You can create the perfect bedroom sanctuary, but it will only help so much if snoring is keeping you (or your partner) awake at night. Let's be honest—it's wonderful sleeping with a partner, but it can also have its challenges. In fact, in a recent survey, more than 68 percent of women and 59 percent of men said that their sleep quality was worse when sleeping with a partner!
Some medical studies indicate that at least one-fifth of adults are impacted by either their own snoring or their partner's.
There is no one miraculous cure, but you can do many things to reduce snoring and its effects. Pinpointing the underlying cause may help you identify the best remedy.
What causes snoring?
There are several root causes of snoring. But first, it's important to understand what snoring is. When you snore, it's because air is having trouble moving through the airways in your throat and nasal passages. As you breathe, the tissues lining the airway in your throat vibrate. This is what produces that oh-so-familiar sound known as snoring.
Why is the air you breathe while you sleep having trouble moving through your airways? This can be happening for a number of reasons:
The position of your tongue
Sleeping on your back is perhaps the most common cause of snoring. Why? In this position, your tongue relaxes while you sleep (like all the muscles in your body), and it can fall back, covering the airway of your throat. When this happens, the air has trouble moving in and out, causing the tissue to vibrate and ultimately causing you to snore.
Nasal or sinus problems
Obviously, when you're stuffed up from allergies or illness, mucus can clog your nose and throat, causing or worsening snoring.
Most people don't realize it, but our throats can narrow slightly as we get older. This makes us more likely to snore as we age because the air has less room to travel through.
Being out of shape
Exercise not only gives our bodies a workout but it also keeps our lungs in shape. Lungs that are fit are better at pumping air in and out of our bodies when we're awake and when we sleep. In addition, being overweight can lead to the buildup of fatty tissue, further blocking our airways and causing snoring.
Men are more likely to snore than women. This one may sound unfair, but it's true! Men's bodies are built differently than women's: Men have slightly narrower air passages, so they are more likely to snore.
Certain traits—like having a cleft palate, being born with large adenoids, or having a narrower-than-average throat—can make you more prone to snoring. Sometimes, even the most physically fit people are naturally born with more tissue in their airways, which makes them more likely to snore.
We've all heard of a smoker's cough. Not only is it a health issue, but it can also create a snoring problem. Cigarette smoke paralyzes cilia, which are the microscopic hairs that help move mucus through your throat. When those hairs are paralyzed by cigarette smoke, mucus can cling to the tissue that lines your throat, which affects your airflow and causes snoring.
Alcohol and other medications
Certain medications, especially those that relax the muscles, can cause your tongue and airways to relax, causing you to snore. In addition, people who take tranquilizers like Ativan (lorazepam) or medications like Valium are more likely to snore.
More serious medical problems
Excessive snoring could be an indication that you have sleep apnea, which is when you intermittently stop breathing during sleep. If you or your partner snore, gasp during sleep or experience frequent fatigue, you should talk to your doctor.
Tips to stop snoring
Once you think you have pinpointed the underlying causes of your or your partner's snoring, there are everyday things you can do to try and reduce the problem. Here are our seven tips:
1. Try sleeping on your side
As we mentioned before, when you sleep on your back, your tongue relaxes and falls back, which can block your throat and constrict your airway, causing you to snore. Training yourself to sleep on your side can be hard at first but can greatly reduce or eliminate snoring.
Ask your doctor for tips or visit our Resource Guide for ways to train yourself to sleep in a different position. Studies have shown that sleeping on your left side specifically improves blood and oxygen flow throughout your body, which also makes it the top-recommended position for pregnant women.
2. Elevate your head
Raising your head by as little as four inches while you sleep can help you breathe more easily. Gravity in this position may also help keep mucus from building up in your air passages. Using an adjustable bed can be an easy way to accomplish a raised position without disturbing your partner.
3. Try anti-snoring mouthpieces and chinstraps
Mouthpieces can prevent mouth breathing while sleeping, forcing you to breathe through your nose. (Mouth breathing is one of the most common causes of snoring and is also much less healthy overall since the nose is more effective at filtering out dust particles and germs!)
Chinstraps can also help keep your mouth closed while you sleep, which cuts back on mouth breathing and encourages you to breathe through your nose. A chin strap also keeps your jaw in an optimal position while you sleep, which in turn helps keep your tongue in place.
4. Nasal strips or dilators
When your nasal passage is clogged with mucus and you're breathing through that nasal passage, it can cause noisy, turbulent snoring. Over-the-counter nasal strips or plastic dilators can open the nasal passages and help air travel through unimpeded—and quietly!
5. Eat a balanced diet
This may sound strange, but holding on to extra weight and eating certain unhealthy foods have both been shown to cause inflammation throughout the body, which can cause aches and pains; indigestion; and even acid reflux. All these things can contribute to snoring.
6. Do a sinus rinse in the morning
A simple saline rinse or a Neti pot can help clear your nasal passages, making you less likely to snore due to congestion. This can be especially helpful during allergy season. (Don't do a saline rinse at bedtime, as the retained liquid may flow back into the eustachian tubes and cause an ear infection.)
7. Use a humidifier
Dry air can cause irritation and inflammation of the airways. Keeping the air in your bedroom moist can help prevent this and reduce or eliminate snoring.
How Can Leesa Help?
At Leesa, we are all about sleep—sound, good, healthy, deep sleep. So, on your journey to a snore-less night, check out our Resource Guide, as well as our many sleep-friendly products—including state-of-the-art memory foam and hybrid mattresses, bases, and pillows. To really improve your sleep, you need the right bedroom setup. Shop our beds and accessories and get your best, snore-free sleep.
How to Get Someone to Stop Snoring?
We understand how frustrating it is to have your sleep interrupted every night by somebody else's snoring. But duct tape isn't the answer! Instead, you can try the following: Wear earplugs Use a white noise machine Sleep in another room Ask them to try an anti-snoring device Use a humidifier in your bedroom
What to Eat to Stop Snoring?
Some foods and beverages can help to reduce snoring. Here are a few of them:
Pineapples, bananas, and oranges are high in melatonin and can help reduce snoring.
Honey is full of antimicrobials and soothes the throat.
Either using an essential oil diffuser with peppermint oil or having peppermint tea right before bed can provide relief from snoring.
Soy almond and oat milk
Replacing regular dairy milk with plant-based milk reduces the body's production of mucus, a culprit of snoring.
Unfortunately, red meat causes an inflammatory effect in the body, which can lead to snoring.
How to Stop Snoring Naturally and Quickly?
Some simple home remedies that can help stop or reduce snoring fast include:
- Losing some weight if needed
- Exercising more to get in shape
- Avoiding alcohol late at night
- Quitting smoking
- Elevating the head of your bed
- Using nasal strips