This article on how to stop snoring was written by Brittany Hambleton, co-founder of The Taste Archives along with her twin sister.
We all know people like this – the husband and wife who have to sleep in separate rooms because one of them snores too loudly, the uncle who keeps the whole family up during a cottage weekend with his thunderous breathing, or the roommate who needed to request a single room after a week of lying awake all night listening to a symphony from across the room. Or maybe you are the one who dreads group cottage weekends, sleepovers, and camping trips for fear of disturbing everyone around you with your snoring.
While completely unintentional, it is an unfortunate reality that snoring is loud and disruptive. Snoring can also have a negative impact on the health of everyone subjected to it. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, 45% of adults snore at least occasionally and 25% are habitual snorers.(1) The problem only worsens with age: Up to 40% of middle-aged people identify as being regular snorers.(2)
What is Snoring?
Your upper airway is made up of three parts: your mouth, your nose, and the back of your throat. (3) When you sleep, the muscles in your throat relax, your tongue falls back, and your throat becomes narrower. (4) The characteristic snoring sound is produced when the tissues on the walls if your throat vibrate as you breathe. The narrower your throat, the stronger the vibrations, and the louder the snore. (4)
Why do some people snore more than others?
There are several factors that could cause someone to snore more. As you age, your throat naturally relaxes, which is why older adults tend to have more snoring problems than younger adults (5). There are also many anatomical and functional abnormalities that can lead to greater throat-narrowing and snoring, like enlarged tonsils and adenoids, nasal polyps or a deviated nasal septum, or inflammation of the nose or throat – a common problem during allergy season (5). Alcohol may also lead to snoring, as it is a muscle relaxant. Obesity may also contribute to snoring by building up fat around the neck (5).
Are There Health Implications Of Snoring?
The biggest problem associated with habitual snoring is – you guessed it – sleep deprivation. This is an issue for both the snorer and his/her sleeping partner, since the snorer, despite being oblivious to his/her own noise, must exert extra effort to breathe and therefore compromises the quality of his/her own deep and restorative sleep (6). Excessive daytime sleepiness, headaches, weight gain, and difficulty with memory and concentration are all symptoms commonly associated with snoring (or having a partner who snores).(2)
The Relationship Killer
Another potential side effect of chronic snoring is the negative impact it can have on your love life or relationship. Snorers and their partners rarely get the amount of sleep they need each night, which can lead to irritability (more fighting!) and even decreased libido (6). Snoring is not exactly sexy either, and the psychological impact of appearing unattractive to your significant other may be enough to drive a wedge between you two.(6)
At-Home Snoring Remedies: Tone up to quiet down
Snoring is a difficult and frustrating problem to solve, with many over-the-counter solutions claiming to be the cure. More and more specialists, however, are telling their patients not to waste money on these largely ineffective treatments, and instead insist on exercise.
As previously mentioned, the primary cause of snoring, particularly as you age, is the slackening of the throat muscles while sleeping. New research suggests that strengthening these muscles, just as one might strengthen one’s arms or legs at the gym, may drastically reduce or even stop snoring completely (6). One study has even found that classic singing exercises and warmups can significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of patients’ snoring (7).
Here are nine exercises you can try to stop snoring, as recommended in the book, “Stop Snoring The Easy Way: And The Real Reasons You Need To,” by Dr Mike Dilkes and Alexander Adams (6):
Stick your tongue out straight as far as it will go. Try to touch the tip of your tongue to the end of your nose, and then your chin. Then move it to touch your left cheek, and then your right cheek. Repeat these four movements quickly ten times.
Bend your tongue backward in your mouth, in the direction of your throat, so that it curls over towards the soft palate. Stretch it as far back as it will go, then bring it forward to touch the back of the upper teeth. Repeat quickly 15 times.
Grip the tip of your tongue gently between your front teeth. Make a humming sound, starting deep and then increasing in frequency until it is as high-pitched as you can make it. Repeat ten times.
Open your mouth as widely as you can and say ‘ahhhhhhhh’ for 20 seconds. Repeat once.
With your mouth closed, breathe in sharply through the nose. You may snort a bit. Do this rapidly in four sets of five repetitions, with a five-second break between each set.
- Deep sniffs
With your tongue sticking out as far as it will go, take long, deep nasal breaths. Repeat 20 times.
Swallow ten times non-stop with your mouth closed, as forcefully as you can.
