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How to Stop Snoring at Night

Updated on August 6, 2019
Sam Shepards profile image

I'm Sam. I enjoy writing about sleep and mental health-related topics as well as ways to prevent stress and to relax.

One of the most common questions concerning sleep problems is about stopping snoring. If you’ve realized that you snore, your first thought is probably “How can I stop snoring?” Snoring can interrupt your sleep, disrupt your partner, and have detrimental consequences for your health. Luckily, there are many ways to stop snoring. Different techniques work for different people, depending on the cause and severity of your snoring.

If one method doesn’t work for you, don’t give up; the next one you try might cure your snoring. It’s important that you take action to address your snoring. If you can stop snoring at night, you’ll have better sleep, better health, and a better relationship with your partner. It’s one of the best things you can do for yourself. The following article will summarize all the different ways you can stop snoring.

What Causes Snoring at Night?

Snoring is a widespread problem that affects about 45% of men and 33% of women. It can negatively impact your sleep and disturb your partner. If you or your partner snores, you’re probably anxious to find a solution and get back to sleeping soundly.

The first step to curing snoring is to understand what causes snoring. The truth is that there are many causes of snoring. Some long-term causes make it likely that you’ll snore every night. Other factors can cause snoring for just a night or two, or they can worsen habitual snoring.

You’ll find an overview of the different causes of snoring in adults based on the list from the mayoclinic.org. Take a look through and see which seem to apply to you. This can help you to determine what your next step should be so that you can stop snoring.

Fundamentals on the Causes of Snoring

In essence, snoring occurs when air movement through your airways is obstructed. This causes your respiratory structures to vibrate, creating the aggravating sound. Although snoring can occur while you’re breathing through either your mouth or your nose, it most commonly occurs when the nasal air passage is narrowed, causing the airflow to make tissues within the nasal cavity vibrate.

There are a number of causes that can result in your nasal air passage becoming obstructed. Some of these are long-term, health-related issues that can lead to snoring every night. Others, such as colds or even what you had to drink, can make you snore for just one night or a few nights at a time. We’ll start by going through the long-term factors and then move into the short-term snoring causes.

Anatomy of the Soft Palate and Uvula

The soft palate is the soft tissue along the back of the roof of your mouth. The uvula is the piece of tissue that hands down from the palate at the back of your throat. The palate and uvula extend back past your mouth into the oral cavity. In long-term snorers, the soft palate is the most common culprit for blocking airflow and causing snoring.

Channel Air During Breathing

During the day, the soft palate helps to channel air through the pharynx and towards the lungs. When you’re asleep, the soft palate (along with other muscles in your body) relaxes, which can cause it to obstruct airflow. This largely depends on your individual mouth anatomy.

Elongated Soft Palate

Some people have an elongated soft palate or uvula, which makes them more likely to block the airflow. Some people who are overweight may also have extra tissue in the back of their throat. This, together with the soft palate, can narrow the airway and cause snoring.

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Your Jaw and Nose Impact Snoring Problems

The structure of other facial features can also make you more likely to snore. If you have a deviated nasal septum (the partition between your nostrils), the air you breathe in is going to be partially obstructed, which can cause snoring. A mispositioned jaw can also obstruct your airways and lead to vibrations. If you have trouble getting rid of snoring, it may be at least in part because of your facial anatomy.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea Relation

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes you to have periods of shallow breathing or breaks in your breathing while sleeping. In people with sleep apnea, the throat tissues partially block the airway, which is what stops you from breathing normally. This also causes snoring.

People with sleep apnea will often alternate between snoring loudly and breathing shallowly, rather than snoring continuously. If you have sleep apnea, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor and discuss a comprehensive sleep treatment that will also address your snoring.

In addition to the previous long-term causes of snoring, there are a number of short-term causes that can make you snore. If you are already prone to snoring, these may make your snoring worse. If you don’t usually snore, you may find that these factors cause you to snore on particular nights. If you consider the health risks of sleep apnea then knowing how to stop snoring at night could prove vital for your overall quality of life.

Alcohol Consumption and Sleep Issues

One of the main causes of temporary snoring is alcohol consumption. If you drink too much alcohol close to going to bed, the alcohol can cause your mouth and throat muscles to relax. This can lead your soft palate and uvula to obstruct your airway, causing snoring.

If you think alcohol may be the cause of your snoring, try to cut down on how much you drink and avoid drinking too close to bedtime. Too much alcohol, in general, is not good for your night's rest. Your sleep will often be shallow, your body will be dehydrated and some people will wake up more often to pee, breaking their sleep cycle multiple times.

Medication and Snoring

Like alcohol, some kinds of medication can cause your muscles to relax more when you sleep. You can check the side effects of your medicine or ask your doctor if any of your medications may be causing you to snore. If you’re about to start taking a medication that may induce snoring, you might want to consider looking into snoring prevention methods.

Some people who are on sleep medication or anti-depressants also create a habit of snacking in the night. Late night snacking can lead to sugar spikes, uneven sleep patterns and create weight problems which also have negative effects like a greater risk of sleep apnea.

