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10 Ways to Snore No More

Restore restful sleep for you and your partner

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You’re in a deep and peaceful slumber when, suddenly, the sound of a ship horn jolts you awake—only it’s not a ship horn. It’s your partner snoring.

This is a scenario that you may be all too familiar with, as about half of all adults snore at one time or another. Not only is snoring a nuisance that can form rifts in relationships, but it may also cause serious health implications by preventing sleep, affecting overall quality of life, and increasing the risk of more harmful diseases.

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What causes snoring?

When you fall asleep, your throat muscles relax, your tongue slips backward, and your throat narrows. This can result in obstructed airflow and vibrations in throat tissues, which can lead to that pesky rumbling.

Some factors that determine whether someone snores are beyond our control: men are more likely to snore than women, particularly if they’re middle-aged or older, and simple genetics and anatomy also play a role. However, certain lifestyle changes may be enough to lay your snoring problem to rest.

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What are the risks?

Aside from receiving a hard poke from an irritated partner in the middle of the night, snoring can have some serious side effects. One study found that self-reported snorers were more likely to fall asleep while driving, be diagnosed with a depressive disorder, and develop coronary heart disease.

As habitual snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, in which breathing stops periodically while sleeping, it’s a good idea to visit your health care practitioner if you’re a heavy snorer. Your doctor may conduct a sleep study or administer an at-home sleep apnea test to evaluate the seriousness of the issue.

Whether or not your midnight melodies are a sign of a larger problem, there are plenty of natural remedies available that may just stifle your snores and restore your restful nights.

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Change your sleep position

Silencing your snore could be as simple as changing the position you sleep in. Sleeping flat on your back (as opposed to your side or stomach) causes an increased obstruction to the airway, leading to snoring. Elevating your head to keep your tongue from slipping backward or training yourself to sleep on your side may just fix the problem.

There are many aids available that can help you adjust your sleep position, such as anti-snore pillows, which work by elevating your head, and side-sleeping backpacks, which don’t allow you to sleep on your back.

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Clear your nasal passages

When we sleep, we naturally try to breathe through the nose. However, if there is a blockage in the nasal passages, we switch to the mouth, which can lead to snoring. Treating congestion with a natural nasal spray, strip, or neti pot may be enough for some people to reduce their snoring. Taking quercetin supplements (after consulting with your health care practitioner) may also help clear your nasal passages.

But getting to the root of the problem by reducing allergens may be the most effective solution. Make sure your bedroom is clear of dust by vacuuming, dusting, changing your sheets and pillows regularly, and investing in an air purifier (or air-purifying plants!).

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Limit alcohol

Alcohol causes muscles in the mouth and throat to relax, rendering them less capable of keeping your airway clear. Although cutting out alcohol may not make the problem go away for everyone, it is likely to reduce the issue. Even if you don’t want to stop drinking entirely, it’s a good idea to avoid alcohol four hours before bedtime.

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Avoid smoking

Smoking can increase your risk of snoring by causing inflammation in the airway and creating nasal congestion. In addition to being a risk factor for cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, one study found that the risk of snoring more than doubled in smokers versus non-smokers. A 2021 study also found that smoking can contribute to insomnia and shorter sleep cycles—yet another reason to kick this harmful habit.

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Try aromatherapy

Not only do essential oils have relaxing qualities that promote sleep, but they may also help reduce snoring. Research suggests eucalyptus and peppermint oils have purifying properties that help clear out sinuses, while lavender and chamomile have anti-inflammatory characteristics that may help clear the airway.

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Avoid large meals close to bedtime

We all indulge in a late dinner every now and again, but to reduce snoring and improve overall sleep quality, it’s a good idea to avoid having a “food baby” before bed. When you go to bed with a full stomach, there is added pressure on your chest and diaphragm. This can restrict airflow and increase inflammation in your throat, resulting in snoring.

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Alter your diet

Dairy products, sugar, and foods high in acidity or fat are inflammatory and can increase mucus production, blocking airways and causing you to snore. One recent study found that following a healthy plant-based diet may help limit snoring by reducing inflammation and promoting weight management. Another found that a higher intake of fruits was associated with a reduced risk of obstructive sleep apnea, a form of sleep apnea that is associated with snoring.

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Use a humidifier

Dry air can cause you to snore by drying out and inflaming your nasal passages. Using a humidifier, particularly in the winter months, can help with this issue by adding moisture to the air. But keep in mind that too much humidity can also block the airway, so only use a humidifier as needed.

Health bonus: humidifiers have a number of other benefits, such as soothing dry skin, reducing eye irritation, and even stopping bloody noses.

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Perform tongue and throat exercises

If you’re a snorer, you may want to add tongue and throat exercises to your workout routine—strengthening these muscles has been shown to reduce snoring, according to a 2017 study. Snoring can be caused by excessive relaxation of the muscles in your throat and tongue, so strengthening them may have a real impact.

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Try an oral appliance

If you’ve tried all the above remedies and still find yourself or your partner sounding like a wild boar at night, it may be worthwhile to try an oral appliance. An oral appliance is a custom-made, non-invasive treatment device that is meant to help keep the airway open or reposition the mouth or tongue. Although these devices can be uncomfortable, a 2019 study showed they were effective for some people. If this seems like a good option for you, talk to your health care practitioner.

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Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD