Even if you don’t think you snore, or you’ve never been told you do, we all snore on occasion. Whether you’re sleeping in a different position than normal or you’re just simply exhausted, it happens sometimes. But if your snoring happens frequently, it could be related to a sleeping disorder such as sleep apnea, and that can greatly affect the quality of your sleep and health. So, what causes snoring? What are some snoring solutions? We’ll take a look at both.
What is Snoring?
Before we jump into possible causes of snoring, let’s first talk about what snoring is. Snoring occurs when air is not able to pass freely through your nose or throat while you sleep. Simply stated, it is a result of vibrating tissues in the airways of the nose and throat.
What Causes Snoring?
There are multiple things that could be the reason for snoring. Observing patterns in your snoring is understandably difficult since you’re sleeping, but if you share the bed you may be able to get some help, and this will benefit the both of you. The sooner you are able to determine what the cause of the snoring is, the sooner you will be able to find a solution to snoring.
Nasal and Sinus: Something as small as a stuffy nose or anything blocking airways can lead to difficulty breathing and snoring.
Overweight or Out of Shape: Regardless of being clinically overweight or not, if you’re holding extra weight around the neck or throat, it can hinder breathing and lead to snoring.
Your Age: As you know, certain things come along with getting older. Your throat becomes more narrow once you reach middle age. Although you have no control over aging, there are certain exercises and lifestyle changes you can make to help keep snoring to a minimum. We’ll discuss some of these once we get to possible remedies.
Sleep Position: We discussed how different sleep positions can have different effects on how you sleep in our [previous blog] - WILL LINK. When someone sleeps on their back, it causes the back of your throat to relax which can lead to airway blockage.
Alcohol, Smoking, or Medicine: Alcohol consumption, smoking, and taking certain medicines can cause additional relaxation and produce snoring. For other health reasons as well, alcohol and smoking should be avoiding in general, but this is especially important before bed to limit snoring.
Your Build: Sometimes it’s just a matter of genetics. Men’s air passages tend to be narrower than that of women’s, and thus are more likely to snore. Other hereditary attributes that can contribute to snoring include a cleft palate, enlarged adenoids (more common in children), and other inherited traits. Unfortunately, most of these things are out of your control, but you may be able to correct snoring with healthy lifestyle changes.
What are Some Snoring Solutions?
Stop Smoking: For anyone who has tried to quit smoking, you know this isn’t an easy task, but smoking causes irritation in the membranes of the throat and nose, and that can lead to snoring.
Have a Routine: Set a bedtime ritual and stick with it. Getting to bed with a set schedule and specific patterns can help you get better sleep which may restrict snoring.
Open Nasal Passages: Clearing your sinuses with a Neti pot, nasal strips, or decongestant can make breathing easier, and help limit snoring. Additionally, dry air can cause irritation and swelling in nasal tissues, so a humidifier may be a good investment.
Change the Way You Sleep: As mentioned above, sleeping on your back may increase the likelihood of snoring. Although it is difficult to control our bodies once we’re in a slumber, sleeping on your side instead can be beneficial. It may sound odd, but you can try adhering a tennis ball to the back of your pajama top. When you roll over onto your back, the discomfort of lying on the tennis ball can help your body naturally adjust to sleeping on its side.
Throat Exercises: Even if you feel a little silly doing some of these, if they help with snoring, then they are worth it. These exercises will upper respiratory muscles stronger, and that can aid in your fight against snoring. You can find some helpful throat exercises by following this link.
Exercise and Weight Loss: Even cutting just a few pounds can make a difference in how much fatty tissue is in the throat. Exercise can help you lose those pounds, help build up muscle in arms, legs, and abs, and can help tone the muscles of your throat, which may reduce snoring.
- Say the vowels out loud a few times a day for about three minutes.
- Close your mouth, put your lips together and hold for 30 seconds.
- Open your mouth, shift jaw to the left and hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the right side of your mouth.
- Start with the tip of your tongue behind your top front teeth, and gradually slide it backwards. Do this for about 3 minutes per day.
Snoring can be more than simply a nuisance, it can lead to poor sleep, health issues, and it may cause an upset bedmate. These remedies will typically help with snoring issues, but if it’s something more serious like sleep apnea, it may be time to reach out to your doctor. If your snoring is due to a subpar mattress, we can definitely help you there. See if one of our mattresses might be the right sleep solution for you.