesthetic. It entails removing all or part of the:
- uvula, the teardrop-shaped fleshy part at the back of the throat
- soft palate
UPPP helps to widen the middle part of the throat. If this area is too narrow, it can cause snoring.
13. Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty
Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) is a less extreme surgical intervention than UPPP. A person may require local or general anesthetic.
LAUP involves the use of a laser to reduce the size of the soft palate and uvula. This also helps to widen the middle part of the throat. A person may want to consider LAUP if snoring is caused by the narrowness of this area.
14. Palatal stiffening operation
A palatal stiffening operation, also called electrical cautery, involves burning the soft palate to stiffen it.
This is effective when snoring is caused by the soft palate blocking the airway.
15. Radio frequency ablation
This surgical procedure is also known as somnoplasty.
Radio frequencies are used to create controlled lesions on the soft palate, shrinking any excess tissue nearby.
If the soft palate is blocking the airway, causing a person to snore, this procedure can help.
16. Injection snoreplasty
A 2014 study found injection snoreplasty to be a safe and effective way to treat snoring caused by the soft palate.
This procedure involves injecting a chemical into the soft palate, to break down tissue and reduce its size. It is much less invasive than other surgical options.
Septoplasty is surgery to correct a deviated septum.
A deviated septum can affect the passage of air through the nose and cause snoring.
18. Pillar procedure
This minor surgery entails the insertion of tiny implants into the soft palate. The goal is to stiffen it, reducing its ability to vibrate as a person snores.
Remedies to avoid
There is little or no evidence to suggest that the following remedies are effective:
- chin straps
- shock bracelets
- acupressure rings
- throat sprays
A person who sleeps next to someone who snores may find earplugs helpful.
Snoring can disturb the sleep of those nearby.
To avoid relationship difficulties, the person who snores may ask their partners or roommates to do the following:
- wear ear plugs
- roll the snoring person onto their side
- wake the snoring person so that the others can fall asleep
A person who snores may want to consider a surgical procedure if other remedies have failed.
What causes snoring?
When a person falls asleep, their tongue, mouth, throat, and airways relax. Breathing can cause these areas to vibrate, which leads to the sound of snoring.
A person is more likely to snore if they:
- are overweight
- drink alcohol excessively
- sleep on their back
Sleep apnea, a condition where the airways are temporarily blocked, can also cause snoring.
When to see a doctor
Sleep apnea can cause difficulties breathing. Speak to a doctor if any of the following symptoms are present:
- loud or frequent snoring
- choking or gasping during sleep
- pauses in breathing
- headaches in the morning
- excessive daytime sleepiness
- difficulty staying asleep
- waking up with a dry mouth or a sore throat
- a frequent need to urinate in the night
- memory problems
- moodiness, irritability, or depression
Apnea is more serious than snoring. It can put tremendous strain on the heart, and other organs, so prompt treatment is necessary.