Sawing logs. Calling the hogs. Mowing hay. Rattling the shingles. We use plenty of funny expressions to describe snoring. But why do some of us snore? Is there anything you can do to stop it? And, when do you need to worry about it?
For most people, snoring isn’t anything to worry about. However, it can disrupt the slumber of anyone who sleeps within earshot of you (including yourself). Men tend to snore more than women, and everyone has a higher risk of snoring as they age.
What causes snoring?
Snoring happens when your airway is partially blocked. When air cannot flow freely through your mouth and throat, tissues in your upper airway vibrate, causing you to snore.
Some factors that can cause your airway to be partially blocked include mouth anatomy (the shape of your mouth, tongue and throat), alcohol consumption, nasal problems, not getting enough sleep, and sleeping on your back.
If you are looking for ways to turn down the volume on your nightly snorechestra, we’ve got some proven snoring hacks for you to try out.
Here are some useful snoring hacks that might help you stop snoring because they have worked for others. Sadly, there is no simple solution that works for everyone. It’s mostly trial and error to find out what works best for you. Many people need to do a combination of lifestyle changes plus one or more of the suggestions below.
For some people, a humidifier might help if your snoring is triggered by breathing in dry air from dry climates or air conditioning. It can also work if you snore due to nasal congestion from allergies or a chronic sinus problem. If you’re looking for a quieter option for sleeping, go with a warm mist humidifier. Cool mist humidifiers use a fan, so they tend to be noisier.
Nasal strips have been proven to help some people with snoring. They work best for people who snore because of nasal congestion. You tape them on the outside of your nose so that they widen your nasal passage to help the air to flow more easily. They don’t work for everybody, but they are inexpensive to buy, so this is an easy snoring treatment to try.
Low muscle tone can increase snoring, and the muscle tone in our throat, tongue, and mouth diminishes with age (which is why older people tend to snore more). Just like the rest of your body, regular exercise will improve your muscle tone.
Check out this snoring exercise video if you’re interested in trying this out.
A more extreme (and costly) solution for snoring is a mouthguard. A mouthguard takes some time to get used to, so you’ll want to do some research if you choose this option.
There are a couple of different types of mouthguard styles to choose from. The most popular style pushes your lower jaw forward to open your airway. The other style is for back sleepers, and it works by gripping your tongue and preventing it from falling to the back of your throat.
It’s best to go see a healthcare provider and find the right mouthguard for you. They can help you choose the best option.
Taping your mouth
This is exactly what it sounds like. Taping your mouth shut before heading to bed. The theory is that taping your mouth shut forces you to breathe out of your nose. Does it work? Not a lot of scientific research has been done on this method, but some people have said it works.
If you want to test this out, do NOT use duct tape (ouch). Stick to porous medical tape that is meant for skin. For this particular “treatment,” we suggest you do more research to find out how to do it properly. Here’s a good place to start.
Lifestyle changes that can reduce snoring
If your snoring isn’t something more serious, like obstructive sleep apnea, it is also possible to reduce snoring with these simple lifestyle changes:
Avoid alcohol before bed
Avoid any alcohol at least two hours before going to bed. Alcohol can make your throat relax more than usual, which can block your airways.
Minimize sleeping meds
Only use sleeping pills if your doctor gives you the go-ahead since they can relax your throat muscles and slow your breathing even more than usual.
Drink more water
Stay hydrated to help reduce snoring. When you don’t drink enough water during the day, it can increase the buildup of mucus in your mouth and throat. This can make your airway stick together, create a partial blockage, and cause snoring to happen.
Lose the extra pounds
Excess weight can add extra fat deposits to your neck, called pharyngeal fat. This can block your upper airway while you sleep. The best way to lose weight is through healthy eating and getting active.
When do you need to worry that your snoring means something is wrong?
Snoring can be annoying, no doubt. However, heavy snoring can also be a sign of health concerns, like obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that affects one in 20 guys. Sleep apnea happens when your tongue and throat relax too much, block your air canal, and prevent you from breathing for up to 30 seconds at a time.
An obvious symptom is very loud snoring—sawing logs and then stacking them if you will—along with excess fatigue, frequent nighttime trips to the toilet, or waking up regularly with a dry mouth or headache. Click here for more signs of sleep apnea.
If you think you may be experiencing sleep apnea, be sure to consult a doctor ASAP to be properly diagnosed.
The benefits of a good sleep
Keeping your bedmate happy can keep your couch-surfing to a minimum. Making simple lifestyle changes to stop mild sleep apnea symptoms can reduce the risk of several health problems, including low testosterone (Low T), high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and erectile dysfunction.
Does your partner ever kick you out of bed for snoring? Share your funny stories in the comments below!
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