Snoring happens when air flows through your throat when you breathe in your sleep. This causes the relaxed tissues in your throat to vibrate, which leads to harsh, possibly irritating sounds.
Snoring may disrupt your sleep or that of your partner. Even if it’s not bothering you too much, snoring is not a symptom to ignore. In fact, snoring may indicate a serious health condition, such as:
- obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), or 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.
Cases of snoring caused by benign factors, such as sleep position, can often be treated with simple home remedies. Certain lifestyle changes can also help treat snoring.
1. Sleep on your side
Sleeping on your back sometimes causes your tongue to move to the back of your 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.
2. Get enough sleep
Make sure you get the 7–9 hours of sleep that adults need each night, per joint recommendations from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society.
Sleep deprivation may increase your risk of snoring. This is because it can cause your throat muscles to relax, making you more susceptible to airway obstruction.
Snoring can also increase your risk of sleep deprivation since it leads to interrupted sleep.
3. Raise the head of your bed
Elevating the head of your bed by a few inches may help reduce snoring by keeping your airways open. You can use products such as bed risers or pillows to get a little extra height.
4. Use nasal strips or a nasal dilator
Stick-on nasal strips can be placed on the bridge of your 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 an external 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 breathe.
Internal nasal dilators, which you place inside of your nose, are also available.
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Check out our review of the Mute Snoring device, a type of internal nasal dilator.
5. Limit or avoid alcohol before bed
Try not to consume alcohol for at least 3 hours leading up to your bedtime. Alcohol can relax the throat muscles, causing snoring.
Alcohol can also disrupt your sleep in other ways.
For example, alcohol consumption is associated with shorter amounts of REM sleep, according to a
6. Avoid taking sedatives before bed
If you take sedatives, talk with your doctor to see what your options are. Stopping sedative use before bed may ease your snoring. Like alcohol, sedatives can also cause muscles such as your throat muscles to relax.
7. Try to stop smoking, if you smoke
Smoking is a habit that can worsen your snoring. One possible reason for this is that smoking may increase your risk of OSA or worsen the condition, according to a
Talk with a doctor about therapies — such as gum or patches — that can help you quit.
8. Maintain a moderate weight
If you have overweight, weight loss will help reduce the amount of tissue in the throat. Excess tissue might be causing your snoring.
You can lose weight by reducing your overall caloric intake by eating smaller portions and more nutrient-rich foods. Try to get regular exercise daily. You may also consider reaching out to a doctor or a nutritionist for help.
In some cases of snoring, it’s important to seek a doctor’s care to get the medical treatment you need to address the underlying condition.
Here are medical treatments commonly used to treat snoring and its various causes:
9. Treat chronic allergies
Talk with a doctor about what kind of over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription allergy medications may improve your condition. They’re available in a variety of forms, such as nasal sprays, liquids, and pills.
- nonsedating antihistamines, such as cetirizine (Zyrtec), levocetirizine (Xyzal), and loratadine (Claritin)
- sedating antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- inhaled nasal corticosteroids, such as fluticasone (Flonase) and triamcinolone (Nasacort)
- oral decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and phenylephrine (Sudafed PE), for short-term use only
- leukotriene modifiers, such as montelukast (Singulair) and zileuton (Zyflo)
10. Correct anatomical 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.
A deviated septum may cause mouth breathing during sleep, resulting in snoring. It may be necessary to get surgery, called septoplasty, to correct this condition.
11. Use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine for OSA
The CPAP machine is the standard treatment for OSA. It requires you to wear a pressurized air mask over your nose, mouth, or both when you sleep. This can help keep your airways open.
Different types of masks are available, including ones that are more comfortable for people with glasses or who breathe through their mouths during sleep.
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Read our reviews of four of the best continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines on the market.
12. Use an oral appliance
Oral appliances are customized devices prescribed and fitted by dentists. These devices increase the size of the upper airway during sleep, which decreases snoring.
They typically work by one or more of the following mechanisms:
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine recommend oral appliances for people who request treatment for their snoring and have not found relief with conservative measures.
13. Wear palatal implants
Also called the pillar procedure, this surgery is designed to reduce or stop snoring and improve OSA.
During this procedure, tiny implants are inserted into the soft palate to reduce the tissue vibration. Palatal implants are designed to stiffen your soft palate to help you stop snoring.
This treatment is appropriate for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea. It’s not recommended for people who have severe sleep apnea or are overweight.
14. Get uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
UPPP is a procedure used to remove excess tissue in your throat to widen the airway. This can sometimes allow air to move through the throat more easily when you breathe, reducing snoring. It can be done through traditional surgical techniques or laser-assisted, which allows for outpatient therapy.
Multiple studies, including
However, the effect of these procedures does not appear to be long lasting, based on clinical patient follow-up.
15. Consider radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
This minimally invasive treatment uses low intensity radio waves to shrink the tissue on your soft palate. RFA is sometimes referred to as Somnoplasty, which is the name of a trademarked version of the procedure.
If you snore, you’re not alone. Around half of adults snore, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Foundation.
Snoring can disrupt your sleep and that of your partner. Besides being annoying, it may indicate a serious health condition. Connecting with a doctor and trying one or more of the above treatment options can help you manage your sleep.
Reach out to a doctor if:
- You have signs or symptoms of sleep apnea, such as:
- Snoring affects the quality of your sleep.
- Home remedies and lifestyle changes do not reduce your snoring.