Snoring is very common, affecting approximately 15 million people in the UK. It can sometimes seem impossible to stop yourself (or your partner) from snoring, but there are actually some very easy remedies that might work for you. Many of the most common causes of snoring can be addressed just by making simple changes to your lifestyle or the way that you sleep.
1. Change Your Sleeping Position:
One of the easiest remedies for snoring is simply to turn onto your side instead of sleeping on your back. It can take a bit of getting used to if this isn’t your usual sleeping position, but you should be able to get comfortable. Hugging a pillow or placing one behind your back so that you don’t roll over might help. Sleeping on your side works because it reduce the pressure on your chin and airway, which stops it from closing up and causing snoring.
If you can’t sleep on your back then another option that might work is to raise your head up. Sleeping with some extra pillows can help to keep your throat clear and open during the night, which will reduce the chances of snoring. You might be able to achieve this with just an extra pillow, but there are also special wedge-shaped pillows that are designed to prevent snoring by elevating your upper body.
2. Improve Your Sleep Habits:
You might have noticed that you’re more likely to snore when you’re very tired. Since snoring can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep, this can end up being a bit of a vicious cycle. Breaking the cycle can help to prevent your snoring. When you are going to bed at a sensible time and giving yourself plenty of time to rest, you are less likely to snore. If you wait until you’re exhausted or don’t spend long enough in bed, you end up in a heavier sleep. Your throat muscles will be floppier, so your throat is more likely to close up, making you snore.
3. Clear Out Your Nasal Passages:
Blocked nasal passages are one of the most common causes of snoring. Sometimes they’re only blocked for a few days because of a cold, but some of us get bunged up more easily. Having a steamy shower before bed can help to open them up. It’s also a good idea to blow your nose or use a nasal spray before you go to sleep. If your nose often feels blocked at night, but not during the day, then it could be a sign you’re reacting to allergens in the bedroom. Make sure you’re dusting and hovering regularly, keep pets out of the bedroom, and replace your bedding with hypoallergenic versions.
4. Don’t Drink Alcohol Before Bed:
Alcohol can make your muscles more relaxed, which means that your throat is more likely to close up while you’re sleeping. You should try not to drink alcohol too close to bedtime in order to prevent this from happening. It should still be OK to drink in moderation, as long as you do it at dinner or in the early evening rather than late at night. Avoiding alcohol for 3-4 hours before you go to sleep should make a difference to your snoring.
5. Don’t Smoke:
If you smoke or spend time in a smoky environment, then it can have a significant effect on your airways. You’re more likely to suffer from nasal congestion and your airways could be narrower due to inflammation. You should notice a difference in your snoring very quickly if you give up smoking. Ask your GP for help if you want to quit.
6. Wear a Mouth Guard or Nasal Strip:
Sometimes wearing one of these simple devices is enough to stop snoring. Different options are available that can tackle different causes of snoring. For example, if you snore because your mouth tends to fall open while you’re asleep, a mouth guard that keeps it closed could help. Similarly, if your snoring is linked to your nasal passages closing up, a nasal strip might be able to help by holding them open. However, there are other possible reasons for snoring that it might not be possible to solve with these kinds of devices. If you’ve tried all of the options available in pharmacies then it might be a good idea to see an ENT specialist as the problem could be elsewhere in your airway.
7. Get Rid of Any Extra Weight:
Even a small amount of excess weight can put extra pressure on your neck when you’re sleeping. Eat a balanced diet, get plenty of exercise and aim for a healthy BMI to prevent snoring. Losing weight won’t always be the easiest remedy, but it can have a dramatic effect and if you focus on enjoying a more active, healthy lifestyle, rather than on counting calories, it might not be that hard. Stopping snoring can also be a great motivating force for these kinds of lifestyle changes.
What Else Can You Do?
Most people should be able to reduce their snoring by using these simple remedies, but they won’t always work for everyone. You should see a doctor about your snoring if it happens a lot, none of these remedies seem to help, or you think your breathing might be affected. You might have a condition like sleep apnoea that can’t always be tackled by something as simple as changing your sleeping position.
However, that doesn’t mean that you’ll just have to put up with the snoring. Various treatments are available that might help you to get a better (and quieter) night’s sleep. Your doctor might recommend medication or even surgery to tackle the cause of your snoring and prevent any other issues, such as breathing difficulties at night. Some of the remedies described above might also help a bit too, so they’re always worth trying, whatever the reason for your snoring.
Do you have any other tips to stop snoring or advice on living with someone who snores?