Eating Late and Snoring? Try the Four Hour Fast

Diet & Lifestyle, Solutions

Eating Late and Snoring? Try the Four Hour Fast

“Many of my patients find that eating earlier alleviates their sleep apnea.” [1]

A lot of snoring fixes require perseverance before you start to see results. The SnoreLab-recommended “Four Hour Fast” is a free and easy life hack that can produce instant benefits for your snoring.

Put simply, we strongly recommend not eating anything at least 4 hours before you go to bed. It’s working for lots of SnoreLab users and could very easily work for you too.

Why should I try it?

Plenty of sources recommend not eating too late, but there is very little research into the effect of a large, late meal on snoring. However, anecdotally we have heard from our users and many other people that having a small evening meal with plenty of time to digest can drastically reduce their snoring.

“For people who would like to control their snoring, eat your dinner early – at least 4 hours before bedtime. Keep the dinner light and use the app to monitor the difference. You will be amazed!”

“SnoreLab is great to help me understand what influences my snoring: late food, fatty food, dehydration etc.”

“I’m a petite female side-sleeper who doesn’t smoke and rarely drinks alcohol, yet my highest snore score was 92 (16% epic, 19% loud!). With SnoreLab I was able to quantify my snoring and quickly narrow down the causes. My lowest scores (2 & 3) were nights I inadvertently skipped dinner! That 92? I ate a greasy burger and fries that day. I’ve been adjusting my diet and now my snore score is consistently under a 10 rather than 60-90.”

How eating late can contribute to snoring

1. Pressure and shortness of breath

It is thought that having full belly can exert pressure on your chest and negatively affect your breathing. This is because your lungs and diaphragm share space with your stomach and small intestine.

When your stomach is very full, your diaphragm has less room to expand and contract. This explains the shortness of breath people often feel after a particularly heavy meal.

If this shortness of breath lingers until bedtime, the strained breathing can cause snoring.

2. Acid Reflux

Reflux literally means “backflow” and this is when acid from the stomach spills back up into the oesophagus and even the airway.

Reflux is a common symptom of eating late. The stomach takes several hours to empty properly. Lying down too soon after eating can allow the contents of the stomach to come back up with the help of gravity.

As well as impacting the oesophagus, there is growing evidence to support the notion of reflux affecting the airway [2][3][4] which can exacerbate snoring.

This “airway reflux” [4] can directly irritate and inflame the tissue responsible for snoring.

Acid reflux can also contribute to postnasal drip. This is simply excess mucus buildup at the back of the nose and throat. Severe postnasal drip can result in a sore throat and coughing which in turn contribute to worsened snoring [5].

Coughing is strongly linked to snoring as both are a result of airway irritation and inflammation [6]. Reflux is implicated in many people who experience chronic coughing and snoring as a result [7].

Reflux has also been associated with other upper airway issues such as hoarseness, difficulty swallowing and chronic throat clearing [1].

3. Certain ingredients can worsen snoring

Another thing to consider is the foods you eat and if they can impact upon your snoring.
Whilst the research into specific foods and their impact on snoring is sparse at best, there’s plenty of evidence regarding reflux and the foods to avoid.

High-fat foods slow digestion and relax the valve that separates the stomach and oesophagus. Acidic foods like including certain fruits and spicy ingredients are known to irritate the throat lining which can worsen snoring directly and indirectly through acid reflux [3].

Remember to use SnoreLab’s notes tool to keep track of certain foods if you suspect they play a role in your snoring.

In the long term

Whilst we are confident that many SnoreLab users will see instant results through eating an earlier evening meal, there is also plenty of long-term benefit to this eating pattern.

Most people agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but many of those people continue to skip it. Eating less in the evening can be a great way to encourage eating more in the morning. This so-called “front-loading” of your diet can be an effective weight loss technique too.

Some sources speculate that this is due to enhanced fat burning or shifting metabolisms, but it is more likely to simply be an effective way of regulating your appetite and staying within calorific limits.


SnoreLab’s SMART strategy for effective weight loss in snorers

Have a look


Lifestyle is known to influence snoring. Increasingly, we are seeing the evidence that small life hacks can make big and important changes to our nightly noises. The Four Hour Fast is free, simple and can produce instant results for your snoring.

If you have a late evening meal, remember to select the “Ate late” factor in SnoreLab and see how it effects your score. Conversely, try the Four Hour Fast and you could very easily see your Snore Score cut drastically!

Let us know how you get on via, Facebook or Twitter.

Stop Snoring by Treating Allergies – Jenny’s Story

User Stories

Stop Snoring by Treating Allergies – Jenny’s Story

Sometimes, people snore for years and just accept it as an inevitability – something that can’t be fixed.

When you understand your triggers with SnoreLab, a lot of snoring can be remedied through some very basic but important changes. We always like to hear from users who are spurred on to make positive changes when they see and hear their SnoreLab results.

Jenny has slept in a separate room to her husband for the last five years because of her snoring. SnoreLab has given her valuable insights and she has effectively eliminated her snoring in two days!

Jenny first contacted us on Facebook with concerns about her high Snore Score:

Great App. I have been using it for the past five days. I have seen and heard my results – horrified! My husband has refused to sleep in same room as me for the past five years! We have settled into a routine but it’s lonely.

My readings started at 124, and last night it reached 199 with snoring at the epic level for 70% of the time that I am asleep.

At some point, I am quiet for 30 minutes but then go straight back to epic snoring! Help – is this dangerous?

People often ask us if they should be worried about a high Snore Score. Our reply to them and Jenny is to ask yourself if you think your snoring is negatively impacting on your physical, mental or social wellbeing, or if you are having very poor sleep.

Whilst loud snoring is linked to an increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea, a high Snore Score doesn’t mean you definitely have the condition.

Jenny hadn’t been sleeping in the same room as her husband for many years, so whilst she may not be feeling physical ill effects of poor sleep, the situation she found herself in as a result of snoring was still not good.

We gave Jenny some advice on what to do if she was concerned about her snoring. A couple of days later we received this reply:

I have great news. Despite suffering for years and trying sprays, nose plugs, mouth guards and finally banishment to the spare room – after more than five years I have had two completely snore-free nights thanks to SnoreLab! So happy!

I was in hospital on Christmas day with anaphylactic shock, I then had two bad asthma attacks this month. I mentioned to my doctor that I am worried that my snoring is causing an issue. She said she may put me in sleep clinic but it could take a while even if I get accepted.

So I searched the internet and found SnoreLab. I downloaded the app and for the first week I recorded my snoring and scored 199 with 70% of my snoring at the epic level. I cried!

I joined the Facebook page for advice and read some articles. Having had problems with asthma for many years, I thought that maybe allergies were causing my problem.

So this weekend, my husband helped me to clear my bedroom and throw away my ancient bed I have had for twenty years along with all bedding and feather pillows and toppers. We cleaned, vacuumed and aired the room.

I also bought an electric bed so I could raise my head. I bought hypoallergenic pillows, covers, and bedding, we installed a steam vaporizer, and rock salt lamp. I took an allergy tablet at night and made sure I had my asthma preventer each night before bed. I had some allergy medication from the doctor, settled down and WOW! I didn’t snore!

I went from a score of 199 and lots of epic snoring to 0 in just two days! I can’t believe it. If this continues we are going to buy a double electric bed so I can return to main bedroom. The steamer and hypoallergenic bedding will move in too.

I can’t believe I have suffered this long without attributing my snoring to my allergies. Thank you for a great app and advice.

P.S. I woke up today feeling refreshed for the first time in years.

Allergies can easily bring on snoring by causing inflammation in your airways and blocking your nose. If you think allergies are making you snore, have a look at our guides to preventing snoring caused by dust allergies and hay fever.

All of our stories are genuine accounts from SnoreLab users. If you’d care to share your experience about using SnoreLab, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us on or get in touch via Facebook or Twitter.

In the interest of privacy for our users, names and pictures may be changed. We use the wording quoted to us by our users but may make small stylistic changes.

