What Causes Snoring and How to Stop it?
Most people snore from time to time. But when that snoring starts to affect your life and health, it's a sign that something isn't right. Fortunately, snoring solutions are out there! Read on to learn about some natural treatments that could restore your quality of life and your family's peace of mind
Occasional snoring is very common, and it is not necessarily bad for you.
When snoring starts to affect your sleep, health, and relationships, it may be time to do something about it.
Occasional snoring can sometimes be improved with simple at-home solutions.
Did you know?
About 54.1% of people prefer sleeping on their side, 37.5% prefer sleeping on their back, and 7.3% sleeping on their stomach.
If you've ever slept next to someone who snores, you know how unpleasant it can be. But the truth is, snoring is incredibly common. In the U.S. alone, about 57% of men and 40% of women snore.
Many people don't even realize they snore until their bed partners tell them about it. Some find that snoring doesn’t bother them at all. Others find that this loud noise has a negative impact on their relationships, sleep quality, and overall well-being.
The good news is, there are several things that you can do to control your snoring if you find it a problem. This article will outline some natural solutions that can improve snoring and help you regain your quality of life.
What Causes Snoring?
When you sleep, the muscles in the back of your throat relax, narrowing the airway. As you breathe, the air moves and sometimes agitates this tissue, causing that annoying nasally sound we're all familiar with.
Most of us snore sometimes. Occasional snoring is perfectly normal and won't necessarily affect your health. The most common reasons why people snore are:
- Aging – The muscles in our mouths and throat often grow weaker as we age, which can cause snoring.
- Gender – Men are more likely to develop breathing problems during sleep than women.
- Body Composition – Increased fatty tissues around the neck and throat can make it harder to breathe at night, increasing chances of snoring
- Chronic nasal congestion – Conditions like rhinitis or sinusitis can contribute to snoring.
- Deviated septum – In some people, the septum is significantly displaced to one side, making one nasal air passage narrower than the other, which can cause snoring.
- Narrow airway – A number of factors can contribute to a naturally narrow airway, including having a long soft palate, large tonsils, or large adenoids.
- Alcohol – Alcohol relaxes the throat muscles, so drinking it before you sleep can cause airway obstruction.
- Sleep position – Sleeping on your back can make you snore since it narrows the airways.
How to Address Snoring
Snoring is usually harmless. But when it starts to affect your health and relationships, you may want to try doing something about it. Some measures can help alleviate snoring by addressing its main causes:
- Change your sleeping position. Elevating your head with a pillow encourages your tongue to move forward, freeing up space to breathe. You may also try sleeping on your side instead of your back. If you’re not naturally a side sleeper, a body pillow might help you rest easier.
- Clear your nose and use a humidifier. If you suffer from allergies, you may want to rinse your nose and sinuses before bedtime. Using nasal decongestants or strips might give you temporary relief. Dry air irritates your nose, so moisturizing the air with a humidifier can improve your sleep quality and prevent common infections.
- Exercise. Regular cardio exercises can help you sleep better in general, but there are also some specific exercises just for snoring – and they don’t require you to break a sweat! By exercising your mouth, tongue, and throat, you can strengthen your “snoring muscles” and open your airway at night.
- Avoid alcohol before going to bed. With prolonged use, sedatives like alcohol can increase the chances of snoring. Removing them from your routine may help you rest easier.
- Follow proper sleep hygiene. Snoring is a frequent sign of poor sleep hygiene and low sleep quality. Following good sleep practices can help you to find deeper sleep and better rest, which may make your snoring a thing of the past.
- Create a cozy nest. Sleeping in an uncomfortable environment might make your snoring worse. You can prioritize your sleep quality by ensuring you have comfortable lighting and cozy bedding in your room. You may also find that a sleep aid like a weighted blanket helps you fall asleep faster. If you haven’t tried a weighted blanket before, our versatile Cotton Napper could be a good choice to help you lose the snoring blues.
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When to See a Doctor for Snoring
While occasional snoring is common, snoring is also one of the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a severe medical condition. The frequent breathing stops in OSA can result in extreme daytime sleepiness, which could make you fall asleep in the middle of crucial activities such as driving, conversations, or work meetings. Sleep apnea affects 6-17% of the world population, and it is associated with a higher risk for heart diseases.
So how can you tell if your snoring is related to sleep apnea? There are a few common clues. Your partner might notice that you snore loudly and sometimes choke, gasp, or stop breathing for a second during the night. You may experience extreme tiredness during the day and fall asleep at inappropriate times and during daytime activities. Patients with OSA also complain about non-restorative or fragmented sleep. If these symptoms are present, seek professional help.
The treatment may involve wearing a special CPAP device (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), which encourages air to pass through the airways during sleep, keeping them open. Other measures like sleep hygiene and lifestyle changes can also help. Your doctor can help you develop a treatment plan that’s right for you, putting you back on the path to a restful night’s sleep.