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If there’s one question that we get every day, it’s normally something to do with how to stop snoring.
Let’s be real: snoring is a huge problem in this day and age. 90 million Americans are at it.
It’s estimated that 40% of adult men and 24% of adult women snore habitually, and that around half of us will snore at some point in our lifetime.
Particularly after a glass of wine or three.
But, thankfully, learning how to stop snoring is not all that difficult. There are a slew of natural remedies out there, together with special devices you can buy and medications you can try.
We’ve compiled this huge guide on why we snore and how to stop it to set you on the best path of success.
Let’s get straight into it.
- 1 What is Snoring?
- 2 Why Do People Snore?
- 3 How to Stop Snoring
- 3.1 Natural Snoring Remedies
- 3.2 Snoring Aids and Devices
What is Snoring?
Before we do anything, let’s first off just define what exactly snoring is.
It’s likely that we’ve all heard snoring at some point in our lives — whether it’s come from our partners, college roommates or even ourselves.
A snore is that horrible grunting/snorting sound made as we breathe during sleep.
While we all (hopefully!) breathe as we sleep, those of us who snore do so because the airways in our throat or nose are narrowed or even blocked. This means that the air has less room to move through and is obstructed as it vibrates through our airways. This turbulent air flow creates noise as it moves through our respiratory system.
Why Do People Snore?
Now you know what it is, you’re likely wondering about the causes of snoring. Why is it that some people have these narrowed airways that make them snore at night?
Well, the airways in snorers are narrowed because the uvula — the bit that hangs down from the roof of your mouth — and the soft palate — the back of the roof of your mouth — relaxes during sleep, resulting in a degree of airway blockage.
There are lots of reasons why the uvula and soft palate may be relaxed during sleep. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Alcohol and/or drug intake relaxing the muscles of the threat
- The tongue dropping back when you sleep on your back
- Weak throat muscles
- Misaligned jaw
- Deviated nasal septum
- Fat in and around the throat muscles
- Enlarged tonsils
- Sleep apnea (more on this later)
People Most Likely to Snore
As you can probably tell from the list of snoring causes, there are a few risk factors that make you more likely to be a habitual snorer than others.
If You’re a Man
While both men and women can snore, men are statistically the more likely snorers among us.
Aside from lifestyle choices that can affect snoring — drinking, for instance — the reason for this is thought to be purely physiological. Apparently, men’s airways decrease in size to a much greater extent than women’s when they’re lying down asleep compared to when they’re standing up and awake.
This means that their airways may naturally become more narrowed than their female equivalents, leading to a higher degree of snoring.
If You’re Overweight
We all know that being obese can lead to a variety of other health problems, but one of the most audible ways you’ll experience this is with snoring.
The airways in an obese person are narrowed thanks to the accumulation of fat in the throat.
If You’re Older or Unfit
One of the primary causes for the relaxation of the uvula and soft palate is due to weak throat muscles.
We tend to lose muscle tone as we age, hence why many older people are known for their snoring, while you may never have had that muscle tone to begin with if you don’t do any exercise or have an intense, weight bearing job.
If You Drink or Take Drugs
Alcohol and some drugs are known for relaxing muscles and even the tongue to the extent that it causes a partial blockage in your airwaves.
And remember, it’s not only illegal drugs that can do this — prescribed medication may also over-relax the muscles, particularly those used to treat depression and allergies.
If You Have Allergies
Allergies, in fact, are a risk factor for seasonal snoring.
Just like colds, they can cause blockages in your nasal passageways, leading to turbulent airflow and snores.
Snoring and Other Health Problems
Sometimes snoring is just snoring.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s not great — it can badly disrupt your sleeping patterns, let alone your partner’s — but it’s not usually the be-all and end-all.
However, sometimes snoring can be an indicator of a deeper and more serious health problem, one that needs investigation by medical professionals.
The most common serious health condition that snoring is a symptom for is sleep apnea.
To be exact, obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. It can be very serious.
OSA sufferers will repeatedly stop and start breathing as they sleep, thanks to the intermittent relaxation of their throat muscles blocking their airways. It should come as no surprise that the primary symptom of OSA is loud and frequent snoring.
There are treatments available for sleep apnea but it’s very important that you consult with your doctor if you suspect that you may have it.
Carotid Artery Atherosclerosis
A recent study has also found that snoring can actually cause a serious health problem too — carotid artery atherosclerosis.
This is the name given to the hardening and plaque formation in the carotid artery, that can eventually lead to damage and rupture of the artery and consequently, stroke.
