If you're wondering how to stop snoring – whether it's yourself or your partner making this infernal nocturnal noise – there are many things that can help.
We all know how important deep sleep is, so if snoring is an issue these tips will help you – or your loved ones – on that elusive quest for getting a good night's sleep. From natural remedies, to changing your sleep environment, to shop-bought devices, our experts will help you stop snoring so you can wake up refreshed and ready to face a new day.
"If we don’t get enough sleep this can not only affect our mood or energy levels but our physical health – lack of sleep can be associated with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease," says GP Dr Ellie Cannon. "And there's nothing more disturbing than lying down trying to sleep and all you can do is tune into your partner snoring next to you," she adds.
These lifestyle changes can be incredibly helpful in preventing or reducing snoring.
How to stop snoring remedies
1. Change your sleep position
If you need to know how to stop snoring – and quickly – knowing what sleeping position is best is one the simplest options you should try before you spend any of your hard-earned money.
Neil Wright, resident sleep and mattress expert at Beds Divans, told us "Your sleeping position can affect how you breathe throughout the night," says. "With this in mind, research suggests that laying on your side will help you reduce snoring the most."
"This is because the position stops any restriction to your airflow through your throat and nose by removing any pressure from your own body weight. However, in order to sleep comfortably in this position, most sleepers require additional pressure relief, especially around their shoulders and knees."
So, if you find this position works, but you're uncomfortable sleeping on your side, you may also want to change your mattress.
2. Change your mattress
This is one of the most expensive ways to stop snoring, but the right mattress can make a world of difference not only getting enough rest but to sleeping snore-free.
"The ideal mattress type for side sleepers is a memory foam mattress, as it offers comfort and alignment to provide even support to your body, which will help reduce snoring," says Neil.
Alternatively, Neil suggests a firmer hybrid mattress made with foam and spring layers. "As the foam contours to your shape for support, springs and coils help improve your body alignment, keeping your back and shoulders aligned to encourage your breathing passages to remain open and clear," he explains. "As a result, you should become more relaxed and this will limit snoring."
3. Avoid alcohol and sedatives
A glass or two of Cava may help you relax, but it doesn't do our snoring habits any favours. And sedatives can also cause problems.
Sonia Khan, senior pharmacist at Medicine Direct told us, "Many people snore after drinking a lot of alcohol or after taking sedatives. This is because these substances depress your central nervous system, which relaxes the tissue in the throat and contributes towards very loud snoring.
"For this reason, you should stop drinking alcohol in the few hours before you go to bed. If your doctor wishes to prescribe a sedative, you should tell them that you snore first."
4. Eat lightly before bed
Your grandmother was right – a heavy meal before you go to sleep is rarely a good idea.
Sleep specialist Jasmin Lee told us, "If you eat heavy meals too close to bedtime, it can upset your sleep quality in a few ways, such as acid reflux."
"Another potential side effect is that your throat muscles will relax as part of the digestion process, increasing your chances of snoring. Restricting yourself to a light evening meal will therefore limit your chances of snoring," she advises.
5. Remove allergens
If you suffer from allergies, such as pet dander or dust mites, these may cause snoring. Sadly, for some of us, that means no more co-sleeping with our furry friends.
"Minimising allergen exposure is a mildly roundabout way of getting snoring under control," says Jasmin. "Allergens can trigger the nasal congestion that affects how well a person breathes at night, which can determine whether or not they snore as they sleep.
Dr Jess, a functional medicine practitioner, told us, "A dust allergy can also be a cause of nocturnal night congestion so removing carpets from the bedroom and using anti-dust bedding can be helpful. Consider common food allergens like gluten and dairy, too."
If you suspect a food allergy, Dr Jess recommends completely removing gluten from your diet for three weeks to see if it settles, then dairy afterward.
6. Lose weight
Carrying excess weight can affect us day and night. While it takes time to lose weight, it can make nighttimes quieter.
