Raise your hand if you are looking for ways to stop snoring. You drift off into a deep, relaxing sleep and then you hear it…it’s a fire alarm, no it’s a fog horn, no it’s your husband snoring. And just like that, your peaceful night of sleep is ruined. You’ve tried a noise machine, you’ve tried earplugs, and you’re about 2 restless nights away from sleeping in separate bedrooms. Before you exile your partner to the couch, listen up: there are ways to manage snoring! Snoring is incredibly common—it affects about 90 million American adults, male and female. And yes, it is super annoying; but it can be a bigger issue than just wanting to briefly smack the person sleeping next to you. As Psychology Today reports, according to Michael J. Breus, Clinical Psychologist, and author of Beauty Sleep, “a snoring problem often creates not only tiredness but also frustration and resentment between couples. It can interfere with sexual and emotional intimacy, and can push couples to sleep in separate bedrooms.”
Snoring can harm the quality of your sleep, it can limit your ability to function during the day and it can create a lot of exhaustion-fueled anger. Which is why it’s so important to control snoring before it goes too far. It’s important to note that snoring could be an indication of a bigger health risk such as sleep apnea, so if you’re concerned about your partner (or your) snoring habits, visit your doctor to get checked out. If the snoring is innocent, but totally ruining your life, there are solutions. With that, there are 8 ways to stop snoring.
1. Breathe Right Nasal Strips
A nasal strip such as Breathe Right strips can help open your nasal pathway so that you can breathe through your nose rather than your mouth. Oral breathing leads to vibrations in the back of your throat, which is what causes that terribly disruptive snoring sound you hear. Anything that helps clear your nose so you can breath better will help minimize snoring.
Read Related: 15 Ways to Stop Your Snoring
2. Skip Alcohol Before Bed
This is rule number one when it comes to snoring solutions. After a long day an adult beverage might be just what you need to wind down and relax, but that glass of wine/scotch/pick your poison might also be what is keeping you and your partner up all night. As ABC News reports, according to sleep medicine expert Rosalind Cartwright, chairwoman of the department of psychology at Chicago’s Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, “alcohol will increase snoring tenfold by relaxing the muscles that hold the throat open more, allowing the soft palate tissue and uvula to flutter more as air passes.” Try skipping the nightcap or at least avoiding alcoholic beverages a few hours before you go to bed and see if it helps your snoring problem.
3. EPAP (expiratory positive airway pressure)
EPAP “uses the sleeper’s own exhaling breath to help alleviate snoring,” explains Dr. Michael J. Breus. Products such as Theravent offer a non-invasive way to do this. A small adhesive fits over your nostrils, and as you breathe out it gently applies pressure to open your airway and relieve snoring.
4. Add an Extra Pillow
Snoring occurs when a person’s airways are obstructed or narrowed for a number of reasons. One cause could be your sleep position, so before you go to extreme measures to eliminate snoring, try elevating your nasal pathway by adding an extra pillow to raise your head. It’s not a permanent fix, but it might help you or your partner breath easier and lessen your snoring tonight.
Overweight individuals tend to have a harder time breathing and therefore they snore more at night. This is, according to Women’s Health magazine, because “one of the few things that shrinks as your waistline grows is your airway—-extra weight narrows breathing passages and restricts airflow. Add gravity as you lie down to sleep and your airway is blocked.” Even losing a few pounds could help your sleeping and improve breathing at night. Plus exercise exhausts your body and burns off energy during the day so you can rest better at night and wake up invigorated the next day.
6. Try a Humidifier
When your mouth and nasal pathway get congested or dry (due to a cold or allergies) you may experience snoring, so anything that can add moisture to the air will help you sleep better and with less noise. In addition to a humidifier, which releases a mist into the air to reduce dryness, you might want to try taking a hot shower before bed to open your nasal passage.
7. Sleep on your Side
If you tend to sleep on your back then it might help to adjust your sleep position and lie on your side. When you sleep on your back there is added pressure on your throat, so shifting your weight and sleeping on your side might help quiet (though not entire eliminate) your snore. If you are a restless sleeper and you can’t stay in one position throughout the night, try a body pillow that props you up in the right way and keeps you from rolling around.
Perhaps the strangest tip on our list, but also the most fun…studies have shown that signing exercises strengthen your throat muscles and help open your throat which could reduce snoring symptoms.