How To Reduce Snoring and Improve Sleep
When it comes to snoring, many people imagine a giant man with a booming nighttime snore. However, this image isn’t the reality. In fact, about half of the US population snores at least occasionally. This includes men and women of all kinds. Snoring is a widespread phenomenon, and many who snore aren’t even aware of it. But the loved ones of those who snore are almost always wondering how their partner can reduce snoring.
If you or a loved one snores, you probably already know how much of a nuisance it can be. In severe cases, it can seriously affect you and your partner’s sleep quality. And while many of us have lived with this habit, you may not have to! There are a handful of different ways people attempt to stop snoring for good. Read on to learn how to reduce snoring, improve sleep quality, and stop bothering your partner in the middle of the night.
What is snoring?
If you don’t already know, snoring is the hoarse breathing you may hear when a person is sleeping. It can be anything from a quiet whir to a noisy snorting sound. Many people don’t realize they snore until they share a bedroom with someone. And when they do share a bedroom, it usually doesn’t take long for snoring to come up.
Snoring usually happens when a person enters a deep sleep, and the throat and palate, or roof of the mouth, muscles relax. When heavy breathing flows out through the mouth, it causes these relaxed muscles to vibrate. This produces the low, hoarse sound of snoring.
Snoring Risk Factors
Several factors can affect whether or not a person snores. Certain factors can also affect how loudly a person snores. For one, a person’s anatomy may be related to snoring. Some people have airways which predispose them to snore. If a person’s airway is naturally thin, their soft palate is thick, or their uvula hangs extra low, it’s easier for breathing to become obstructed. Similarly, those who are overweight may have excess fat at the back of the throat, causing them to snore.
Although there may not be a single thing causing a person to snore, there are a few risk factors that can contribute to it. Some of them are factors which are controllable, and others are not. Those that are can often be changed or influenced to reduce snoring.
Heavy alcohol consumption relaxes the mouth and throat muscles. As a result, drinking in the evening can cause a person to snore.
As we mentioned above, anatomy has a lot to do with a person’s snoring habits. One example (aside from those listed above) is a person’s nasal makeup. If a person has a deviated septum, or chronic congestion, they will be much more likely to snore. A narrow airway, thick palate, or large tonsils can also make a person more likely to snore.
Gender is another risk factor for snoring. In general, men are more likely to snore than women.
Family Medical History
If your family has either a history of snoring or sleep disorders, then you may be genetically predisposed to snore.
A person’s weight can also impact whether or not they snore. In general, overweight or obese people are more likely to snore. They’re also at a higher risk for developing sleep disorders like sleep apnea.
Remember: even if you have some risk factors that you can’t control, there are always some you can control. For example, you may not be able to have an impact on your family’s medical history, but you can always improve your eating habits or your alcohol intake to reduce snoring.
Is snoring bad for you?
In most cases, occasional snoring is nothing serious. However, recurrent snoring can impact a person’s sleep quality. They can also impact the sleep quality of others.
For that reason, many regular snorers will elect to see a doctor about their snoring habits. In some cases, snoring can also signify a bigger problem, as is common with sleep apnea patients. While it may not be accurate to say that “snoring is bad for you,” it’s possible that it isn’t inaccurate either.
If you are concerned about snoring or other sleep disorders, we recommend seeing a doctor. If you’re interested in seeing a sleep doctor in Lincoln, Nebraska, there are many to choose from!
How To Reduce Snoring at Home
Unfortunately, patients can’t always stop snoring. However, it is possible to reduce snoring! Below are a few of our best tips on how to reduce snoring.
Change Your Sleep Position
Changing the position in which you sleep can reduce snoring significantly. If you sleep on your back, you can try sleeping on your side instead. This allows your tongue to rest on the side of your mouth rather than in your throat, and will also tend to minimize the snoring effect.
Clear Your Nasal Passages
Clearing out your nasal passages will increase the chances of breathing through your nose at night. Using nasal decongestants, vapor rubs, or a neti pot can all effectively help you keep your nasal passage clear.
Don’t Drink Alcohol
As we mentioned before, drinking alcohol can make a huge difference with snoring. Sleeping pills and other sedatives have a similar, relaxing effect on the body’s airway. All three of these substances will significantly increase snoring.
Drink Lots of Water
Drinking plenty of water can also help minimize snoring. When you’re congested, dehydration causes mucus to “gunk up” your nasal and oral passages. Congestion can definitely increase snoring. On the other hand, maintaining a good level of hydration can help keep your mucus wet, and keep your airways as clear as possible.
Elevate Your Head
Elevating your head 3-4 inches can ease your breathing and push your tongue forward. Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue to settle into the back of your throat, decreasing the airflow in your throat. However, when you sit up, it can sometimes help clear your airway and keep your tongue out of the way.
As we mentioned above, being overweight is a risk factor for snoring. Losing some weight can clear some of the fat cells stored around your neck and clear your airway to minimize snoring.
See a Professional
If you’ve tried all of the above and none have worked, or you have greater concerns regarding your sleep habits, it may be best to see a doctor.
Professional Methods To Reduce Snoring
While home remedies can be very helpful, some cases require professional help. If you’re concerned about sleep disorders or have a serious snoring problem, seeing a doctor is your best bet. Below are some of the treatments doctors can use to help you reduce snoring.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
A CPAP machine is commonly used for patients with sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. It goes over the patient’s mouth and helps their airway stay open through the night.
Custom Jaw Positioners
If your jaw is what’s causing you to snore, doctors or dentists can prescribe jaw positioners to keep your airway open at night.
Laser-Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP)
This method utilizes a laser to modify the uvula. As you can likely infer, this is a common course of action for those whose uvula is enlarged and is affecting sleep quality.
Frequently Asked Questions about How To Reduce Snoring
Can someone stop snoring permanently?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a hard and fast way to stop snoring permanently. However, there are a few ways to help reduce snoring. These are listed above, under How To Reduce Snoring At Home and Professional Methods To Reduce Snoring. These will help you tame your snoring.
What’s the best way to sleep if a loved one snores?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a perfect way to sleep through snoring either. However, there are some things you can try to improve your if you are having trouble sleeping. Some great ways to improve your sleep are to get up at the same time each day, exercise, monitor what you eat and drink, or try supplementing melatonin. If none of these help, it might be worth seeing a doctor or sleep doctor and asking for their advice. They’ll be able to listen to your particular symptoms and help you find the right solution.
Is there a way to stop snoring naturally?
The best ways to stop snoring naturally are also listed above! They can be found under How To Reduce Snoring At Home and Professional Methods To Reduce Snoring.
What makes you snore?
As we explain above, snoring happens as a result of vibrating inside the airway. This happens in either the throat, soft palate, roof of the mouth. They vibrate as a result of deep sleep causing the muscles to relax.
Does a humidifier help with snoring?
While there isn’t any research to support that a humidifier helps with snoring, it wouldn’t hurt! Sometimes we snore because of congestion or sickness. Especially if that’s what’s causing the snore, a humidifier can loosen things up and help you breathe more easily. Try it out to see if it helps you stop snoring.
Can you have sleep apnea without snoring?
Yes, a person can still have sleep apnea if they don’t snore. There are two types of sleep apnea: central sleep apnea (CSA) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Snoring most commonly occurs in OSA cases, although not always. It’s possible to have snoring either way. For that reason, if you think you may have sleep apnea, it’s worth seeing a doctor, even if you don’t snore.