Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.
Anthony Burgess penned this aphorism decades ago, and it is no less true today than it was back then. About 45% of the population snores, but rarely do they or those close to them think anything of it. People often joke about snoring, and how irritating it can be to sleep next to someone who habitually does so. They might poke fun with exaggerations such as “Dad snores so loud it’s like sleeping next to a railroad track!” Though they jest, snoring can be the cause of a great many social and personal problems. For instance, it can discourage intimacy and sometimes lead to two spouses sleeping in separate rooms.
Don’t Let Snoring Spoil Your Sleep!
Snoring is much more than a mere nuisance. It can be, and often is, an indicator of sleep apnea, which is a serious medical condition. In fact, three-quarters of people that snore have obstructive sleep apnea. If you or your loved one is a snorer, it is therefore imperative that a diagnosis takes place. You may consider buying a home sleep test that allows you to diagnose yourself from the comfort of your home so that treatment can begin ASAP. As for the remaining 25% of people that snore, here are 8 practical remedies to apply to your snoring problem.
Break Unhealthy Habits
Many of these solutions are incidental and will lead to improvements in other areas of your life. A prime case of this is giving up vices such as smoking and drinking, which can both inhibit sleep and lead to snoring. Smoking will clog your throat, and both cigarettes and alcohol (as well as other depressants) weaken the muscles in the upper airway. Even if you’re not a heavy drinker, it’s always helpful to give up alcohol altogether. Even so much as one drink a few hours before sleep can make a heavy snorer out of the most quiet sleeper.
Get in Shape
This tip is exclusively for those that snore and are out of shape. Cutting calories and heading to the gym won’t automatically cure your snoring, but it often will for out of shape snorers. This is because excess fat often gets deposited in the throat. This will constrict the diameter of the throat’s upper airway (i.e. the respiratory tract), causing it to collapse.
Exercise Your Upper Airway
There is some evidence that other forms of exercise may reduce or eliminate snoring, as well. Premised on the theory that snoring is caused by upper airway vibration during sleep (among other things), some scientific studies have researched the effects of exercise on the throat. Forms of exercise include programmatic humming, singing, and yodeling. It is important to note that no scientifically significant conclusion has been reached on this “remedy,” though a correlation between the muscle tone of the upper airway and decreased snoring certainly exists.
Switch Your Sleeping Position
Sometimes, all that is required is a shift in your posture during sleep. Sleeping on your back is often conducive to snoring, as it causes the tongue to collapse and vibrate against your throat. Rather than switch to sleeping on your stomach (which can put unnecessary stress on your neck), it is advisable to start sleeping on your side. If you find this uncomfortable, you may consider sleeping on specialized pillows such as a full-body pillow. Or, stack multiple pillows to support your head and keep your nasal passages clear throughout the night.
Flush Your Nasal Passages
For some people who snore, the problem is in the nose rather than the throat. Rather than a vibrating throat, their snoring is rooted in nasal passages clogged by mucus. The resulting nasal constriction causes air to pass through at a higher velocity, just like a rock in a stream would increase the current. There are many ways to flush mucus out of your nasal passages, such as:
- Using a neti pot, saline spray or any other salt water-based solution, which will moisten the nasal cavities and allow them to discharge.
- Taking a hot shower, in which the steam will act similarly to a neti pot and open up your nasal passages.
- Applying essential oils, such as lavender or eucalyptus oil, which have antibacterial properties as well as a stimulating effect on the sinuses.
Hydrate Your Body
Consistent with flushing out mucus from the nose, it is equally important for nasal snorers to stay well hydrated. Without adequate water running through the body, nasal secretions and your upper mouth tissue will become sticky. According to the Mayo Clinic, the adequate intake of water each day is about 13 cups/3 liters for men and 9 cups/2.2 liters for women. However, it is important to note that these are only the recommended minimum amounts. Each individual’s recommended intake will vary according to lifestyle, overall health and other factors.
Snoring may also be the result of an irritated throat or nose, and the usual suspect in these matters is some allergen in the room. Thus, it is a good idea to clean your bedroom and sweep up dust on a regular basis. Replace your pillows semi-annually, and be sure to wash your bedsheets with a non-allergenic laundry detergent. Additionally, though it may be heartbreaking to go through with, you may have to keep pets out of the bedroom on account of their general uncleanliness. At a minimum, ensure that they are well-bathed before inviting them onto your bed.
Finally, you must honestly ask yourself whether you are getting enough sleep, and if that sleep is restful enough. There are hundreds of suggestions that can be made on how to sleep well, and only a few of them are:
- Don’t fall asleep to music, TV or a movie.
- Take about an hour before you want to sleep to wind down and relax. Meditation is often quite helpful in this.
- Don’t drink caffeine past about 12pm noon. If you believe you are particularly sensitive to caffeine, it’s probably best to eliminate it altogether.
- Create as dark a room as possible. Turn off all lights and close your shades to block the moonlight.
- Quite smoking, eliminate alcohol, and get a healthy amount of exercise each day.
If all else fails, you may be at risk or perhaps suffering from sleep apnea. Get a diagnosis, whether at-home or professionally administered, and start therapy as soon as you can. Snoring is much more than a nuisance, but it doesn’t have to ruin your sleep!