Snoring can be a plague for whoever you sleep next to—not to mention being a bother to yourself. When you slip into a deep sleep, the muscles in your throat, tongue, and soft palate relax; for some people this relaxation is so thorough that their airway is partially obstructed. This forces the normal amount of air to travel down a skinnier passage, increasing the force with which it travels, making the surrounding tissues vibrate, producing the sound of snoring. Here are a few snoring remedies before your partner kicks you to the couch.
Obviously, the cause of your snoring is going to have a major impact on how you treat the problem. Some factors are easier to deal with than others. Obesity, for example, can cause snoring because of the extra fat that stations itself at the chin or neck. The increased weight strengthens the pressure on tissues, instigating the vibrations that produce snoring. Thus, initiating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can reduce snoring by helping you reach a healthier weight.
Another thing that may improve snoring is avoiding excessive alcohol before bedtime, as alcohol increases the relaxation of muscles. Paying attention to your sleeping habits may be an effective means of managing snoring as well. Make a concentrated effort not to sleep on your back, which makes snoring worse. Being sure to get plenty of sleep can also be helpful, as sleep deprivation tends to aggravate snoring as well.
Unfortunately, getting sufficient sleep isn’t always as easy as it sounds. If your snoring is a result of sleep apnea, your sleep is probably frequently disrupted by the cessation of breathing that accompanies this condition. This means you aren’t getting enough rest, which makes your snoring worse, creating a vicious cycle. There are a number of ways to treat sleep apnea:
- Oral appliances: mouthpieces that hold tissue out of the airway
- Palatal implants: injections of polymer filament in the soft palate to stiffen the muscles
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP): a mask worn while sleeping that pumps air to keep airways open
- Traditional or laser surgery: removes excess tissue, uvula, or part of the soft palate
- Radiofrequency tissue ablation: shrinks the tissue of the soft palate (with a radiofrequency signal)
Other Underlying Conditions
Sinus conditions are a major cause of snoring. Chronic nasal congestion can occur with issues like sinus problems. Chronic respiratory illnesses can cause regular snoring, but even the common cold may cause occasional snoring because of the stuffy nose that often accompanies it.
If you have a deviated septum, this too could be the cause of your snoring. A deviated septum is when the tissue separating your nostrils is off-center. This often causes frequent congestion or obstruction in the nasal passages—and may alternate between nostrils. A surgical procedure called septoplasty is generally required to fix a deviated septum when nasal decongestants and other symptomatic treatments are insufficient.