Tips to Stop Snoring and Clear a Blocked Nose
Don’t let snoring ruin your relationship or a good night’s sleep. Learn what causes snoring and how you can cure it.
For most people, snoring is just a funny, slightly annoying habit that they, their partner, or someone they know has. But we did take a look at the question ‘Is snoring bad?’; and turns out it actually is a cause for worry. Snoring is caused by obstructions to the airway when we are asleep, and can actually result in multiple health risks.
So, how to stop snoring?
What causes snoring?
Just about everyone snores occasionally, and it’s usually not something to worry about. Snoring happens when you can’t move air freely through your nose and throat during sleep. This makes the surrounding tissues vibrate, which produces the familiar snoring sound. People who snore often have too much throat and nasal tissue or “floppy” tissue that is more prone to vibrate. The position of your tongue can also get in the way of smooth breathing.
If you regularly snore at night it can disrupt the quality of your sleep—leading to daytime fatigue, irritability, and increased health problems. And if your snoring keeps your partner awake, it can create major relationship problems too. Thankfully, sleeping in separate bedrooms isn’t the only remedy for snoring. There are many effective solutions that can help both you and your partner sleep better at night and overcome the relationship problems caused when one person snores.
Since people snore for different reasons, it’s important to understand the causes behind your snoring. Once you understand why you snore, you can find the right solutions to a quieter, deeper sleep—for both you and your partner.
Why do people snore?
If you snore, you’re not alone: Up to half of all American adults snore. It happens when air flows through your throat when you breathe in your sleep. This causes the relaxed tissues in your throat to vibrate and cause harsh, irritating snoring sounds.
Snoring may disrupt your sleep, or that of your partner. Even if it’s not bothering you too much, it’s not a condition to ignore. In fact, snoring may be a sign of a serious health condition.
Common causes of snoring
- Age. As you reach middle age and beyond, your throat becomes narrower, and the muscle tone in your throat decreases. While you can’t do anything about growing older, lifestyle changes, new bedtime routines, and throat exercises can all help to prevent snoring.
- Being overweight or out of shape. Fatty tissue and poor muscle tone contribute to snoring. Even if you’re not overweight in general, carrying excess weight just around your neck or throat can cause snoring. Exercising and losing weight can sometimes be all it takes to end your snoring.
- The way you’re built. Men have narrower air passages than women and are more likely to snore. A narrow throat, a cleft palate, enlarged adenoids, and other physical attributes that contribute to snoring are often hereditary. Again, while you have no control over your build or gender, you can control your snoring with the right lifestyle changes, bedtime routines, and throat exercises.
- Nasal and sinus problems. Blocked airways or a stuffy nose make inhalation difficult and create a vacuum in the throat, leading to snoring.
- Alcohol, smoking, and medications. Alcohol intake, smoking, and certain medications, such as tranquillisers like lorazepam (Ativan) and diazepam (Valium), can increase muscle relaxation leading to more snoring.
- Sleep posture. Sleeping flat on your back causes the flesh of your throat to relax and block the airway. Changing your sleep position can help.
How Can I Stop Snoring
Once you have ruled out Silent Snore as the cause of your snoring, the next step is figuring out how to stop snoring. There are some home remedies and behavior changes that may help reduce or eliminate snoring:
- Lose weight.
- Don’t sleep on your back.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Don’t take muscle relaxants (talk to your doctor before stopping any prescription medication, and ask about alternatives).
- Quit smoking.
- Try an anti-snoring pillow.
- Use nasal strips to open nasal passages.
- Take a hot shower before bed to open the sinuses.
- Change sheets frequently if allergies cause snoring (vacuum and dust regularly too.)
- Use a humidifier or vaporizer.
- Throat exercises
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Surgical Treatment for Snoring
There are also surgical solutions that your doctor can recommend to help put a complete stop snoring. Even though surgery is suggested in only a small percentage of snoring cases, here are the possible options:
Palatal implants – This is done to ensure that the soft palate does not collapse and block the airway during sleep. Small implants are added into the palate to hold it in place, and thus stop the snoring.
Laser-assisted Uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) – This involves surgically shortening the uvula, the soft tissue that hangs at the back of the throat. There are also small cuts made on the side of the soft palate, and the tissue hardens as the cuts heal. Both these measures ensure that there is no tissue that vibrates when you inhale air, and so there is no snoring.
Somnoplasty – Similar in function to a LAUP, this procedure uses heat to modify the tissues around the soft palate and uvula to stop the snoring. It’s less invasive than LAUP, and can be performed under general anesthesia.
So that’s all the ways on how to stop snoring. However, before you decide to start applying all of this for yourself, it’s important to truly understand the cause of your snoring. While we have shared a way to get a general idea for the causes, it’s always best to consult with a sleep expert.
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