Zero Added Sugar Diet for Snoring – Richard’s Story

Diet & Lifestyle, User Stories

Snoring Diet Success Story – Richard

This story comes from Richard who contacted us about his amazing success with the No Added Sugar Challenge. Ask anyone about snoring and they’ll tell you that losing weight it a great way to reduce it – but this story isn’t about weight loss. We were stunned to hear that snoring can effectively stop straight away with some healthy adjustments to what you eat …

My name is Rich, and I am a Snorer. It took me a long time to be able to say that but last year I participated in a sleep study that categorically confirmed I am what they call a “heavy snorer.”  

The doctor said my snoring was most likely the result of enlarged tissue in my airway due to ageing, lack of fitness, drinking alcohol before bed, weight gain, and some medications.

Thankfully, my wife Shannon chose to wear ear plugs instead of leaving me! I tried a number of things to reduce my snoring, but had little success.

In 2017 I found SnoreLab. I finally found out how bad I snored and I began to try several remedies including exercise, diet, mouthpieces, and pillows designed to help snoring. Things weren’t really improving that much.  

My Snore Scores averaged above 50 and I ranked in the 86th percentile of SnoreLab users. Or as my wife put it, my snoring was horrible.  

Then came the seven day No Added Sugar Challenge (NASC) and the week that just may have saved a life.

I thought I’d give the challenge a go after hearing about the success others had. I don’t normally eat or drink a lot of sugary foods, but when I do, I go all in. But it’s only seven days – challenge accepted.  

Completing the challenge with Shannon made it so much easier. We eat fairly well most of the time so it wasn’t too difficult to stay on track. Nonetheless, we were very surprised about how much of the food we typically eat has added sugar.  This led to a couple of heated discussions, “There is no way bacon has sugar!” Turns out it does.

We planned and prepared some food for the week: hard boiled eggs, roasted almonds, cheese sticks, veggies and fruits. Shannon was very creative with dinners. On day one she made a chicken and black bean salad with homemade avocado dressing – it was absolutely delicious. Day two we had stuffed peppers with a no sugar added sauce that was a little pricey but very good.  

We made it through the challenge, and had a little fun with it along the way. I noticed that I initially had to resist getting up and looking for a snack, but by the end of the week I didn’t feel the urge so much. I lost about six pounds and Shannon and I both seemed to be getting better sleep.

But what does sugar have to do with sleep? And what about the snoring?

The day before the challenge my Snore Score was 77. After one day of the challenge, my Snore Score dropped to 1. I thought it was an anomaly but the scores over the next few nights proved otherwise:

Day 2:  3
Day 3:  8  
Day 4:  9  
Day 5:  8  
Day 6:  6  
Day 7:  4

My Snore Score average went from above 50 to single digits. I couldn’t believe it. While I have not discussed this with my doctor yet, I am convinced that added sugar intake is a source of the tissue inflammation and likely the cause of my snoring.

The week after the challenge, I tested this theory by eating foods that I would normally eat. For lunch I had an Italian meat sandwich with condiments and salad with dressing. For dinner: pizza, wings, veggies with blue cheese dressing. I had a significant increase in snoring and scored 35 – and then an immediate decrease as I went back to paying closer attention to added sugar intake.

I continue to monitor my snoring and control my sugar intake. By reducing sugar, my snore score continues to average about 8. I have been getting quality sleep and Shannon has even given up the ear plugs.

Snoring’s link with bodyweight is well studied and well understood. Less appreciated is the importance of what and when you eat. We are hearing more and more stories from people who make these adjustments to their diet and almost instantly see reductions in their snoring: from reducing sugar, the paleo diet, to eating very small evening meals.

Be sure to check out SnoreLab’s SMART strategy for weight loss and a healthy lifestyle – a great way to kick start your journey towards silencing your snoring.

All of our user stories are genuine accounts from SnoreLab users. If you’d care to share your experience about using SnoreLab, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us on or get in touch via Facebook or Twitter.



In the interest of privacy for our users, names and pictures may be changed. We use the wording quoted to us by our users but may make small stylistic changes.

What is Snoring? – An Introduction

Causes, Science

What is Snoring? – An Introduction

Partial airway obstruction causes soft tissue to vibrate and make noise.

Nearly everyone snores at some point. Snoring can affect young and old, men and women, and people of all shapes and sizes. Roughly 40% of men and 20% of women snore – that’s over 2 billion inhabitants of planet Earth.

This habit is often shrugged off as annoying and embarrassing but otherwise nothing to be worried about. In reality, snoring can affect so much of life, having physical, mental and social repercussions.

But what is a snore?

Q. What is a snoring sound?

A. Vibrating soft tissue

Snoring is the sound of the soft palate and other soft tissue in the upper airway vibrating. This can include the uvula, tonsils, adenoids, nasal turbinates and other surrounding tissue.

These vibrations happen when air can’t move freely through your airway which causes the floppy soft tissue to flap and make noise.

Q. Why does snoring only happen during sleep?

A. Relaxation

When we fall asleep, many muscles in our body relax. This is true of the muscles in our airway.

Being still in our sleep prevents us from doing damage to ourselves and others by acting out our dreams or walking around when not fully conscious. Therefore our muscles – including those in our upper airway – are paralysed when we sleep.

Because we are lying down while we sleep, gravity compounds this relaxation to set up snoring – whether it’s your jaw falling open, your tongue falling back or your throat giving way to the weight around it.

All of us relax when we sleep – so why doesn’t everyone snore? Snoring occurs when this normal relaxation is added to abnormal airway obstruction.

Q. Why doesn’t air flow freely?

A. Obstruction at various places in the airway

Airflow becomes turbulent when there is an obstruction in the airway causing a partial blockage.

The obstruction can be in several areas in the upper airway, sometimes concurrently [1]:

Tongue. When this falls back, it can block your airway.

Soft palate. This is the soft tissue behind the harder roof of your mouth. Excess floppy tissue here stops air flowing freely.

Nose. The nose is the more efficient way of breathing, and when dysfunctional, mouth breathing ensues and heightens the risk of snoring. Breathing through a partially blocked nose can also create whistling and popping sounds, or even cause suction that collapses your airway.

Knowing your obstruction is the starting point in identifying what causes your snoring.

If you are lucky, there is one cause for your snoring. You can tackle this and sleep quietly. More often than not, multiple factors accumulate to cause your obstruction.

Q. What causes airway obstruction?

A. Many different factors can influence snoring

Understanding what causes your airway obstruction is vital for matching snoring solutions to you. This is what we strive to help with at SnoreLab.

The reasons for snoring are made of lifestyle factors that you can control PLUS physical traits that are beyond your influence.

Factors that you CAN control

Many lifestyle factors need scrutinising if you want to identify the causes of your snoring:

Bodyweight. The heavier you are, the more likely you are to snore as excess weight compresses your airway.

Sleeping position. Sleeping on your back is a big risk factor for snoring. This position allows gravity to compress your airway more than when you sleep on your side.

Allergies. Allergic reactions cause nasal blockage and airway inflammation. Allergy sufferers have trouble breathing through their nose and therefore have to switch to noisier mouth-breathing.

Alcohol. Depressant drugs like alcohol make muscles relax. Relaxed airway muscles are more prone to disrupting airflow.

Smoking. Cigarette smoke irritates the airways, causing inflammation which can lead to obstruction.

Common cold. Similar to allergies, colds mean stuffy noses and mouth-breathing.

Medication. Certain drugs used to control blood pressure, sleeping pills and even some medicated nasal sprays can increase nasal congestion and relax airway muscles.

Factors that you CAN’T control

Unfortunately, in some cases, the obstruction is simply a part of your anatomy and genes.

Certain face shapes predispose people to snoring. For example, those with a pronounced overbite have a recessed jaw which pushes the tongue further back into the airway, making it more prone to falling back and causing a blockage.

Age. Older people are more at risk of snoring. This is because as we age we lose muscle tone in much of our body – this includes the muscles of the airway.

Sex. Men are more likely to snore than women. This is due to several reasons including how fat is differently distributed, contrasts in male and female airway anatomy and hormones.

Hormonal balance. Some hormones are protective against snoring, whereas others confer heightened risk. Menopause is a time in many women’s lives where snoring starts for the first time. This is because of a decrease in hormones that help to prevent snoring.

Thankfully, these uncontrollable elements are usually associated with heightened risk but not a direct cause.


By understanding the basis of snoring you can gain better insight into what makes you snore. Just as snoring impacts upon your life, your lifestyle impacts upon your snoring.

