You may not agree with this but we all snore. There are some of us who only snore occasionally—when we are tired or have drunk too much alcohol. But there are a lot of people who snore on a regular basis. If you are one of these people, you should know that snoring can be a sign of a more serious health condition like sleep apnea.
Aside from the fact that snoring is bad for your health, it can be detrimental to your relationships too. If your snoring has already become a nuisance for your partner or other family members, it can certainly cause significant issues in your relationships.
If you are a snorer wish to put an end to all his snoring-related problems, you should read this article to discover the tried and tested solutions on how to prevent snoring.
How to Know if You Snore at Night: The Signs and Symptoms to Lookout For
The first step that you need to take is to determine if you indeed have a snoring problem. Most snorers only discover that they have a snoring problem through their family and friends. But what if you live alone?
If you do, you can actually self-diagnose yourself by looking out for the following signs and symptoms:
- You have a headache or dry mouth every time you wake up.
- You suddenly wake up at night for seemingly no reason.
- You wake up at night coughing, wheezing, or gasping for breath.
- You feel fatigued even early in the morning.
- You are suffering from a few dental health issues, particularly teeth cavities.
To determine if you have a snoring problem, we recommend that you keep a sleep diary that will help you monitor potential signs and symptoms. It is also recommended that you log down your diet and activities daily. You can share the diary with your doctor to help him come to a diagnosis.
What Causes Snoring?
Next up, you should try to figure out what factor may be causing your snoring problem. We will not go into detail about the possible causes of snoring but in gist, the most common factors are age, pregnancy, gender, obesity, nasal injury or deformity, sinus illness or allergies, side effects from medications, smoking, sleep apnea, sleep position, alcohol, inflamed tonsils, or large uvula or soft palate.
How to Prevent Snoring
After determining what the possible causes of your snoring issues are, then we proceed to determining what the most effective treatments that you can try are. Snoring treatments fall under three categories—lifestyle changes, anti-snoring products, and medical procedures. We will go into detail about each category below.
Lifestyle changes to Prevent Snoring
Below are some of the simple lifestyle tweaks that you can apply to alleviate or completely get rid of your snoring problems:
Change your sleeping position.
Do you sleep on your back? If you do, you have increased the risk of suffering from snoring problems. If this is the case, we recommend that you try to switch to sleeping on your side.
Changing your sleeping position is not easy, but with motivation and discipline, it can be done. When switching to a different sleeping position, do not forget to use body pillows and other sleep accessories to keep your spine correctly aligned and keep the airways open.
One of the best ways to reduce snoring is to lose weight. Regular exercise can help you do that. Moreover, strength training exercises can boost muscle strength. The stronger your muscles are, the greater ability they will have to stay open while you sleep.
Establish a healthy diet.
Another great way to lose weight is to maintain a healthy balanced diet. Of course, that would entail you to incorporate fruits, vegetables and healthy fats in your diet. If you are overweight, it is recommended that you work with a dietitian or a healthcare practitioner in establishing a diet that would be easy for you to follow.
One thing that you should be particular about is the type and amount of food that you will eat a few hours before you go to sleep. It is recommended that you consume only sleep-healthy food items at dinnertime. Moreover, you should avoid consuming heavy meals two to three hours before your bedtime.
Stop smoking and drinking.
Smoking tends to dry out your nasal membranes which can make breathing more difficult and snoring a lot louder. On the other hand, alcohol is a depressant and can relax your muscles. This will worsen your snoring and breathing issues.
Take a look at your medications.
Some medications have specific side effects that can make snoring more problematic. These include making you feel sleepy, relaxing your muscles and drying your mouth. If you are dealing with breathing issues and you are taking medications that may have the mentioned side effects, it would be best if you will talk with your doctor about it.
Raise your head.
Elevating your head by 4 inches can open up your airways and help reduce snoring.
Some allergies may reduce the air that flows through your nose. As a result, you will have no choice but to breathe through your mouth which will increase your chances of snoring. If you are suffering from allergies, it is recommended that you consult a doctor so he can be able to prescribe the right allergy medication for your condition.
Get rid of dust mites.
When did you last change your beddings? Has it been a while since you last dusted off your ceiling fan? It is possible that the dust and allergen in your beddings and fans are causing the allergies and ultimately, aggravating your snoring problems.
Another possible cause of your allergy is animal dander, and you are at risk of it if you are letting your pets sleep with you inside your room.
