Remedies for Snoring

Snoring is a common problem that affects just over 50% of men, approximately 40% of women, and just over 25% of children in the United States. 

Snoring occurs when the tissues at the back of your throat near your airways vibrate as you breathe during sleep. For some, snoring happens occasionally. For others, it’s a chronic issue that can affect their health and quality of sleep, such as by causing hypertension (high blood pressure). Snoring can also irritate your partner and negatively affect their quality of sleep.

There are many causes of snoring, some of which require minor lifestyle changes. Other causes are more serious and require medical treatment. 

Remedies and Treatments for Snoring

There are three main types of snoring:

  • Light, infrequent snoring, which happens occasionally
  • Primary snoring, which happens more than three nights per week
  • Snoring related to obstructive sleep apnea, which indicates a serious health issue

Treatments vary based on the severity of your snoring. In some cases, lifestyle changes can help stop it. However, other types of snoring may need more involved treatments. There are nine remedies you can try to reduce or eliminate snoring altogether:

Change Your Sleep Position

When you sleep, the tissues in your throat relax. If these tissues relax enough to partially block your airways, snoring may occur. Since sleeping on your back can worsen the issue, try sleeping on your side instead. 

Adjust Your Elevation

Raising your head a few inches, either with pillows or an adjustable bed, can help keep your airways clear and eliminate snoring altogether. 

Avoid Drinking Alcohol Before Bedtime

Alcohol can cause the muscles in your throat to relax, which can lead to snoring. It may also increase your risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea. Avoiding alcohol before bedtime can reduce your risk of snoring. 

Quit Smoking

Smoking leads to throat irritation, among other health-related problems. Throat irritation can cause inflammation of the tissues, which can lead to snoring. Many studies indicate a link between smoking and snoring, with one study finding that smokers are more than twice as likely to snore than non-smokers. If you quit smoking, you may ease your throat irritation and stop snoring altogether. 

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Maintain a Healthy Weight

People who are overweight or obese are more likely to snore or develop sleep apnea than those who maintain a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight can help you avoid this condition. 

Treat Your Allergies

Allergies can narrow your airways and increase your risk of snoring. Treating allergies by taking allergy medication, using a humidifier, or reducing the airborne allergens in your environment can reduce swelling in your airways, which may reduce or eliminate snoring. Airborne allergens that you can limit with some minor lifestyle changes include smog, excess dust, and pollen.

Try a Nasal Strip

A stick-on nasal strip can help widen the airways in your nose, which increases airflow and may put a stop to snoring. You can find nasal strips at most pharmacies over the counter. 

Wear an Oral Appliance

An oral appliance is a mouthpiece that you wear while you sleep. It keeps your lower jaw forward and moves the tissues in your throat away from your airways. Although you can find oral appliances over the counter, you should consider using one made by a medical professional. 

Use a CPAP Machine

For more severe snoring or snoring related to obstructive sleep apnea, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine may help alleviate the issue. With this treatment, you’ll wear a mask over your mouth and nose while you sleep. The CPAP machine delivers a continuous stream of air to keep your airways open.

In severe cases, you may need surgery to put a stop to your snoring. Some people may need surgery to fix problems like a deviated septum, while others may need surgery to remove excess tissue or alter the position of their jaw. Surgical procedures and medical treatments for snoring include:

When to See a Doctor

If you’re concerned about your snoring, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact your doctor. You should also schedule an appointment with your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • You wake up gasping or choking at night (or your partner tells you that you experience these symptoms)
  • You snore more than three times a week and it disrupts your partner’s sleep
  • Others can hear you snoring from another room
  • You wake up with headaches
  • You experience excessive daytime sleepiness and difficulty concentrating

These symptoms may indicate a more serious issue, such as sleep apnea. Your doctor can diagnose the issue (or refer you to a specialist) and help you get the appropriate treatment. 

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Remedies for Children

Children may snore as well. Causes of snoring in children may include:

  • Being overweight
  • Allergies
  • Enlarged tonsils

Similar home remedies like using a humidifier, treating allergies, and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce snoring in children. For children with enlarged tonsils, a tonsillectomy may also put a stop to snoring. 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on December 02, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Allergic Diseases - New Insights: “Airborne Allergens.”

American Association of Sleep Technologists: “What is CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Therapy?”

Contemporary Reviews in Sleep Medicine: “Where There Is Smoke…There Is Sleep Apnea.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Snoring solutions.”

Journal of Dental Sleep Medicine: “Over the Counter Oral Appliances: Cause for Concern?”

Mayo Clinic: “Snoring - Symptoms and causes.”

Mayo Clinic: “Snoring - Diagnosis and treatment.” 

Mayo Clinic: “Sore throat.”

SleepFoundation.org: “Alcohol and Sleep.”

SleepFoundation.org: “Snoring and Sleep.”

Sleep Medicine: “Alcohol and the risk of sleep apnoea: a systematic review and meta-analysis.”

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