There are many snoring remedies and solutions available, including products that enthusiastically tell you that this will stop you snoring. Many of them do work very effectively, but only if they are well matched to you and your snoring.

Understanding how your snoring works and finding your specific causes is the first step towards healthier, quieter nights.

Weight Loss for Snoring – SnoreLab’s SMART Strategy

Diet & Lifestyle, Solutions

Weight Loss for Snoring – SnoreLab’s SMART Strategy

It’s the piece of anti-snoring and general health advice that we often don’t need to be told: “lose some weight”.

This in itself is not advice. If it were that easy, weight wouldn’t be a problem for anyone. Whilst we are all aware of the great health benefits of losing weight, it’s a difficult thing to do.

In this guide, we’ll give you the safe and practical advice that can help you lose weight and reduce snoring. This can be condensed into SnoreLab’s five tips for losing weight and managing snoring the SMART way:

Substitute. Make your favorite meals healthier with smart ingredient substitutions. A key substitution is brown for white when it comes to bread, pasta and rice.

Move. The key to weight loss is expending more energy than you put in. Little activity efforts accumulate; take the stairs, set a step goal and integrate exercise into your every day.

Avoid. If you are serious about weight loss, some foods just need to go. If you eliminate one thing only, make that one thing sodas/fizzy drinks.

Reduce and Reward. The most obvious task: reduce your food intake. Also set goals, and when you reach a milestone don’t be afraid to reward yourself.

Think. Mindful eating is a great way to know when you’re full and to appreciate food.

Many scientists and doctors categorize snoring as a habit. As we know, one of the main things that causes snoring is excess weight, and increased weight is also the result of poor habits. Habits are hard to break out of. The best thing to do is to introduce new habits.


Keep eating the types of food you love with smart ingredient substitutions.

Milk chocolate ⇒ Dark chocolate

Chocoholics the world over rejoiced at the news that chocolate is actually quite good for you. This statement comes with some caveats: chocolate’s benefits depend on the amount you eat, the cocoa content and the type of chocolate.

Dark chocolate has more of the original cocoa than milk chocolate which is diluted with more sugar and milk powder. The cocoa is rich in anti-oxidants, chemicals that promote healthy blood vessels [1].

White flour ⇒ Brown flour

We don’t recommend eating too much of foods containing wheat flour, but when you do, make sure it’s brown. White flour is more processed that brown, involving the removal of much of the original wheat grain. This means a reduced nutritional content. Brown bread and pasta are higher in fiber and are lower GI, meaning there is a slower increase of blood glucose after eating, keeping hunger at bay effectively [2].

Additionally, brown flour is higher in fiber which aids digestion and takes a little longer to chew. Chewing for a bit more is a great way to subconsciously lower your intake and to better recognize when you are feeling full.

Rice ⇒ Cauliflower rice

Cauliflower is more nutritionally diverse than rice, has fewer calories per portion and is high in fiber. Make the blender your friend and blitz the cauliflower.  As well as a healthier rice alternative, cauliflower works well in healthier tortillas, pizza bases, mash and hummus.

Cauliflower rice is unbelievably easy to make; simply blitz it to a rice consistency in a food processor, pour it into a heat proof bowl and cover with film. Pierce the film and microwave for seven minutes.

Potatoes ⇒ Root vegetables

Potatoes have a lot of starchy carbohydrates. Many diets would have you believe that carbs are bad. This isn’t true. Carbohydrates are a necessary energy source that keeps us alive [3]. That said, it’s often a good idea to reduce your intake to lose weight.

Mashed swede or celeriac is a good alternative to mashed potato. Roasting parsnips and sweet potatoes are lower-carb, tasty potato alternatives. Vegetable crisps are also growing in popularity as a potato chip substitute.

Other vegetables that can easily slot into potato-esque roles are kohlrabi, turnip and mooli.

These are just a few examples we’re particularly fond of. There’s a multitude of great substitutions promoted by many diets.


The key to weight loss is expending more energy than you put in.

Little bits of activity add up

Exercising to lose weight can start with small efforts. As long as it’s more than what you currently do, you are going to expend more energy than before and make yourself more likely to lose weight.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk up escalators, walk just that little bit faster between appointments. These small efforts over time can add up to make a big difference.

Step counting

Setting a daily step goal is a great way to give you a quota of physical activity to aim for every day. There are of host of smart watches and pedometers available, many at a very reasonable price point for the features they have.

The concept of 10,000 steps originated in 1960s Japan, introduced by a pedometer manufacturer looking to profit from the success of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. It has since been adopted as the benchmark for healthy daily exercise [4].

Just as important as the number of steps is their intensity; 5,000 brisk steps are more effective than 10,000 slow ones.

Integrate exercise into daily routines

Lots of people argue that they just don’t have the time available in the day to exercise. The key to exercising in a busy life is to integrate it into your normal routine. Commuting by bike can sometimes be quicker than car or public transport, particularly in slow-moving, congested cities.

If you use public transport, getting off a few stops early is a great way to slot a brisk walk into your working day. This is also good for your mental health; a great way to clear your mind and relax before you start work.

Many of us work at desks. See if a standing desk is something that can be incorporated into your workplace. Also use your lunch break to your advantage, either with a fast walk or even some dedicated gym time. Many workplaces offer subsidized gym memberships. Finding a coworker with similar exercise ambitions is a great way to keep each other motivated.

Find exercise that you enjoy

The assumption with exercise is that you need to put in the hours flogging yourself on a treadmill or exercise bike, entering a purgatory of pain and boredom.

This doesn’t have to be the case. If you enjoy those things, hooray, you’re well on your way to successful weight loss. If not, find something that you do enjoy. With a world of information at your fingertips online, it’s never been easier to discover a wealth of organized activities in your local area.


There are some foods that simply cannot be integrated into healthy weight loss and need to be avoided altogether.

We know there are plenty of other unhealthy foods out there that certainly aren’t recommended as part of any good weight loss strategy, but here are our top three foods that just need getting rid of:

  • Sodas/fizzy drinks. Low calorie sodas don’t necessarily mean low sugar, and the low sugar ones aren’t much better often being laced with additives that provide no nutritional benefit whatsoever.
  • Sugary breakfast cereals. These frequently attempt to promote themselves as healthy. Whilst their claims of multigrain ingredients and high fiber might be true, these benefits simply don’t outweigh the costs of the eye-wateringly high sugar content.
  • Processed meats. More saturated fats, cholesterol and salt compared to unprocessed meat make this a big reg flag.

Reduce and Reward

The importance of eating less cannot be stressed enough.

Many diets promote their methods with the promise of “not having to resort to calorie counting”. Unfortunately, the concept of calorie counting is THE way to lose weight. Put simply, you need to eat less energy than you expend in order to lose weight. This means reduction of what goes in. You should reduce:

  • Portion sizes
  • Added sugar. Some SnoreLab users have seen instant reductions in their snoring when reducing their sugar intake. Read Richard’s story here.
  • The main offenders – bread, pasta, rice, foods with added sugar and non-lean meats.
  • How often you eat meals out

Making big cut backs is hard. To make things easier, it’s important to have something to aim for, which is where the second “R” comes in: reward.

Part of achieving a big goal is recognizing and rewarding the milestones along the way.

Many people who have successfully lost a lot of weight stress the importance of “nudge therapy”.

This is a technique whereby you positively reinforce good behaviors. By giving yourself a reward when you reach a key milestone, you help yourself to stay on that positive trajectory.

Importantly, these rewards shouldn’t include food rewards where you can easily relapse into bad habits. Some examples include a new item of clothing you’ve had your eye on, an evening out, or maybe even some new equipment for your new-found sporting activity.


The practice of “mindful eating” is one of the most important steps you can make towards losing weight.

Sometimes, weight loss isn’t so much about changing what you eat, as it is about how you eat.

Here are the key “Think” tactics that can make you eat better and eat less:

1. Eat slower

Eating too fast is a great way to overeat [5]. This is because once we start eating, there’s a delay between being full and feeling full. The hormones that tell us we are satisfied take time to arrive in the brain [6].

