If you or your partner snores, don’t allow it get in the way of your relationship or your sleep. Find out how to have a better night’s sleep for yourself and your partner by identifying the root reasons of snoring and implementing the most effective solutions.
What is snoring?
Practically everyone has experienced snoring at some point in their lives, and it’s usually not a cause for alarm. Inability to breathe freely via the mouth, nose, and throat during sleep is the root cause of snoring. The result is a typical snoring sound, caused by vibrations in the surrounding tissues. Snoring is commonly associated with excessive throat and nasal tissue, or “floppy” tissue that is more prone to vibration. There are times when the tongue’s location makes it difficult to breathe normally.
Regular snoring at night can cause sleep disruption, which in turn can cause irritability, exhaustion, and other health issues during the day. In addition, if your snoring disrupts your partner’s sleep, it might lead to serious marital issues. Fortunately, there is more than one solution to snoring than simply sleeping in different bedrooms. When one spouse snores, it can disrupt sleep for both people in the relationship, but there are several effective remedies available to address this issue.
What causes snoring?
Since people snore for different reasons, it’s crucial to understand the causes of your snoring. Once you understand why you snore, you may find the perfect remedies to a calmer, deeper sleep—for both you and your partner.
Common reasons of snoring include:
As you approach middle age and beyond, your throat becomes narrower, and the muscle tone in your throat declines. While you can’t do anything about growing older, lifestyle modifications, new nighttime rituals, and throat exercises can all assist to reduce snoring.
Being overweight or out of shape.
Fatty tissue and inadequate muscular tone contribute to snoring. If you carry extra weight in your neck or throat, even if you aren’t overweight overall, you may find that you snore. Exercising and losing weight can sometimes be all it takes to halt your snoring.
The way you’re built.
Men have narrower air channels than women and are more likely to snore. A small neck, a cleft palate, swollen adenoids, and other anatomical features that contribute to snoring are typically genetic. Again, while you have little control over your build or gender, you can control your snoring with the correct lifestyle adjustments, nighttime habits, and throat workouts.
Nasal and sinus problems.
Blocked airways or a stuffy nose make inhalation difficult and produce a vacuum in the throat, leading to snoring.
Addictive substances, nicotine, and pharmaceuticals.
Relaxants including lorazepam (Ativan) and diazepam (Valium) as well as alcohol and tobacco use have been linked to increased muscular relaxation and snoring.
In a comfortable sleeping position.
When you sleep on your back, your airway becomes blocked because the muscles in your throat relax. You may find that switching to a new sleeping position is beneficial.
Ruling out more serious causes
When you snore, it may be a sign of sleep apnea, a hazardous condition in which you stop breathing for small periods of time repeatedly throughout the night. If you suffer from extreme exhaustion and sleepiness throughout the day, it may be an indicator of sleep apnea or another sleep-related breathing disorder, even if normal snoring doesn’t interfere with the quality of your sleep as much as sleep apnea does. If you or your bed partner observe any of the following warning signs, it’s time to make that phone call to the doctor.
- You are a heavy snorer who has daytime fatigue.
- You stop breathing, gasp, or choke during sleep.
- You nod off at the most inopportune moments, like in the middle of a discussion or a meal.
Linking the cause of your snoring to the cure
Keeping track of your snoring for patterns will help you figure out what triggers it, what makes it worse, and how to put an end to it. Keeping a sleep diary might be useful in determining patterns (or use a sleep tracking app). If you share a bed with someone, they can fill it in for you. Put a camera in your bedroom if you sleep alone.
|HOW you snore reveals WHY you snore|
|Type of snoring||What it may indicate|
|Closed-mouth snoring||May indicate a problem with your tongue|
|Open-mouth snoring||May be related to the tissues in your throat|
|Snoring when sleeping on your back||Probably mild snoring—improved
sleep habits and lifestyle changes may be effective cures
|Snoring in all sleep positions||Can mean your snoring is more severe and may require a more comprehensive treatment|
What causes obstructed air flow?
