Snoring can result in poor sleep for you and whoever you share a room with. It is caused by the relaxation of muscles in the roof of your mouth, tongue and throat which can block your airways and cause vibration. You don’t always have to use fancy medication and drastic measures to stop it. Here is our podcast with Dr. Pixie Mckenna, and below, seven ways in which you can cut out your snoring habit with simple, natural remedies.
7 Ways to Stop Snoring
There’s nothing quite as frustrating as sleeping next to someone who snores. For the snorer, there’s nothing quite as frustrating as waking to a very annoyed, grouchy and tired partner. Here are our 7 top tips for stopping snoring:
1. Lose weight
Being overweight, or having a neck with a larger circumference than 16”, increases the chance of fat pushing down on your throat. This is one of the best ways to stop snoring and will also benefit your general health, too.
The NHS says, ‘Being overweight by just a few kilos can lead to snoring. Fatty tissue around your neck squeezes the airway and prevents air flowing in and out freely’. Eating healthily and introducing exercise into your lifestyle is a safe way to lose weight. NHS Choices has developed a 12-week plan along with the British Dietetic Association to help you lose weight naturally.
2. Change your position
Sleeping on your back will increase the likelihood of snoring. WebMD says, ‘Lying on your back makes the base of your tongue and soft palate collapse to the back wall of your throat, causing a vibrating sound during sleep’. Sleeping on your side will help to stop this as it will keep the airways unobstructed.
Place pillows behind you to stop you rolling over. Or, for a more robust solution, sew a tennis ball into the back of your pyjamas. This will stop you from being able to sleep on your back, without waking you up. Make sure it is a top that fits snugly, or the ball will just reposition and won’t serve its purpose.
3. Reduce bedroom allergens
The Sleep School says that ‘nasal congestion and inflammation caused by allergies is a common cause of snoring’. You can reduce the risk of allergens in your bedroom by hoovering soft furnishings like curtains and carpets. You should also get a new pillow at least once every two years and change your sheets and pillowcases every 1-2 weeks.
4. Stay hydrated
Dehydration creates a thick mucus in the mouth and throat, which can stick together and cause snoring. The best way to avoid this build up is by drinking enough fluids during the day. The Natural Hydration Council recommends an intake of 2.5 litres of water for men and 2 litres for women per day. They suggest 70-80% should be drunk and the rest should be consumed though foods. Fruit and vegetables are rich in water, so make sure you’re getting your five a day!
5. Avoid eating before bed
When your stomach is full, it can push up against your diaphragm and affect your rhythmic breathing. Eating spicy or fatty foods before bed can also cause indigestion and other issues which can make you snore. You should also stay clear of dairy products late at night. Natural medicine doctor, Dr Josh Axe, says, ‘Drinking milk or having other dairy products can make snoring much worse because it leaves a layer of mucus in your mouth and throat. This mucus adds to the blockage of the airways.’
6. Exercise your tongue and throat
It may sound strange, but giving your mouth and tongue a good workout can help you stop snoring. Health experts at Everyday Roots say, ‘Making the muscles in your tongue and throat stronger can help reduce snoring because it decreases the chance of them slipping limply backwards when you rest’. There are a few simple daily exercises you can try:
- Protrude the lower jaw further than the upper jaw with your teeth showing. Count to 10. Repeat this 5-10 times a day.
- Repeat the phrase ‘the lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue’ 10-20 times before bed. This will give your tongue a workout.
- Put your tongue out as straight as possible. Move it left, then right, so that it touches the side of your mouth each time. Perform this in front of your mirror to ensure your tongue stays straight.
Doing these simple exercises will strengthen the muscles within your mouth. This means that when your mouth is relaxed while sleeping, your tongue is less likely to droop back and block your airway.
7. Avoid alcohol
You should avoid drinking alcohol for at least two hours before bed. Alcohol can cause the muscles in your throat to relax more than usual, which will mean they are more likely to obstruct your airways. Their relaxed state can also make the muscles vibrate more, which worsens the snoring.
8. Quit smoking
Cigarette smoke irritates the lining of your nose and throat which causes swelling. This means there is less area for the air to travel through easily. Best Health Magazine says, ‘Tobacco smoke irritates mucous membranes, so your throat swells, narrowing the airway’. Stopping smoking will also increase your overall health, and can reduce the risk of cancers, lung disease and cholesterol.
Have you got any more tips on how to stop snoring naturally? Share your thoughts in the comments.