Eating slowly allows the natural processes of satiety (feeling fed) to take effect. Not only does this decrease the amount we eat, but it also makes us more likely to savor and enjoy our food. There are several techniques you can use to slow down your eating:

  • Eat with fewer distractions. This allows for mindful eating where you can appreciate and think about your food.
  • Put down cutlery between mouthfuls.
  • Aim for a certain number of chews per bite and move the food from side to side (this is also a great mouth exercise, another effective and natural way to combat snoring).
  • Dedicate an amount of time to meals.

If after a meal, you still feel those pangs of hunger, give it a little time and they are likely to go away.

2. Keep a food diary

Have you ever been sitting down, distracted and then found yourself eating without even intending to, simply because the food was there?

Writing down everything you eat makes you think twice. It is also a great way to keep track of portions, diet and trends in your eating habits.

3. Plan meals in advance

Poor eating habits come from poor planning. Often, the easiest foods to eat are the ones that are least healthy. Alongside your food diary where you write down the foods of your past, try to plan for the foods of the future.

Not only does effective planning mean you are likely to eat healthier, it can also cut down on food waste and save you a lot of time and money.

4. Think about when you eat

In the past, we have heard testimony and seen evidence that suggests people snore less and can lose weight when eating smaller meals in the evening.

“Front-loading” your diet – eating more in the morning and less in the evening – can be an effective weight loss technique. This is probably not to do with enhanced fat burning or slowed metabolism as some sources speculate. This technique is simply a better way to control your hunger to ensure you stay well within your calorie limits.

A word on special diets …

There’s no shortage of special diets that map out what foods you can and can’t eat. If adhered to, most of them will make you lose weight, many of them quite quickly. Some caution needs to be exercised with special diets, as eliminating an entire food group is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle.

Whilst most lack hard scientific evidence to back them up, some of the better-known diets are based on very sensible and well-researched concepts. There are some popular diets that we believe can be beneficial:

Calorie restriction diets

The principle of weight loss is to take in less energy than you are expending.

This concept is why calorie-counting diets are the only types of diet that have extensive scientific backing.

A calorie is a measurement of energy. By eating we take in energy; we expend energy through activity. If there is an imbalance between what goes in and what goes out, weight changes happen.

Counting calories isn’t glamorous but can be very effective. Safe calorie reduction is important. Whilst very low-calorie diets (below 800 per day) will make you lose weight fast, they aren’t sustainable and should only be done under medical supervision.

Exact numbers vary, but calorie reduction down to 1400 per day for women and 1900 for men should give you steady and healthy weight loss.

Importantly, your calorific intake should still be made up of healthy foods. Yes, 500 calories of fries still fulfill the criteria just as 500 calories of vegetables would, but you are likely to feel better and lose more weight by eating sensibly.

Paleo diet

This diet is based on only eating foods that were available during the pre-agricultural times of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. This means no wheat or cereals, very little dairy, but most crucially, no processed foods. Instead, the diet focusses on seeds, nuts, seasonal fruit and vegetables and meat.

As a concept, the paleo diet has a few flaws where even the strictest proponents can’t actually recreate these ancient diets by our modern standards. It also eliminates some extremely nutritious foods such as pulses and calcium-rich dairy.

But paleo-dieters stress that the diet is less gospel and more guidelines. The idea of no processed food alongside more vegetables, nuts and seeds is something to be encouraged.


The aim of SnoreLab’s SMART approach is to spread manageable changes across all aspects of your life. This is so that your weight loss tactics become new habits that not only help you lose weight, but help you to maintain that lower weight.

The best way to stop snoring, lose weight or achieve any other health-related goal is to approach it from many angles, using combinations of positive lifestyle changes.

This article is a diversion from our normal snoring themes. Most, if not all anti-snoring websites will recommend weight loss but then leave you hanging, abandoning you to trawl the internet and navigate through the vast quantity of misinformation and unhelpful strategies. Our SMART approach is based on forming new habits, making lots of changes that go beyond just your diet, but keeping them manageable and sustainable to not only lose weight, but to keep it lost.

Do Snore Alarms Work?

Science, Using SnoreLab

Snore Alarms, Do They Work?

At SnoreLab, we frequently get asked “Can you create a snore alarm feature?” The answer is, yes, we could; it is a feature we are assessing the feasibility of. But introducing a snore alarm raises some more important questions for us and particularly you, the user:

  • Are snore alarms an effective solution in the long term?
  • Does behavioural conditioning work for snoring?
  • Does a snore alarm treat the root cause or is it just a quick fix?
  • Will most users find the snore alarm too annoying to stick to?

Put simply: do snore alarms work? Let’s discuss …

How is a snore alarm supposed to work?

The basis of a snore alarm is to introduce something unpleasant which makes you change your behaviour. This is a great example of negative reinforcement (or operant Skinnerian conditioning if you are into psychology).

Psychologist B.F. Skinner put a rat in a box which had a mild electric charge running through it. This rat ran around frantically until it found a lever that switched off the electricity, relieving it of its discomfort [1].

Using this example, you are the rat and the snore alarm is the electricity; the only way you can stop this unpleasantness is to press the lever, i.e. stop snoring.

This is where the model breaks down.

Pressing a lever is controllable and voluntary. But is stopping snoring a voluntary action?

Is snoring voluntary and can it be “learned” away?

Snoring is often described as a habit [2]. Using this reasoning, habits are behaviours, behaviours are learned and can be changed, therefore are voluntary. Or is it not that straightforward when it comes to snoring?

Snoring is the result of involuntary soft tissue relaxation which can be exacerbated by voluntary lifestyle choices.

Our awake habits: diet, exercise, alcohol, smoking and general health heavily influence our sleeping “habit” of snoring.

Put simply, snoring is the symptom, not the cause. We don’t snore because we feel like doing so, but snore as a consequence of some other things that we can control.

The best way to remedy something is to treat the root cause, something which in general, snore alarms don’t do.

Snore alarms treat the symptom, not the cause, and could be ruining your sleep

One thing is certain, snore alarms do stop snoring – indeed, at that very instant. Unfortunately, this is probably because they stop sleep too.

Over the years, a number of gadgets and devices have been created that give you an unpleasant prompt, and at that moment, they do stop your snoring [3].

But this is because it disrupts your sleep so much that you stay in lighter sleep, or are even prevented from sleeping altogether. Being awake is the best remedy for snoring!

When considering using a snore alarm, remember why you want to stop snoring in the first place. Presumably, it is so you and your partner can achieve better, healthier sleep. Are frequent awakenings really the best way to go about this?

There is very limited evidence for snore alarms

Trawling through the science of snoring prevention, we found only one article – written in 1983 with a tiny sample size of 3 people (!) – which reported that snorers had successfully “learned” to stop snoring after being exposed to a snoring alarm.

These snorers were subjected to 7 nights of beeps that sounded when they snored. This would only cease once they flicked a switch. On the eighth night with no alarm, their snoring was less compared to before the alarm therapy [4].

The fact that this is the only evidence (not successfully replicated in the 36 years since) and that a sample size of 3 is hardly scientifically robust, makes us seriously doubt the feasibility of treating snoring with an alarm.

A history of snore alarms

Over the last 50 or years, there have been a number of devices that never made it to the anti-snoring market that were designed to listen to snoring and alert their user.

Initially, multiple inventors aimed to condition people by:

“imparting an electric shock to a sleeper when he snores of sufficient magnitude to awaken him, and ultimately, to condition the sleeper against snoring”.

Needless to say, the idea didn’t catch on and rest assured, shock collars is not something we are considering at SnoreLab.

An “Electronic Snore Depressor” from 1967 – one of many designs that, quite rightly, hasn’t stood the test of time


Another patent described itself as an “instructional device for snorers”.

This gadget, designed in 1970, used a microphone to listen for snoring much like SnoreLab does. It then used the snoring sounds to trigger a pre-recorded message which would play through an earpiece connected to the central receiver (something along the lines of “Oi you, stop that snoring now”).

The expression on this snorer’s face tells you all you need to know about how it felt to sleep with this device from 1970!


This struggled to gain traction as users became tangled in the wiring when turning over in their sleep. Though sleep therein was presumably not forthcoming after having disturbing messages played in their ear.

