How to Stop Snoring in 8 Easy Steps
Breathe easy at night (and improve your partner’s morning mood) with these simple snoring solutions.
WHY DO SOME PEOPLE SNORE?
Picture a river that’s headed to a crevice, says Dr. Richard Horner. As the passage narrows, the water starts to get more turbulent. That’s similar to what happens when we snore, explains Dr. Horner, an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, and Canada Research Chair in Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology. Your airway may be narrow or your airflow is obstructed, and the vibrations when you breathe cause the sound of snoring.
What causes such narrowing? For some people, it’s genetics; they’re just born with a narrower throat. For others, age is a factor; as you get older, you have less muscle tone in your throat. You may not be able to do much about genetics or age, but these solutions can help you take steps to reduce your tendency to snore by addressing other triggers.
1. Change Sleep Positions
“Some people have positional snoring,” Dr. Horner says. If you’re on your back, gravity makes your tongue and the soft tissue at the back of your throat more likely to slide back and block your airway. Sleeping on your side can alleviate the problem.
2. Keep Your Head Back
Bending your neck can constrict your airflow. Try removing some pillows, says Horner, or lying flatter.
3. Lose Weight
Consider a combination of healthier eating and exercise to shed some pounds. There’s a strong relationship between obesity and snoring. The reason – excess weight around the neck and chest puts pressure on the muscles used for breathing.
(Photo: Big Cheese Photo/Thinkstock)
4. Avoid Alcohol Close to Bedtime
Alcohol makes your muscles relax, including your airway. Try cutting off your drinking at least a few hours before sleep, says Angela Smith of the Queensway Carleton Hospital Sleep Centre in Ottawa.
6. Quit Smoking
Aside from its well-known health dangers, smoking also irritates your airway and causes inflammation.
7. Fight Nasal Congestion
Congestion from allergies or colds makes it harder to breathe, forcing increased suction that also contributes to snoring. Decongestants, allergy medication, and products that open your nasal passages (i.e. nasal strips) can all help.