Contents of Article
- Why We Snore
- Why Snoring is a Concern
- The Best Snoring Cessation Techniques
- Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s face it; snoring can be a real problem. Not only does nighttime snoring affect our relationships, but it also impacts our sleep and overall health. The good news is, you’re not alone. Snoring is a common problem, and our beginner’s guide on how to stop snoring is here to help you stop snoring for good.
In this article, we’ll explore the phenomena of snoring, its causes, its effect on your health, and, most importantly, how you can find relief.
Why We Snore
The primary cause of snoring is a decrease in airflow passing through the upper respiratory system. Soft tissues and muscles, including your tongue, tonsils, and throat, make up this complex of passageways. Airways can become occluded for a number of reasons, which forces the breath to move between those soft tissues, producing the vibration we call snoring.
To stop snoring, we need to open up and increase the airflow in the upper respiratory system. Luckily, there are many safe and natural methods we can use. But first, let’s look at why we should try to stop snoring in the first place.
Why Snoring is a Concern
Chances are you’re reading this article at the request of a romantic partner or roommate looking for a little help getting a peaceful night’s sleep. Just remember, if someone has politely informed you that your snoring is affecting their rest, it’s affecting your sleep quality as well.
Interrupted sleep can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms. Luckily, you can easily improve your sleep and your health by getting your snoring under control.
Snoring can lead to daytime drowsiness, even if you feel as though you slept through the night. Studies have shown that patients who snore have fragmented sleep patterns, meaning they do not spend the appropriate amount of time in specific sleep cycles.
This lack of quality sleep leads to a measurable decrease in cognitive function. While reversible with proper rest, these symptoms can seriously affect your quality of life. Without a doubt, getting your snoring under control can put you on track to feeling and performing your best.
We’ve all heard about folks “waking up on the wrong side of the bed.” The truth is, our sleep quality has a direct effect on our mood and emotional state. If your snoring has kept your partner awake all night, we’re sure you know what we mean.
Unfortunately, lack of sleep has a detrimental effect on our ability to cope with and identify our emotions. For comparison, these symptoms are clinically consistent with mild frontal lobe dysfunction. Not exactly the best brain to bring to our personal and professional relationships.
Effects of Insufficient Sleep on Mental Health:
- Poor interpersonal skills
- Lack of empathy
- Reduced impulse control
- Lack of motivation
- Increased anxiety
- Depression and negative thoughts
- A propensity for superstitious thinking
We know that bed rest is essential for healing, but we may not appreciate the role of good sleep in preventing illness. Our immune systems rely on the circadian rhythm, our natural sleep/wake cycle, to function correctly. Without the ability to self-regulate during a typical sleep pattern, harmful hormonal changes can occur.
These hormonal changes can lead to excess inflammation in the body that impair your ability to build immunity to germs and viruses. When the immune system is out of balance, the result can be chronic illness and low energy.
Effects of Insufficient Sleep on Immune Health:
- Pain and inflammation
- Increased appetite
- Low energy
- Decreased immune response
The Best Snoring Cessation Techniques
It’s time to look at some easy ways to reduce and eliminate the snoring problem. Remember, it’s not just one factor that contributes to your snoring. To get the most out of these tips, be persistent. Try as many of them in combination as you can for the best results.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Managing your weight is one of the most important things you can do to eliminate snoring. Several research studies demonstrate that overweight individuals are two times more likely to snore than those at a healthy weight.
The tissues and muscles that make up the upper respiratory tract are subject to weight gain, just like any other muscle in the body. Those extra pounds reduce the diameter of the throat, resulting in a restricted airway. As we know, restricted airways lead to more snoring.
Working with your physician to create a nutrition and exercise plan is a great way to help you get closer to your ideal weight. With a little commitment, you can make some serious gains toward quieter nights, better overall health, and better energy levels throughout the day.
Smoking is another key factor in developing a snoring problem. It’s important to remember that any activity or condition that causes inflammation in the upper respiratory tract increases your chances of snoring. When it comes to inflammation, smoking is at the top of the list.
If you haven’t quit yet, add improved sleep and less snoring to the long list of reasons to stop now. By giving up cigarettes, you can help your health and greatly increase your chance for a restful sleep.
Change Your Sleep Position
We have already learned that the relaxation of the facial and airway muscles during deep sleep contributes to snoring. When you sleep on your back, gravity pulls your tongue and soft palate to the rear of your throat. This movement obstructs your airway and results in snoring.
One of the best ways to open your airway is to experiment with different sleep positions. Fortunately, there are various products available to assist you in doing just that.
Body pillows are a great way to encourage side sleeping, improve airflow, and eliminate snoring. The sleeping individual will contour to the pillow as it supports the entire body, not just the head. Because this is a natural sleeping position, body pillows feel comfortable, all while providing an open airway.
If you’re looking to reduce snoring, body pillows are a great solution.
