How to Stop Someone Snoring

8 Min Read | By Chris Thomson

Last Modified 13 March 2024  

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.
Sammy Margo

“If we mention snoring most people laugh but the long-term effects on you and/or your partner are far from amusing.”

Are you kept awake at night by your partner’s nocturnal noises? It can be frustrating and you may be wondering why does snoring happen? Snoring is a vibration of the soft palate and other tissue in the mouth, nose and throat, caused by turbulence in the airway due to a partial blockage of some kind.

The sound you make when snoring actually changes depending on the type of soft tissue that’s vibrating – the tissue at the back of your nose produces a quieter, pinched nasal sound, whilst the soft tissue at the back of your throat produces the louder volumes of snoring. Most people who snore do so after about 90 minutes, during the deeper stages of sleep, and it’s most common in those who sleep on their back.

What causes snoring?

Common causes of snoring include drinking alcohol, obesity, smoking, and allergic rhinitis and it also appears gender has a role in determining the likelihood of someone snoring. According to Sleep Education, 40 per cent of adult men are snorers, compared to 24 per cent of adult women.

Before we find a remedy that can help, first, it’s important to determine what kind of snorer you are to find out what exactly is causing it to happen. Most snoring comes from the nose and throat, but other factors, such as the tongue and soft palate can contribute to snoring. The type of snoring will determine the ways you can help to stop someone from snoring.

Why do men snore more than women?

There is a range of reasons why men snore more than women, with biology being the main contributing factor. For example, the male voice box generally sits lower in the throat, which means there is a larger space left open in the airway. When the tongue relaxes during sleep, this larger space means it will only block part of the airway, leaving plenty of room for air vibration which means men snore. As far as women are concerned, their typically smaller throats mean that their tongues are much more likely to completely block the airway, causing them to wake up rather than snore.

The 5 main types of snorers

  • Nose – The cause of snoring is a blocked nasal passage or collapsing nostrils that leads to mouth breathing.
  • Mouth – This type of snoring is caused by the mouth falling open and a relaxed jaw.
  • Tongue – The tongue being dropped to the back of the mouth and obstructs airways in tongue snorers.
  • Palatal flutterer – The cause of this snoring is the soft palate and uvula vibrating.
  • Multifactorial –When snoring is caused by a combination of the above, you have a multifactorial snorer.

What type of snorer am I?

To work out which kind of snorer you or your partner are, and consequently, the solutions, try the following tests. If none of the tests seems to work, you’re likely to be a palatal flutterer. If you can answer yes to more than one, you’re likely to be a multifactorial snorer:


The nose test – Look in a mirror. Press the side of one nostril to close it. With your mouth closed, breathe in through the other nostril. Does the nostril collapse? Also, with your mouth closed, try breathing in through your nose. Can you breathe easily? If breathing is difficult or the nostril collapses, you are likely a nose snorer.

The mouth test – Open your mouth and make a snoring noise. Now, can you make the same noise with your mouth closed? If yes, you are a mouth breather.

The tongue test – Make a snoring noise. Now stick your tongue out as far as it will go and grip it between your teeth. Is the snoring noise reduced? If yes, you are a tongue snorer.

How to stop snoring

There are various ways to help prevent snoring. From aids to natural remedies, you’ll find there are plenty of snoring solutions out there. Though often the way to prevent snoring depends on what type of snorer you or your partner is. So, to help you get a good night’s rest, let’s explore some effective ways to stop snoring.

1. Stop snoring aids

To get a good night’s sleep and stop your partner from snoring, here are some suggested snoring aids depending on which type of snorer your partner is. If in doubt, the NHS suggests asking your pharmacist for help in choosing the right device.

Nose snorers – Try nasal strips, nasal dilator or eyebright nasal spray, these help to widen the nasal passages, which helps to reduce the vibration that causes snoring.

Mouth breathers – Try chin-up strips, oral shield (snore guard) or eyebright mouth spray, these solutions prevent snoring in different ways. Chin straps close your mouth, oral shields block the passage of air and mouth spray relaxes your muscles. All of which can help to reduce the vibration that causes someone to snore.

