How to Stop Snoring and Sleep Better Than Ever
Let’s face it, snoring is no fun, and with nearly 90 million Americans reporting some type of snoring activity during their lives, it’s a frustratingly common issue, although in most cases, all of that noisy breathing is nothing more than an annoyance.
But if you find yourself snoring on a regular basis, you can end up dealing with some seriously irksome symptoms, like daytime fatigue and irritability, or even health problems, such as headaches, acid reflux, or even heart disease.
Some snorers can even end up with relationship trouble if their labored nighttime breathing keeps a partner from getting the deep sleep they need to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.
If you or your bedmate are snoring the night away, you might think the only option to prevent a breakup is to sleep in separate rooms, but luckily for lovebirds everywhere, that’s not the case!
We’ve gathered some of the top tips to stop snoring so you and your partner can continue to share a bedroom and get the restful sleep that you both want and need.
Common Causes of Snoring
Before we go over the best ways to stop snoring, we should cover what causes this annoying problem in the first place. Snoring occurs when air can’t move freely through the nose and throat as you sleep.
Those that snore tend to have an excess amount of throat and nasal tissue or position their tongue in a way that blocks quieter and smoother breathing. This causes the tissue in those areas to vibrate and produce the all-too-familiar sound that keeps so many of us awake at night.
One of the best ways to understand the reason for your partner’s snoring (or your own) is to consider the most common factors that cause it in the first place. This will also help you to find the best solution to end snoring and get to sleep faster and easier.
These are some of the most common causes of snoring…
Your age can play a part in how much you snore, as throat passages become narrower, and muscle tone in the throat lessens as we get older.
Your weight can also contribute to the chance of snoring at night, due to poor muscle tone and fatty tissue in the throat and neck adding extra pressure to the area and reducing the ability to breathe freely.
Your sex also plays a role, as men tend to snore more often than women, due to having a narrower throat passage, resulting in more labored breathing when reclined in bed.
Your allergies can cause inflamed sinuses and blocked airways, making it difficult to fully inhale, creating a vacuum effect in the throat, which leads to snoring.
Your medications can cause snoring if they increase muscle relaxation in the throat, especially tranquilizers, such as diazepam (Valium) or lorazepam (Ativan), which can be made worse when being taken with alcohol.
Your sleep position might also be the culprit when it comes to snoring, especially if you’re sleeping on your back, as that posture causes tissue in the neck area to relax and blocks air passages.
More Serious Causes of Snoring
Although most snoring tends to be temporary and is caused by issues that are easy to address, there are cases where medical conditions can be to blame for the noises that are keeping you or your partner from getting high-quality sleep.
The most common health concern that causes snoring is a treatable disorder called sleep apnea, which is defined as the interruption of breathing during sleep, where inhalation repeatedly stops and starts.
Sleep apnea can cause serious disturbances in sleep, lead to extreme fatigue during the day, and even result in some scary health problems, such as migraines, increased blood pressure, or a heightened chance of suffering a heart attack.
Some of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea are:
- Snoring heavily and loudly
- Feeling tired during the day
- Gasping for breath while asleep
- Falling asleep when it’s not bedtime
If you or your partner are regularly seeing any of these red flags, you should contact your doctor for further testing and discuss a treatment plan to address this serious sleep disorder.
Discover Why You Snore
If you want to find the best ways to end the noise each night and sleep like a baby, your first step should be discovering exactly why you or your partner snore. To do this, you should monitor snoring patterns.
Start a simple sleep diary by using a notebook to record when and how the snoring happens in your bedroom. Or you can take things high-tech by using a sleep monitoring app on your smartphone or other electronic devices, such as an iPad.
Once you know what type of snoring you’re dealing with, it’s simply a matter of finding the most effective way to stop snoring for you, which we will go over shortly. Take a look at these snoring types to get started on your journey to an amazing night’s rest.
Closed-mouth snoring could indicate tongue position issues.
Open-mouth snoring might be related to problems with throat tissue.
Snoring on your back is usually milder and could be caused by excess weight.
Snoring in any sleep position tends to be caused by more severe issues and most likely requires a consult with your doctor.
Self-Help Strategies to Stop Snoring
While there are tons of anti-snoring devices on the market (and more being added every day), finding the right option to stop snoring can seem like an overwhelming task. And the truth is, most of the available choices won’t even do much to address the issue.
Luckily, there are some time-tested and science-backed techniques to stop snoring, and some of them are quicker and easier to use than you might think. Having said that, there are some options that are effective but require an investment in time and effort.
Your best bet is to start with the simplest options and give each one a try to help you discover the right anti-snoring technique for you or your partner. Let’s take a look at just a few of the best ways to stop snoring.