You may have noticed that hardly anyone snores in an airplane or car. You guessed it: it’s all due to body position. An upright posture provides more support to the upper airway passages, even if you prefer to sleep on your back. Sleep wedges are a great way to get the same effect at home, and they’re much more comfortable than mass transit.
They take a bit of time to get used to, but if sleeping on your back is a must, sleep wedges offer a great solution.
Specialized Sleep Clothing
One way to encourage side sleeping is to make sleeping on your back, well, less than comfortable. Various shirts, harnesses, and other devices accomplish just that. These products rely on various objects sewn to the back of the apparel to encourage the user to sleep on their back.
While these devices certainly do what they claim, they do seem a little intrusive. Still, if all other attempts to change your sleep position fail, they can be a great option.
Exercise Your Airway
Believe it or not, research has shown that throat and facial exercises can drastically reduce snoring over time. Strengthening and toning your facial and throat muscles with daily exercise is yet another way to obtain a clearer airway and prevent snoring.
If you need some ideas on starting your airway exercise regimen, you can always try the SnoreGym app.
Avoid Alcohol and Sedatives
Anything that causes the muscles in your mouth and throat to relax will induce snoring. That includes alcohol and sedatives. Choosing to avoid alcohol and other drugs for six hours before bedtime can help eliminate snoring and help you get a better night’s sleep.
A common cause of snoring is the congestion of the sinuses and other nasal passageways. When you can’t breathe through your nose, your sleeping brain begins to breathe through your mouth. When breathing through your mouth, you are much likely to snore. That makes clearing up any congestion is a critical component of your anti-snoring routine.
For congestion caused by seasonal allergies or colds, antihistamines can provide relief. Remember, you should never take cold or allergy medications without accompanying symptoms, and always consult your physician before taking any medication.
Similar to treating congestion, the use of nasal strips helps increase airflow through the nose. By increasing nasal air volume, you can decrease the chance of snoring.
If you haven’t tried sleeping with nasal strips, we suggest you give it a try. They are a minimally invasive solution that can lead to a quieter night’s sleep.
Use a Sleeping Dental Appliance
Many dental appliances exist to help alleviate snoring. These devices work by splinting your lower jaw, holding it out rather than letting it relax toward the back of your throat. In many instances, they look like the molded plastic mouthguards you used in sports, with the lower portion slightly offset.
If you’re curious to give these devices, over-the-counter solutions are available at most pharmacies. In most cases, these products allow for a custom feel by easily molding to your teeth. For best results, you can obtain a device specially fitted by a dentist or sleep specialist.
Increasing your daily water intake is an easy way to reduce your snoring. Mucous membranes in your nose and throat play a vital role in lubricating the upper airway. When you are in a dehydrated state, these fluids thicken, making breathing more difficult.
Aim for a goal of eight glasses of water a day, and drink more if you’re active. If you’re struggling with a snoring problem, more fluids may be an easy solution.
Increase Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is a common factor in sleep apnea patients. Vitamin D reduces inflammation in the body, including your upper airway. As you know by now, upper airway inflammation is going to obstruct your airway and increase snoring.
A surefire way to increase vitamin D is by taking dietary supplements. Vitamin D supplements are inexpensive and readily available. By using supplements, you’re guaranteed to hit your recommended daily allowance of vitamin D, as well as get your snoring under control.
Supplements aren’t the only way to increase your vitamin D. Getting ten to thirty minutes of midday sun at least three times a week is a free and natural way to boost your vitamin D levels. Just make sure you keep your sun exposure to reasonable levels.
Finally, your diet is another important source of vitamin D. Many foods are fortified with vitamin D, such as milk and orange juice. Many fish, including salmon and tuna, are also excellent sources of dietary vitamin D.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions? We’ve got answers!
What if these tips don’t work?
To eliminate snoring, you’ll likely need to use one or more of these tips in combination. Since the cause of snoring varies by individual, it’s likely you’ll need to take an individual approach in your war against snoring.
If you’ve tried all our tips in this beginner’s guide and still can’t stop snoring, you may have a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a severe condition and should be treated by a medical professional.
Is my snoring really a problem?
You may feel like you’re sleeping through the night, but your partner complains about your snoring. The truth is your snoring affects the quality of your sleep and your health.
If you know you have a snoring problem, you owe it to yourself and your partner to fix it.
Why do men snore more?
Men are twice as likely to snore than women. The reason is your hormones. Men are more predisposed to carrying fat in the neck area than women. That extra tissue occludes the upper airway, making males more likely to snore than their female counterparts.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our beginner’s guide on how to stop snoring. These tips and tricks can dramatically reduce and eliminate your snoring problem. Remember, keeping an open, unobstructed airway is the best way to eliminate snoring.
If you have other health problems that contribute to your snoring, now is the time to address them. Snoring itself can also contribute to poor health, compounding some of the problems that are underlying causes of your snoring problems.
By improving your overall health and following our other tips, you can be well on your way to enjoying a peaceful, healthy night’s sleep!