Rob Davey, sleep expert at Snoozel Green's told us, "If you're able to shed a few pounds it will help to alleviate some of the pressure on the airways caused by bulky tissue. There are obviously a panoply of other health benefits from losing a bit of weight, but taking a few decibels off your snoring is a great incentive."
7. Try anti-snoring exercises
There are exercises for pretty much every part of our body, including the parts that are involved in the snoring process. "Exercises for the mouth, tongue, and throat can tone up the tissue, decreasing the soft tissue that can cause a blockage during sleep," says Jasmin. "Potential exercises include tongue curlers and cheek stretches." ENT surgeon Vik Veer shows us how:
Products to help stop snoring
These suggestions involve spending a little money but can be very effective.
8. Invest in an anti-snore pillow
Buying an anti-snore pillow is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can help to stop snoring.
Abbas Kanani, pharmacist at Chemist Click, told us, "'Lifting the head of the bed, or sleeping on more pillows can lower the chances of snoring by making it easier to breathe."
Raise the head of your bed; just a few inches will help to keep your head up and encourage your tongue to sit forward in your mouth, rather than sliding back in your throat.
We recommend: Silent Night's Luxury Quilted Anti-Snore Pillow - AMAZON | £17
9. Tape your mouth with medical tape
Using medical tape to stop snoring, might seem a little alarming at first, but it can work.
"Mouth breathing is a common cause of snoring and simply putting a small piece of micropore medical tape lightly across your lips as you sleep can stop your mouth from falling open," explains Dr Jess.
"Don't worry, it's not as scary as it sounds, the tape easily comes off if you do want to open your mouth! But there can be so many related benefits to this technique, including improved sleep, lower blood pressure, and a healthier immune system," she explains.
We recommend: Superdrug Microporous Tape - SUPERDRUG | £1.49
10. Use a nasal dilator...
"Although there are many reasons why someone may snore, finding the right solution will often involve freeing up the airways," says Dr Cannon, who suggests "a nasal dilator as it helps to reduce the severity of snoring by opening nasal passages."
Indeed, a clinical trial showed airflow increased by an average of 38% and a user trial showed 78% of users could breathe better at night when using a MUTE nasal dilator, for example.
We recommend: MUTE nasal dilators - RHINOMED | £16.99 for 3
11. ...Or nasal strips
Nasal strips work in a similar way to a nasal dilator and are a cheap, cheerful and drug-free way of preventing sleep noise.
"Placing nasal strips over the bridge of your nose can help your nostrils open up wider, allowing you to take in more air as you breathe," says Jasmin.
However, while nasal strips can be beneficial if you're experiencing short-term congestion, she doesn't recommend them as a long-term solution.
We recommend: Breathe Right Nasal Strips -LLOYDS PHARMACY | £5.99 for 10.
12. See if a mouthguard helps
Anti-microbial and self-fitting, the Echor Anti-Snoring Mouthguard is a registered MHRA Medical Device that helps to open the airways by encouraging the lower jaw to sit further forward during sleep.
This makes the airway up to 56% wider and a bigger airway, which equals less snoring.
We recommend: Echor Anti-Snoring Mouthguard - ECHOR | £19.99
13. Buy a humidifier
This nifty piece of equipment comes with numerous benefits.
It adds moisture to the air, which can help maintain the health of skin and hair, can reduce coughs and colds as well as airborne viruses and infections, and help to prevent snoring.
"A humidifier is helpful for people whose snoring is due to nasal congestion," says Jasmin. '"The added moisture in the air from a humidifier can dispel mucus for clearer sinuses."
Jasmine suggests that a humidifier is right for you if you consistently wake up with a dry throat.
We recommend: Pro Breeze Premium 3.5L Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier with its built-in aroma diffuser - AMAZON | £34.99
14. Use a saline rinse
Just as you would gargle with salt water to relieve a sore throat, so can salt be used as a potential snoring remedy.
Jasmin explains why, "A nasal rinse is not the most direct way to treat snoring, but it can reduce or eliminate nasal congestion behind many snoring cases.
