Many people snore occasionally. But if you’re a heavy snorer, you may be waking yourself up throughout the night. This can negatively impact the quality of your sleep, leading to health issues like mood disorders or high blood pressure.
Luckily, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent snoring and get a good night’s rest. Keep reading to learn seven ways to prevent snoring.
1. Use a CPAP Machine
A common cause of snoring is obstructive sleep apnea. This form of apnea happens when the muscles in your throat relax, blocking your airway as you sleep. A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine alleviates sleep apnea by providing a steady stream of air that prevents your throat muscles from collapsing. Delivered via a mask, this continuous airflow allows you to breathe with ease through the night.
Sleeping with a CPAP mask takes some getting used to, so you won’t want to pick just any random model. There are many different types for various sleep positions, face shapes, and breathing styles.
It’s important that you do the necessary research to find the best CPAP mask for you. You may also want to purchase mask accessories that make sleep apnea treatment more comfortable. These may include chin straps, humidifiers, and mask liners.
2. Change Your Sleeping Position
If you find yourself frequently sawing logs, your sleep position could be to blame. People who sleep on their backs are at risk of snoring because their airway is more likely to collapse. This obstructs breathing, causing you to snore. To help prevent this, start sleeping on your side.
Changing how you sleep isn’t always easy. But there are a few tricks that can help. One simple hack is taping a tennis ball to the back of your pajamas. This prevents you from rolling onto your back while you’re sleeping.
If that doesn’t work, try sleeping on a narrow sofa for a few nights. Since there’s less room to roll over, you’ll be forced to sleep on your side.
3. Avoid Alcohol Before Bed
Many people enjoy ending their day with a glass of wine or a cocktail with friends. But if you struggle with snoring, you may need to skip the booze. Alcohol relaxes the muscles in the throat and mouth, causing you to snore.
The good news is, there are many ways to unwind after a long day that don’t involve a glass of Cabernet. If you love the ritual of having something to drink before bed, opt for a glass of hot tea instead. Decaf options like lavender and chamomile have a soothing taste and may actually help you sleep better.
Other relaxing activities you could try include curling up with a good book or practicing some evening yoga. Still want to socialize with friends in the evening? Try carbonated water or kombucha instead of an alcoholic beverage.
4. Lose Excess Weight
If you’re overweight and struggling with snoring, those extra pounds may be the culprit. Excess fat around your neck compresses your airway, causing you to snore while lying down. Fortunately, losing as little as six pounds may be able to improve your sleep.
In a study conducted on 20 obese men who snored, an average weight loss of 6.6 pounds significantly reduced snoring. For some who lost more, the snoring stopped entirely.
Oftentimes, people complicate weight loss. But simply moving more and making healthy food choices can improve your body composition. Getting exercise doesn’t mean you need to suffer through hours of cardio, either. Choose a form of movement you enjoy and dedicate 30 minutes a day to this activity. That may be walking your dog or bouncing along to a YouTube dance video.
5. Open Your Nasal Passages
From the common cold to seasonal allergies, many things can cause a stuffy nose. Once your nose is blocked up, it can be hard to breathe at night. This can cause you to open your mouth while sleeping, leading to snoring.
Nasal dilators help to open your nasal passages, making it easier to breathe through your nose. There are two types of dilators to choose from: internal and external.
External dilators (aka nose strips) are easy to use and affordable. However, they can loosen throughout the night, making them less effective. Internal dilators — clip-like devices that broaden the nasal passages — are more effective but may be uncomfortable for some users.
6. Ask Your Doctor About Surgery
Sometimes lifestyle changes alone can’t improve snoring. If you’ve been trying to stop snoring and haven’t seen any improvements, you should talk with your doctor. You may have a physical abnormality that requires surgery to treat. Common conditions that require surgery include swollen tonsils, excess tissue in the back of the throat, and excess soft palate tissue.
While some people experience great results after surgery, there are no guarantees your sleep will improve. Typically, surgery helps lessen your snoring, but lifestyle changes may still be required. Most patients fully recover from surgery within a few months. After you’re healed, your doctor may want to conduct a sleep study to determine whether any additional interventions are needed.
A Better Night’s Sleep Is Within Reach
Snoring disrupts your sleep, leading to drowsiness and increasing your risk for other health conditions. However, you don’t have to settle for low-quality Z’s. By implementing the tips above, you can improve your sleep quality, increase your energy, and level up your health.