Tongue snorers – Try a mandibular advancement device (MAD), the MAD holds your lower jaw and tongue forward creating more space to breathe, which can help to prevent snoring.

Palatal fluttered – Try chin-up strips or eyebright mouth spray, by holding your mouth closed or relaxing your muscles these solutions limit the vibration that causes snoring.

Multifactorial snorers – Try nasal strips, a nasal dilator, eyebright mouth and nasal spray, chin-up strips, an oral shield or a mandibular advancement device. Each device works differently. Multifactorial snores should try to find a balance between effectiveness and comfort.

2. Elevate your head to stop snoring

Dr. Joseph Krainin, founder and president of Singular Sleep, LLC, adds: ‘People with sleep-related breathing difficulties may benefit from an adjustable bed to elevate the head of the bed. This alleviates the effect of gravity and may promote better respiratory function during the night.’ If you don’t have an adjustable bed frame, recreate this by layering your pillows.

Woman sleeping on her side in bed

3. Try sleeping on your side

Dr Axe says: “If your snoring problem is minor, this just might do the trick. The biggest difficulty may become how to keep you on your side. Using a body pillow could be useful in maintaining the position. Ultimately, this position can prevent the relaxed and untoned muscles in the the throat from blocking the breathing passageways. An old remedy that could be useful is to tape a tennis ball to the back of your pyjamas so you don’t roll onto your back. If you have a bed with a recline control, you can set the bed in an angled head-up position, which may open the nasal airway passages.”

4. DIY lifestyle changes

Many of the causes above can be solved with simple lifestyle changes. Exercising more to lose weight will alleviate pressure on the airways. Stopping smoking will prevent the irritation of nasal tissue, decrease swelling and stop the build-up of catarrh, all this will help regulate your breathing and reduce snoring. Avoid alcohol before bed, a unit or two long before bed won’t hurt, but if you consume too much too late you’ll be snoring all night. Antihistamine tablets or a nasal spray, particularly during hay fever season, can make a big difference when pollen is ruining your nights.

5. Medical solutions to snoring

This might sound drastic, but some people suffer from severe bouts of snoring due to medical reasons, in which case surgery may be necessary to correct it. For example, those who have enlarged adenoids at the back of the nose may need surgery to remove them or reduce their size, in order to improve airflow through their throat and nasal passages. For many, this would probably be the last resort.

How to stop someone snoring when they're asleep

Waiting for someone to adjust their lifestyle is an effective method, but obviously takes time. If you’re fed up with sleepless nights, there are a few things you can try to stop someone from snoring when they’re already asleep:

  1. Lie them on their side. The NHS says that if you sleep on your side, it avoids the squashed airways you could get if you sleep on your back. If your partner is likely to roll onto their back often, buy them a body pillow that will prevent this.
  2. Place extra pillows under their head. Bupa recommends elevating the head with good quality pillows.
To help you further, we teamed up with the British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association to bring you some tips on how you can help prevent snoring. The infographic linked below explains why you or your partner might snore and how you can stop your partner from snoring, so you can both get a better night’s sleep.

How to Stop Your Partner From Snoring Infographic

How to sleep when someone is snoring

If your partner’s snoring doesn’t seem to be stopping and it’s keeping you awake, it’s important to prioritise your own sleep needs. The most obvious solutions are to adjust your sleeping patterns, for example, if you go to bed before them, you’re more likely to be asleep before the snoring starts. If you have a spare room, don’t be afraid to use it, a third of married couples admit to sleeping better alone.

If you haven’t got a spare room and the snoring wakes you up. It might be best to invest in some good-quality earplugs and remember to keep your partner’s head elevated while they sleep on their side. If all of the above doesn’t work, Sammy advises it’s best to see your GP, snoring can often be a symptom of the sleep disorder sleep apnea, so it’s always good to get it checked out, if in doubt.

8 Ways to Prevent Snoring Naturally

About the author

More from the Sleep Matters Club