Snoring every once in awhile is rarely something to worry about. However, snoring regularly can pose a threat to your health and may even cause your relationship to suffer. Fortunately, there are simple things that can be done to reduce or eliminate snoring.
- Change your sleeping position. Sleeping on your back can cause the flesh in the back of your throat to relax and block your airway. Try sleeping on your side instead. Also, elevating your head even just a few inches may help.
- Lose weight. Even losing a couple of pounds can help reduce or eliminate your snoring by reducing the amount of fatty tissue in the back of the throat.
- Do anti-snoring throat exercises. Muscles in the upper respiratory tract may be strengthened by pronouncing certain vowel sounds and curling the tongue in specific ways. Try the following exercises:
- Repeat each vowel (a,e,i,o,u) out loud for about 3 minutes each day.
- Place the tip of your tongue on the back of your top teeth. Then curl your tongue backwards. Repeat for about 3 minutes each day.
- Close your mouth and purse your lips for about 30 seconds.
- Open your mouth and move your jaw to the right. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat moving your jaw to the left for 30 seconds.
- Sing. Singing increases muscle control in the throat and soft palate.
- Clear your nasal passages. If you have a stuffy nose at night, try rinsing your sinuses with saline before bed. Using a Neti Pot or nasal strips may also help. If you have allergies, try to reduce the amount of dust mites and dander you have in your bedroom by washing your sheets often and taking allergy medication.
- Make a few lifestyle changes. Simple changes in your daily lifestyle can greatly reduce snoring. These include:
- Quit smoking. Smoking irritates the membrane in your nose which blocks the airways and causes snoring.
- Avoid alcohol, sedatives, and sleeping pills. These relax the muscles in the throat which can cause snoring.
- Watch what you eat before bed. Research has found that having large meals before bed or consuming dairy or soymilk before bed may increase snoring.
- Exercise. Exercise can help reduce snoring even if it does not cause weight loss. This is because exercising tones all the muscles in your body, including your throat. Consequently, snoring will be reduced.
If these remedies do not help, you may need to talk to your doctor. Your physician can recommend a medical device or surgery that can help. Medical devices such as a CPAP machine blows pressurized air into a mask you wear over your face. Surgical procedures such as Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty or Thermal Ablation Palatoplasty increase the size of the airway by surgically removing tissues or correcting abnormalities.
It’s very important to evaluate your snoring to rule out more serious problems such as sleep apnea. If you are experiencing the following symptoms you should visit your doctor right away:
- You snore heavily and loudly and are tired during the day
- You stop breathing at times while you are sleeping
- You fall asleep randomly during the day