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How to Stop Snoring

Snoring is a fairly common problem. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, an estimated 45 percent of adults snore on occasion and 25 percent snore on a regular basis. Although snoring is more common in men and in people who are overweight, it is a problem that can create serious emotional and physical problems in a relationship. Many couples can't even sleep in the same room because of snoring.

Whether it's you or your partner who has the snoring problem, one of you is inevitably losing sleep due to that consistently raspy, rattling, snorting sound. Fortunately, there are lifestyle changes and other remedies you can use that may help you both stop snoring once and for all.

The following are tips from the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Lose weight. Overweight people tend have bulky neck tissue, which increases the likelihood of snoring. If you are overweight, dropping a few pounds - even as little as 10 percent of your total body weight - will reduce the amount of fat deposits in your throat. Not only will you increase the space in your air passage way, but you'll improve your overall health at the same time.

  • Sleep on your side. Snoring occurs when different parts of your mouth and throat (the soft palate, uvula, tongue, tonsils, or muscles) rub against each other and generate a vibrating sound during sleep. When you are lying on your back and your tongue falls back, it increases airway resistance in your throat. Simply changing the position in which you sleep could help prevent this from happening. If you snore and you normally sleep on your back, try sleeping on your sides and see if it helps. You may also want to try elevating your head by sleeping on multiple pillows, or raising the head of your bed a few inches. Place blocks or a wedge under the head of your mattress to prop it up.

  • Avoid alcohol before bed. If snoring is present all night long regardless of your sleep position, it may be time to examine different aspects of your lifestyle that may be causing you to snore. Drinking alcoholic beverages or taking sleep aids before bed will cause your muscles to relax, which may limit your air passage way or suppress your breathing drive. Smoking can also lead to snoring, as it causes inflammation and swelling of the throat. If you think your snoring might be the result of having a few drinks, smoking, or taking a sedative at night, either cut back, or cut them out altogether.

  • Try a nasal breathing strip. Studies show that nasal strips can provide temporary relief from congestion and may also help you stop snoring. It is easier to breathe when your nostrils are open wide, so nasal strips, which are worn on the nose, can help - if your snoring is coming from your nose. While most snoring comes from the base of the tongue or the soft palate and not the nose, nasal breathing strips may be worth a try.

  • Inhale steam before bed. Another potentially useful remedy for snoring caused by nasal congestion is inhaling steam. Use a humidifier or a steam vaporizer, or run hot water and put a towel over your head to inhale the steam. This will help to moisturize your throat and loosen mucus-causing congestion.

Other suggestions:

  • Avoid eating a big meal right before bed. A full stomach will push up on your diaphragm and limit breathing passage ways.

  • Avoid dairy products before you go to sleep, as they may cause mucus build-up.

  • Follow a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.

  • Sleep on a firmer pillow. A pillow that is too soft encourages your throat muscles to relax and narrows your breathing passage ways.

  • Sew a tennis ball to the back of your shirt. The discomfort of sleeping on the ball will prevent you from rolling on to your back.

  • If you have allergies, get them treated. Chronic respiratory allergies may cause snoring by forcing you to breathe through your mouth while you sleep.

  • Try a mouth guard. Your dentist or doctor may be able to prescribe an anti-snoring mouth guard that holds your teeth together and keeps your lower jaw muscles in place.

Remember, the snoring remedies that work for some may not work for others. If your snoring continues to adversely affect your sleep, talk to your doctor.

 


 

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March of Dimes
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