"Research even suggests that nasal irrigation is more effective than steam treatments when it comes to clearing up congestion."
We recommend: Boots Saline Nasal Spray - BOOTS | £6.79 before bed.
15. See an osteopath
While an osteopath isn't a product, what they can be are miracle workers. Whether it's a bad back, migraines, or snoring, an osteopath's magic fingers can often do the trick.
Kemmy Gichaba, an osteopath and founder of Holistic Impact, told us, "Osteopathy can help by using structural or cranial techniques to help clear your upper respiratory tract.
"Your posture can affect snoring, so reducing the tension in the front and side of the neck muscles can help to reduce any restrictions from your upper neck that may be affecting your breathing," she explains. "Also, manipulating the upper neck and upper back to help improve forward head posture and the mobility of your jaw."
Kemmy also suggests improving the draining of your sinuses, or the build-up of mucus in your sinuses, to help you breathe better.
"Cranial osteopathy helps to improve the subtle movements of your cranial bones that build up your sinus walls to improve drainage, and reduce mucus build-up," she says.
We recommend: Finding an osteopath near you at Osteopathy.co.uk.
What causes snoring?
"Snoring is the sound that occurs when air flows past a relaxed tissue in your throat which then vibrates as the air passes it", explains psychologist and neuroscientist Dr Lindsay Browning, who is also a sleep expert for And So To Bed.
"Snoring is more likely when there is a partial blockage of the airway (i.e. the vibrating tissue). There are a number of causes, which could be temporary – such as when you have nasal congestion from a cold, allergy, or hayfever, or they could be more permanent such as the size of your tonsils or shape of your mouth and throat.
"When someone is overweight they're more likely to snore because the weight of their neck and throat will be greater and, as someone lies down to sleep, the extra weight from your skin and neck will close up your airway."
Why is snoring so loud?
If you're lucky, the snoring you hear will be gentle and almost relaxing. In reality, it's more likely to be loud – in some cases, very loud.
Why is it so loud?
"As air passes a vibrating tissue in your throat, the narrower the airway it passes through (the more blocked the airway), the more forceful the airflow will become, the more the tissue will vibrate and the louder the snoring will be," explains Dr Browning.
When should you see a doctor?
If all else fails, you may require medical intervention. This is especially true if you have suspected sleep apnoea, which can become a debilitating condition if it's not treated.
"If you know that you snore and that your snoring is broken by pauses and breathing during the night, then this is indicative of obstructive sleep apnoea," says Dr. Browning.
"Sleep apnoea is where your throat closes up during the night so much that the airway is completely blocked and air cannot flow. After a while of not breathing, your brain will realise and send a surge of adrenaline to wake you up in order for you to breathe again, then you will likely fall straight back to sleep. Often, people will fall back to sleep again so quickly that they won't realise they woke up at all, but their sleep quality will have been damaged by this disruption," she explains.
Dr Browning continues, "In sleep apnoea these awakenings can happen repeatedly through the night, causing you to have significantly disrupted sleep. Unless you have a bed partner to tell you that you stop breathing during the night you may be unaware that it's happening."
Other signs of sleep apnoea are that you may wake with a choking sensation or may feel chronically tired during the daytime, despite the fact that you thought you got sufficient sleep at night. If you suspect you may have sleep apnoea then it is very important to speak to a GP, because there are significant health implications if it's left untreated.
A doctor will be able to offer further options. There are devices such as CPAP machines, for example, that can ease snoring and sleep apnoea. Surgery is also a possibility, including an adenoidectomy or tonsillectomy to remove the adenoids or tonsils, palate surgery, or a somnoplasty to reduce soft tissue in the back of the throat.
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Debra Waters is an experienced online editor and parenting writer. She also has a strong background on health, wellbeing, beauty, and food. She currently writes for Goodto and Woman&Home, and print publications Woman, Woman’s Own, and Woman’s Weekly. Debra has written for What to Expect, Everyday Health, and Time Out. In addition, she has had articles published in The Telegraph and The Big Issue.
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