Kate is a mother of two and holds a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree from Sonoma State University. She's also a passionate researcher.
Why Do People Snore?
Snoring occurs due to a blockage. In this context, the blockage refers to the narrowing of the airway. When you inhale during your sleep, the air passes through a soft palate area, which is at the back of your mouth. This area is collapsible and when it collapses, the air passage becomes narrow. When this occurs, the airflow is disturbed, causing the soft palate and uvula to vibrate.
The snoring sound frequency also varies depending on how narrow the airway gets. Essentially, the less space there is left for the air to pass through, the louder the snoring becomes.
The reason why people don’t snore while they’re awake is because the muscles responsible for the movement of the throat are at play. They hold the tissues located at the back of the mouth in place. When people sleep, this function is no longer occurring as the muscles go into a relaxation mode, allowing the tissues to collapse.
While snoring may seem inherent, it can be affected by many factors including sleep stages, sleeping positions, and the use of certain medications and alcohol. Snoring may also indicate an underlying medical problem. There are, however, many natural remedies that can help prevent snoring.
If your snoring is not a result of an underlying medical problem, then some general tips can help improve your condition. Many of these proven techniques can even help eliminate snoring altogether.
Need to Stop Snoring Now? Top 10 Ways to Stop Snoring
|Method||Effects||How to Use It|
1. Sleep on Your Side
Sleep on your side. Utilize a body pillow to help stay in the correct position.
2. Raise Your Head
Raise your head to 3-4 inches above your sleeping surface.
3. Rinse Nostrils
Use a warm water or saline based nostril rinse kit.
4. Goldenseal Herb
About a week
Take a daily goldenseal herb supplement.
5. Mouth Guard
Use a custom molded anti-snoring mouth guard to keep your jaw in the optimal position.
6. Nasal Strips
Apply a nasal strip designed to open up the nostrils before going to sleep at night.
7. Lose the Extra Weight
Reduce calories and increase physical activity to improve breathing at night if overweight.
8. Get a Humidifier
A few days
Run a humidifier in your room at night while sleeping.
9. Drink Extra Water
A few days
Drink at least 2 liters (or about a half gallon) of water daily.
10. Peppermint Oil
Apply 2 to 3 drops to the upper chest area and rub in, or put a few drops in your humidifier before bed.
1. Sleep on Your Side
If your snoring is only a minor snoring issue, then you can alleviate or eliminate this problem altogether by sleeping on your side. Taking this sleep position prevents the muscles in your throat from relaxing and helps to prevent snoring.
To ensure you stay sleeping on your side at night:
- Use a body pillow to help deter yourself from rolling over.
- If one of the sides of your bed is against a wall, sleep with your back against the wall. This will make it much more difficult to roll onto your back at night.
- Attach a tennis ball or other bulky object to the back of your shirt. If you roll onto your back during the night, you'll naturally wake up and switch back onto your side.
2. Raise Your Head While You Sleep
Find a way to raise your head a few inches while you are sleeping at night. Consider a thicker pillow to accomplish this. Doing this will help open up your airway and allow for greater airflow, helping to reduce the chances of snoring as you sleep. Try to raise your head three or four inches above your sleeping surface.
3. Rinse Nostrils With Saline
Improve your nasal hygiene by rinsing your nostrils with a saline mixture before bed. There are many nasal and sinus rinse kits available both online and at your local drug store that use saline or warm water to clean out your sinuses. This can have an immediate effect on alleviating snoring.
4. Goldenseal Herb
Goldenseal is also a useful herb supplement that helps relieve chest and nasal congestion and help alleviate snoring. You can get this herb either as a daily supplement (in capsule form) or as an herbal tea. Make taking this supplement or tea part of your daily routine as it may take a few days to have the desired effect.
Read More From Remedygrove
5. Use an Anti-Snoring Mouth Guard
Try using an anti-snoring mouth guard at night while sleeping. These custom-formed night guards will help hold your jaw in the optimal position while you sleep to keep your airway open. This will reduce or completely eliminate snoring.
These mouth guards do take a little time to get used to since you will have to sleep with them in your mouth at night. During the first night or two of use, the mouth guard will likely make it difficult to get to sleep. After about a week, however, you'll forget it's there and be completely comfortable.
