Snoring disrupts the sleep of 90 million American adults regularly. The noise not only causes frustration for bed partners but takes a major toll on the snorer’s health. Long-term snoring is linked to high blood pressure, headaches, and increased stroke risk. Before turning to medical solutions like mouthguards or surgery, try making natural adjustments. Small lifestyle tweaks and home remedies may help diminish or silence bothersome snoring. This article outlines nine natural ways to curb snoring without the use of prescriptions or devices.
1. Establish a Regular Sleep Schedule
Sticking to consistent bed and wake-up times can make a big difference in snoring tendencies. When your sleep schedule is erratic, you’re more likely to feel fatigued. Extreme tiredness relaxes the throat muscles, narrowing your airway and bringing on snoring. Setting a regular bedtime allows your body to fall into a rhythm, helping you sleep deeply. You may also find that avoiding screens for one hour before bed curbs snoring. The blue light emitted from devices like phones and tablets suppresses melatonin, making good rest more difficult.
2. Try Side Sleeping
Sleeping on your back causes your tongue and soft palate to collapse to the back wall of your throat. This narrows your airway and creates the sound of snoring. Switching to a side sleeping position may help. Place a pillow between bent knees and try resting your top arm on another pillow. Getting used to a side sleeping position may take time. Use an app to track when you snore most. This will show if sleeping on your side makes a difference.
3. Elevate Your Head
Elevating your head four inches while sleeping can help open airways and reduce snoring. The easiest way to achieve this is to use an extra or wedge pillow. This tilts your head forward, preventing structures in your throat from blocking airflow. Just don’t overdo the lift: raising your head too much can strain neck muscles.
4. Avoid Alcohol Before Bed
Drinking alcohol 4 to 6 hours before bed relaxes throat muscles and triggers snoring. Alcohol suppresses REM sleep, preventing restorative rest. Skipping evening cocktails allows the alcohol to metabolize so it won’t wreak havoc on your airways. You’ll also avoid the dehydrating effects that booze brings. Well-hydrated bodies have healthier mucous membranes, decreasing congestion and lessening snoring likelihood.
5. Shed Excess Weight
Extra neck fat squeezes the internal diameter of the throat, limiting airflow. Even small amounts of weight loss can help diminish para-pharyngeal fat. This tissue surrounding the pharynx is a common culprit of airway obstruction. Consult your doctor to develop a safe, effective weight loss plan. Losing just 10% of your body weight can dramatically improve sleep quality, curbing snoring.
6. Try Nasal Strips
Specialized nasal strips lift nasal passages open, promoting airflow. They gently pull the skin outward, preventing structures from inducing snoring vibrations. Place strips tightly across the bridge of your nose before bedtime. It may take a few nights to determine optimal strip tightness and positioning. Most brands offer different-sized strips to accommodate nostril shape and personal comfort.
7. Try Tongue and Throat Exercises
Perform tongue and throat exercises to increase muscle tone and decrease excess tissue. Try repeating vowels out loud for a few minutes each day. Say A-E-I-O-U while moving your tongue upwards and side to side. You can also press your tongue against the roof of your mouth then slide it back towards your throat. Hold for 5 seconds then release. Do this 10 times in a row. Singing loudly during your commute can also boost muscle strength! Just a few minutes per day trains tissues to withstand airflow without vibrating or collapsing.
8. Consider a Humidifier
Running a humidifier and nasal saline rinses add moisture to dry nasal passages. Congestion and mucus block airflow, leading to noisy sleep. Dry air from indoor heating further irritates tender respiratory tissues. Humidifying rooms create a moist environment, reducing inflammation in nasal and throat membranes. Rinsing nasal passages also clears excess mucus buildup. Discuss humidifier options best suited for your room size with your doctor or pharmacist. Clean machines according to instructions to avoid dispersing harmful bacteria or mold spores.
9. Stop Smoking and Vaping
Like alcohol, tobacco constricts upper airway muscles. Smoking before bed makes snoring much worse due to swelling and irritation. Quitting allows damaged cilia and cell walls to heal, opening the airway’s diameter. The chronic cough common in smokers also induces snoring and sleep disruption. If going cold turkey has failed before, ask your healthcare provider about using nicotine patches or gum. Consulting your doctor for customized smoking cessation ideas provides the best chance of kicking the habit for good. Doing so yields lifelong protection against snoring.
Changing routines, losing weight, or buying new sleep gear takes commitment. But finding the right remedies to silence snoring provides major dividends for bed partners and personal health. Investing the effort offers less cranky days and a better night’s sleep all around.