Reviewed by: Dr. Qanissa Afianti Razzqy Published: Apr 14, 2021 Updated: Apr 14, 2021
If you’re still snoring in your sleep, it’s time to learn some quick fixes to stop snoring and get better sleep quality.
Snoring is a rough, rattling, inspiratory noise produced by the vibration of the pendulous palate, or sometimes of the vocal folds, during sleep or coma. Snoring doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a medical condition, but it can sometimes be a sign of a serious sleep disorder.
Snoring is common – 45% of people snore sometimes, and 25% snore almost all the time. Men tend to snore more often than women. Snoring is the result of the relaxation of the uvula and soft palate, then they partial-blockage the airway which results in irregular airflow and vibrations.
What Causes Snoring
Since people snore for different reasons, it’s important to understand the causes behind your snoring. Once you understand why you snore, you can find the right solutions to a quieter, deeper sleep – for both you and your partner.
Common causes of snoring include:
- Nasal and sinus problems
- Later stages of pregnancy
- Irregularly shaped bones in the face
- Swelling of the tonsils and adenoids
- Alcohol consumption
- Antihistamine or sleeping pill use
- Large base of the tongue or unusually large tongue and small mouth
- Congestion from allergies or a cold
- Swollen areas inside the mouth (including the uvula and soft palate)
Symptoms of Snoring
The primary symptom of snoring is unmistakable – the often loud, harsh or hoarse noises that you make while you are asleep. Other symptoms may include waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth.
Here are some common symptoms of snoring:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Recent weight gain
- Awakening in the morning not feeling rested
- Awaking at night feeling confused
- Change in your level of attention, concentration, or memory
- Observed pauses in breathing during sleep
How you snore may also indicate different issues, for example:
|How You Snore||What it May Indicate|
|Close mouth snoring||Issues with your tongue|
|Open mouth snoring||Enlarging or collapsing of the soft tissues in your throat while sleeping, causing airway obstruction|
|Snoring while sleeping on your back||Commonly caused due to lifestyle (i.e., weight increase, alcohol consumption or smoking)|
|Snoring in all sleep positions||Severe snoring, signalling serious airway obstruction issues and requires immediate and comprehensive treatment|
Snoring Can Lead to Sleep Apnea
Snoring could indicate sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder where your breathing is briefly interrupted many times each night. Normal snoring doesn’t interfere with the quality of your sleep as much as sleep apnea, so if you’re suffering from extreme fatigue and sleepiness during the day, it could be an indication of sleep apnea or another sleep-related breathing problem.
Call your doctor if you or your sleep partner have noticed any of the following red flags:
- You snore loudly and heavily and are tired during the day.
- You stop breathing, gasp, or choke during sleep.
- You fall asleep at inappropriate times, such as during a conversation or a meal.
How to Stop Snoring Naturally
(you need to know your underlying causes of snoring first before choose the treatment strategy)
1. Change your lifestyle to stop snoring
Avoid alcohol before going to bed. Alcohol makes your muscles relax more than usual during a normal night’s sleep. This may encourage the back of your throat to collapse as you breathe, which causes snoring.
Quit or cut down on smoking. Cigarette smoke irritates the lining of your nose and throat, causing swelling and catarrh. This means airflow is decreased and you’re more likely to snore.
2. Change your sleeping position
Try to sleep on your side rather than your back. While sleeping on your back, your tongue, chin and any excess fatty tissue under your chin can relax and squash your airway. Sleeping on your side prevents this. Try taping a tennis ball to the back of your sleepwear, or buy a special pillow or bed wedge to help keep you on your side.
3. Keep your nose clear
Keep your nose clear, so that you breathe in through your nose rather than your mouth. If an allergy is blocking your nose, try antihistamine tablets or a nasal spray. Ask your pharmacist for advice, or see your GP, if you’re affected by an allergy or any other condition that affects your nose or breathing.
4. Use an anti snoring devices
There are a range of stop-snoring treatments and devices on sale. These include nasal strips, which open the nostrils wider, throat sprays and devices known as mandibular advancement devices (MAD), which reposition the jaw to improve airflow.
For more severe cases of snoring, you can also try using a CPAP device. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. A CPAP device that can help you breathe easily in their sleep. It uses a hose and mask to deliver constant and steady air pressure, and prevents your airway from collapsing when you inhale. And hence it’s one of the most effective ways to stop snoring.
5. Perform mouth and throat exercises
A study done by Vanessa Ieto of the Sleep Laboratory of the University of São Paulo in Brazil and her associates showed that mouth and throat exercises helped to reduce snoring. The results indicated that 8 minutes of oropharyngeal exercises performed 3 times a day for 3 months significantly reduced snoring.
The study showed a decrease in frequency of loud snoring by 36% and the total power of snoring by 59% after 3 months of exercising. Here are the exercises:
- Push tip of tongue against hard palate and slide tongue backward (20 times).
- Suck entire tongue up against palate (20 times).
- Force back of tongue against floor of mouth while touching tip of tongue to bottom incisors (20 times).
- Elevation soft palate and uvula while intermittently saying “A” (20 times).
- Place finger in mouth while pressing buccinator muscle outward (10 times per side).
- Chew and deglutinate on both sides of mouth whenever eating.
For a more detailed guide on mouth and throat exercises to cure your snoring problems, read this guide devised by the Sleep Foundation.
How to Stop Snoring Permanently
1. Use medication
It can’t treat the symptoms of snoring but will treat the underlying causes. You’ll need to consult a doctor if you’d like to try the route of using medication to treat your snoring problem.
There are several surgical procedures focused on increasing the pharyngeal airways, which in turn reduces snoring and treats sleep apnea, for example: Tracheostomy, Soft-palate-implants and Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty.
Another surgical treatment to treat snoring is called somnoplasty. It is a unique surgical method for reducing habitual snoring by removing or stiffening tissues of the uvula and soft palate. Unlike other approaches (such as the laser), somnoplasty uses very low levels of radiofrequency heat energy to create finely controlled localized burn-areas beneath the lining (mucosa) of the soft tissues of the soft palate.
These burn areas are eventually resorbed by the body, shrinking the tissue volume and stiffening the tissues, thereby reducing symptoms of snoring. Somnoplasty is performed under local anaesthesia in an outpatient setting and takes approximately 30 minutes.
If you have persistent problems with snoring or suspect you or your loved one may have sleep apnea, consult a doctor immediately. Smarter Health helps patients connect with the right specialists anytime, anywhere. Register your interest and state the problem you’d like to be addressed on Smarter Health and our team will get back to you as soon as possible.