6. Use Nasal Strips
Nasal strips are specifically designed to open up the nostrils and increase airflow through the nose. There is some contradictory evidence out there about how effective this is preventing snoring at night, but it could be worth a try as some swear by it.
7. Lose the Extra Weight
If you didn’t snore before you gained weight, then it is safe to assume your snoring problem may have occurred due to the extra pounds you’ve put on. Gaining weight around the neck squeezes the internal diameter of the throat making the airway narrower. Once you start losing weight, you can resolve the snoring problem as well.
If you don't know if you are technically overweight, try this body mass index calculator to help you find out.
Note: The body mass index (BMI) is a good starting point to determine if you are overweight, but it's not foolproof. The BMI index does not account for things such as muscle mass. If you are muscular, it will falsely show you as overweight for your weight category.
8. Get a Humidifier
Dry air can be a culprit when it comes to snoring because it dries out the throat and the nasal membranes. This results in congestion. Congestion, as we know, blocks air from passing through and restricts breathing through the nose. A humidifier can allow for more natural breathing relieving nighttime snoring.
9. Drink Extra Water
When you are well hydrated, it helps to loosen up the various secretions in your nose and various fluids in your sinuses. When you are dehydrated, these things tend to become thicker and can lead to increased snoring at night.
Try to make sure you drink at least two liters of water (or about half a gallon) per day. Although more is better.
10. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil can help alleviate chest congestion, as well as nasal congestion. Place two to three drops of peppermint oil on your chest area and massage it in before going to sleep. Another option is to put a few drops into your humidifier at night to produce a similar effect.
The peppermint oil will help to relieve any congestion (even slight congestion that may go unnoticed) and reduce snoring.
11. Get Plenty of Sleep Each Night
Believe it or not, you may be able to prevent snoring simply by getting sufficient sleep at night. If you are sleep deprived, it can cause your body to go into a deeper sleep than it normally would. Your muscles will relax further and instead of having a restful effect, it can cause airway issues, and hence snoring.
You will likely wake up feeling more exhausted because your body was fighting to get adequate oxygen all night long. Try to get at least 7 to 7.5 hours of sleep each night, if possible.
12. Avoid Sleeping Pills
Sleeping pills are basically muscle relaxants. Over-relaxation of the muscles around the airway is the most common cause of snoring at night. Taking sleeping pills at night before bed can cause significant snoring issues.
13. Use an App to Control Snoring
Consider using an application on your cell phone to help analyze and even reduce snoring. There are apps that allow us to track your snoring frequency. They can also automatically make audio recordings, graph your snoring throughout the night, and can assess the severity of your snoring.
What makes them useful is that they can detect changes in your snoring by comparing the snoring of each night. This way you can test the effectiveness of any remedy that you're using to combat snoring. The features vary between snoring apps. Here are a few useful apps to look out for:
- Snore Report
- Snore Lab
- Snore Control
- Snore Clock
- Sleep Talk and Snore Recorder
14. Use Allergy Medication
Does your snoring get worse during certain times of the year? Seasonal allergies very well might be the cause. Consider taking an over-the-counter allergy medication to reduce the symptoms associated with this. Allergies are one of the most common causes of snoring at night. You might be a mild sufferer and not even know that it's mild allergies causing you to snore.
15. Chew Gum During the Day
One of the more simple answers on this list, consider starting to chew gum throughout the day. This small action will help to strengthen the mouth, tongue, and jaw muscles responsible for keeping your airway open while you sleep. After a few weeks of chewing gum daily, you may notice your nighttime snoring being greatly reduced or even eliminated.
16. Perform Mouth and Tongue Excercises
Performing simple mouth and tongue exercises can also help to strengthen key muscles and help to eliminate snoring. In fact, a 2015 Brazilian study found that performing mouth and tongue exercises helped reduce the frequency of snoring by 36% and the total power of snoring by 59%.
17. Keep Your House Dust Free
Put some effort into reducing the amount of dust in your house and specifically your bedroom. Dust more often and keep the house vacuumed. Also, replace the filters in your home's heating and cooling system to help with air filtration.
If you haven't replaced your air filters in your home in a while, they may not be efficiently filtering out dust and other particles causing sinus irritation and ultimately snoring during the night. Change these filters every three to six months.