Improvements were made by other inventors in 1983 – realising that repeatedly waking the user wasn’t the best idea – with the creation of a wireless version that would “produce an irritating sound, enough to stimulate but not wake”. Products based on the same concept exist today.

Other inventors went a step further and intentionally woke snorers with convoluted behavioural conditioning systems. This required snorers to actively shut off an unpleasant alarm – a choice of “intense beams of light projected at the sleeper’s head”, a pillow buzzer, a vibration, an electric shock or all of the above.

Once the snorer had successfully shut off the aversive stimulus, positive reinforcement would ensue and an M&M was dispensed via the “reward chute”!

Electric shocks, flashing lights and M&Ms – the anti-snoring revolution/torture of 1975


Never has the line between snoring human and lab rat been so blurred as with this bizarre blend of negative and positive reinforcement.

We challenge any snorer to put up with this for more than one night!

Snore alarms available today

Snore alarms still exist, and there is a demand for them. And though they are very rarely recommended as a first line anti-snoring solution, some people swear by them.

Still flying the flag for negative reinforcement is Snoree (though upon last check, the product wasn’t available), a Polish company who manufacture a buzzer which sounds when snoring is detected.

Being hidden in the dusty corners of the internet with a dearth of customer reviews suggests that not many people find this device particularly useful.

At SnoreLab, we even experimented on ourselves, triggering a flashing light when snoring was detected. This simply gave us horrible nightmares before waking us up in a state of utter confusion!

Sound and light always have the unfortunate side effect of waking up a non-snoring partner too. So nowadays, most snore alarms work via vibration.

Vibrating anti-snore trainers can be found easily on Amazon and elsewhere online. Rarely do they get good reviews; when they do, it comes with an admission that sleep is seriously disrupted:

“It does what it claims by stopping your snoring, but this can mean a very disturbed night for the wearer.”

Recent valiant attempts were made by some sleep monitoring apps using a connection to a smart watch. This would vibrate when the app detected snoring. It was much anticipated but ran for only two months before being hastily removed.

Its demise may have been well received by some:

“I had to remove the watch in the middle of the night so I could finally get some sleep. The darn thing woke me up all night. I slept for two minutes at a time all night, because as soon as you enter deep sleep, you start snoring and the app kicks in and wakes you up. Thanks, but no thanks.”

However, many users were sad to see the feature go and swore it made a difference:

“What happened to the snore alarm? My husband was finally able to return to the marital bed because this mode would gently nudge him to roll over when he snored.”

This last line, “gently nudge him to roll over when he snored” is crucial. Here, the alarm wasn’t simply teaching him not to snore. It was treating the cause – sleeping position. This is when snore alarms CAN work.

When snore alarms CAN work

We don’t really think you can just learn to stop snoring. The evidence simply isn’t there. That is, unless you can learn to change the habit that makes you snore in the first place.

Snore alarms can be useful if they, like in the aforementioned review, force you into making a change that influences your snoring, such as to your sleeping position.

Positional Trainers

Positional trainers are atypical snore alarms in that they don’t react to your snoring per se. Instead, as the name suggests, they react to your sleeping position.

These small devices attach to your body (usually the chest) and vibrate when they detect that you are sleeping on your back. This does create a subconscious prompt for you to roll onto your side, and in time, you do it naturally.


The importance of sleep position for snorers

Read more

The evidence for their effectiveness is growing, showing promising results for mild obstructive sleep apnea with results even comparable to anti-snoring mouthpieces [5].

There are a few available, but often not to the consumer. Positional trainers are usually prescribed for mild-moderate sleep apnea cases; obtaining one without a prescription can be very expensive.

Snooor is the new kid on the block, available as a consumer remedy at a very affordable price point.

Smart Nora

Another interesting snore alarm concept has been championed by Smart Nora, which listens for snoring and moves your head.

Moving the head when snoring is detected isn’t a new idea. An inventor in 1963 came up with a system of microphones and plungers to shake and jolt a snorer’s head to wake them up.

A head-moving snore detector from 1963. Thankfully, Smart Nora – a modern lookalike – doesn’t aim to wake you up like this device does

Thankfully, Smart Nora go for a subtler, gentler approach. Instead of intending to punish and wake the snorer to get them to “learn” to stop snoring, Smart Nora reacts to snoring by addressing its fundamental feature – a relaxed airway.

When Smart Nora’s “pebble” unit detects snoring, it wirelessly sends information to the pump which inflates the expander under your pillow. This gently moves your head which brings back some much-needed muscular tone to your airways to nip snoring in the bud.


Smart Nora system

Read more


Given the history and the evidence, we don’t think that snore alarms are the best way to address your snoring problems.

The wisdom of yesteryear dictated that you can simply learn to stop snoring through behavioural conditioning. This is only true if the cause of your snoring is something in your behaviour – and importantly, something that can be instantly modified to good effect, i.e. sleeping position.

Here, snore alarms can be extremely useful, the automated equivalent of a nudge in the ribs from a bed partner to get you to turn over. This is why we haven’t ruled out a SnoreLab snore alarm yet.

However, in the vast majority of correspondence we’ve had with our users relating to their snoring, SnoreLab users don’t sleep on their back. In these cases, an alarm cannot address the underlying physiology that makes you snore.

An alarm cannot train your allergies away or correct a deviated septum, it can’t make you lose weight or hold your tongue base out of your airway.

At SnoreLab, our aim has always been to treat the cause, not the snoring symptom, by giving you the insight into your triggers to better understand what the solutions may be.

This article is an opinion piece, something we have given careful consideration based on the evidence we have seen. Do you disagree? Have you used a snoring alarm to good effect? We’d love to hear from you. Please contact us on Twitter, Facebook or via our support inbox on

Surgery for Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Science, Sleep Apnea, Solutions

Surgery for Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Surgery is perhaps the most drastic snoring remedy available and has the potential to be very effective for some people. There are a number of surgical interventions to reduce snoring and sleep apnea.

In this article, we summarise the different types of surgery for snoring and sleep apnea, as well as exploring some of the important considerations to be made before opting for surgery.

Some important considerations

Surgery should be a last resort

Surgical intervention should only be considered if other methods you have tried have failed.

Surgery is invasive and sometimes irreversible, so careful consideration should be given as to whether alternatives have been pursued to their full capacity.

Though it will usually be discussed in any consultation prior to surgery, some of the most effective methods of treating snoring are non-surgical and always worth mentioning. These include:

Surgery types vary and what is most suitable depends on YOU

There are several different types of surgery that can reduce snoring. Like non-surgical snoring remedies, there is no one solution that will work for everybody.

The most effective type of surgery depends on your snoring and what is causing it in the first place.

Your suitability will need to be assessed with a physical examination

For surgery to be effective to treat snoring, there must be a clear physical cause of snoring. This means you’ll need to undergo a thorough examination by an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist to identify the source of the snoring.

Initial examinations will include basic observations of your nose, tongue and throat. The procedure is also likely to involve flexible endoscopy.

Here, a flexible tube with a fibre optic camera is inserted into the nose and down the back of the throat to look for structural abnormalities.

Whilst this tube is in place, the examiner may ask you to recreate a snoring sound to help identify the tissue that is producing the noise.

You may have to undergo a sleep study first

It is important to distinguish between primary snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. This is because certain types of surgery are not recommended for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) sufferers.

For that reason, if OSA cannot be ruled out after a physical examination, you may have to undergo a sleep study. This can be done either in a specialist sleep clinic or at home.


SnoreLab’s article on what to expect from a sleep study


The benefits may not be permanent

The body has a remarkable way of adapting to change, and unfortunately this isn’t always a good thing.

Snoring surgery that addresses soft tissue works by causing intentional scarring to certain parts of the airway to stiffen them. Your body will automatically work to heal these scars, therefore whilst the snoring is reduced in the short term, you may find that it returns in the long term.

You could experience side effects

Whilst the side effect profile depends on the type of surgery you have, surgery will always involve breaking tissue which carries risks.

It is common for patients to experience some mild pain after surgical interventions.

Availability varies depending on where you live

Every country’s health system is different, and for that reason what is recommended, available and suitable in one location may not be so in another.

For example, pillar implants are considered suitable to treat mild-moderate obstructive sleep apnea in the USA but not in the UK [1].