Change Your Bedtime Routine One of the easiest ways to eliminate snoring is to make some simple changes to your regular pre-bed routine. We’re going to go over some of the best options when it comes to improving your sleep hygiene for peace and quiet in the bedroom.
Elevating your head is one of the fastest ways to stop snoring. Lifting your head by about four inches as you sleep can ease your breathing and encourage your tongue to rest in the best position to prevent snoring. Try an anti-snoring pillow to help make sure your head and neck are aligned properly for snore-free sleep.
Switching your sleep position is also a simple and effective technique to stop snoring. If you snore when sleeping on your back, try sewing a tennis ball on the back of your PJs to encourage you to sleep on your side, or you can invest in a more supportive mattress made from premium memory foam to help keep you from tossing and turning.
Try an anti-snoring mouth guard if you’re an open-mouth snorer. These devices are designed to keep your airway open as you sleep by aligning your lower jaw.
Flush your nasal passages to prevent inflamed sinuses or a stuffy nose causing you to snore. Many people that suffer from allergies find that using a sinus flushing kit greatly reduces the likelihood of snoring.
Keep the air moist in your bedroom with a reliable humidifier to help your nasal passages from drying out, resulting in irritated nose and throat membranes, and causing noisy breathing during the night.
Make Lifestyle Changes
If you’ve tried making changes to your bedtime routine and still find yourself snoring the night away, your next step is to make some of the following tweaks to your lifestyle to see if that improves the situation and keeps your sleep peaceful.
Losing weight can dramatically cut back on the likelihood of snoring, even if it’s just a few pounds of fatty tissue, as it reduces the pressure on the throat as you sleep.
Giving up cigarettes reduces irritation to the membranes in your throat and nose, eliminating a common cause of snoring due to inflamed airways.
Cutting back on alcohol or sedatives will also reduce the chance of snoring. When you avoid substances with a tranquilizing effect, you prevent the throat muscles from becoming too relaxed and vibrating, which causes the labored sounds of snoring.
Eating with sleep in mind helps to keep snoring at bay. Make sure to eat lighter meals before bedtime and avoid dairy at least two hours before bed to help prevent a thickening in the throat membranes, which can lead to snoring.
Exercising regularly can help to prevent snoring, even if it doesn’t result in weight loss, especially when you’re focusing on strengthening upper-body muscles. You can even try anti-snoring exercises that improve the tone of the muscles in the mouth and throat.
Medical Strategies to Stop Snoring
If making changes to your bedtime routine and lifestyle don’t put an end to your snoring problem, don’t lose hope for a peaceful night of sleep! There are medical anti-snoring options that just might fit the bill, and new treatments are becoming available on a regular basis.
Talk to your doctor about the best option for you and be sure to mention what self-help techniques you’ve already tried to stop the snoring madness. Your primary physician might recommend one of the following medical anti-snoring strategies, including medical devices or minor surgical procedures.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines were designed to prevent your airway from closing up during sleep by blowing pressurized air into a face mask.
Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) is a medical procedure that shortens the soft tissue hanging in the back of your throat, known as the uvula. This helps to eliminate the vibrations in your throat that lead to snoring.
Palatal implants (Pillar procedure) can prevent the collapse of the soft palate by inserting small plastic implants, helping to keep you snore-free.
Dealing with Snoring in Relationships
Ending the battle against snoring most likely won’t happen overnight, and if you’re in a committed relationship, all of that nightly noise can cause a serious strain on cohabitating bliss.
But no matter how much sleep you might be missing out on, it’s crucial to deal with the issue in a sensitive manner to prevent problems in your relationship from cropping up.
Here are some tips on how to talk about the snoring problem with your partner:
Watch out for resentment making its way into the conversation. You don’t want snoring to become an excuse to air other grievances and start a massive blowout.
Remember snoring isn’t intentional and it’s not something your partner is doing on purpose to tick you off.
Don’t lash out at your partner, no matter how frustrated your sleep loss has left you feeling. Instead, do your best to take a non-confrontational approach to the problem.
Choose the appropriate time to talk about the snoring issue. Discussing the situation in the middle of the night or during the early morning hours can result in tensions running high.
Try to add humor to the discussion to help your partner feel more at ease and less at fault about their snoring. Laughing about the problem together can make you both feel better and help you come together to find the best solution.
36 More Tips for Better Sleep
Now that you’ve learned how snoring impacts your sleep, and some easy ways to rest better each night, you might want to increase your sleep knowledge with some of these related articles on expert tips for getting your most restful night of sleep yet.