It goes without saying that this heart disease is an incredibly serious condition. Researchers involved in the study have gone so far as to say that snoring could put you at greater risk for carotid artery atherosclerosis than being overweight, having high levels of cholesterol and even smoking.
That’s one major reason to stop snoring.
How to Stop Snoring
So now you know everything there is to know about snoring, it’s time to do something about it.
Working out how to stop snoring is easy, actually doing it might prove a little harder.
Thankfully, there are a whole bunch of things to try. Whether you want natural snoring remedies, more technical snoring aids, snoring strips or even the lesser known snoring chin strap — you’ll find something that suits and helps you.
Let’s take it away — and remember to tell us in the comments if we’ve missed our your favorite remedies for snoring!
Natural Snoring Remedies
You may think that adjusting your diet is a bit of a roundabout way to address your snoring problem, but it’s actually one of the most effective things you can change for a permanent way to stop snoring.
Plus, eating a well balanced and healthy diet will have positive effects reaching far and beyond just your bedroom health.
So, how exactly should you be changing your diet?
In general, a plant-based diet incorporating lean meats and a reduction in sugar-heavy, processed foods is the best way to manage your weight and be more healthful.
For particular emphasis on stopping snoring, you should consider removing sources of lactose from your diet, like cow’s milk. Mild lactose allergies are known for causing congestion in the nasal passages.
Reducing bodily inflammation is also a great way to ensure that your airways remain open and unblocked. Eating foods rich in Omega 3s and fatty acids will help reduce your levels of inflammation. Add these to your grocery basket next time you go shopping:
- Salmon, tuna, sardines and other fatty fish
- Strawberries and blueberries
- Olive oil
- Kale, spinach and collard greens
If you keep up to date with nutritional trends, you may notice that the Mediterranean Diet incorporates much of the above foods, and is known for being fantastic at tackling inflammation across all areas of the body.
As well as just generally being bad for your health, smoking is known to have a big impact on snoring — as you might expect from anything that interferes with your respiratory system.
Essentially, the smoke from a cigarette will cause swelling and congestion in your nasal passages, restricting the airflow, leading to snoring. Plus, the more you smoke, the more congested you become and so the more you snore.
There’s only one solution: stop smoking.
Or, you know, start vaping or something.
The British Snoring Association recommend that if you don’t want to stop smoking but do want to decrease your snoring, the best way is to have your last smoke at least 4 hours before your bedtime.
We already know that drinking is a common cause of snoring, thanks to its promotion of relaxation of the throat muscles.
If you’ve noticed that you’re more prone to snore after you’ve had a drinking session, consider cutting down on your alcohol intake.
This may also have positive effects on your health beyond just helping you stop snoring, and is likely to help you lose weight as well.
If you’re wondering how to stop snoring immediately, the best thing you can do is change your sleeping position.
People that sleep on their backs are more likely to snore than those that sleep in other positions. This is because your tongue and soft palate relax towards the back of your throat in this position, leading to more vibrations and a partially blocked airway.
If you wake yourself snoring, roll onto your side — or ask that your partner does it for you.
Alternatively, you could invest in a full-length body pillow that encourages side sleeping, or a wedge/contour pillow to elevate your head and neck, artificially keeping the airways open and unobstructed.
Check out these anti snore pillows for starters:
Singing and Vocal Exercises
One of the less common snoring remedies is to practice singing and other vocal exercises.
Before you start thinking we’ve gone completely mad, the premise is simple: singing helps to strengthen your throat muscles, making it less likely that your uvula and soft palate will collapse and obstruct your airways as you sleep.
Here’s a quick and easy video to start you off:
Playing wind instruments — the oboe and didgeridoo, for instance — are also thought to have the same beneficial effects.
Essential Oils for Snoring
If you’re looking for a snoring home remedy, you might want to consider essential oils.
Considered by some to be the holy grail and others to be a lot of hype about nothing, the real answer is somewhere in between. Essential oils can be useful to as a short term remedy to stop snoring although are unlikely to provide any long-term benefits.
If used correctly, for instance breathed in from a steaming bowl of hot water, certain essential oils will ease congestion and reduce inflammation.
Here’s a few worth looking into:
- Peppermint — for inflammation
- Eucalyptus — for congestion
- Lavender — for allergies
- Marjoram — for inflammation
- Thyme — for congestion and inflammation
Snoring Aids and Devices
Snoring strips are some of the most popular devices that people buy to help them stop snoring.
It’s easy to see why — they’re cheap, available over the counter and reasonably effective, in certain situations anyway. And all you need to do is pop one of your nose before you go to bed.
The strips work by pulling open your nasal passages, allowing air to pass through freely. They’re particularly good at combating snoring caused by nasal congestion.
