Diet & Lifestyle, Solutions
Seven Lifestyle Changes to Stop Snoring Naturally
We found that more of our users prefer to help their snoring naturally with lifestyle changes as opposed to trying consumer anti-snoring remedies. But what are their techniques? What changes can you make that truly have a positive impact on your snoring? Here are SnoreLab’s seven recommendations …
1. Sleep on your side
One of the simplest ways to combat your snoring is to make sure you sleep on your side.
Sleeping on your back makes you far more likely to snore or experience sleep apnea; here, your jaw recedes, your tongue falls back, and weight on your neck compresses your upper airway. All of these disturb airflow and cause vibration .
There are several ways to get yourself sleeping on your side:
- Use pillows effectively. You can buy specialist pillows that promote side sleeping or you can use normal pillows to prop yourself up to prevent you rolling onto your back.
- Make back sleeping difficult. The well-known method amongst many back-sleeping snorers is to tape a tennis ball to the back of your pajamas so that sleeping on your back is uncomfortable and practically impossible.
- Positional trainers. There are devices that detect when you are sleeping on your back and give a small vibration which tells your subconscious mind that it is time to turn over.
2. Lose weight
Weight loss is one of the most potent remedies for snoring.
If you are overweight, dropping only a few pounds can set you well on your way to stopping snoring. Studies have shown that losing 10-15% of your body weight can half your sleep apnea severity .
Weight has such an influence on snoring because neck fat directly compresses your upper airway. Additionally, fat on your midriff pushes your diaphragm up, shrinking your residual lung volume and making your airway more prone to collapse .
Losing weight needs to be sustainable. This means no drastic solutions, just sensible techniques that you can easily stick with. We recommend the following:
- Reduce your carbohydrate intake. Monitor the amount of carbs you eat and make smart substitutions.
- Eat little and often. Big meals make you feels sluggish and less inclined to do the necessary activity to lose weight effectively.
- Slow down. Digestion has a natural delay where we are physically full before our brain realizes we are. This can make us overeat. Enjoy your meal more and recognize when you are full by slowing down.
3. Clean your surroundings
Dust and pollen can get trapped everywhere in your home, triggering allergies, a blocked nose and ultimately snoring.
To stop allergies ruining you and your partner’s sleep, try the following techniques:
- Wash your bedding. Soft materials are great at trapping allergens. When your allergies are particularly bad, hot washes can be effective at removing these snoring triggers.
- Regularly and thoroughly vacuum. As well as cleaning those easy to reach places, remember to occasionally vacuum those places that don’t see much action as this are ideal places for pollen and dust to lurk.
- Consider alternatives to your soft furnishings. Soft drapes/curtains and carpets are great at trapping allergens that can kick start your snoring. Hard floor and blinds are easier to clean and less likely to aggravate allergies.
- Shower/bathe before bed and quarantine the clothes you step out of. Pollen can easily stick to your skin, hair and clothing. Showering rids your body of this as well as setting you up for a great night’s sleep.
4. Kick the habits
Smoking, alcohol consumption and to an extent, caffeine can all influence snoring.
Smoking or living in a smoky environment can trigger snoring. This is because exposure to smoke can increase mucus production and aggravate the tissues in your nose and throat. This causes a narrowing of your airway and potential obstruction.
Alcohol is a depressant. This means it enhances the relaxation in your airways, compounding the already slack airways we all have during sleep. It also disrupts your normal sleep patterns which can make you feel more tired the next day, all having knock-on effects on your snoring.
Caffeine is a stimulant. If consumed too close to bedtime, it disturbs normal sleep patterns and increases your level of activity which can make you more susceptible to snoring.
5. Exercise your snoring muscles
Exercising the muscles in your mouth, tongue and throat can help to reduce snoring.
Weakness in these muscles is known to make your airway slacken and bring on snoring.
In a study in 2006, patients with sleep apnea swapped their CPAP at night for didgeridoo lessons in the day, giving their mouth, tongue and throat a good workout. They saw amazing results; significantly reducing their apnea severity, feeling less sleepy during the day and disturbing their partners less .
Many studies have since taken these principles and formulated a set of exercises for your mouth, throat and tongue. Try the following exercises once a day, 20 times for each:
- Slide the tip of your tongue backwards along your hard palate as far back as it will go.
- Press your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth and suck it upwards.
- Force the back of your tongue against the floor of your mouth whilst the tip remains in contact with the lower incisors.
- Pull your cheek out with your finger, pull your cheek back inwards against the force of your finger using the muscles in your mouth.
- Elevate your uvula by sounding and holding “aahh”.
It might all sound a bit strange, but consider that research has shown that people who regularly perform these exercises significantly reduce their snoring frequency and intensity, cut their apneic episodes in half and report feeling less tired .
6. Stay hydrated
Not drinking enough water may aggravate snoring as it can irritate the tissues in your throat.
Dehydration also thickens the mucus in your airways, making the surfaces more likely to stick together causing obstruction and snoring, especially if you sleep with an open mouth.
Something as simple as keeping on top of your water intake can have benefits for your snoring.
7. Practise good sleep hygiene
Having good sleep makes you feel readier to make the changes necessary to combat snoring.
This is an indirect solution, but one that can really improve your sleep health and snoring. Try the following tips to sleep better:
- Have regular bed times
- Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep
- Make sure your room is dark
- Mentally declutter with gentle activity before bed, such as reading a book
- Avoid napping too soon before bedtime
- Have a cool bedroom
- Take a shower or bath before bed
- Don’t force sleep if it’s not forthcoming
Because snoring is more complicated than many of us appreciate, one thing alone might not completely cure your snoring. Often, the best anti-snoring tactic is to combine well-matched remedies with positive lifestyle changes. We’ve heard stories from our users who put this combination therapy to very good use, you can read one of these stories here.