Almost everyone, including half of the adult population, will snore at some point in their life. However if the problem becomes chronic it can have a negative effect on an individual’s quality of life.
Along with disturbing others, such as a spouse or family members, the abrasive and rough sounds of snoring also causes problems for the affected individual. Lack of quality sleep, irritability, declining health and fatigue are common side effects experienced by people who snore.
If snoring becomes bad enough it often ends up affecting the relationship of all the people involved. Fortunately, there are many options available to individuals who snore to reduce or eliminate the issue without resorting to sleeping away from others.
Know the Causes
While there are many different reasons why individuals snore, the main cause is inhibited breathing while the afflicted person sleeps.
When someone breathes normally while sleeping, air flows through the tissues of the nose and throat without any issues. However, as a person who snores sleeps, air does not pass smoothly through the nose and throat due to a partial obstruction. This causes a vibration in the tissues of the nose and throat that results in the irritating and unpleasant sounds associated with snoring. In addition, snoring sufferers typically have excessive and floppy throat and nasal tissues, making the problem even worse.
Here are some other direct causes of snoring:
- Nose and sinus irritation. When tissues in the nose and other airways swell they become “stuffed up” and blocked, which leads to snoring due to inhalation issues.
- Carrying excess weight and poor fitness. Carrying too much fatty tissue and lacking sufficient muscle tone are major factors for why some individuals snore. In fact, having too much weight in the neck and throat area increases the possibility of snoring even if an individual is not overweight.
- Posture during sleep. The muscles of the throat tend to relax when individuals sleep on their backs, leading to blocked airways and snoring.
- The aging process. A narrowing of the throat occurs as a natural part of the aging process. This, combined with muscles of the throat losing their tone during middle age, contributes to snoring.
- The build of specific individuals. Because of the wide breathing passages they possess, women are less likely to snore than men. Similarly, individuals with inherited physical features such as enlarged tonsils, a cleft palate or a narrow throat may suffer with snoring.
- Medication, alcohol and smoking. Snoring increases when muscles in the throat relax as a result of taking specific medications such as Valium and Ativan, as well as drinking alcohol and smoking regularly.
Home Remedies and Over the Counter Solutions for Snoring
There are no simple permanent cures for snoring, however there are numerous home remedies that help to alleviate the problem temporarily without using extreme measures.
Peppermint contains powerful compounds that shrinks swollen tissues in the nose and throat. This anti-inflammatory action helps to relieve snoring caused by dry or cold air as well as allergies.
- Gargle daily with two drops of peppermint oil added to a glass of water until breathing improves, being very careful not to swallow any of the mixture.
- Add a few drops of peppermint oil to a running humidifier before bed. The resulting vapor helps to ease breathing by opening up block airways.
- Rubbing some peppermint oil into the corners of the nose helps to calm inflamed nasal tissues.
- Olive Oil
Olive oil reduces inflammation and vibrations in the respiratory tract, which improves breathing while reducing soreness.
- Take one or two sips of plain olive oil or half a teaspoon of the oil mixed with honey before bed each night.
Reduce congestion and subsequent snoring by inhaling steam.
- Fill a bowl with boiling water.
- Add three drops of tea tree or eucalyptus oil to the bowl.
- Use a large towel to make a “tent” over the head, inhaling deeply for approximately 10 minutes.
- Repeat each night until congestion clears.
- Clarified Butter
The medicinal properties contained in clarified butter, or ghee, help to open up blocked nostrils and reduce snoring.
- Heat a dab of clarified butter in the microwave.
- Drop two or three drops into each nostril daily, each morning and before going to bed.
An effective remedy for clearing blocked airways that cause snoring is cardamom because it acts as both a decongestant and expectorant.
- Combine water and half a teaspoon of cardamom powder.
- Consume the mixture every day, half an hour before bed.
Turmeric reduces inflammation in the tissues of the nose and throat while boosting the immune system. The antibiotic and antiseptic properties of this compound helps to stop chronic snoring.
- Combine a glass of milk with two teaspoons of turmeric powder.
