7 Ways To Stop Your Snoring


Before you resort to sleeping in separate beds, try these at-home remedies for snoring. (Photo by Stocksy)

Forget about the monster under your bed. If you have a partner who snores, you’re dealing with a monster in your bed — and it’s often a near-nightly showdown. In a new National Sleep Foundation survey, 40 percent of Americans admitted to snoring a few nights per week (or more).

And the ones who are suffering aren’t usually the folks sawing logs. “The most common side effect of snoring is waking up other people, whether in the same bed or the next bedroom, depending on how loud it is,” says Eric Kezirian, MD, a professor of otolaryngology at the University of Southern California, who specializes in the treatment of snoring.

In fact, people with a snoring significant other tend to lose an hour of sleep per night, according to Craig Schwimmer, MD, founder of The Snoring Center. Perhaps as a result, “couples in snoring relationships report lower marital satisfaction scores, they have less sex, and they often resort to sleeping apart,” he tells Yahoo Health.

That’s why snoring is considered a social issue more so than a medical one, although in some cases, it does indicate a more serious problem: obstructive sleep apnea. “When we go to sleep at night, the muscles in the throat relax, and as we breathe in and out, this relaxed tissue tends to vibrate,” explains Schwimmer. If that tissue simply vibrates — and nothing more — you’ll probably just bother your bedmate. But if that tissue closes as it vibrates, blocking your airway, you may have obstructive sleep apnea. “Snoring and sleep apnea are really just different points on a continuum,” says Schwimmer.

Obstructive sleep apnea, of course, requires serious medical intervention. But simple snoring can often be treated with these at-home remedies:

Adjust your position

If you’re a chronic snorer, back isn’t best. “Most people snore more on the back than they do on the side, and more on the side than they do on the stomach,” says Schwimmer. It can be tough to switch your preferred sleeping position, so sleep doctors often suggest this trick to encourage people to stay on their side: Sew a pocket on the back of a T-shirt between the shoulder blades, and slip two tennis balls inside.

“When people sleep on their side, their shoulder can get sore. So they roll on their back,” says Kezirian. “The tennis balls aren’t very comfortable, so they end up rolling to their other side.”

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Not extreme enough? Try the Night Shift Sleep Positioner, a device you wear around your neck that vibrates when you roll onto your back, increasing in intensity until you shift to your side. “I wore it one night, and it drove me crazy,” says W. Christopher Winter, MD, director of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine. “But it worked. After a few days of that, you would not be sleeping on your back.”

Play with pillows

For some people, the tennis ball trick works — but only because it keeps them up all night. If you simply can’t sleep with sports equipment attached to your PJs, try resting a body pillow between your legs, which helps align your spine and makes side sleeping more comfortable. Or wedge a C-shaped pregnancy pillow behind your back, suggests Winter.

If you still can’t adjust to lying on your side, lie on your back, but prop up your head and shoulders. “You want to make a little incline — a wedge — with a couple pillows,” says Kezirian. “It’s not just lifting up your head.” Try placing one underneath your shoulders to elevate your chest, then another two under your head. That may help keep the back of your throat open.

Avoid alcohol before bed

It’s not just your inhibitions that loosen up when you’re drinking. “Alcohol preferentially relaxes the muscles in the throat, so everybody’s snoring is worse after a couple drinks,” says Schwimmer. Plus, since you’re more sedated after drinking, your snoring is less likely to stir you awake, leaving your bedmate to suffer longer. “Most wives will tell you, ‘When Walter goes out drinking with his buddies, he’s going to snore like crazy. I don’t even sleep in the bed with him that night,’” says Winter. The simple fix: Stop your imbibing within four hours of bedtime.

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Open your nose

Sometimes, snoring isn’t due to flapping muscles in your throat — it may simply be a problem of clogged or narrow nasal passages. If they’re consistently congested, a saltwater nasal spray may be the only fix you need. “When you brush your teeth in the morning and at night, put a spray or two in either side of your nose,” says Kezirian. Not only will that keep your nostrils clear, it will also maintain the moisture in your nose, preventing the dryness and irritation that can promote snoring.

Another way to keep your nasal passages open: Breathe Right strips. “If your airway is collapsing in the back of your throat, putting a sticker across your nose is not really going to help,” says Winter. But if narrow nasal passages are the problem (or if they’re chronically clogged due to allergies), the sticky strips could make a big difference.

Try this test to see if these strips might be the right remedy for you: While looking into a mirror, inhale deeply through your nose, and see if the sides of your nose collapse. If your nostrils cave in, you probably have narrow nasal passages, so the strips could do the trick, says Kezirian.

Control your acid reflux

What’s happening in your esophagus may not seem relevant to the noises you make at night, but acid reflux can actually play a major role in snoring. When stomach acid coats your throat, it creates inflammation, says Schwimmer. “The tissue is swollen, so that narrows the airway,” he says. “Swollen tissue is more vibratory.” To tame your reflux, stop eating two to three hours before bedtime, and if that doesn’t work, try taking Tums or Rolaids before bed.

Be a mouth breather

People who snore often sound like a choo-choo train while they snooze. “They’re puffing up their cheeks, and exhaling against a closed mouth,” which can lead to snoring, says Winter. ProVent stickers turn your nostrils into a one-way valve, allowing you to breath in, but not out, through your nose. “That creates extra pressure in the back of your airway and holds it open,” he explains. In other words, the stickers force you to exhale through your mouth. “They’re really for sleep apnea, but I have patients who say that they help with their snoring,” says Winter.

Belt it out

Here’s motivation to turn your morning commute into a concert: In a 2013 British study, people who did singing exercises — a series of simple, repetitive noises put to music — for 20 minutes a day showed a significant reduction in snoring after three months. But you don’t necessarily have to do the specific exercises in the study — just belting it out may have a benefit. “There are a lot of muscles in your upper airway that don’t get used a tremendous amount,” says Winter. By singing, you may strengthen and tone those muscles, which could potentially reduce your snoring, he says.

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