On a cold winter's night, there’s nothing better than cozying up in bed with your partner. The only hitch: their snoring keeps you up all night. When a loved one we sleep next to snores loudly, it can cut our sleep in half and even force us to end up on the couch. They might not want to spring for an admittedly uncomfortable-looking CPAP machine — but don't give up hope just yet. There are some natural remedies that may help your partner snore less, so you'll finally get to sleep soundly... and hopefully salvage your relationship!
Scent your shoulders
The nose knows! One method that may help curb snoring is rubbing vanilla-scented body lotion over your partner's shoulders, chest, and arms before bed. (They'll no doubt appreciate this if you pair it with a little massage.) According to an article published in Nutrition Today, clinical studies suggest olfactory exposure to vanillin — the main chemical compound of the extract of the vanilla bean — soothes and calms distressed infants and diminishes sleep apnea in infants and adults. Another study published in Psychophysiology — done on the emotional qualities of odors and their influence on our startle reflexes — found that when the olfactory nerve in participants' noses sensed vanillin, it signaled their brain to relax an overactive respiratory system; this kind of relaxation may, in turn, quiet snoring and help your partner sleep more sweetly.
Swap your socks
Compression socks might not be the most seductive article of clothing to buy your partner — but they'll probably agree that getting enough sleep is more important than looking sexy! So, encourage your guy or gal to slip into some cozy compression socks as they pad around the house. Here's why: A study published in Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology found that chronic snorers who made no changes other than wearing knee-high compression stockings during the daytime cut down their snoring at night. This research was backed up by another randomized controlled trial, with results published in the journal Sleep Medicine, that investigated the effect of compression stockings on the severity of sleep apnea. (Sleep apnea is a common disorder that causes a person's breathing to stop or get very shallow, and often results in snoring.) The reason behind the usefulness of socks: When we lie down at night, any fluid that’s accumulated in legs and ankles flows out of the lower body and toward the neck. There, it swells tissues in the throat and triggers snoring. But gently squeezing your legs in comfy compression during the day may prevent pooling and therefore cut down on snoring at night.
‘Hug’ your nose
Have you ever noticed that your partner seems to snore even more aggressively when they have a cold? When an illness, allergies, or genetics narrow nasal passages, tissue in the nose may start to rattle. A potential fix: “Hugging” the septum with a flexible polymer device that keeps airways open from the inside out. A study published in Italian journal Acta Biomedica found that an internal nasal dilator helped reduce the amount of time participants snored and improved their quality of sleep; it may even be preferable to products like nasal strips. (Try: Mute Nasal Dilator, Buy from Walgreens, $19.99) Just keep in mind that individual results may vary, and nasal dilators work best if a person's snoring is due to obstructions in the nose (due to allergies, a sinus infection, etc.). If your partner's cause of snoring is something like OAS (obstructive sleep apnea), however, a nasal dilator may not be as effective.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman's World.