Whether it’s yelled during the night or a message received loud and clear with a kick, people who snore are well aware of how annoying it is to others. It’s annoying to the person who is sawing those logs too. Desperate for a good night’s sleep, those who do it (and the people who love them) would do practically anything to make it stop.
On top of the irritation and perpetual state of sleepiness, there have been some alarming connections made between snoring and medical conditions, although it isn’t clear if it’s caused by that or the resulting poor sleep quality.
“Snoring is associated with significant negative sleep pattern behaviors as well as coronary artery disease and depressive disorders,” concluded a study on Sleep and Health Implications of Snoring.
Another study, Relationship of Sleep Pattern and Snoring with Chronic Disease, concluded, “Sleep pattern and snoring are significantly associated with all individual chronic disease except cancer.”
It’s a big problem in Canada, with 41% of Canadians being habitual snorers, according to a Sunbeam survey. Surgery is a drastic solution that doesn’t always work, leaving sufferers to seek non-surgical, natural remedies for snoring.
The first step is to see a doctor. Snoring is a symptom of a condition, lifestyle or circumstance. Sometimes the cause is temporary, while other times the condition is chronic. To increase your chances of successfully stopping you’ll need to address the cause, which starts with a diagnosis. Snoring can also be a symptom of sleep apnea, a dangerous condition that is critical to address with professional guidance.
A few common causes of snoring are:
- Family history of snoring
- Sleep Apnea
- Heart disease and stroke
- Obesity or “pot belly”
- Scar tissue
- Oversized tongue, tonsils, adenoids
- Allergies and viruses
- Sinusitis and Rhinitis
- Medications that dry sinuses and nasal passages
- Nasal spray abuse
- “Snorting” drugs
- Alcohol consumption
- In some individuals, caffeine, dairy, wheat, bleached flour, nightshade vegetables like eggplants, saturated fats and sugar can be the culprits.
Non-Surgical, Natural Remedies to Help You Stop Snoring
Now that you’ve determined the cause, you can try some natural solutions for snoring. It will probably take some time to find the method that works for you. To begin, you can analyze what type of snorer you are in order to pinpoint which methods are most likely to work.
How and where the snoring originates can be an important clue in finding the right cure for you.
- Nose – Blocked nasal passages that force you to breathe through your mouth.
- Mouth Breather – Open mouth and relaxed jaw.
- Tongue – Drops back and blocks the airway.
- Palatal Flutterer – Soft palate and uvula vibration.
- Multifactorial – A combination of two or more of the above.
The Dreams Sleep Matters Club has provided this handy test to help identify the type of snorer you are:
In the end, sufferers often find a combination of solutions has the best results.
Lifestyle and Habit Changes
Sleeping on your side may be enough to stop or reduce snoring. In fact, many anti-snoring products are designed to make you do just that. Less pressure on your throat helps to keep the airway open, the jaw remains in position and your tongue is less likely to move back towards your throat. It’s important to keep your neck comfortably straight for this position to work well, however, as curving it will restrict the airway. If one side doesn’t work, try the other. Sometimes sleeping on the right side is more effective than sleeping on the left. If you must sleep on your back, invest in a pillow that prevents your head/chin from dropping forward when you’re asleep. If you sleep on your stomach, a thin pillow will work best. Some pillows are designed to suit any sleeping position, such as the Save & Soft Orthopedic Memory Foam Pillow.
Your diet can directly impact snoring. Some foods cause an increase in mucus or congestion, such as dairy, softdrinks, starchy foods, deep-fried foods, and food high in sugar. Other foods are known to reduce snoring, such as dark, leafy greens, beets, sweet potatoes, broccoli, horseradish, onion, oranges, grapefruit, and pineapple. Spicy food like cayenne may help to clear your sinuses if that’s a problem for you, but if you have digestion issues you might want to avoid them instead. Avoid eating anything within two hours of bedtime.
Keeping your weight down and staying in shape can greatly reduce snoring. There are even throat exercises you can add to your fitness regime that are specifically designed to help.
- Use your jaw muscles to firmly hold a pencil between your teeth for up to five minutes.
- Slowly stretch your mouth open (comfortably) wide, lifting your lower and upper back teeth away from each other.
- Slowly stretch your bottom and upper jaw from side to side in opposite directions.
- Press your finger firmly against your chin and resist it with your bottom jaw.
- Press the tip of your tongue firmly against your front teeth.
Products to Help You Stop Snoring
There are many anti-snoring products available in Canada, and the Internet brings it all right to our door.
