You might be one of almost half the adult population that snores, and if you don’t snore then changes are you know someone who does.
That snorting and rattling sound made by the vibration of the airway tissue at the back of your mouth, nose and throat during sleep is enough to send you (and your fellow sleepers) mad. It can cause sleep disturbances through the night and lead to excessive sleepiness during the day, reduced mental function, emotional upset and relationship issues.
Severe snoring can be an early warning sign to obstructive sleep apnoea, so it’s important to understand the type of snorer.
Before you head off for medical intervention there are some natural solutions and lifestyle changes that might help stop the snoring.
1. Change you sleep position
If you sleep on your back the base of your tongue and soft palate collapse to the back wall of your throat, which causes that sound during sleep. You might want to try sleeping on your side to help prevent this.
You might like to get yourself a body pillow (full length to support your entire body) that will help you maintain that side sleeping position, or tape a tennis ball to your back to stop you from rolling.
Another way you can alleviate the issue is by propping yourself up, which will open the nasal passage airways. However, this could cause neck pain.
2. Change your pillows
Allergens in your pillow (and around your bedroom) can contribute to your snoring. Do you have fans? When was the last time you dusted the blades? Have you washed or replaced your pillows recently?
Dust mites gather in your pillows and can lead to a reaction that can cause snoring. Also, allowing your pets to sleep on the bed means you are breathing in their microscopic flecks of skin that can cause a reaction.
You can put your pillows in the dryer (if you have one) every couple of weeks, and it is recommended you replace them every six months to keep dust mites and allergens to a minimum.
3. Drink less alcohol and more H2O
Alcohol relaxes the muscles at the back of your throat, making it more likely that you’ll snore. If you drink booze before bedtime, even four or five hours before, you could make that snoring a whole lot worse!
When you drink water, you are keeping the secretions in your nose and soft palate firm, which can reduce the amount of snoring. If you aren’t hitting the daily recommended number of glasses (between eight and 10) you might want to look at upping your intake.
4. Open your nasal passages
A hot shower before bed is one way of helping to open your nasal passages.
However, if you know you suffer from some form of nasal collapse, you might want to use an adhesive nasal dilator strip that is placed over the outside of your nose to help keep the airways open and limit the amount of snoring you do.
5. Lose weight
Easier said than done — we know — but being overweight (or having a large neck circumference, greater than 16 inches) increases the risk of fat pushing down on the throat and worsening snoring. By starting an exercise program and losing some weight you might find your snoring might reduce significantly.