To prevent or quiet snoring, try these tips:
Sept. 26, 2015
- If you're overweight, lose weight. People who are overweight may have extra tissues in the throat that contribute to snoring. Losing weight can help reduce snoring.
- Sleep on your side. Lying on your back allows your tongue to fall backward into your throat, narrowing your airway and partially obstructing airflow. Try sleeping on your side. If you find that you always end up on your back in the middle of the night, try sewing a tennis ball in the back of your pajama top.
- Raise the head of your bed. Raising the head of your bed by about 4 inches may help.
- Nasal strips or an external nasal dilator. Adhesive strips applied to the bridge of the nose help many people increase the area of their nasal passage, enhancing their breathing. A nasal dilator is a stiffened adhesive strip applied externally across the nostrils that may help decrease airflow resistance so you breathe easier. Nasal strips and external nasal dilators aren't effective for people with sleep apnea, however.
Treat nasal congestion or obstruction. Having allergies or a deviated septum can limit airflow through your nose. This forces you to breathe through your mouth, increasing the likelihood of snoring.
Don't use an oral or spray decongestant for more than three days in a row for acute congestion unless directed to do so by your doctor. Long-term use of these medications can have a rebound effect and make your congestion worse. Ask your doctor about a prescription steroid spray if you have chronic congestion.
To correct a structural defect in your airway, such as a deviated septum, you may need surgery.
- Limit or avoid alcohol and sedatives. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages at least two hours before bedtime, and let your doctor know about your snoring before taking sedatives. Sedatives and alcohol depress your central nervous system, causing excessive relaxation of muscles, including the tissues in your throat.
- Quit smoking. Smoking cessation may reduce snoring, in addition to having numerous other health benefits.
- Get enough sleep. Adults should aim for at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. The recommended hours of sleep for children vary by age. Preschool-aged children should get 11 to 12 hours a day. School-age children need at least 10 hours a day, and teens should have nine to 10 hours a day.
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- Sleep studies. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/slpst. Accessed Sept. 1, 2015.
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- Find a sleep facility near you. Sleepcenters.org. http://www.sleepeducation.com/find-a-facility. Accessed Aug. 31, 2015.
- Olson EJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 7, 2015.
- How much sleep do I need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.htm. Accessed Sept. 8, 2015.