Snoring is a common problem. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, approximately half of Americans snore. Snoring can be frustrating for the sufferer as well as for their sleeping partner. While there is no cure, there are some natural remedies and tricks you can try to help reduce the symptoms before snoring interferes with your life.
“Snoring can create real problems in a marriage,” says Dr. Daniel P. Slaughter, an otolaryngologist and snoring expert at Capital Otolaryngology in Austin, Texas, according to WebMD.
Snoring occurs when your airflow is restricted during sleep, says the Cleveland Clinic. Loud or long-term snoring increases the risk for heart attack, stroke, and other health problems. According to Fox News, if snoring is severe, it can also lead to a serious disorder such as chronic sleep apnea, so it is important to monitor the condition. In fact, 75% of people who snore have sleep apnea, a condition that causes breathing to stop intermittently during sleep. which raises the risk of developing heart disease, says WebMD.
Snoring can be triggered by allergies that block airflow through the nose, so a visit with an allergist may help. Other nonsurgical remedies for snoring include:
• Make lifestyle changes. Avoid alcohol before going to bed and maintain a healthy weight. Alcohol and sedatives reduce the resting tone of muscles in the back of your throat, making it more likely you will snore. “Drinking alcohol four to five hours before sleeping makes snoring worse,” says Dr. Sudhansu Chokroverty, program director for Clinical Neurophysiology and Sleep Medicine at JFK Medical Center in Edison, N.J. Weight loss may help some people stop snoring, says Slaughter, but “thin people snore too,” he says.
• Change your sleep position. Sleeping on your back causes the tongue to move backwards potentially obstructing the airway and causing the vibrating sound, says Fox News. Simply shift your position and try sleeping on your side. Using a full-length body pillow makes it easier to sleep on your side.
• Try medication. Cold and allergy medications can relieve nasal congestion and help you breathe more freely, says the Cleveland Clinic.
• Use nasal strips. Flexible bands stick to the outside of your nose and keep nasal passages open.
• Get fitted for an oral appliance. Wearing an oral appliance when you sleep keeps your jaw in the proper position so air can flow more freely. Ask your doctor if this remedy would work for you.
• Raise your head. Place pillows underneath your head to raise your head up slightly to help keep airways open.
• Take a hot shower before bedtime. This could help open nasal passages and assist your breathing. You can also rinse your nose with saltwater when you are showering to open nasal passages, says Slaughter.
• Practice good sleep hygiene. Bad sleep habits can have an effect similar to that of drinking alcohol, notes Slaughter. Working long hours without enough sleep, for example, means you are going to bed overtired. “You sleep hard and deep, and the muscles become floppier, which creates snoring,” he explains.
• Stay well hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids. “Secretions in your nose and soft palate become stickier when you are dehydrated,” says Slaughter. “This can create snoring.”
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