The healthcare system in your location may also affect whether or not you are eligible for snoring surgery. Because snoring is usually considered a trivial condition (though those that live with it would argue otherwise), state funded medical systems are reluctant to fund snoring surgery. Further, snoring surgeries may not be covered by certain insurance policies.

The different types of surgery

There are three main categories of surgery that can help to directly reduce snoring:

  1. Soft Tissue surgery.
  2. Maxillofacial surgery.
  3. Neural stimulation.

1. Soft tissue surgery

The least invasive option, this involves making changes to the soft noisemakers themselves.

Soft tissue surgery aims to remove or stiffen the flappy parts of the airway which vibrate and cause the snoring noise.

Other soft tissue procedures involve making changes to structures in the nose that can cause “downstream” snoring via nasal blockage.

Most types of soft tissue surgery are not recommended for OSA sufferers, though this does vary.

Usually, these procedures can be performed in an outpatient clinic under local anaesthetic (i.e. you are awake but cannot feel pain in that region).


Also known as UPPP or UP3, this surgery aims to open the upper airway by removing tissue from the uvula, soft palate and pharynx. If they are still present, it can also involve removal of the tonsils and adenoids (the latter usually disappearing in adolescence).

It is the most invasive form of soft palate surgery and must therefore be performed under general anaesthetic (i.e. you are unconscious).

Whilst UPPP is one of the few soft tissue procedures recommended for OSA, it is performed less often than it used to be. This is because less invasive techniques with lower side effect profiles have emerged. It has also fallen out of favour because UPPP can reduce the effectiveness of CPAP.

Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty

Using a similar principle to UPPP, as the name suggests, laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) uses carbon dioxide lasers to stiffen and remove tissue from the soft palate and uvula to widen the airway [2].

Because of the enhanced precision of lasers, it is considered a safer alternative to UPPP.

This procedure is usually done under local anaesthetic in a clinic and is done over three to four separate sessions.

Despite it being said that LAUP is suitable to treat mild to moderate OSA, studies have not demonstrated consistent improvements for these patients [3].

Radio frequency ablation

Also known as “somnoplasty”, this type of snoring surgery uses radiofrequency energy to generate heat for creating controlled lesions in soft tissue. The basis here is that the lesions become scarred and retract, reducing the amount of flappy tissue and stiffening what remains.

This can be performed on different parts of the airway depending on where the blockage is, including the turbinates of the nose (folds of tissue in the nasal cavities), the soft palate and the base of the tongue.

A minimally invasive technique, it is performed under local anaesthetic in an outpatient setting [2].

Injection snoreplasty

In this snoring surgery, no tissue is removed. Instead, sodium tetradecyl sulphate, a chemical used to treat varicose veins, is injected into the soft palate in order to scar it.

Whilst there are advantages here in that it is minimally invasive and doesn’t involve the removal of tissue, this is a fringe therapy and won’t be recommended by many clinicians. This is because the evidence to support its effectiveness is somewhat lacking, with only a few studies with small sample sizes.

Pillar procedure

This popular outpatient procedure performed under local anaesthetic involves inserting three or four small polyester implants into the soft palate to increase its stiffness and reduce vibration.

The pillar procedure has shown to reduce snoring for many patients. However, studies indicate that their effectiveness starts to decline after they have been in place for more than one year [4].


A slightly different procedure, this surgery involves straightening the nasal septum – the cartilage which separates the two nasal cavities.

A deviated septum is where this cartilage is bent. It is therefore more difficult to breathe through your nose. This causes you to make a switch to mouth breathing which is known to increase the risk of snoring.

A septoplasty is usually performed in an outpatient setting and has very few/rare complications and side effects.

2. Maxillofacial surgery

Maxillofacial surgery makes structural changes to the bones of the face, jaws and neck. This aims to increase the space in the upper airway.

They are quite serious procedures which need to be done under general anaesthetic and will involve a hospital stay.

hese procedures are further reaching that soft tissue surgery. As a result, maxillofacial surgery can have life-changing benefits for patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea.

Maxilla/Mandible Advancement

This simply refers to repositioning the bones of the jaw. It usually involves moving the lower jaw (mandible) forward. This is done by cutting the bone and holding it in a more advanced position with metal plates and screws.

A receded lower jaw reduces the airway space behind your tongue; moving it forward widens this space and makes obstruction less likely.

This surgery can be likened to a permanent version of what an anti-snoring mouthpiece is designed to do.

If necessary, surgery can also be performed to move both the upper (maxilla) and lower (mandible) jaws forward.

Whilst this surgical option is quite drastic and will involve a period of recovery, it is the only procedure that is considered curative for severe obstructive sleep apnea. In multiple published trials over the years, patients consistently show a decreased AHI and reduced sleepiness.

Because of the changes to the bones of the face, this surgery will often cause irreversible changes to your appearance (often, patients report, for the better).

Hyoid suspension

The hyoid bone rests in the upper part of your neck. It is the only bone in the body that doesn’t connect to any other bone (and is therefore referred to as a “floating bone”).

Anti-snoring surgery can be performed on the ligaments that hold the hyoid bone in place. This helps to move the base of the tongue forward to create more space in the airway.

3. Neural stimulation

This is an exciting, new type of surgery which involves electrical stimulation of the tongue muscles to keep the airway open. It is only ever performed on patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

The system usually consists of three small parts:

  • An electrode wrapped around one of the key nerves that stimulates the tongue to move forward.
  • A generator which creates the electrical impulse. This is implanted in the chest and can be switched off in the morning wirelessly via a remote.
  • A sensor which helps to synchronise the neural stimulation with inward breaths. This is implanted in muscles of the ribs but isn’t always included.

To be considered for neural stimulation surgery, you’ll need a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea with an AHI of 20-50 (i.e. moderate to severe) [5].

It is usually recommended only if CPAP has failed. As this is an emerging therapy with restricted approval and a limited number of surgeons trained to perform it, it is not an option available everywhere.


Surgery can be a very effective solution for some snorers and sleep apnea sufferers. However, like all snoring remedies, it isn’t suitable for everybody.

For surgery to work, there needs to be a clear physical abnormality that can be corrected.

Surgery should be a last resort only when other techniques to manage your snoring or sleep apnea have failed.

This article aims to give you insight into all of the different types of surgery available: the established techniques, the emerging procedures and those falling out of favour. It is important to note that what may be offered for you will depend on your symptoms, snoring causes, anatomy and the medical facilities where you live.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Science, Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea?

It is normal for a snorer to wonder what sleep apnea is and if they are at risk.

Apnea simply means “no breathing”. Sleep apnea is a serious condition where your airway repeatedly closes during sleep, depriving you of oxygen until you gasp awake.

It is a common misconception that all loud snorers have sleep apnea, but if you think you do, ask yourself or your partner if you have any of the following:

  • Loud snoring with periodic silence and choking/gasping
  • Sore throat or headaches in the morning
  • Excessive sleepiness in the daytime
  • Lack of concentration
  • Behavioural changes and mood swings

Snoring, especially loud snoring, puts you at risk of developing sleep apnea later on – as good a reason as any to address your snoring now.

Side note: obstructive vs. central sleep apnea

Sleep apnea comes in two forms; the obstructive condition is linked to snoring as there is an airway blockage. The other type, central sleep apnea, is due to a fault in the brain’s regulation of breathing – this type is not linked to snoring. All subsequent references to sleep apnea refer to the obstructive form.

How does sleep apnea differ from normal snoring?

The key difference between snoring and sleep apnea is whether or not you are breathing.

When you produce a snoring sound, you are breathing; air must be travelling through your airways and into your lungs, albeit a bit bumpily. Noise from snoring is bothersome but the more worrying event is when the sound suddenly stops – now you aren’t breathing.

Here, snoring has made the serious transition to obstructive sleep apnea.


“Is it snoring or sleep apnea?”

Read the full article

Thankfully your body has a mechanism to kick-start breathing again. When it stops for too long, the amount of oxygen in the blood drops and carbon dioxide rises; your brain recognizes this dangerous situation. A fizz of brain activity briefly wakes your body up, often with a gasp or snort. Muscles in your neck open the airways so air can get back into the lungs.

Sadly, when you go back to sleep, this process of obstruction, low oxygen and awakening repeats itself again and again.

