If your room partner snores loudly next to you every night, you may feel difficult to sleep and irritated. Snoring is a common problem. It can occur in every age group, including children and adults. Snoring can happen to anyone at some point in their lives, though overweight or obese men over 50 are more likely to snore. When we breathe, air smoothly travels from the nose, mouth, and throat.
But, when the airway gets restricted, the air moving through this narrowed passage causes the nose, mouth, and throat tissues to vibrate and leads to snoring. A person can experience various noises during snoring, such as rumbling, rattling, whistling, or snorting. Snoring is noisy breathing that results from airway restriction during sleep and can even disrupt sleep.
The hoarse snorting sound can disturb person’s sleep and also lowers sleep quality. It happens to everyone occasionally, but it can become a chronic problem for some people. Sometimes, snoring is a symptom of an underlying health condition. The following are some conditions that can block the airflow and causes snoring:
- Obstructed nasal airways, including cold, allergies, sinus infection, nasal polyp, or deviated nasal septum
- Muscle wasting of throat and tongue muscles can obstruct the airway during sleep
- Anatomical problems in the soft palate or uvula can block the airway
- Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
- Overweight or obese people have large throat tissues that can obstruct the airway while sleeping
- Snoring is more likely to occur in people who are smokers or passive smokers (secondhand smokers)
- People who are chronically alcoholic have frequent snoring complaints
- Muscle relaxant medications relax the tongue and throat muscles, which can block the airflow
- Sleeping posture can also cause snoring, as people who sleep on their back are more likely to snore
- Hormonal changes can also trigger snoring, such in pregnancy or menopause
You can benefit from simple lifestyle modifications and treating the underlying causes. Here are lifestyle changes that can help stop snoring.
1. A proper sleeping routine
One can better manage various health conditions through a regular bedtime routine. Creating a sleeping habit and getting enough sleep can reduce snoring. If you are getting trouble falling asleep and maintaining it, you can try the following methods:
- Going to bed at a fixed time daily
- Stop using mobiles, tablets, or computers before sleeping, as white rays from the screen can disrupt the sleeping hormone and wake you up for longer hours
- You can practice some yoga
- Washing your feet with warm water may help you relax and improve sleep quality
- Change your pillows, quilts, and mattresses to more comfortable ones
- Changing the room ambiance can also improve your sleep quality and lower the risk of snoring
2. Adjust your sleeping posture
People who sleep on their backs are more prone to snoring. Changing your position and sleeping on your side can reduce snoring. You can also adjust the height of your pillows by adding an extra pillow, which provides sufficient support to your neck and keeps your airways open while sleeping.
3. Better air circulation
Keep your room’s air clean and moist to reduce snoring. You can open your bedroom window at night for better circulation. If you have allergies, ensure your sleeping room is devoid of allergens, such as dust, molds, and fungus on walls. Pet hair also initiate allergy in some people, so ensure your room is clean so that these triggers don’t exacerbate your allergy and block your airways. Keep the room air moist because dry air can also irritate the mucosa of the upper respiratory tract and result in snoring. A nasal decongestant or vapor patch will help ease breathing during sleeping and reduce snoring.
With regular mouth, tongue, and throat exercises, you can notice an improvement in your snoring within a few weeks. You can start by humming your favorite song in deep pitch for at least 2 minutes or sticking your tongue as outward as you can while opening your mouth wide.
5. Quit smoking
Smoking can irritate and damage the membrane of the upper respiratory tract (nose and throat). The swelled nasal cavity and throat reduce the elasticity of the airway tissues and increase their chances of collapse during sleep, resulting in snoring. Quitting smoking can help you reduce snoring. You can also take the help of professionals.
6. Reduce alcohol consumption
Alcohol relaxes the muscles of the tongue and throat, which block the airway during sleep, resulting in loud snoring. Therefore, limit your alcohol intake if you are suffering from heavy snoring.
7. Changing your pillow
Switch your flat pillows to more comfortable pillows. You can add an extra pillow to adjust the height. This help reduces snoring by supporting the head and neck to improve the airway pathway for better breathing. According to numerous studies, changing pillow to comfortable ones reduces snoring frequency and volume by 50%. It can also improve the Obstructive Sleep Apnea condition.
8. Treating underlying conditions
Various non-surgical and surgical aids can help rectify the underlying causes, such as:
- Nasal strips and decongestants
- Cold and allergies medications
- Oral appliances such as mouth guards or mouth appliance
- Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty to treat enlarged uvula and soft palate
- Septoplasty for deviated nasal septum
- Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy
- Radiofrequency ablation to shrink excess tissue in the tongue and soft palate
It is normal to snore once in a while, but if it lasts longer than a few nights or is louder and disrupts your and your partner’s sleep, you should talk to your healthcare provider.