[updated August 2019]
Occasional snoring is usually no cause for alarm and can be helped with simple remedies. But if your sleep partner complains of snoring every night, or if you’re waking up with a dry mouth and throat, it’s possible that your frequent snoring is affecting your health.
Snoring is a common problem that affects people of all ages and genders. In fact, snoring affects approximately 90 million adults in America. Males who are overweight are most prone to snoring and it becomes more serious as people age. About one-half of people who snore loudly have obstructive sleep apnea. The two most common adverse health effects that are believed to be causally linked to snoring are daytime dysfunction and heart disease.
So, let’s talk about somewhat you can do if you or your loved one snores.
7 Tips to Stop Snoring
#1. Change Your Sleeping Position
Noisy sleepers often have a habit of sleeping on their backs. This position causes the soft palate and the base of the tongue to drift down toward the back of the throat. The result is the unpleasant, vibrating noise that your sleep partner has been complaining about.
If your snoring is only occasional and minor, then changing your position in bed may be an effective snoring remedy. Sleep on your side to keep your airways open during the night. If you keep rolling onto your back in your sleep, consider propping yourself up with a body pillow. If you have an adjustable mattress base, another option is to slightly elevate the head of the bed. Be careful not to elevate the mattress too much, as you may develop neck pain.
#2. Lose Weight
The people most prone to snoring are ones who are overweight as it increases the amount of tissue in the throat which squeezes the internal diameter of the throat making it more likely to collapse during sleep, triggering snoring. If you’ve gained weight and started snoring, your snoring could be a result of your weight. Losing weight should help with your snoring.
#3. Avoid Alcohol
When you drink alcohol, the resting tone of the muscles in the back of your throat are reduced making you more likely to snore. Even if you don’t usually snore, most people do after drinking alcohol.
#4. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Poor sleep habits can have a similar effect to drinking alcohol when it comes to snoring. For instance, working long hours without enough sleep means when you finally do get to sleep you’re overtired resulting in harder, deeper sleep that creates snoring.
#5. Open Nasal Passages
If your snoring starts in your nose, keeping your nasal passages open may help. Open nasal passages allow air to move through slower which reduces the likelihood of snoring. A hot shower plus saltwater rinse in the shower before bed can help open up passages. You can use a nedi pot to rinse out your nasal passages with a salt-water solution. Additionally, nasal-strips may also work to open up nasal passages.
#6. Treat Chronic Allergies
Allergies can also reduce airflow through your nose which forces you to breathe through your mouth. If you have old pillows try switching those out as they can trap dust, dirt and other potential allergens. Chronic allergies increase the likelihood of snoring. If you think you are suffering from allergies, consult an allergist to get tested. Allergy drops and allergy shot treatments are extremely effective in treating chronic allergies.
#7. Get an Evaluation for Sleep Apnea
People who snore heavily in their sleep on a nightly basis may have a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea. Schedule an appointment with your physician and discuss your symptoms. Sleep apnea can cause symptoms that don’t seem to be related to sleeping, such as problems concentrating and morning headaches, so be sure to discuss all of your symptoms. Your doctor will perform a physical exam and may refer you for a sleep study.
COMMON SLEEP APNEA SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- reduced or absent breathing (known as apnea events)
- frequent loud snoring
- gasping for air during sleep
- excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue
- decreases in attention
- dry mouth or headaches when waking
- waking up often during the night to urinate
- sexual dysfunction or decreased libido
Is Your Snoring Due to Sleep Apnea?
Comparing Snoring and Sleep Apnea
When two conditions have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them. This is the case with ordinary snoring and sleep apnea.
Snoring happens when the tissues around your airway relax while you’re asleep, causing them to vibrate and make a distinctive noise. While snoring may not be indicative of any health issues, it can also be a symptom of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes a person to stop breathing for short periods while sleeping. The most common form of the disorder, obstructive sleep apnea, happens when your airway is blocked. Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition that can cause chronic daytime fatigue, shortness of breath, and headaches. If the problem goes untreated, it can raise your risk of health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and irregular heartbeat.
Talk to Your Dentist About Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea and Snoring
If you do have this disorder, getting it treated is important to prevent health complications—and to let you and your partner finally get a good night’s rest. CPAP devices are usually used for treating this disorder, but many patients find them difficult and uncomfortable to wear during sleep. Instead, talk to your dentist about getting a custom-fitted oral appliance. While you sleep, this comfortable device gently repositions the oral structures to keep the airways clear.
At Smiles@Southcenter in Tukwila, WA we utilize the Moses® oral appliance for our patients who suffer from sleep apnea. It is the most effective airway dilator for use in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Additionally, the history and efficacy of this appliance have been well documented over the last decade with both the product and its developer Allen J. Moses, DDS being featured in key articles and industry journals.
Need to be Evaluated for Sleep Apnea?
If you think that you have a snoring problem that could be related to sleep apnea give our office a call. We specialize in treating individuals who suffer from sleep apnea with comfortable oral appliances.
TAKE OUR SLEEP APNEA QUIZ TO FIND OUT IF YOU ARE AT RISK!
About the Author – Dr. Thuy Nguyen, DDS
Dr. Thuy Nguyen DDS in Tukwila, WA holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and received a Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Washington. In 2011, she also completed the Progressive Orthodontic Program. She is known for her fine work and a friendly and caring attitude. Her enthusiasm for dentistry is contagious, as she designs and improves smile after smile. Dr. Nguyen is bilingual in English and Vietnamese. She maintains memberships to the Seattle King County Dental Association, The Washington State Dental Association, and The American Dental Association.
Evolution of Theory on Oral Appliances and Exercises for Sleep Apnea and Snoring. Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy, November 15, 2010.
Sleep Apnea. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sleepapnea/diagnosis
Snoring and Sleep – National Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/snoring-and-sleep
15 Remedies that Will Stop Snoring. Healthline.com. https://www.healthline.com/health/snoring-remedies#remedies