6 strategies to deal with snoring

October 5, 2015

Everything from blocked nasal passages to congestion can cause snoring, and snoring can be a sign of a dangerous condition called sleep apnea. If you suspect sleep apnea you should see your doctor, but we'll give you some tips to mitigate things in the meantime.

6 strategies to deal with snoring

1. Sing or take up a wind instrument

  • When 20 chronic snorers performed 30 minutes a day of singing techniques that toned their throat muscles, their snoring quieted, report researchers from the University of Exeter.
  • The exercises (such as energetically singing the sound "ung-gah" to familiar tunes) are designed to build strength in muscles that support your soft palate, the tissue at the back of your mouth that vibrates if you snore.
  • Alternately, get out that old clarinet, flute, or tuba and honk away. When 25 snorers at a Swiss sleep clinic took up the didgeridoo (an Australian wind instrument), snoring lessened by about 22 percent.

2. Use nose strips

  • Studies on adhesive strips that open nasal passages have been mixed. One study sponsored by the U.S. Air Force concluded that they're ineffective, but a Swiss study found that they quieted snoring after about two weeks of use.
  • If you tend to breathe through your mouth, the strips may work for you. Wear them at night for at least a week to get used to breathing through your nose. They may also help if you have a slightly deviated septum.

3. Try lubricating sprays and snore-squelching pillows

  • When 40 snorers tried these popular over-the-counter products, researchers at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center concluded that neither one worked. However, there are plenty of anecdotal reports that they do. It wouldn't hurt to give them a try.

4. Consider continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment

  • CPAP uses an air compressor to push air through a mask over the sleeper's nose. The pressure keeps airways open so that you breathe normally.
  • When researchers analyzed 36 CPAP studies involving people with sleep apnea, they found that those who used this system decreased daytime sleepiness by nearly 50 percent, cut sleep interruptions by eight per hour, and boosted the amount of oxygen in their blood significantly. Their blood pressure dropped too.
  • In a study at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center, people with sleep apnea who had memory problems saw memory improvement with CPAP.
  • If you have diabetes and sleep apnea, CPAP could even improve your blood sugar control.

5. Sleep on your side or stomach

  • When you lie on your back, your tongue partially blocks your breathing and makes tissue in your throat vibrate. Sleeping on your side or stomach can significantly reduce this vibration.
  • A change of position can also help about 50 percent of people with mild sleep apnea, say Israeli researchers.
  • If you're a back sleeper, sew a pocket onto the back of your pajama top or T-shirt and put a tennis ball in it before you go to bed. This will prevent you from rolling onto your back while you sleep.

6. Try oral appliances

  • These snore stoppers work by keeping your throat open at night, often by gently repositioning your lower jaw. While appliances aren't quite as effective as CPAP, they're less cumbersome.
  • In a University of Toronto review of 115 studies of mouth hardware, snoring was reduced by 45 percent.
  • Oral appliances are best for mild to moderate apnea and for loud snorers who don't have apnea.

Snoring and sleep apnea can put severe strains on your health or relationship. Use these tips to reduce snoring and get more shuteye.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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