One major contributing factor is an increase in body fat. Fat around the neck might restrict breathing if a person’s weight is too high. Overweight manifests itself not only externally but also within. On the interior, it is concealed as well, including the breathing passage. When lying flat, not only does the tongue slip back into the throat, but these two factors alone produce constriction. The airflow is also impeded by this. Then, when we take a breath, the passage of the air is impeded by all the additional tissue. The vibration of the tissue, caused by the passage of air, is what we hear as snoring.
Snoring can be a symptom of an allergy, which is a typical trigger. When congestion in the nose is really bad, breathing might become difficult. Antihistamines are another cause of snoring, therefore allergy sufferers who take them may not get any relief from the problem. They prevent airflow by relaxing the muscles of the tongue, throat, and rear of the mouth.
The airway can get blocked because these muscles relax when under the influence of alcohol or sedatives.
Sometimes, the issue can lie in the body itself. Defects in the structure of the nose, such as a deviated septum or swollen tonsils, are examples. A fractured nose is another possible trigger.
Why is snoring bad for you?
Although sleep apnea is not necessarily life-threatening, it can be a sign of a more serious problem if you snore frequently. Sleep apnea is characterized by periodic, sometimes minute-long, failures to breathe due to a blockage during sleep. These pauses in breathing deprive the body of oxygen, which can have catastrophic consequences. Snoring loudly and frequently is a symptom, as is daytime sleepiness. Sleep apnea is often found by a partner rather than the affected individual. If you or your partner are concerned that you may be suffering from sleep apnea, you may take a quick online test to determine your likelihood of having the condition. A sleep study is used to make the diagnosis since it can detect respiratory problems while the patient is asleep. Sleep apnea can be treated with a CPAP machine, weight loss, or surgery to correct what is blocking the airway.
Self-help tips to stop snoring
Finding the correct cure for your snoring can seem like a daunting endeavor due to the abundance of weird anti-snoring equipment on the market today, and more are being added all the time. Many of these gadgets, alas, lack scientific support or accomplish their goals by keeping you up all night. The good news is that there are many tried-and-true methods available for dealing with snoring. However, not every method works for everyone, so it may take time, effort, and a willingness to try new things to finally put an end to your snoring.
Bedtime remedies to help you stop snoring
Flip over and try a new sleeping posture. If you raise your head four inches, it forces your tongue and jaw to shift forward, which may improve your breathing. Using a pillow that keeps your neck from collapsing can help you sleep without snoring.
Don’t sleep on your back, but rather on your side.
Put a tennis ball in the back of your pajamas or T-shirt and see if it helps (you can sew a sock to the back of your top then put a tennis ball inside). In order to avoid the pain of the tennis ball, roll back onto your side if you find yourself on your back. You can also try putting a pillow full of tennis balls behind your back and squeezing it. You can ditch the tennis balls if you’ve made sleeping on your side a regular habit.
Give a mouthpiece designed to stop snoring a try.
These appliances, which look like a mouth guard worn by athletes, are designed to move your lower jaw and/or tongue forward as you sleep in order to improve your airflow. When compared to the cost of a custom-made dental appliance, the option to purchase a do-it-yourself kit is a more cost-effective option.
Get rid of stuffy nose.
A saline sinus treatment before night might help clear stuffy noses. You can also get better airflow while you sleep by using a neti pot, a nasal decongestant, or nasal strips. Eliminate or significantly minimize dust mites and pet dander in the bedroom if you suffer from allergies.
Moisten the air in your bedroom.
If nasal swelling is the result of dry air irritating nasal membranes, a humidifier could provide relief.
Lifestyle changes to help you stop snoring
Lose weight. Losing even a modest bit of weight can reduce fatty tissue at the back of the neck and diminish, or even halt, snoring.
It’s time to give up cigarettes.