To address this, it is recommended that you replace your beddings at least twice a month. You can also try keeping your pets out of your bedroom to see if it is the one causing your allergies.
Drink lots of fluids.
If you do not consume at least 8 glasses of water a day, you will get dehydrated. When you do, the secretions from your soft palate and nose will be stickier which can make you snore more and louder.
Enjoy a hot shower at night.
Enjoying a hot shower at night can open up nasal passages, allowing you to breathe easily at night. While showering, you can also try rinsing your nose with using a mixture of salt and water for best results.
Perform anti-snoring exercises before going to bed.
Exercises that can strengthen the muscles in your neck and throat can help reduce snoring. To know more about anti-snoring exercises that you can try, please watch this video:
If you are not overweight or think that your snoring problem is not caused by any lifestyle issues, one good step to take is to use anti-snoring products. Here are some of them:
This is not exactly a tool designed to prevent snoring, but its effect can help solve your snoring issues. Humidifiers are developed to keep the air in our bedrooms moist. As a result, it also helps prevent our nasal passages from drying out and can reduce snoring sounds.
These are mouthpieces that are specially designed to secure your lower jaw in a forward position and pull your tongue forward while you sleep. As a result, you will have a broader airway that can facilitate easy breathing.
If you think that the snoring problem lies on your nose and not on your soft palate, you can make use of these strips as they are designed to flatten your nose, opening up your nostrils and keeping an unobstructed airway.
Just like nasal strips, these help in keeping your nostrils wide open at night. But instead of using strips to flatten your nose, you will insert these vents (which resemble the look of earplugs) into your nose to keep it open.
The idea sounds ridiculous, but these work as these pajamas help keep you in a side sleeping position. These sleeping garments have a pocket where you can place tennis balls or an inflatable belt in the midsection. These items can make it uncomfortable for you to sleep on your back, leaving you no choice but to turn to your side.
These can keep your head in an elevated position to maintain open airways.
Air Purifier with HEPA Filter
This is recommended for people suffering from allergic rhinitis. Air purifiers purify the air by getting rid of allergens, dust mites, and dander that are making your nasal congestion worse.
This tool delivers a salt-water solution to your nasal passages, washing off anything that may be obstructing your airways.
There are certain situations wherein lifestyle changes and anti-snoring products won’t do the trick. If all else fails, it is best that you consult your doctor. Depending on your condition, he may suggest the following medical treatments:
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP Therapy)
This is the most common sleep apnea treatment used today. If your snoring is due to sleep apnea, the doctor will ask you to undergo a sleep study. If diagnosed with sleep apnea, you will then be fitted for the CPAP machine. You will have to wear this machine as you sleep.
This machine features tubes that deliver the right amount of air pressure to you, keeping your airways open and preventing you from snoring. There are different types of PAP machines available—BiPAP which uses two levels of air pressure and the VPAP which uses varying levels of air pressure to keep your airways from closing. The doctor will determine which machine to use based on the results of your sleep study.
If snoring is due to a deviated septum, you will be advised to undergo septoplasty which is a procedure done to realign the septum to promote proper airflow.
This is commonly done to remove the uvula, allowing the throat to open up.
Upper Airway Simulator
This device features a small pulse generator which is attached under the skin of your upper chest area. It has a wire that runs through the lungs. This wire is responsible for detecting the breathing pattern of the user. It also has another wire that leads up to the neck and is the one that delivers mild stimulation to the nerves. This stimulation keeps the airway muscles open, helping you to breathe correctly.
If the snoring is due to the size of your soft palate, this surgery is recommended. In this surgery, tissues in your soft palate that may be obstruction your airway are removed.
If the doctor has determined abnormalities in the size of your soft palate, this treatment is performed. It uses heat to shrink the excess throat tissues and remove airway blockage.
Adenoidectomy or Tonsillectomy
If you have enlarged tonsils or adenoids, this procedure is done. It is designed to mechanically remove your enlarged tonsils or adenoids to prevent it from blocking your air passages. Most doctors recommend this treatment for children who are suffering from severe snoring issues and sleep apnea.
We know that snoring problems can be a bit embarrassing but don’t be. A lot of people are suffering from it, and the only way for you to address this issue is to tackle it head-on. Talk with professionals or family and friends who are suffering from these issues as they may give you more useful suggestions on how to prevent snoring.