At some point in your life, you have experienced snoring in some way. It isn’t just a funny, growling sound like you see in cartoons, either. Snoring can represent a serious health risk to yourself and others, and is often a sign of more serious conditions below the surface. Fortunately, there are a number of well-known home remedies to fix the distracting and annoying problem of snoring.
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What is Snoring?
Snoring is the word used to describe both the act and the sound of your respiratory structures vibrating due to a lack of air flow. It ranges from mild, soft, almost imperceptible snoring to loud, disruptive, and almost obnoxious volumes. The most common condition that snoring points to is obstructive sleep apnea, which is characterized by an obstruction of airflow that blocks the flow of oxygen and blood to essential organs for anywhere from 20-40 seconds. This can be a very dangerous and exhausting condition for your body to handle every night, even though you can be relatively unaware of it and only suffer the consequences when you are awake.
Namely, you may experience daytime fatigue or exhaustion for years or even decades without realizing that there is a problem with your sleeping habits. The relaxed respiratory muscles near the back of the throat start to compress and block the flow of air to the nasal passages and mouth, so the air forces its way through and subsequently makes the noise of snoring. People with obstructed sleep apnea have a significantly higher rate of various heart diseases.
Snoring is not only a symptom or a cause of other conditions for the affected individual. The partner of the affected snorer also must deal with the mild to intolerable noise of snoring, and it can often lead to sexual dysfunction, separate sleeping arrangements, mood and sleep disorders, and even divorce and depression.
Sleep is a precious thing, and without it, people can lose significant years off their life, and can become irritable and suffer from a lower quality of life. Mild to severe snoring affects nearly 100 million people in the United States alone, so knowing both the causes and the home remedies of snoring is a very valuable piece of knowledge! However, for severe cases of sleep apnea and snoring, be sure to consult a doctor to make sure that there are no serious, underlying causes of your snoring.
Causes of Snoring
Obstructed sleep apnea isn’t the only underlying or resultant condition that is linked to snoring. Some of the other causes of sleep apnea are:
Drinking excessively or taking drugs, which both relax the throat muscles.
Sleeping on your back, as your tongue can fall to the back of your throat and obstruct air flow.
Obstruction of the sinuses and nasal passageway.
Excess fat the accumulated in or around the throat.
A weak throat that can’t support the muscles and skin in the throat while you sleep.
A misplaced jaw, which can be caused by excess or chronic tension of neck muscles.
Airway or respiratory tissues rubbing together in the throat.
Some of these causes are fixable, which represent one version of a home remedy, while others are preventable. We cover both forms of home remedies in the following section.
Home Remedies for Snoring
Home Remedies for Snoring are as follows:
Get Off Your Back
Lying on your back allows your tongue to fall into the back of your throat and creates an ideal setting for snoring to occur. An easy home remedy is sleeping with a pillow behind you, or sleeping against a wall, anything to keep you from rolling over onto your back. A popular method is sewing a pocket onto the back of your pajamas and putting a tennis ball or other round object in it. If you lie on your back, the discomfort will cause you to roll over onto one side, but it probably won’t be startling or painful enough to wake you up, thereby keeping you off your back, and keeping your snoring under wraps! Anything that opens the air passageway can work, even simply angling the head up with extra pillows to open the throat (although this can cause neck pain).
Losing weight is easier said than done, but it can be a major cause behind your snoring and sleep apnea. Every person that gains weight will put on the pounds in different places. For many people, the extra fat deposits that end up on the neck can increase the weight on the respiratory tools there, and can cause them to collapse during the relaxes state of sleep, thereby inducing snoring. Losing weight will help improve this situation, and guarantee you better sleep!
Alcohol and Drugs
These are natural sedatives, meaning that they relax your body more than natural levels of sleep do. They particular reduce the resting tone and muscle strength of your respiratory organs, so they collapse in on themselves more easily, stimulating snoring. Therefore, avoiding drinking or consuming drugs within 4 hours of going to bed will help to eliminate the annoying disturbance of snoring for you and your partner.
When you are blocked up and your nose is stuffed with material, airflow is obviously limited and often results in severe snoring. However, if you add a humidifier to your room, it can help loosen phlegm and mucus by causing the sinuses to drain. You can also use some sort of vapor rub on your chest or any other decongestant, and it will allow a clean airflow through your respiratory passages, eliminating snoring. Hot showers, neti pots, and other decongestant home remedies are available for this.
On the other hand, some people snore with no underlying congestion, illness, or condition. For these people, using a nasal strip to pull open the passageway is a good solution.
Good Sleep Habits
If you develop unhealthy sleeping habits and are already suffering from minor sleep disorders, your body can almost feel like it is intoxicated or drugged at bedtime, and will therefore act in a similar way…snoring! Therefore, maintain good sleep habits, avoid a constantly changing or variable sleep schedule, and don’t do a bunch of other things in bed like read, watch tv, have conversations, or eat. Beds are for sleeping!
Some people who snore are actually demonstrating a mild allergic reaction to dust or pet dander. It is important to keep your bedroom free of dust mites and pet dander, since your face will be right in a fabric pillow for eight hours, and will be very prone to sucking up those irritating substances. Don’t let pets sleep on your pillow, unless you plan to clean them very often. You don’t even need to be diagnosed as allergic to something for this effect to occur.
Some people who desperately need help but aren’t finding many solutions use a mouth guard, which brings the jaw slightly forward and decreases how crowded the back of your throat is, thereby allowing more air to come through and eliminating the snoring. This can be quite expensive, however, and isn’t necessarily a “home remedy”, but it is useful, effective, and widely available with dentists.
When you’re dehydrated, many of the tissues and palates in your mouth and respiratory system become sticky, as they try to make the most use out of the small amount of liquid they are working with. This causes them to stick together and force snores through them. So drink plenty of water!
A Word of Warning
Again, these home remedies can reduce mild to moderate symptoms, but severe cases should be analyzed by a doctor, in case they are signs of something much more serious.