6 Effective Methods To Help You Stop Snoring

October 16, 2013


If you snore, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. According to the Mayo Clinic, at least half of all adults snore sometimes. Snoring happens when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe. The consequences can be significant: relationship problems, constant tiredness, and sleep apnea, a potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Here are some suggestions to address the problem:

1. Lifestyle

A few changes to your day-to-day routine might make a difference. For starters, get in better shape. Did you know you can tone your throat muscles by toning your arms, legs, and abs? Your throat gets fitter as you exercise. Set a regular sleep schedule with your partner. It will help you fall asleep more quickly and you’ll spend a quieter, more restful night. You can also try sleeping on your side rather than your back. Gravity can make your tongue drop to the back of your throat, obstructing airways. Some people sew tennis balls into their pajamas to force them off their backs.

Last but not least: Give up smoking. In addition to the other health benefits, you’ll clear up nose and throat irritation.

2. Diet

Your weight is a factor in snoring, as is your diet. Decreasing body fat will reduce the fatty tissue in the back of your throat, which can mean a cleaner passageway and less snoring. Avoid eating late, since mucus-forming foods (including most dairy foods) maximize phlegm build-up, causing your snoring to rise in volume. If you normally sleep quietly, you still may snore after drinking alcohol.

Drinking tea is a good idea, however. Secretions in your nose and soft palate become stickier when you’re dehydrated. Before sleep, inhale vapor from a hot mug of tea to clear nasal passages.

3. Devices

If snoring is a real problem, you can invest in products that help address the problem. Special pillows raise your head a few inches, which improves your breathing by allowing your tongue and jaw to move forward. You might also try a humidifier, which creates more moisture in the air and helps clear clogged nose and throat membranes.

A dentist may suggest an oral appliance, a form-fitting dental mouthpiece that helps advance the position of your tongue and soft palate to keep your air passage open. Consult with your pharmacist and you will gain access to a wealth of over-the-counter products, some of which are helpful and most of which are inexpensive. You can even order anti-snoring gear from Amazon and other online retailers.

4. Medical Treatments

SIf you’re waking up in the middle of the night and regularly feeling sluggish and achy, consult your doctor. Your physician (or a specialist) may recommend one or more medical approaches.
Palatal implants, for instance, are braided strands of polyester filament that are injected into the soft palate, stiffening it and reducing snoring.

Or you might be a candidate for uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, a simple surgical procedure in which doctors tighten and trim excess tissues from the throat. (It is conceptually similar to a face-lift.) With laser-assisted uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, doctors use a handheld laser beam to shorten the soft palate and remove excess tissue. This surgery typically does not require an overnight stay in the hospital. Your doctor might also recommend radio-frequency tissue ablation, or somnoplasty, a simple procedure that uses a low-intensity radio signal to shrink tissue in the soft palate.

5. Throat Exercises

Yes, you can actually reduce snoring with exercise. Anti-snoring exercises are designed to strengthen muscles in the upper respiratory tract. Start slow and gradually increase the number of sets you do, or combine exercises with other activities such as commuting, walking the dog, working out, or taking a shower.

Here’s a typical workout:

Repeat each vowel (A-E-I-O-U) aloud for three minutes, several times a day.

Place the tip of your tongue behind your front teeth, then slide it backward along the roof of your mouth. Continue sliding your tongue for three minutes, several times a day. Close your mouth and purse your lips. Hold for 30 seconds. With your mouth open, move your jaw to the right and hold it there for 30 seconds. Repeat on the left side.

6. Visit a Clinic

If your partner notices that in addition to loud and chronic snoring, you sometimes choke, gasp, or snort during sleep, or take long pauses between breaths, you should visit a clinic that specializes in sleep apnea. Complications from sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart and liver problems, daytime fatigue, morning headaches, memory problems, mood swings, feelings of depression, a need to urinate frequently at night, and a decreased interest in sex.

At a clinic, be prepared to answer questions about your lifestyle; a specialist will help you decide whether you need further tests. Evaluations often involve overnight monitoring of your breathing and other body functions during sleep.