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Why do people snore?
If you snore, you’re not alone: Up to half of all American adults snore. It happens when air flows through your throat when you breathe in your sleep. This causes the relaxed tissues in your throat to vibrate and cause harsh, irritating snoring sounds.
Snoring may disrupt your sleep, or that of your partner. Even if it’s not bothering you too much, it’s not a condition to ignore. In fact, snoring may be a sign of a serious health condition, including:
- obstructive sleep apnea (blocked airways)
- an issue with the structure of your mouth, nose, or throat
- sleep deprivation.
In other cases, snoring may be caused simply by sleeping on your back or drinking alcohol too close to bedtime.
In some cases of snoring, it’s important to seek a doctor’s care in order to get the medical treatment you need to address the underlying condition.
Cases of snoring caused by benign factors — like sleep position — can often be treated with simple home remedies.
Here are 15 remedies commonly used to treat snoring and its various causes:
1. Lose weight if you are overweight.
This will help reduce the amount of tissue in the throat that might be causing your snoring. You can lose weight by reducing your overall caloric intake by eating smaller portions and more healthy foods. Make sure you get regular exercise daily. You may also consider seeing your doctor or a nutritionist for help.
2. Sleep on your side.
Sleeping on your back sometimes causes the tongue to move to the back of the throat, which partly blocks airflow through your throat. Sleeping on your side may be all you need to do to allow air to flow easily and reduce or stop your snoring.
3. Raise up the head of your bed.
Elevating the head of your bed by four inches may help reduce your snoring by keeping your airways open.
4. Use nasal strips or an external nasal dilator.
Stick-on nasal strips can be placed on the bridge of the nose to help increase the space in the nasal passage. This can make your breathing more effective and reduce or eliminate your snoring.
You could also try a nasal dilator, which is a stiffened adhesive strip that’s applied on top of the nose across the nostrils. This can decrease airflow resistance, making it easier to breath.
Try nasal strips to help reduce snoring.
5. Treat chronic allergies.
Allergies can reduce airflow through your nose, which forces you to breathe through your mouth. This increases the likelihood that you’ll snore. Talk to your doctor about what kind of over-the-counter or prescription allergy medications may improve your condition.
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6. Correct structural problems in your nose.
Some people are born with or experience an injury that gives them a deviated septum. This is the misalignment of the wall that separates both sides of the nose, which restricts airflow. It may cause mouth breathing during sleep, causing snoring. It may be necessary to get surgery to correct this condition. Talk to your doctor.
7. Limit or avoid alcohol before bed.
Try not to consume alcohol for at least two hours leading up to your bedtime. Alcohol can relax the throat muscles, causing snoring.
8. Avoid taking sedatives before bed.
If you snore and take sedatives, talk to your doctor to see what your options are. Stopping sedative use before bed may ease your snoring.
9. Stop smoking.
Smoking is an unhealthy habit that can worsen your snoring. Talk to your doctor about therapies — such as gum or patches — that can help you quit.
10. Get enough sleep.
Make sure you get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep you need each night.
11. Use an oral appliance.
Dental mouthpieces called “oral appliances” can help keep your air passages open, making it easier for you to breathe. This prevents snoring. You need to see your dentist to get one of these devices made.
12. Use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine.
If medically appropriate, wearing a pressurized air mask over your nose when you sleep can help keep your airway open. This treatment is often recommended to treat obstructive sleep apnea.
13. Wear palatal implants.
Also called the “pillar procedure,” this treatment involves injecting braided strands of polyester filament into your mouth’s soft palate. This stiffens it to reduce snoring.
14. Get UPPP (uvulopalatopharyngoplasty).
This type of surgery tightens throat tissue in the hopes it will reduce snoring. Laser-assisted uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (LAUPPP), which is sometimes more effective than UPPP, is also available.
15. Radiofrequency tissue ablation (somnoplasty).
This new treatment uses low-intensity radio waves to shrink the tissue on your soft palate to reduce snoring.
Snoring can disrupt your sleep and that of your partner. But besides being annoying, it may indicate a serious health condition. Seeing your doctor and trying one or more of the above treatment options can help you get your sleep under control.