With your tongue poking out as far as it will go, take a deep breath in and make a high pitched noise, like air-gargling. Continue for 30 seconds.
Swallow very slowly in a controlled manner so that the process takes five seconds to complete. Hold as much pressure as possible in the throat throughout. Repeat five times. (6)
These exercises should be performed for about 5 minutes each day until your snoring is reduced to a manageable level, after which they can be done a few times each week to maintain the tone in your throat muscles.
Other Natural Ways to Stop Snoring
In addition to your daily throat exercises, there are a few other things you can do to help stop snoring as much as you can.
One study has suggested that gargling or spraying essential oils down your throat may drastically reduce snoring (8). The oils used in this study were Mentha Arvensis (corn mint), Mentha Piperita (peppermint), Citrus Limonum (lemon), Eugenia Caryophyllus (cloves), Melissa Officinalis (lemon balm), Pinus Mugo var. Pumilio (Swiss mountain pine), Foeniculum Vulgare (fennel), Salvia Officinalis (evergreen), Thymus Serpyllum (thyme), Cymbopogon Vinterianus (a type of citronella), Eucalyptus Glo-bulus (eucalyptus), PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil (often used in cosmetics as an emulsifier), Lavandula Angustifolia (lavender), Pistacia Lentiscus (a shrub used for its aromatic resin), Pinus Sylvestris (scots pine) and Oil of Mastic.
Some anecdotal evidence has shown that thyme, marjoram, and eucalyptus oils may also help relieve congestion and snoring (11).
Let’s get one thing straight – snoring is not a problem specific to overweight people. However, if your snoring started or worsened after putting on a few pounds, you may want to consider weight loss as a possible solution. Since excess weight around the neck can constrict the throat when you’re asleep, overweight people are more likely to develop a snoring problem (9).
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
If you like to have a few drinks in the evening but also have a snoring problem, you may want to set the glass down. Alcohol can cause the muscles in your throat to relax and lead to snoring or make your snoring worse (10). This is the case, not only for drinks consumed before bed but also for those consumed throughout the day.
So if your good night’s sleep is being interrupted by snoring, we encourage you to try the above methods to stop snoring as much as possible. But you should, of course, talk to your doctor first to find the best solution for you.
Sweet (and quiet) dreams!
- C. (2017, April 04). Snoring and Sleep Apnea. Retrieved October 23, 2017, from http://www.entnet.org/content/snoring-and-sleep-apnea
- Sleep Research & Education. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2017, from https://sleepfoundation.org/
- What Causes Snoring? (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2017, from http://info.pillarprocedure.com/snoring-sleep-apnea/
- A. (2015, August 17). These Snoring Statistics That Will Keep You up at Night. Retrieved October 23, 2017, from https://www.thesinusdoctor.com/these-snoring-statistics-that-will-keep-you-up-at-night/
- Snoring and Sleep. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2017, from https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/other-sleep-disorders/snoring
- Dr Mike Dilkes For The Daily Mail. (2017, September 15). How to stop snoring in just five minutes a day: Top ear, nose and throat consultant reveals the secret to a peaceful night’s sleep in new book. Retrieved October 24, 2017, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4889158/Snoring-stopped-five-minutes-day-exercises.html
- Hilton, M. P., Savage, J. O., Hunter, B., McDonald, S., Repanos, C., & Powell, R. (2013, May 24). Singing Exercises Improve Sleepiness and Frequency of Snoring among Snorers-A Randomised Controlled Trial. October 24, 2017, http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ijohns.2013.23023
- Prichard, A. J. (2004, October 11). The use of essential oils to treat snoring. Retrieved October 26, 2017, from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1002/ptr.1360/abstract
- 7 Easy Fixes for Snoring. (n.d.). Retrieved October 26, 2017, from https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/easy-snoring-remedies#2
- Peppard, P. E., Austin, D., & Brown, R. L. (2007, April 15). Association of Alcohol Consumption and Sleep Disordered Breathing In Men And Women. Retrieved October 26, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2564771/
- About EmmaAs I’m getting started with essential oils for more natural well-being in my life, I hope to provide you with many valuable resources, tips, tricks and reviews to help you do the same., Says, T. H., Says, E., Says, L., Says, P., Says, M., . . . Says, R. (2017, September 02). Essential Oils Snoring Remedies – Stop Snoring Naturally. Retrieved October 30, 2017, from https://www.essentialoilhaven.com/essential-oils-snoring-remedies