Many snoring treatments are available over-the-counter in pharmacies, but most do not cure snoring. There are, however, a number of steps you can take to put an end to your snoring. Here are some tips for the occasional snorer:
- Lose weight and improve your eating habits.
- Avoid tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and antihistamines before you go to bed.
- Avoid alcohol and heavy meals (or snacks) at least four hours before you sleep.
- Establish regular sleeping patterns. For example, try to go to bed at the same time every night.
- Sleep on your side rather than on your back.
- Raise the head of your bed up four inches. Raise the whole bed, not just pillows.
- Try nasal strips: Flexible bands that you stick to the outside of your nose and keep nasal passages open.
- Wearing an oral appliance when you sleep keeps your jaw in the proper position so air can flow. Your healthcare provider might call it a mouth device or mouth guard. A mouth guard used for other purposes, like sports, won’t resolve snoring
If none of these tips helps, talk to your doctor. There are a variety of medical treatments that may reduce or eliminate snoring.
Medical Treatments for Snoring
For mild forms of snoring caused by swelling of the lining of your nose, a doctor may prescribe a steroid nasal spray to take before going to sleep. They may also suggest dental appliances or nasal strips. For more severe forms of snoring due to sleep apnea, surgical procedures or continuous positive airway pressure may be prescribed.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a treatment in which a mask is worn over the nose and/or mouth while you sleep. The mask is hooked up to a machine that delivers a continuous flow of air into the nostrils. The pressure from air flowing into the nostrils helps keep the airways open so that breathing is not impaired. Other PAP machines are also available, including the BiPAP, which has two levels of air pressure, and the VPAP for varying levels of air pressure.
Surgery may be needed to correct a physical problem that is causing you to snore. Surgical options include:
- Somnoplasty: A minimally invasive procedure to reduce the soft tissue in the upper airway or back of the throat
- Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy: Removing the tonsils and/or adenoids may be needed to prevent snoring.
- Palate surgery: Your doctor may recommend removing certain tissues of the soft palate that may be obstructing your breathing.
- Upper airway stimulator: This device, called Inspire, is a treatment for people who have sleep apnea. It consists of a small pulse generator placed under the skin in the upper chest. A breathing sensor electrode that is surgically implanted on the side of the chest by the ribs detects the person's natural breathing pattern. Another wire, leading up to the jaw, delivers mild stimulation to nerves that control airway muscles, keeping them open. A doctor can program the device from an external remote. Also, the user has a remote to turn it on before bed and turn off upon waking in the morning.