18. Avoid Drinking Alcohol
So, what does alcohol do to increase the risk of snoring? It is a relaxant, which means it also reduces the muscular activity of the muscles in the throat. Sleeping right after consuming alcohol makes this problem worse. If you drink alcohol daily, consider stopping for a few days to see if it helps reduce snoring at night.
When tissues are enlarged in the nose, throat, or mouth, it becomes a cause of frequent/excessive snoring. Enlarged tonsils, for example, are one of the main reasons why snoring occurs in children. This can be treated through surgical means in order to remove tonsils and adenoid tissue.
The condition of snoring is also associated with blocked nasal passages, which makes breathing difficult during sleep. This causes the affected tissues to exert extra efforts to alleviate breathing issues, hence when the tissues pull together, the airway constricts.
The presence of nasal polyps is a challenging condition that requires a long-term commitment to treatment to clear up completely. There are both surgical and non-surgical methods to treat this condition. However, nasal polyps are usually treated with drugs that can make them shrink in size until they are gone. If drug treatment isn’t effective you may have to undergo an endoscopic surgery to remove or correct nasal polyps.
Deviated Nasal Septum/Sleep Apnea
When a person suffers from obstructive sleep apnea, nasal surgery may be sought to correct this condition. This is especially the corrective procedure in the case of a deviated nasal septum.
A deviated nasal septum disturbs the airflow in the nose. The nose consists of cartilage tissues, whose purpose is to separate the left and right nasal passageways. You can feel this tissue called the nasal septum when you stick your finger in your nostrils. It is located in the middle of the nose.
When this tissue is shifted to one side or the other a partial or complete blockage occurs. The airflow is obstructed by the displacement of the tissue, allowing air to partially pass through. When this happens, the person is likely to resort to mouth breathing more often. This may contribute to dry mouth and ultimately snoring.
If breathing problems or snoring persists and worsen over time, it may be necessary to undergo septoplasty—a surgical procedure to treat this condition. There are also non-surgical alternatives such as using external nasal strips, or the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to treat sleep apnea.
A Lack of Muscle Tone
Usually, in older people, the culprit can be the depleting muscle tone of their muscles. This reduces the muscular effort in their bodies to keep the tissues in place.
This disability is attributed to age factors. It may also be due to a lack of fitness. In this case, it is better to consume protein-rich foods that provide muscle nutrients to nourish them.
People at Higher Risk of Snoring:
- Men: Males are more likely to be affected by snoring than women as their airways are narrower.
- Older Age: Snoring is most common in people who are in their middle age.
- Heredity: You may have inherited the snoring condition. Heredity plays a huge role in the functioning of our bodies.
- Smokers: Smokers are at higher risk of having issues with snoring. Also, if you’re exposing children to tobacco smoke, you may also be increasing their risk of snoring.
- Jaw Problems: If you suffer from any jaw abnormalities, such as an overbite (class II malocclusion). This may be more of an important factor in women as opposed to men.
Other Factors That Contribute to Snoring
- Consumption of alcohol: This affects the part of the brain that regulates breathing.
- Obesity: The excessive fat deposited in the throat area can narrow the airway.
- Medication: Medicines, typically, those used as antidepressants often have effects that relax your muscles or relax your body’s performance altogether.
- Stuffy nose, or chronic nasal congestion: You’re also likely to snore through your sleep if you have allergies, a cold, or an upper respiratory infection causing temporary restrictions in your sinuses.
Snoring is not only disturbing to your partner while you are sleeping, but it can also have some serious medical implications. If you are unable to resolve the snoring issues, you should speak to a doctor to rule out serious medical conditions that could be the cause. He or she may even recommend participating in a sleep study to get a better idea of your specific issues.
If you can find the cause of your snoring issues and correct them, you will be rewarded with a night of more restful sleep and a more energetic life. Your partner will surely thank you also.
"Snoring Keeping You up at Night? Study Finds Mouth and Tongue Exercises Significantly Curb Snoring." May 8, 2015. American College of Chest Physicians. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
"Snoring: Symptoms and Causes." December 22, 2017. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
"Snoring: Causes, Health Risks, and Treatments." July 30, 2016. WebMD. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2017 Kate Daily
Kate Daily (author) from California on May 31, 2018:
Thank you Ramona! Good luck to you! When you find something that works best for you, please come back and let us know!
Ramona from Arkansas on May 31, 2018:
A lot of great information. Going to try some of them. Thanks