Colds and Allergies

Colds are another very common cause for temporary snoring. Colds do a number of things to worsen or cause snoring. The nose is full of passages called nasal turbinates, which regulate air flow through the nose by either swelling or contracting.

A number of factors, however, can cause the turbinates to expand for longer than normal, constricting airflow more than they should. Colds, allergies, nasal congestion, and even cold air can all cause this to happen. This is why when you have a stuffy nose, you have trouble breathing properly. The constricted airways also lead to the vibrations of snoring.

In addition, colds and other nasal congestion often cause people to breathe through their mouths. Unfortunately, breathing through the mouth leads to louder vibrations in the nasal tissues and more extreme snoring.

These are the most common causes of snoring. A few other factors, such as aging and sleeping on your back, can also worsen snoring. Now that you understand what causes snoring, you can do your best to avoid snoring causes, or take action to stop snoring.

Natural Anti-Snoring Solutions

If you prefer natural solutions, there are a number of natural remedies you can use to stop snoring at night. You can use tongue exercises to strengthen your tongue muscle. This will prevent it from relaxing as much as night and can stop it from blocking the flow of air. If the problem is in your nasal passages, you can use a hot shower, a bowl of boiling water, or a neti pot to clear out your nasal passages before bed.

You can also find a number of snoring solutions in your kitchen. A spoonful or two of olive oil can help to shrink the tissues in your throat, opening up your airway, as olive oil has anti-inflammatory properties. You can also try gargling with sage or peppermint oil. These are both anti-inflammatory agents and will help to bring down any swelling in your nose or throat. Check out these natural remedies for snoring.

Devices to Help Stop Snoring

If adjusting your habits and natural remedies aren’t working for you, you may want to try a device meant to stop snoring. Luckily, there are many stop snoring products on the market. If your nasal passages tend to be blocked, you can try nasal trips or nasal dilators. Nasal strips are small adhesive strips you place over the bridge of your nose. They pull your nasal passages open, allowing air to flow more fully. Nasal dilators are small rubber pieces resembling thimbles that you insert into your nostrils. They keep your nostrils open while you sleep, so the air coming into your nose won’t be blocked.

There are also a number of devices that address problems in your mouth and throat. There are a number of different kinds of anti-snoring mouthpieces. The most common kind, called a mandibular repositioning splint, gently pulls your jaw forward and represses your tongue, helping to keep your soft palate and tongue from collapsing backwards. This will prevent obstructions in your throat and keep your airway open.

If your problem is that you breathe through your mouth at night, you can try a vestibular shield. A vestibular shield is another kind of mouthpiece that blocks air coming into your mouth, forcing you to breathe through your nose instead. For many light snorers, this is enough to stop snoring.

If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, a more serious underlying medical problem, you’ll want to speak to your doctor about a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP). A CPAP provides a steady flow of air pressure, which keeps the airway open. This prevents both pauses in your breathing and the vibrations of snoring.

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Surgery to Stop Snoring

If none of these treatments work for you and snoring is having a serious impact on your life, you may want to consider surgery as a way to stop snoring. There are a number of surgical options, depending on what is causing your individual snoring. A surgeon may remove excess tissue from the throat, which will widen your airway. As part of this surgery, they may remove the tonsils and adenoids.

Alternatively, a surgeon may implant plastic into the soft palate, which will keep it stiffer and prevent it from collapsing backwards. If the problem is in your nose (such as a deviated septum), you may want to get surgery to correct a deviated septum or to remove nasal polyps. Remember that surgery is usually considered to be a last option, so you should try non-surgical methods thoroughly before considering it.

Final Remarks on How to Stop Snoring

None of these ways to stop snoring are guaranteed to entirely cure your snoring. However, all of them have been proven to help many people stop snoring. At the very least, they should help to alleviate your snoring and make it less disruptive. If you take the time to evaluate your snoring and its causes and to research any products you buy, you should find snoring solutions that work effectively for you.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2016 Sam Shepards

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    • Sam Shepards profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Shepards 

      7 months ago from Europe

      Hi,

      Well the number one thing that causes snoring or sleep apnea in people I know has been weight issues, lack of exercise and drinking (alcoholism) combined with aging. The question is if the aging was a problem itself or that their lifestyle deteriorated with age, gaining weight etc.

      The results I have seen seem to point at lifestyle/ weight problems topping the list of causes.

      The people stopped their serious snoring issues or worse all did so by changing their diets and losing weight + some moderate exercise. No all out diets, just a change of lifestyle.

      Most other solutions that are non surgical are temporary at best. Using all kinds of devices to stop snoring is also a drag.

      Another thing I would like to point out is that partners of heavy snorers have trouble sleeping, because of the sound or get stressed out because of it, there is no shame in sleeping seperate. Your relationship will benefit from good nights of sleep.

    • primpo profile image

      Primpo 

      23 months ago from Brooklyn, New York

      nothing works. tried zyppah, tried chin strap, will exercise more but ....help!!!! will not use Cpac

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