Snoring - Treatment Overview

Snoring is treated through lifestyle changes such as losing weight (if needed), quitting smoking, changing sleep habits (such as sleeping on your side instead of your back), and avoiding the use of alcohol and sedatives before you go to bed. Also, you can try over-the-counter medicines to reduce nasal congestion. Or you can use a device to help keep your airway open while you sleep.

If snoring continues despite these treatments, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or surgery may be tried. Implants that stiffen your palate can help reduce snoring and the daytime sleepiness it causes.4 But snoring is not always considered a medical problem, so insurance may not cover treatment.

Initial and ongoing treatment

Snoring is often treated successfully with lifestyle changes. You can:

  • Lose weight (if needed).
  • Go to bed at the same time every night and get plenty of sleep.
  • Sleep on your side, not on your back. Try sewing a pocket in the middle of the back of your pajama top, putting a tennis ball into the pocket, and stitching it closed. This will help keep you from sleeping on your back.
  • Avoid using alcohol and sedatives before bed.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Raise the head of your bed 4 in. (10 cm) to 6 in. (15 cm) by putting bricks under the legs of the bed (using pillows to raise your head and upper body will not work).
  • Promptly treat breathing problems, such as a stuffy nose caused by a cold or allergies.
  • Use a nasal dilator to help keep your airway open. This is a device, such as nose strips or disks, that you attach to the outside of your nose while you sleep.

If nasal congestion is present, you can try clearing your nasal passages or using medicines such as decongestants and nasal corticosteroid sprays. These open the airway, permitting a smoother airflow, and may reduce snoring. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label . Do not use the medicine longer than the label says.

Oral breathing devices, which push the tongue and jaw forward to improve airflow, sometimes can treat snoring, especially if it is caused by jaw position during sleep.