If you smoke, you probably snore. Snoring can be caused by smoking because it irritates the membranes of the nose and throat. While quitting is easier said than done, it might deliver fast snoring relief.
Avoid alcoholic beverages, sleeping drugs, and sedatives if you want to keep your neck muscles from relaxing and your airway open. You should also discuss with your doctor the possibility that any prescribed medications you take may be contributing to your snoring.
Make sure you don’t eat anything too heavy right before bed.
Research reveals that eating large meals or ingesting particular foods such as dairy or soymilk soon before bedtime can make snoring worse.
Exercise in general can reduce snoring, even if it doesn’t lead to weight loss. That’s because as you tone various muscles in your body, such as your arms, legs, and abs, this leads to toning the muscles in your neck, which in turn can lead to reduced snoring. There are also specialized exercises you may do to strengthen the muscles in your throat.
Six anti-snoring throat exercises
According to research, snoring can be reduced by strengthening the muscles in the upper respiratory tract, which can be accomplished by speaking certain vowel sounds and curling the tongue in specific ways. Some helpful physical activity is included below.
- Practice pronouncing each vowel (a, e, I o, u) for three minutes, several times a day.
- The tongue’s tip should be positioned behind the upper front teeth. Every day, spend three minutes sliding your tongue backwards.
- Put your lips together and don’t say a word. Wait here for 30 seconds.
- Make a rightward shift with your jaw while your mouth is open and hold for 30 seconds. Left side, same as right.
- While keeping your lips open, continuously contract the muscle at the back of your throat for 30 seconds. It is possible to observe the uvula (“the hanging ball”) as it rises and falls by only glancing in the mirror.
- Spending time singing is a great way to get some exercise and have fun at the same time. Singing has been shown to strengthen the muscles of the throat and soft palate, making it easier to breathe and less likely to snore as a result of relaxed throat and soft palate muscles.
Medical treatment for snoring
Self-help remedies for snoring may not work for everyone, but you shouldn’t give up. Medical interventions exist that might make a huge effect. Technology to treat snoring is always improving, and as a result, snoring aids are becoming more effective and user-friendly.
Consult your family doctor or an otolaryngologist if you’re having trouble hearing or swallowing (ear, nose, and throat doctor or ENT). Even if something they suggest has caused you discomfort or failed to yield desired results in the past, that is no guarantee that the outcome will be the same this time around.
Medical cures for snoring
Your doctor might prescribe medication or suggest surgery for conditions like:
Cpap, or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
A machine by your bedside will push pressured air into a mask you wear over your nose and/or face to keep your airway open while you sleep.
For the procedure known as laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP), small incisions are made in the soft palate on either side of the mouth and the uvula (the hanging soft tissue at the back of the throat) is shortened with the laser. Scar tissue forms as cuts heal, stiffening to dampen vibrations that set off snoring.
Palate implants, also known as the Pillar technique, entail placing small plastic implants into the soft palate to prevent the collapse of the soft palate, a common cause of snoring.
Tissues of the uvula and soft palate that vibrate during snoring are removed during a somnoplasty procedure using low amounts of radiofrequency heat. It takes roughly 30 minutes to complete the treatment and is done under local anaesthetic.
Dentist-fitted oral appliances and lower jaw positioners can be used to expand the airway by bringing the tongue and lower jaw forward during sleeping. If you want optimal results, you should consult a dentist that focuses in these appliances.
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), thermal ablation palatoplasty (TAP), tonsillectomy, and adenoidectomy are examples of surgical procedures that enlarge the airway by removing tissue or correcting defects.
Snoring and your relationship
Relationship pressure is inevitable if snoring occurs, no matter how much you love each other. To feel resentful is natural if you are the one who must lie awake while your mate snores. And if you’re the one who snores, you could feel like your partner is nitpicking over something you have no power to change.
Some of the ways in which snoring can cause friction in a relationship are as follows:
People are sleeping in different rooms.
