Snoring happens when there is some kind of obstruction in the nasal passage. It may be caused by irregular breathing, congestion or even allergies. But whatever the reason, snoring can be very inconvenient, not so much for the person who snores, but more so for the person sharing the sleeping area with the snorer.
Snoring can be of different types such as the mouth shut snorer. This type of snoring may be indicative of a problem with the tongue and nasal passageways. Some people snore with their mouth wide open. This can be an indication that the tissues in the throat are more likely to be causing the snoring. This happens because the throat is partially obstructed and likely to force in more air which creates the snore sounds.
The back snorer snores as sleeping in this position causes them to breathe through the mouth. This can make snoring worse. And sometimes people snore no matter what. This could possibly be a sign of a more serious problem.
Some ways to treat snoring issues can include the following:
Overly dry air can play a part in causing snoring issues as it also makes the throat and nasal membranes dry, generating congestion. This condition has the potential to restrict natural breathing patterns and cause the tissue to vibrate. In this scenario a humidifier can help by humidifying dry air and create better conditions for the body and allowing for easier breathing.
Another way of doing this is to use essential oils in the vaporizer or humidifier. Suggestions like peppermint or eucalyptus can help open up airways and clear out sinuses while an individual sleeps. However, care should be taken not to use too much since the oils can create an overwhelming scent.
2. Raise the head of the bed
Elevating the head of the bed can help. Raising the head of the bed by about four inches can help ease breathing by pushing the tongue and jaw forward.
One way of doing this is by placing a foam wedge or rolled up towels under the mattress to raise the head. This method of elevating the entire head is better than using several pillows since pillows can crimp the neck which may in turn cause more snoring.
A better idea would be to use a firmer pillow since using a soft pillow is not able to support the head very well. Instead, what it can do is to increase the angle of the neck, forcing the tongue and jaw to fall backwards in the throat. This position will naturally block the airways and cause individuals to snore.
Another thing to do is to use sturdy blocks of wood or some thick books. It is important to make sure that wood blocks, lumbar or the books that are chosen are wide enough to cover the base of the bed foot which they will be supporting. Add on blocks or books until a height of four inches has been achieved.
3. Exercise the tongue and throat
Poor overall muscle tone and overly relaxed muscles can also contribute to snoring problems. Exercise helps tone muscles up, including the tissues that are involved in snoring. A strong tongue and throat can help avoid the over relaxation of the throat muscles and minimize snoring problems.
To try the exercise, put the upper and lower molars together gently and open the open the mouth. Focus on pressing the molars just wide enough but not to the extent of overstretching. Continue the exercise for ten to fifteen times.
4. Sleep on the side
People who sleep on their back tend to snore more than those who sleep on their side. This is because when sleeping on the back, throat and tongue muscles ease backward in the throat. Try sleeping on the side by using a body pillow to maintain the position. Sleeping in this position can prevent the relaxed and untoned muscles in the throat from blocking the breathing passageways.
An old remedy is to tape a tennis ball to the back of the pajama tops. When the individual rolls over, the discomfort from the tennis ball will force them to roll back on their side. This could take some getting used to but once mastered, will minimize the snoring problem.
5. Manage weight
Excess weight and fatty tissue can cause the throat to narrow. If an individual is overweight then losing weight can reduce or even eliminate snoring. Extra weight, especially which accumulates around the neck area can cause the throat to narrow when an individual lays down. This factor can establish a greater chance for snoring. Research studies have shown that the neck circumferences of individuals who snore are considerably more than the neck circumference of others who do not.
6. Avoid big meals at night
Try not to have a very big meal late in the evening as the process of digestion helps relax the throat and tongue muscles. Plus, the food lying the stomach can push it up against the diaphragm affecting an individual’s rhythmic breathing. Also avoid eating spicy foods at night since these can trigger indigestion which could encourage snoring.
7. Stay away from dairy as well
If people do eat late, they should avoid milk and other high fat dairy products as these can keep mucus from draining properly. Dairy is one of the most well known foods to trigger mucus production in the throat. Presence of excess mucus will also obstruct nasal airways.
8. Avoid smoking, alcohol and sedatives
Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke relaxes the throat muscles and also causes congestion in the nasal passages and lungs. Cigarette smoke annoys the lining of the nasal cavity and throat causing catarrh. The result is decreased airflow and consequent snoring. With more cigarettes smoked every day, the already congested air passages become even more so and further aggravate snoring. So it is recommended to cut back or completely stop smoking if there is a concurrent snoring issue as well.
Likewise, alcohol also relaxes muscles. That is why some individuals snore more when they are drunk. If there is a tendency to drink before bedtime, a good suggestion would be to skip the night cap. Sleep specialists recommend avoiding alcohol at least a few hours before going to sleep especially if a persistent snoring problem exists.
Another thing to avoid is the use of sedatives. Certain antidepressants and other drugs work in the same way as alcohol because they contain sedative properties.
9. Clean out the allergens
Snoring may also be triggered to some extent by the presence of allergens at home. Common allergens like dust, pollen, animal dander and other irritants can cause congestion and irritate the airways. This can often be reflected as sleep disordered breathing and snoring.
Respiratory allergies, especially as a result of nasal hypersensitivity affect the lining of the nose and throat by swelling and hinder correct breathing through the nasal airways. To prevent aggravating allergies leading to snoring, make sure to keep the house and premises free of all common allergens.
10. Yoga Pranayama
Pranayama is a type of yoga exercise that helps control breathing. The practice permits taking deep, slow breaths and is a useful technique for relaxation. While snoring has been defined as noisy breathing, pranayama can be the ideal counterbalance for it. It can help in controlling and reducing snoring and certain yoga poses can serve to decongest breathing passages.
Pranayama yoga poses can help increase circulation and lung capacity along with ensuring that air passages remain completely open. The exercises also help strengthen muscles in the throat and the face. With continued practice these moves can go a long way toward reducing or even eliminating snoring issues.
It is recommended to dedicate at least thirty stress free minutes every day to do this type of yoga in order to have a positive impact on snoring and its long term management.
11. Herbal options
If snoring happens because of nasal or chest congestion, herbal options like peppermint oil can help relieve congestion. Peppermint essential oil is also beneficial for congestion relief which can in turn stop snoring from congestion issues.
Another option is goldenseal that can assist with congestion relief. It is typically found in powdered, liquid or capsule form. Goldenseal can also be used as an herbal tea.
When digestion is responsible for snoring issues fenugreek and spearmint can be helpful. These herbs are beneficial in ridding the body of excess acid and reduce the chances of snoring when you sleep.
If snoring is caused by sinus obstruction, the result is obstructed airways causing the mouth to open and causing snoring. Vitamin C supplementation can help prevent this because vitamin C boost the immune system.
One way to use herbs is to use them in a steam bowl. To use put the head over a steam bowl and cover with a towel. Doing this just before going to bed can help clear out the congestion and reduce any swelling in the nasal passages.