Snoring may not seem like a very big deal other than as an annoyance to anyone who might share a bed with you, but the majority of people who snore have a breathing problem called obstructive sleep apnea, which means that they stop breathing for short periods during the night.
Because of those breathing interruptions, sleep quality is often low for snorers even when they feel like they’re sleeping through the night. These tips for how to stop snoring may help you, or your snoring partner get a better night’s sleep.
Practice Good Sleep Hygeine
Good sleep hygeine simply means setting yourself up for a good night’s sleep and having a bedtime routine that supports good rest. For example, getting exercise can be helpful for improving sleep quality, but it’s generally considered a bad idea to exercise vigorously within a few hours of going to bed. Losing weight can also help reduce snoring, though it doesn’t work for everyone.
Having a light dinner, sleeping in a cold, dark, quiet room, avoiding alcohol before bed, and keeping stress levels low in the evening can all help you get a better night’s sleep and reduce snoring.
You should also drink plenty of fluids through the day, particularly if your snoring is caused by a stuffy nose. Secretions from the nasal passages and soft palate can get gummier when you don’t drink enough water, which can lead to more snoring.
What to Do in Bed
It’s a great idea to try sleeping on your side instead of your back. Sleeping on your back can make the base of the tongue and soft palate press on the back of the throat, which causes the vibrating sound we call snoring, so one big tip for how to avoid snoring at night is to invest in a full-body pillow that helps you align your body properly for sleeping on your side.
Changing out your pillows can also help, as the allergens that are held in old pillows can contribute to snoring. If you can, shell out for new pillows and allergen-blocking covers, or clean the pillows you have by putting them through the air dry cycle of your dryer every few weeks.
Replace your pillows every six months, and, if you suspect they’re causing you allergy problems, keep the family pets out of your bedroom, and not just while you’re sleeping.
One more thing you can try when it comes to how you sleep is to use nasal strips, or try other remedies before bedtime that help to open your nasal cavities. Breathing more easily means that air moves through your nose more slowly, which can prevent snoring. Of course, this only works if the snoring happens in your nose rather than in the soft palate, but it’s worth a try. You can also try taking a hot shower or using a neti pot before bed to open up the nasal passages.
What to Do if Nothing Helps
If you try some of these strategies for how to stop snoring at night and find that you’re still snoring a lot, or your problem is getting worse, seeing a sleep specialist should be the next step. Since sleep apnea is common with snoring, and that is a risk factor for heart disease, you may want to make sure you’re breathing through the night, and get treated if you are not.
It’s also a good idea to check with a medical professional to make sure any herbs or over-the-counter remedies you might be taking tare actually safe and won’t interact with other medications you may be on. A lot of products marketed to help with snoring aren’t backed by rigorous scientific testing, which is why it pays to try these basic anti-snoring aids first.
Check out some more great sleeping tips to help you get the most out of your time in bed: Wake up early and other healthy sleeping tipsFeatured photo credit: Wrinkled Dog Dogue De Bordeaux Dreaming in Bed with White Blanket via Shutterstock