Although this may help some couples, it has the potential to diminish their emotional and physical closeness. If you’re the one who’s being punished for someone else’s snoring, you may feel alone, ashamed, and victimized.
Sleep deprivation-induced irritability.
People who don’t snore can have trouble sleeping, too. The poor sleep quality experienced by a snorer is directly related to the underlying cause of snoring: breathing disorders. Poor sleep has a toll on mood, thinking abilities, judgment, and your capacity to manage stress and conflict. This may help explain why it’s so difficult to have productive conversations about issues with your relationship.
When the non-snorer takes measures (earplugs, sound machines, etc.) to alleviate the noise but the snorer does nothing, the non-snorer may get resentful.
If you care about your partner, finding a solution to their snoring should be a top priority. Working together as a team to reduce snoring can even be an opportunity to increase the quality of your bond and become more deeply linked.
Communicating with a partner who snores
Basically, your significant other is perfect in every way except for one: they snore. This is really typical. Without adequate rest, even the most patient of us would snap. However, it’s crucial to approach the snoring problem delicately, no matter how much sleep you lose. It’s normal to feel irritable if you’re having trouble sleeping, but you should attempt to keep your cool. It’s your snoring that needs to be addressed, not your bed partner’s. Keep in mind that your significant other is probably feeling exposed, defensive, and maybe even a little ashamed by their snoring.
Carefully consider when to speak.
Discussions in the wee hours of the morning or the dead of night should be avoided.
Just know that it wasn’t meant to be that way.
Remember that your partner isn’t intentionally keeping you up, even if it’s easy to feel like a victim when you lose sleep.
Never resort to personal attacks.
Although sleep deprivation is frustrating and potentially harmful to your health, it’s important to handle the issue without raising any unnecessary tension.
It’s dangerous to harbor resentment.
Be wary of using your fixation on your partner’s snoring as an excuse to vent your own pent-up anger.
Bring up the issue of snoring in a lighthearted and playful manner so as not to damage your partner’s feelings.
tension can be reduced by laughter. Make sure there isn’t too much teasing, though.
Dealing with complaints about your snoring
When a partner complains about your snoring, it’s natural to be taken aback and even hurt. After all, it’s highly likely that you were oblivious to the process. While the idea that snoring could disrupt a relationship seems absurd, it is nevertheless quite common.
If you ignore your partner’s complaints about your snoring and make no effort to find a solution, you’re conveying the impression that their needs aren’t important to you. If your relationship is in turmoil, the snoring is probably the least of your worries.
While you and your spouse are trying to figure out how to stop your snoring, keep the following in mind:
Snoring is an actual medical problem.
You should not feel ashamed. Your ability to heal is in your hands, just as it would be with a torn muscle or the common cold.
Do not take anything somebody says about you personally.
Don’t view your partner’s anger as a personal reflection on you. Your significant other loves you, but the snoring is a deal breaker.
Don’t take your partner for granted.
Do not dismiss customer concerns. Sleep deprivation is dangerous to your health and might leave your partner feeling down and out all day long.
You should make it clear that the relationship is your top priority. If you and your partner are on the same page about the need of finding a solution for your snoring, you’ll be more likely to work together to do it.
Deal with bad behavior.
Let your partner know that it’s not okay for them to throw an elbow or snap at you when you’re snoring, even though sleep deprivation can cause moodiness and irritability.
When Should You Speak With a Doctor About Snoring?
Snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, which can be dangerous to the health of the snorer. See a doctor if you snore and exhibit any of the following other symptoms of OSA:
- Periods of shallow breathing followed by gasping or choking noises when sleeping.
- Having frequent nighttime awakenings.
- Drowsiness during the day.
- Pain first thing in the morning.
Most people with sleep apnea don’t realize they snore until their bed partner or roommate brings it to their attention. If your snoring is disturbing your partner’s sleep, it may be good to discuss treatment options with your doctor.