Why is sleep apnea dangerous?

Sleep apnea is harmful because repeated oxygen debt and fitful sleep every night takes its toll on your body [1]. During the low oxygen events, your heart is having to work harder. This increases blood pressure which damages your arteries, thickening their walls and increasing the likelihood of:

  • Heart problems including angina, heart failure and heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Impotence

These physical problems are only made worse by disturbed sleep. A lack of sleep also has detrimental effects on your day-to-day mental functioning. Many people experience:

  • Low energy
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Worsened reaction times
  • Poor memory

Beyond the sufferer, sleep apnea impacts upon society too. At work, persistent tiredness shrinks productivity and means more days taken off sick [2].

On the road, studies have found that people with sleep apnea are twelve times more likely to be involved in road traffic accidents. Some countries now make it mandatory to inform the driver registration authorities if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea [3].

What can put you at risk of sleep apnea?

Snorers are not necessarily suffering from sleep apnea, but the risks associated with each are closely aligned. The things that make you more likely to develop sleep apnea mirror the risk factors for snoring:

Identifying potential sleep apnea

There are some important things to watch out for if you suspect you have sleep apnea:

  • Very loud snoring, with periodic silence and gasping
  • Headaches or a sore throat in the morning
  • Being excessively sleepy in the day
  • Lack of concentration
  • Mood swings and behavioral changes

Despite continuously waking during the night, sufferers don’t usually realize it themselves. Many people assume that the fatigue they are experiencing is a symptom of age so fail to seek help. Instead, partners of those with the condition are more likely to spot their sleep apnea.

How does sleep apnea severity vary?

The severity of your condition can be assessed by counting how many times you experience low-oxygen events. This helps to generate an AHI score, the apnea-hypopnea index. This measures the apnea or hypopnea episodes per hour of sleep:

  • Apnea episode – complete airflow blockage for at least ten seconds
  • Hypopnea episode – at least 50% reduction in airflow for at least ten seconds

Your AHI score relates to the severity of sleep apnea:

  • 0-5 events per hour – normal
  • 5-15 events per hour – mild sleep apnea
  • 15-30 events per hour – moderate sleep apnea
  • 30+ events per hour – severe sleep apnea

Your score is very important when deciding on the best way to treat your sleep apnea. Mild to moderate cases can be addressed with normal snoring reduction techniques and consumer remedies. If you have a severe case, continuous positive airway pressure devices (CPAP) are the most effective form of treatment.


It is important to know that relatively benign snoring can make a dangerous transition to obstructive sleep apnea. This is a serious condition where your airway repeatedly closes during sleep, briefly depriving you of oxygen until you gasp awake.

Low oxygen events and continuous poor sleep can have serious repercussions on both your physical and mental wellbeing.

The same things that cause snoring put you at risk of sleep apnea. Some people even consider loud snoring to be the first stage of “sub-clinical” sleep apnea. Importantly, up to 95% of people with sleep apnea snore [4], but not everyone who snores has the condition. Understand your risk and know how to spot the signs so you don’t make the switch.

Mouth Exercises for Snoring

Diet & Lifestyle, Science, Solutions

Mouth Exercises for Snoring

Anti-snoring mouth exercises can be of massive benefit to almost all snorers.

We know that getting some exercise can help us lose weight which is a great way to tackle snoring. Increasingly, we are seeing that exercise to help snoring needn’t involve running, cycling or swimming, or even breaking a sweat.

More people are turning to mouth, tongue and throat exercises to take control of their snoring and are seeing amazing results.


Five anti-snoring exercises that really work


How do these exercises work?

Snoring is caused by slack tissue in your airway increasing resistance to air passing through [1]. Anti-snoring exercises aim to tone up this slackened tissue, treating the root cause of snoring.

Low muscle tone causes snoring

Our tongues and muscles in the thoat naturally relax when we sleep. Snoring happens when this relaxation becomes too much and the tissues start to flap, or when the tongue falls back and its base obstructs airflow.

When these muscles are weak, the chance of snoring is much higher. Muscle tone diminishes with age which explains why older people are more likely to snore.

Exercises vs. snoring aids

Wearing various remedies can tighten this tissue or hold things in place. But to keep snoring away, you’ll always rely on these appliances.

Anti-snoring exercises tone these tissues, stop them collapsing and prevent them from flapping.

You can train yourself into sleeping more quietly without having to wear an anti-snoring appliance ever again!

There are snoring aids on the market with very little science to back them up. The same is not true for anti-snoring exercises. There’s plenty of evidence and it all looks rather encouraging [2].

The evidence – music lessons

In 2000, researchers investigated whether you could reduce snoring with singing. A drama therapist from the University of Exeter in the UK developed a series of singing exercises for a group of twenty snorers [3].

The group sung these songs for twenty minutes a day for three months. The singing they did wasn’t your typical tune you might hum to yourself, but focused more on projecting strong vowel sounds with big exaggerated mouth movements.

It sounds more like yodeling, is rather bizarre, but it works. Comparing the participants’ snoring recordings before and after the study, the researchers saw a big drop in snoring.

In a different study six years later, twenty-five patients with moderate obstructive sleep apnea were signed up for didgeridoo lessons. Fourteen received tuition and did practice at home every day for four months. The other eleven – the control group – were put on a waiting list and carried on as normal.

Playing the didgeridoo is hard and requires strong mouth, tongue and throat muscles. At the end of the four months, the group who played the instrument showed some promising results improvements to their snoring [4]:

  • They were less sleepy throughout the day.
  • Their sleep apnea episodes reduced. Patients had a lower apnea/hypopnea index, 6.2 points fewer than the control group.
  • Their partners reported feeling less disturbed at night.

The evidence – targeted exercises

Didgeridoos and didgeridoo teachers are not easy to come by, and not everybody wants to walk around yodeling. Researchers took the concepts of these practices and created a series of exercises that target the snoring muscles of the tongue, soft palate and throat.

Guimaraes et al

In 2009, a group of scientists in Brazil performed the largest snoring exercise study to date [5]. The study design was robust, randomizing thirty-one different patients with moderate obstructive sleep apnea into two groups.

Each group was under the impression that they were receiving an amazing new anti-snoring therapy (important to ensure that any improvements are not due to the “placebo effect”), but only 16 were given the anti-snoring exercises. The other fifteen were a control group, given “sham therapy” which entailed a series of breathing exercises.

Each group attended supervised sessions for thirty minutes once a week and were told to do their exercises every day at home too.

Whilst the control group did ineffectual deep breathing, the test group followed an exercise regime involving the tongue, soft palate and walls of the throat. Exercises involved sucking, swallowing, chewing, breathing and speaking.

After three months, those doing the exercises had markedly improved their sleep apnea. They:

  • Reduced the severity of their sleep apnea. AHI on average dropped by 39% compared to no change in the control group.
  • Snored less frequently and less loudly
  • Had better sleep quality
  • Experienced less sleepiness during the daytime
  • Had improved oxygen saturation during sleep apnea episodes

Other studies

Further studies highlighted that thirty minute sessions are long and realistically people were unlikely to do this under their own steam. Merely brushing our teeth twice a day for two minutes is something that one in four of us struggle with [6]!

Researchers started to focus on shorter regimes, using similar exercises but done in short sessions several times per day. These patients still significantly decreased their snoring volume by 60%, improved their sleep quality and made their partners feel less disturbed [7].

Overall, the studies have strongly shown that [2]:

  • Anti-snoring exercise therapy reduces sleep apnea severity by 50%.
  • Exercises also reduce normal snoring, both objectively and subjectively. Snorers’ partners feel less disturbed and both the frequency and volume of snoring is decreased.
  • Sleepiness improves with consistent anti-snoring exercises.
  • Exercise regimes needn’t be long. As little as forty minutes per week can have a positive impact.


Detailed summary of the research into oropharyngeal exercises for snoring


Five anti-snoring exercises that really work

One doctor, a massive advocate of anti-snoring exercises and the professed “patron saint of snorers” describes these exercises as yoga for your mouth with a focus on stretching and positional training [1].

The exercises favor quicker, sharp repetitions as opposed to long holds, which can instead add muscular bulk and make matters worse.

