Snoring is terrible. It’s obnoxious, it keeps everyone up and it makes those you’re keeping up resent you. But did you know that you aren’t just disrupting your bed companion’s sleep? You are also disrupting your own. Snorers unknowingly wake themselves with their own guttural noises and are often exhausted after a night of what seems like quality rest. But what can you do?
Snoring happens when air doesn’t move freely through your nose and mouth during sleep. It’s caused by a narrowing of your airway, either from poor sleep posture or abnormalities of the soft tissues in your throat. It is this narrowing that gets in the way of smooth breathing and creates the chainsaw-like sound keeping everyone awake at night. The first step to solving the snoring problem is to find the cause of your particular type of snoring.
It’s crucial to note to the different ways you sleep. Sleeping habits can reveal a lot about how you snore and how you snore can reveal why you snore. Below are different ways of sleeping that may be the cause of your insufferably loud slumber.
- Closed mouth snoring may indicate a problem with your tongue.
- Open mouth snoring may be related to the tissues in your throat.
- Snoring while on your back is mild and can be fixed with simple lifestyle changes.
- Snoring in all sleep positions means your snoring is severe and may require more comprehensive treatment.
Try the following behavior changes to help treat your little (or not so little) problem:
- Lose weight and improve your eating habits.
- Avoid tranquilizers, sleeping pills and antihistamines before you go to bed.
- Avoid alcohol, heavy meals or snacks at least four hours before you sleep.
- Establish regular sleeping patterns.
- Sleep on your side rather than on your back.
- Prop the head of your bed (not just your pillows) up four inches.
The loud, grating sound coming from you or the person next to you might be a sign of weakened muscles in the airway passage. Try the following exercises to strengthen these muscles and stop the snoring.
- Repeat each vowel (a-e-i-o-u) out loud for three minutes a few times a day.
- Place the tip of your tongue behind your top front teeth. Slide your tongue backwards for 3 minutes a day.
- Close your mouth and purse your lips. Hold for 30 seconds.
- With mouth open, move jaw to the right and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on left side.
- With mouth open, contract the muscle at the back of your throat to move uvula up and down repeatedly for 30 seconds.
Sleep is essential for a person’s health and wellbeing. You should be doing everything you can to drop this habit and get some shut eye, both for your sake and your sleeping companion’s sake. If after following the above advice you still feel you are not getting enough rest, seek medical attention. Frequent, loud snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea, a common and potentially serious disorder in which your breathing stops for up to minutes at a time during sleep.
Do you sleep next to a snorer? Tell us your story.