Nobody wants to snore. It makes you the most unpopular person in the bedroom. And catching a few z’s in public is a one-way ticket to public humiliation. But it’s more than just an inconvenience - chronic snoring can be a sign of an underlying issue that needs action.
So what can you do about it?
1. Maintain a healthy weight
Sleep is intrinsically linked to weight. And excess weight is strongly associated with snoring. The more fat you have around your neck and throat, the more likely the airway can become narrow. This is backed up by research that found body mass index (BMI) is directly linked to snoring severity.
Saying it is easy, whilst putting it into action is much harder. But losing weight has a whole range of health benefits, including combating snoring. Even slight weight loss (5% to 10% of body weight) can produce life-changing benefits, such as better sleep, healthier blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, and more balanced sugar levels.
2. Switch up your positions
Sleeping position and head elevation can be a game-changer when it comes to snoring. It’s all about how the air travels through your throat when you’re asleep. If you sleep on your back, your airway will likely be blocked. Sleeping on your side opens up the airway, reducing the chances of snoring.
Similarly, if you keep your head slightly elevated, gravity works its magic and keeps the airway open. Research found that tilting people's upper body by 7.5 degrees reduced obstructive sleep apnoea, a condition where the throat muscles relax and block the airway, by 31.8% on average. The incline level also helped reduce shallow breathing and improved sleep efficiency. You can achieve this by using a specially designed pillow or wedge.
3. Nasal strips and sprays
Being congested is a surefire way of snoring. Nasal strips or sprays can be practical tools to fight snoring caused by nasal congestion. They work by widening your nasal passage, allowing for improved airflow.
Decongestant nasal sprays often contain saline or corticosteroids, which help relieve congestion, inflammation, and allergies (all contributors to snoring).
4. Avoid alcohol
When you sleep, you want to be relaxed. But drinking alcohol might have the opposite effect. They relax the muscles in your throat, tongue, and soft palate. This can narrow the airways and lead to snoring. Research shows that people who drink alcohol before bed are more likely to snore than those who don’t, particularly when drinking hard liquor.
5. Seek professional help
Sometimes you do everything right but the snoring won’t stop. If so, it’s time to draft in some expert help. A sleep specialist can assess the underlying causes of your snoring and recommend appropriate treatment options.
Depending on the severity and cause of your snoring, treatments may include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, oral appliances, or surgical interventions. Airway obstruction, structural abnormalities, or excessive tissue can all be addressed with these interventions.
The numan take
Snoring is one of the most frustrating noises you can hear. So take action if it’s a problem for you or your partner. Reclaim control of your nights by doing something about it.