But they won’t do much for snoring caused by turbulent airflow in the throat — this is a nose only remedy. And, of course, only a short term solution to the problem.
Some people are turning to something a little more heavy duty than simple nasal strips to combat their snoring: a snoring chinstrap.
These are particularly effective for ‘open mouth’ snorers and people that suffer from sleep apnea.
The chinstrap works to close your mouth gently as you sleep, keeping the jaw from dropping back and blocking the airways.
Probably the best snoring chinstrap on the market right now is the Snore Tek.
Relatively low cost, it promises to be soft, comfortable and adjustable so it will fit regardless of your face shape. As it keeps your mouth closed, it’s a great solution for sleep apnea sufferers that use CPAP machines — it stops the horrible bloating that occurs when air is blown into the mouth.
If you’re wondering whether the Snore Tek is for you, we’d suggest opting for the 90 day trial first.
Probably the most popular snoring aids are specialist mouthpieces.
While each branded product will be made slightly differently, the majority of snoring mouthpieces will be designed to open up the jaw, stabilize the tongue or do a combination of the two.
There are a huge number of these snoring devices on the market. We’ve picked out a few of the best so you can see which is best for you.
A randomized and controlled trial find that not only did the device significantly reduce snoring, but that any side effects were natural and quickly resolved, and that 70% of subjects said that they would continue to use it. This latter point is particularly important — many people throw out their snoring mouthpiece because it’s uncomfortable or bothersome.
It’s designed to gently move the tongue forward, ensuring that airways are open. Simple.
Take a look at this video to see if you’d be a good candidate for the device:
It’s made from BPA- and latex-free materials, and is registered with the FDA, EEC, Health Canada and TGA Australia.
Plus, it’s super easy to get started with:
- No fitting required
- Same day shipping
- Risk free trial
Unlike the Good Morning Snore Solution, it works to stabilize and bring forward the jaw itself to open up the airways.
They provide you with two mouthpieces — one of which brings forward the jaw only slightly, the other of which does a little more. You can choose which is best for you.
One of the major benefits of the ZQuiet is how soft and flexible this snoring device is: you won’t be waking up in the middle of the night to wrench it out of your mouth!
It’s regulated by the FDA and offers a 30 day trial — although note that there is a non-refundable $9.95 trial fee.
Sleep Tight MouthpieceThis is another snoring mouthpiece that’s been designed by a dentist, and FDA cleared for safety and effectiveness.
The Sleep Tight Mouthpiece is designed to bring your jaw forward just like the ZQuiet. It’s supposedly very easy to fit — the manufacturers reckon you can do it in around 5 minutes — and it should prove effective from the first night you use it!
SnoreMeds is another FDA approved snoring mouthpiece that’s free from BPA and latex.
How it differs from the other products in the list is that separate mouthpieces are sold for men and women, promising a better fit for the individual mouth.
They work to move the lower jaw forward by between 3-5mm, opening up the previously blocked airways.
Again, they’re easy to dit and the single packs come with a 45 day money-back guarantee.
If you don’t want to put something in your mouth or around your face, one solution to help you stop snoring could be to use a medication instead.
The most popular and effective of these on the market right now is the Zz Snore, which is FDA registered and backed by clinical studies. Essentially, it’s a nasal spray that’s 100% natural and easy to use. It’s described as a “long acting tissue-lubricating agent that reduces resistance in the upper airways and provides a smoother curve, which allows air to flow freely.”
The company say you’ll stop snoring when using it or you can have your money back. That’s some pretty high product confidence right there…
Smart Snoring Device
What with the smart revolution taking over our homes, of course there’s a smart product to help you stop snoring.
Introducing Smart Nora, otherwise known as ‘the comfortable snoring solution’. There’s no mouthguard, chinstrap or nose strips to deal with here.
Instead, Smart Nora is a pillow insert that you can slip onto the top of your existing pillow under the pillowcase. It also comes with a ‘pebble’ that you’ll need to place near your head or overhead, and a portable case, that needs to be placed next to your bed.
The pebble listens and detects the first sounds of snoring, which kickstarts gentle movement in the pillow insert. It’s soft enough to keep you asleep, but significant enough to stimulate your throat muscles and reopen your airways.
It’s designed for both back and side sleepers.
The catch? Smart Nora don’t come cheap — it’s $299. Only you can decide if that’s a small price to pay for sleep comfort for both you and your partner. Thankfully, there’s a 30 day trial period to test if it’s right for you.
And there you have it — everything you need to know about how to stop snoring.
What’s your top stop snoring tip?