Different studies have used different techniques, but here are five of the key exercises that appear in most experiments and can really make a difference:

  1. Tongue curlers. With your mouth open, slide the tip of your tongue backwards along your hard palate as far back as it will go. Repeat 20 times.
  2. With an open mouth, press your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth and suck it upwards. Hold for 2 seconds and repeat 20 times.
  3. Force the back of your tongue against the floor of your mouth whilst the tip remains in contact with your lower front teeth. Again, you should do this with an open mouth.
  4. Pull your cheek out with your finger, use your cheek/mouth muscles to pull the finger back in.
  5. Elevate the back of your throat by sounding “aahh”. Once you get better at this exercise, you should be able to raise your uvula (the dangling part in the back of your throat) without making a sound.

You are unlikely to see instant results. These exercises are most effective when performed daily and stuck to over a period of time. Remember, you don’t need to spend ages on your routine, as little as eight minutes has shown to still be very effective [7].

To give yourself the best chance of success, set aside a time in the day to do these exercises. Also try to do them in private as you may look and feel a little strange. With some practice you will get better at the exercises and will start to notice the difference.

A Guide to Neti Pots


A Guide to Neti Pots

Nasal irrigation with a neti pot can help reduce snoring caused by a congested nose or sinuses.

Neti pots are devices used to flush out your nasal passages. Often resembling a small teapot, they are used to pour salt water through your nasal cavity. They can be extremely effective at reducing snoring caused by a blocked nose.


SnoreLab’s recommended neti pots



If a stuffy nose is causing you to snore, nasal irrigation has benefits over other anti-snoring methods. Neti pots are:

  • Inexpensive and simple
  • Non-medicated
  • Unlikely to produce side effects
  • Able to relieve cold and allergy symptoms

Neti pots have their origins in an ancient Hindu practice of health and wellbeing, where nasal irrigation, or “jala-neti”, was practiced daily as a cleansing ritual. This alternative medicine technique has stood the test of time and has been adopted by many snorers with very successful outcomes.

“My snoring has stopped, I now sleep and breathe better. It’s so nice to find something that can solve a huge problem in my life so easily”

How do neti pots work to stop snoring?

When your nose is congested your normal breathing is disrupted. Breathing through a partially blocked nose creates suction forces that act on your airway which causes it to narrow.

When you can’t breathe through your nose, mouth breathing ensues. This yields some shape changes to your airways which disrupts airflow and brings on snoring.

Using a neti pot helps to clear your nose and encourage healthier, quieter nasal breathing. Nasal irrigation:

  • Soothes inflamed tissue. Reducing inflammation widens the nasal passages.
  • Flushes out allergens and other potential irritants.
  • Breaks down and clears excess mucus.

Who can benefit from a neti pot?

If a blocked nose is making you snore, a neti pot can be an extremely effective way of reducing this blockage and sleeping quieter. We recommend them for:

How to use a neti pot

Despite the well documented benefits, snorers are often deterred from using a neti pot because it just seems a bit weird and gross. Like anything, it gets easier with practice.

“The first few times you use it, you may feel that the sensation is a little weird. With regular use this will become something normal, not a big issue and will only make you feel better.”

There are four important things to get right when using a neti pot:

  1. Use the correct water
  2. Use the correct salts
  3. Use the correct technique
  4. Use the correct cleaning methods to decontaminate your neti pot

Here is SnoreLab’s process to get safe and effective use from your neti pot:

1. Choosing the right water

Unclean water can introduce harmful bacteria into your nose. DO NOT use untreated tap water. You have several safe water options:

  • Bottled water that is labelled as “distilled”.
  • Tap water that has been boiled for around 5 minutes and left to cool to a lukewarm temperature. This kills any potentially harmful invaders.
  • Tap water that has been passed through a filter with pores 1 micron (one thousandth of a millimeter) or smaller.

2. Preparing the salt solution

The salt solution is important to help break down the excess mucus in your nose.

Many neti pots can be bought as kits where the appropriate salt mixture is provided in a sachet. These can also be bought separately.

If you want to make your own salt solution, DO NOT use standard table salt. Find a pure salt that is:

  • Non-iodized
  • Free from caking agents
  • Free from additives

Recipes for homemade solutions vary, but a good guide is to add ½ teaspoon of the appropriate salt to the water, along with ¼ teaspoon of baking powder.

3. Using the neti pot

Now for the gross bit. With practice this will get much easier. To properly use the neti pot, water should be poured into one nostril so it comes out of the other. Follow these steps:

  1. Tilt your head sideways over the sink.
  2. Breathe through an open mouth.
  3. Place the spout of the neti pot on your upper nostril so that it forms a tight seal.
  4. Pour half of the contents slowly.
  5. Allow the water to run through your nose and out of your lower nostril.
  6. Repeat for the other side.
  7. Once done, gently blow your nose without pinching your nose to remove excess water.

4. Cleaning the neti pot

This part varies depending on what type of material your neti pot is made from. Regardless of material, thorough cleaning is a must to prevent the build-up of harmful bacteria in your neti pot.

Some neti pots can simply be put in the dishwasher. Others can be boiled wher

eas some need some scrubbing with warm water and soap.

Once done, let your neti pot air dry.

What should you look for when purchasing a neti pot?

Whilst a neti pot might seem like a simple device, there are a few features you should look for when deciding on which neti pot is best for you …


Neti pots are available in different materials, each with their relative merits (jump to different neti pot materials: the pros and cons):

  • Ceramic
  • Plastic
  • Steel

Easy to clean

Neti pots need to be properly cleaned to be used safely. This is to stop you inadvertently introducing harmful bacteria that might lurk in the recesses of your neti pot, into your nose.

Look for a simple shape with a wide opening that has no difficult-to-reach nooks where mold and bacteria can hide. Also check that the design has no cavities within the handle as it is almost impossible to clean this effectively.

Consider that different materials have to be cleaned differently.


You need a reasonably tight seal on your nostril to use a neti pot effectively, therefore it is important to consider how the spout will feel on your nose.

Steel and copper pots are hard and cold, whereas plastics can be softer. Cheaper designs might have some rough edges whereas some pots come with a little silicon cap to provide enhanced comfort.


Are you likely to travel with your neti pot? If so, consider that ceramic neti pot materials are more breakable than others.

Whilst plastic pots are less likely to break if dropped, if they are made from thinner plastics (such as squeezable ones) they will probably wear out faster than steel or ceramic ones.

Squeezable material

Some neti pots are made from soft plastics that can be squeezed. This allows you to control the pressure of the water going into your nose.


It might sound silly, but good ceramic neti pots can look like a nice, simple ornament. On the flip side, some plastic ones can be rather inappropriately shaped! Are you likely to leave it lying around?

Different neti pot materials: the pros and cons


This is the most common type of neti pot and the one that we recommend the most.


  • Comfortable on the nostrils
  • Hygienic and easy to clean
  • Simple designs with few nooks for mold and bacteria build-up
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Looks good


  • Breakable
  • Usually has less capacity than pots made from other materials
  • Heavy
  • Lower quality ceramics can have pores that trap mold

We recommend the Himalayan Chandra Ceramic Neti Pot. It has a smooth design that doesn’t allow mold build-up, the starter kit comes with a 10-ounce salt pot and measuring spoon, and it is not bad looking either.


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  • Cheaper
  • Not breakable
  • Light
  • Suitable for travel
  • Softer plastics can be squeezed to control water pressure
  • Clear plastics allow you to see the water level and potential dirt build-up


  • Some designs have cavities where mold and bacteria can accumulate
  • Not often dishwasher safe
  • Less long-lasting. Can be degraded by salt water.

We like Dr Hana’s Nasopure. It has a very simple ergonomic design that is easy to use and easy to clean, with no handle, hence no cavity. The shape and squeezable material allows you to use this neti pot without having to tilt your head. The kit also contains 20 salt packets.


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  • Hygienic. Unlikely to trap bacteria.
  • Not fragile
  • Easy to clean
  • Good sizes available


  • Can rust if not dried properly
  • Hard and cold feeling on the nostrils

Our steel neti pot pick is the Health and Yoga Stainless Steel Neti Pot. It is large enough to not need refilling during a single irrigation, it has a nicely shaped conical tip, is very robust and has a simple design with very few areas for mold to form.


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