Snoring is an annoying malady that irritates family members and disrupts sleep.
Fortunately, making lifestyle changes alleviates the problem. These changes may not deal with snoring completely, but in most cases, they decrease it.
Why turn to natural remedies?
Doctors usually recommend surgery to those who suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a disorder which happens when the airway is severely blocked. It causes breathing difficulties during sleep. They may also suggest surgery to anyone who has a cooked septum, which may partly block the airway.
Alternatively, they may suggest using a ventilator to apply Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and open up the airway.
These measures greatly reduce airway blockage and snoring. Their downside is that they are expensive. Patients may also experience side effects, such as claustrophobia, when wearing a CPAP mask.
You should only turn to surgical or CPAP treatments to deal with snoring if lifestyle changes do not help.
How to stop snoring naturally
Lifestyle changes are common sense, affordable and most importantly, natural ways to stop snoring.
1. Alter your sleeping habits
A natural way to stop snoring is to change your sleeping habits.
Sleeping on your back causes the upper airway muscles of the pharynx and larynx to fall back, constricting your airway.
Sleep on your side instead. This keeps the airway muscles in place and prevents air from vibrating their tissue, thereby decreasing snoring.
2. Prompt yourself with a tennis ball
Using a tennis ball to remind yourself to sleep on your side will help. Just slip a tennis ball into the pocket of an old shirt and sew its sleeve to the back of an old pair of pajamas. When you try to lie on your back, the ball will knock your back gently and prompt you to turn to your side.
3. Weight loss
Those who are overweight have extra tissue at the backs of their throats. The tissue vibrate when air cannot pass through the airway.
Keeping to a balanced diet and exercising regularly pushes weight down and decreases snoring.
4. Do not consume alcohol
Drinking alcoholic beverages before bed increases snoring.
Alcohol relaxes the upper airway muscles and causes them to collapse. Avoid alcohol before bed to prevent the upper airway muscles from falling back.
5. Keep your room free of allergens
Allergic reactions make it difficult to breathe. Inhaling allergens while you sleep will cause allergic rhinitis. Allergens inflame the nasal passages and cause snoring.
Keep your room free of allergens by changing your sheets often. Use light, cotton curtains Instead of heavy drapes that trap dust. Use an air conditioner when it is warm and keep your room free of clutter.
Make the room a pet free area. Loose pet hair and dander cause allergic rhinitis and hence, apnea.
6. Clean your home regularly
It is also important to clean the rest of your home to remove allergens, allergic rhinitis and snoring.
7. Stop smoking
A study published in the American Journal of Critical Care and Medicine showed that 24% of smokers snored. 20% of people exposed to second-hand smoke snored as well.
Cigarette smoke chafes the lining of the throat, nasal passages and airway. Injury to the airway makes breathing difficult, causing snoring.
Getting rid of the smoking habit will definitely decrease apnea.
8. Use herbal spray
Herbal spray shrivels the linings of the nostrils, creating more breathing space. Fewer breathing difficulties means fewer chances of snoring.
9. Use a humidifier
Dry air causes airway congestion and makes it difficult to breathe.
Adding oils to a humidifier helps to decrease apnea. Peppermint oil, in particular, clears the airway.
10. Drink your fluids
Dry mouths and throats cause oral and nasal secretions to thicken. This makes it difficult to breathe, causing you to snore.
Take in plenty of fluids to dilute secretions and decrease snoring.
11. Stack your pillows
Stacked pillows support the neck so that the throat is kept open.This makes breathing easier and reduces snoring.
12. Raise the bed head.
You can use planks of wood lying around to raise the bed head. This tilts the bed at a slight angle and supports your neck more. It keeps your throat open.
Make sure that the wooden planks you use are sturdy and big enough to support the legs of the bed.
13. Inhale steam
Breathing in steam clears nasal passages and keeps snoring to a minimum. It is a natural, inexpensive treatment.
14. Do tongue exercises
Keep the muscles of your tongue and upper airway strong. This prevents them from falling back as you sleep.
One exercise is to cover your upper jaw with your lower jaw. Your teeth should show. Count slowly to 10. Tongue twisters such as “Peter Piper picked a pick of pickled pepper” help as well.
15. Try Pranayama
This yoga exercise aims to help you control your breathing. You learn to take deep, slow breaths and savor the surrounding oxygen. Pranayama aids blood circulation.
Proper breathing treats apnea. As the techniques become automatic, you will breathe well in your sleep and stop snoring.
Before rushing to a doctor to seek treatment, make lifestyle changes first. They may decrease your snoring, if not get rid of it altogether.