- Drink the mixture every day, approximately half an hour before bed time.
Nettle is an effective anti-inflammatory remedy for temporary allergy-related snoring brought about by seasonal changes.
- Combine a cup of boiling water with a tablespoon of dried nettle leaves and let it steep for five minutes before straining the mixture.
- Drink the tea two or three times every day (have one cup before going to sleep).
Eat garlic to relieve sinus related snoring caused by excess mucus.
- Include lots of garlic in evening meals, making sure to consume the food hot.
- Eat one or two garlic cloves every day before going to sleep, followed by a glass of water.
The anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile help to reduce snoring while improving sleep quality.
- Combine a cup of boiling water with a tablespoon of chamomile flowers and steep for approximately 15 minutes.
- Strain the liquid and mix it with a spoonful of honey.
- Drink the tea before bed time while it is still warm
Honey is a powerful anti-inflammatory home remedy. It opens up blocked airways by reducing swelling and moisturizing the tissues of the throat.
- Drink a glass of warm water or tea mixed with a spoonful of honey every night.
- Use a tennis ball
The tennis ball remedy helps to reduce snoring in persons who experience it while sleeping on their back. It encourages side-sleeping by preventing the individual from feeling comfortable while lying on their back.
- Sew the pocket of an old shirt to the middle of the back of a close-fitting pajama top.
- Put a regulation sized tennis ball into the pocket before going to sleep.
- Use a humidifier or vaporizer
Humidifiers and vaporizers add moisture to the air and mucus membranes, which reduces nose and throat irritation and congestion. Well-moisturized tissues create clearer breathing passages and reduce the vibrations that cause snoring.
- Lose excess weight
Overweigh people are much more prone to snoring than people of normal weight. Losing even a small amount of weight (ten percent) with a healthy diet and regular exercise helps. It opens upper airways and makes breathing much easier, reducing the severity of snoring.
- Sleep with the head of the bed raised
Elevating the head of the bed (with boards or books) by approximately four inches prevents snoring by keeping the tongue from obstructing airways during sleep.
- Prop up with pillows
If it is not possible to elevate the bed, propping up with pillows is a viable alternative. Sleep with several pillows under the back to keep breathing passages clear and tissues from blocking airways during sleep.
- Keep a clean house
Stop allergy induced snoring by keeping a clean house. Clean regularly, vacuum thoroughly and change air filters, sheets and pillow cases frequently. This reduces the levels of pet dander, pollen and dust and improves indoor air quality.
- Do pranayama yoga exercise
Pranayama yoga, which helps people to control their breathing, helps reduce the symptoms of snoring and related conditions such as sleep apnea while increasing oxygen levels throughout the body.
- Do throat and tongue exercises
Improving the tone of the muscles in the throat and tongue helps to reduce snoring by keeping the tissues taut, which prevents them from falling back into airways.
- Sing loudly several times during the day to exercise the throat.
- Extend the tongue out as far and as straight as possible before returning it to the mouth. Repeat the movement ten times.
- Try to touch the chin with the tongue before returning it to the mouth. Repeat the movement ten times.
- Try to touch the nose with the tongue by extending it as much as possible before returning it to the mouth and repeat ten times.
- Do not use sedatives or alcohol
Excessive relaxation of tissues in the throat after drinking alcohol or taking sedatives leads to heavy snoring due to blocked breathing passages.
- Sleep in the fetal position
Side sleeping is an effective way to keep soft tissue in the throat from falling back and blocking airways. Try hugging a pillow during sleep to stay in the position all night.
- Avoid heavy meals before bedtime
Stop eating at least three hours before going to sleep. Excessive food in the stomach at bedtime encourages throat muscles to relax, which leads to snoring.
- Quit smoking
Smoking has an irritating effect on mucous membranes and can lead to congestion, which makes snoring issues worse. Quit smoking to improve breathing and keep airways clear of inflammation.
- Discuss prescription medication
Certain medications can contribute to a snoring problem, and in some cases, make matters worse. Discuss medications with a doctor and switch out any snore-inducing prescriptions for suitable replacements.