Nobody likes to hear that they snore, and most people aren’t exactly thrilled to share their bed with a snorer either.
There’s usually a reason why you’re sawing logs at night, and figuring out the root of your snoring can go a long way toward solving it, according to Omid Mehdizadeh, an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor) at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif.
In general, “snoring usually happens as air flows through the throat during sleep and causes the soft palate to vibrate,” Ofer Jacobowitz, MD, a sleep medicine specialist and co-director of sleep at ENT and Allergy Associates, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “The throat relaxes in sleep and becomes narrower, so air has to flow faster through the throat and causes the tissues to vibrate.”
There are a few factors that can increase the odds that you’ll snore, including being exhausted and drinking alcohol (both can cause your throat muscles to be more relaxed when you sleep and make snoring worse), says Jacobowitz. Gaining weight, having a small jaw structure or having large tonsils can also create a smaller airway and make you more likely to snore when you sleep, he adds.
“Snoring by itself is usually not dangerous,” says Mehdizadeh. However, more than 18 million Americans have a condition known as sleep apnea, which causes their breathing to be briefly interrupted off and on throughout the night, according to the National Sleep Foundation —and snoring is a major symptom of this. Sleep apnea can be dangerous if it’s severe, which is why Mehdizadeh recommends seeing your doctor to at least check in if you know you’re a chronic snorer. (If you do have sleep apnea, your doctor will likely recommend next steps in treatment that may include a mouthpiece like the one we call out below.)
Of course, you can just be a snorer without it being due to an underlying condition. And, if this describes you, doctors say there are a few anti-snoring products that could help you stop.
These bandage-like strips stick to your nose and help open up your nasal passages. That can help reduce snoring, especially if you tend to breathe through your mouth while you sleep, Mehdizadeh says.
Shop it: Breathe Right Nasal Strips, $11, walmart.com
This little device goes into your nose and gently opens your nasal passages. It’s similar to how nasal strips work, just from the inside. This “has a greater potential to work for those who report nasal obstruction that causes them to open the mouth in sleep,” Jacobowitz says.
Shop it: Rhinomed Mute Nasal Dilator, $19 (was $22) for three pack, amazon.com
This nasal sticker works a little differently from the others. It’s a sticker that’s a one-way valve that you wear over your nostrils (instead of over the bridge of your nose). When you breathe out, the valve narrows and pressure builds in your nose and in throat. “The pressure can stabilize the palate and reduce snoring,” Jacobowitz explains.
Shop it: Theravent Snore Therapy Strips, $13 (was $21), amazon.com
The ZQuiet mouthpiece is designed to help position your mouth in a way that reduces snoring. These kind of devices help reposition your lower jaw forward, make your palate and throat stiller and help widen your upper throat, says Jacobowitz.
Shop it: ZQuiet Anti-Snoring Solution, $97, amazon.com
A body pillow seems random, but hear us out here: Body pillows help encourage you to sleep on your side, and side-sleeping can reduce snoring, Mehdizadeh says. “When you sleep on your side, the effects of gravity are not pushing down on the structures of the chest and throat,” he says. Plus, this one is under $20.
Shop it: SensorPedic Body Pillow, $19 (was $40), walmart.com
A humidifier alone isn’t going to clear up all snoring issues, but it can definitely help tamp down on things if you’re snoring because you’re congested, or if you have dry nasal passages or a dry throat, Mehdizadeh says. This one is super quiet and lasts up to 16 hours, so you can get plenty of moist air in your bedroom while you sleep.
Shop it: Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier, $40, amazon.com
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