How to Stop Snoring: 15 Best Remedies

Snoring is a common problem that disturbs sleep for both the snorer and their partner. Simple changes like adjusting sleep position or using nose devices can help some people. However, snoring might indicate more significant health issues like allergies or sleep apnea, requiring professional assistance.

This article explores snoring, offering DIY solutions and professional treatments to address the issue effectively.

Why Do People Snore?

People snore when the airflow in their throat faces obstacles during sleep, creating snoring sounds.

A key reason is the relaxation of throat muscles and tissues while sleeping, causing partial blockage of the airway. This leads to vibrations during breathing, resulting in the familiar snoring noise.

Multiple factors can contribute to this relaxation and vibration.

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): This is a significant player linked to snoring. OSA occurs when the airway is either partially or completely blocked during sleep, causing breathing pauses. Snoring often takes the spotlight as a prominent symptom of OSA.

  2. Weight Matters: Carrying excess weight is another common factor. Extra pounds can lead to fat deposits around the throat, narrowing the airway and increasing the likelihood of obstruction during sleep.

  3. Structural Abnormalities: Certain inherent features can also play a role in snoring. Conditions such as a deviated septum, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, or a large uvula can impede airflow, contributing to snoring.

  4. Sleep Deprivation: Lack of sleep can exacerbate snoring. When fatigued, throat muscles relax even more, heightening the chances of snoring.

In addition, specific habits can either induce or worsen snoring. Sleeping on your back may cause the base of the tongue and soft palate to collapse toward the back of the throat, obstructing airflow. Consuming alcohol close to bedtime can also relax throat muscles, increasing the likelihood of snoring.

Best Home Remedies For Reducing Snoring

Snoring caused by simple factors, like sleep position, can often be treated at home with easy remedies. Making certain lifestyle changes can also help reduce snoring.

1. Get Sufficient Sleep

To manage snoring, it’s important to get enough sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society suggest that adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. When we don’t get enough sleep, our throat muscles can become more relaxed, increasing the likelihood of snoring.

2. Sleep on Your Side

Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue to shift backward, blocking your throat and leading to snoring. To prevent this, try sleeping on your side. This position promotes smooth airflow and reduces the likelihood of blockages during sleep.

An effective solution is using a body pillow—a full-length pillow that supports your entire body. This helps you maintain a side-sleeping position and can make a significant difference.

Read more: Best Sleep Positions to Reduce Snoring

3. Elevate the Head of Your Bed

To reduce snoring, elevate the head of your bed a few inches. This prevents the tongue and throat tissues from blocking the air passage. You can achieve this by using extra pillows or bed risers. Keep in mind that this might be less comfortable and could impact the quality of your sleep.

4. Use Nasal Strips and Dilators

Snoring can be caused by nasal congestion and difficulty breathing through the nose. To improve your nasal breathing and reduce snoring, you can try two types of nasal aids.

Stick-on nasal strips are one option. These strips can be applied on the bridge of your nose to increase the space in your nasal passage. 

Another option is external nasal dilators. These are stiff adhesive strips that you place across your nostrils. They work by reducing resistance to airflow, making it easier for you to breathe.

You can also consider internal nasal dilators, which are inserted into the nostrils. These dilators can enhance nasal airflow and help alleviate snoring. 

5. Quit Smoking to Reduce Snoring 

Smoking can make snoring worse and even increase the risk or severity of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

A study in the journal Medicina revealed that participants with higher nicotine dependence and those who smoked more daily cigarettes or packs yearly were more prone to obstructive sleep apnea.

If you’re trying to quit smoking, consult your doctor about available therapies like nicotine gum or patches, which can help you break the habit.

6. Avoid Alcohol Consumption Before Bedtime 

Alcohol consumption can significantly impact sleep by relaxing the muscles in the throat and mouth, leading to a partial blockage of the airway. 

Moreover, alcohol can disrupt the normal sleep cycle, particularly by reducing the amount of time spent in REM sleep, which is crucial for cognitive functions like memory and learning. This disruption often leads to more frequent awakenings and a feeling of fatigue upon waking.

To mitigate these effects and improve sleep quality, it is advisable to avoid alcohol for at least three to four hours before going to bed. 

7. Review Sedative Use with Your Doctor

Sedatives, including alcohol and certain prescription medications, can relax the muscles in the throat. This relaxation can cause the airway to narrow or become blocked, which disrupts normal breathing patterns and results in the vibrations known as snoring. To reduce snoring, doctors often advise avoiding sedative medications in the hours before bedtime. 

8. Weight Loss for Reduced Throat Tissue 

If you’re overweight, losing weight can help you stop snoring. Overweight causes fat deposits around the neck and throat. While lying down, excess tissue can compress and physically block your upper airways, causing you to snore.