Topical Snoring Relief
Topical sprays may relieve snoring by reducing vibration through lubrication. You can find both nasal and throat sprays designed to reduce (but not entirely stop) snoring. Sprays are more effective when combined with other solutions but may be sufficient for light snoring or for those afternoon naps. You may find that a humidifer helps too.
Saline solutions, like Otrivin Seawater and Aloe, moisten sinuses and other tissues surrounding the air passages, which reduces the vibration associated with snoring. It also reduces swelling and congestion that can make snoring worse. Tilt your had back as you spray so the solution reaches the throat as well as the nasal passages. Note that other types of nasal sprays may cause temporary relief, but are known to have a rebound effect if used for more than a few days. In other words, they’ll make matters worse.
Throat sprays skip the nasal passages altogether and go for the throat. Professnore, for example, is a popular drug-free, natural oil blend. You can also try making your own gargling solution to help soothe the throat, by simply mixing a teaspoon of French Gris Sea Salt into a glass of warm water. Unprocessed, french grey (gris) sea salt boasts both the most complete mineral profile and healing properties of any type of sea salt.
Natural Remedies for Snoring
Herbs may help to address the cause of your snoring. Spearmint, sage, ginger and fenugreek may help if poor digestion is making you snore. Ginger is also beneficial as a throat lubricant and it reduces inflammation. Peppermint, eucalyptus, Chamaesyce hirta (Asthma Plant) and goldenseal can help if congestion is the issue. Sage and lavendar scents may help to relax you if stress is the problem.
There are several homeopathic products available that may provide some relief. Homeocan Snore No More offers several homeopathic snoring remedies in one, including Belladonna, Sambucus nigra, Muriaticum acidum, Nux vomica and Cuprum metallicum. If the sinuses and nasal passages are involved, try Orange Naturals. It contains Cuprum metallicum, Lac caninum, Laurocerasus, Lemna minor and Nux vomica.
Traditional Chinese Medicine suggests chrysanthemum flowers to help clear the dampness and unblock energy, both of which are considered to be causes for snoring. Green tea and chamomile tea are often recommended as well.
If you think stress is aggravating the problem, consider yoga or Tai Chi.
There is a wide range of anti-snoring devices that may work for you. Oral devices are often designed by medical and dental professionals. These devices are designed to resolve three basic issues, and ultimately eliminate snoring by manipulating the mouth, tongue and throat.
- Prevent trachea vibration by keeping the mouth closed.
- Bringing the jaw forward to keep the tongue from sliding back and blocking the airway.
- Maintaining an open airway through tongue stabilization.
Adjustable mouthpieces like the VitalSleep Anti-Snoring Mouthpiece are sometimes referred to as Mandibular Advancement Devices. They position your lower jaw to keep your airway open so you can breathe easily and sleep peacefully. If the mouthpiece isn’t comfortable for you, see your dentist. They can make a custom mouthpiece for you that should fit perfectly.
Mouthpieces can take many forms, however. For example, a Canadian invention to help stop snoring, Good Morning Snore Solution focuses on tongue stabilization. It works by gently moving the tongue forward to clear blocked airways. This falls into the category of Tongue Restraining Devices. While it may work for anyone, it has proven to be especially effective for those who sleep on their back.
Chin/jaw straps like the Sound to Sleep Antisnoring Jaw Strap are designed to keep the mouth closed, while reducing air velocity and soft tissue vibration
Other Products to Help You Stop Snoring
If you suspect your nasal passages may be the cause, you can try something as simple as Breathe Right Extra, which is a stronger version of Breathe Right Nasal Strips that opens the nasal passages wider. Also focusing on nasal passages are nose vents, such as the SleepPro2, designed to maximize air flow.
Anti-snoring pillows include a wide range of products that work in distinctly different ways. Some are focused on positioning your head and neck to keep your airway open, while others use movement to stop snoring without waking you up, like the Zeeq Smart Pillow. Some of the ideas behind these pillows are ingenious, but the results are mixed.
There are products designed specifically for people who usually only snore when they sleep on their back. Most of these products use some type of method to keep you sleeping on your side. You can buy a t-shirt that has a pocket on the back where you insert a tennis ball to make it uncomfortable to sleep on your back, like the Stop Snoring T-Shirt. You may also find a firm body pillow will keep you on your side.
The Future is Bright
Now that you know how to stop snoring, you can begin the process of of finding the solution that works for you. It can be a long process of trial and error, but the improvement to your quality of life (and that of your spouse) is a goal that is worth the effort.
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