To lose weight and stop snoring, try living a healthier lifestyle. This involves cutting down on calories, exercising regularly, opting for nutrient-rich foods, and eating smaller portions.

Treatment Options for Adults with Snoring

If you or someone you know snores, it’s crucial to seek a doctor’s help for the right medical treatment. Don’t worry, though! There are some effective medical treatments available to address the different causes of snoring. 

1. Allergy Medications for Improved Airflow

Allergies can contribute to snoring by reducing airflow through the nose, leading to mouth breathing during sleep. To address this underlying cause, seeking medical care is crucial.

A doctor can recommend suitable over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription allergy medications available in various forms such as nasal sprays, liquids, and pills. Several options can be considered:

  • Nonsedating antihistamines: Examples include cetirizine (Zyrtec), levocetirizine (Xyzal), and loratadine (Claritin).
  • Sedating antihistamines: Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is an example of a sedating antihistamine.
  • Inhaled nasal corticosteroids: Fluticasone (Flonase) and triamcinolone (Nasacort) are examples of inhaled nasal corticosteroids.
  • Oral decongestants: Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and phenylephrine (Sudafed PE) are examples of oral decongestants, but they should be used for short-term purposes only.
  • Leukotriene modifiers: Montelukast (Singulair) and zileuton (Zyflo) are examples of leukotriene modifiers that can be considered.

2. Septoplasty for Deviated Septum

Snoring can be caused by a deviated septum, which means the nasal wall separating the two sides of the nose is misaligned. This misalignment can block airflow and cause mouth breathing while sleeping.

If this happens, a surgical procedure called septoplasty may be needed to fix the issue. Septoplasty can realign the deviated septum, allowing better airflow through the nose.

3. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy

If you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the CPAP machine is the go-to treatment. OSA can cause snoring and occurs when your airway gets partially or completely blocked during sleep.

CPAP therapy involves wearing a mask that delivers pressurized air while you sleep. This steady stream of air helps keep your airways open, stops snoring, and allows you to breathe normally during sleep.

There are various types of masks to choose from, depending on your personal preferences. You can find masks that are suitable for people who wear glasses or those who breathe through their mouths while sleeping.

4. Oral Appliances for Upper Airway Enlargement

Oral appliances are customized devices prescribed and fitted by dentists to address snoring. These devices work by increasing the size of the upper airway during sleep, thereby reducing snoring. They achieve this by employing one or more of the following mechanisms:

  • Advancing the lower jaw (mandible)
  • Changing the position of the soft palate
  • Retracting the tongue

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine recommend oral appliances as a treatment option for individuals who seek relief from snoring and have not found success with conservative measures. 

5. Palatal Implants (Pillar Procedure)

The Palatal Implant or Pillar Procedure is a surgical treatment aimed at reducing or stopping snoring and improving obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

During this procedure, tiny implants are inserted into the soft palate to reduce tissue vibration. The implants are designed to stiffen the soft palate, thereby addressing snoring.

This treatment is suitable for individuals with mild to moderate sleep apnea but is not recommended for those with severe sleep apnea or who are overweight. 

6. Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) or Somnoplasty

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA), also known as Somnoplasty, is a minimally invasive treatment that uses low-intensity radio waves to shrink the tissue on the soft palate.

By reducing the tissue volume, RFA aims to alleviate snoring. Somnoplasty is the name of a trademarked version of the RFA procedure. 

7. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) or Laser-Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP)

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is a surgical procedure used to widen the airway by removing excess tissue in the throat. By widening the airway, UPPP can facilitate easier airflow during breathing, thereby reducing snoring. The procedure can be performed using traditional surgical techniques or laser-assisted methods, which may allow for outpatient therapy.

Several studies, including research from 2008 and 2014, have shown that UPPP or laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) can decrease snoring intensity based on patient reports and even include reports from bed partners.

However, it is important to note that the effects of these procedures may not be long-lasting.

When to Contact a Doctor for Snoring

Snoring is a common issue that affects many individuals, and while it can be disruptive and bothersome, it may also indicate an underlying health condition. If you experience snoring, it is essential to know when to seek medical attention.

Here are some signs or symptoms in which you should contact a doctor regarding your snoring:

1. Signs of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. Here’re some of the most common symptoms:

  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Frequent urination at night (Nocturia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (Hypersomnia)
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headaches

2. Snoring Affects Sleep Quality

If your snoring consistently disrupts your own sleep or that of your partner, leading to daytime fatigue, irritability, or difficulty concentrating, you should consult a doctor.

3. Home Remedies Don’t Help

While lifestyle changes like adjusting sleep positions, losing weight, or avoiding certain substances before bedtime can sometimes alleviate snoring, they might not work for some people. If that happens to you, it’s time to seek professional advice.

Need professional help to diagnose and address your sleep problems? Schedule an online consultation with sleep specialist Dr. John Williams.

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