How to Stop Snoring

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Snoring can frustrate the people who share your home, and it likely leaves you feeling tired in the morning. If you want to stop snoring, you can make easy lifestyle changes to reduce your snoring risk, and you can take steps to keep your airways open. It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor about your snoring, as medical treatments may be necessary.[1]

Making Lifestyle ChangesDownload Article

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    Maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight can worsen snoring. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising can help you relieve your snoring symptoms.[2]
    • Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.
    • People who are a healthy weight can still have a snoring problem, especially if there are underlying health risks like sleep apnea.
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    Don't drink alcohol right before you go to bed. According to sleep specialist Marc Kayem, alcohol can lead to a bad night of sleep.[3] Alcohol relaxes your body, which actually increases your risk of snoring. This is because your throat muscles will also relax, making them collapse a little. This will cause you to snore more. If snoring is a concern, you should not drink close to bedtime.[4]
    • If you enjoy a drink, limit how much your drink to 2 servings or less, and allow enough time before bed for the effects of the alcohol to wear off.
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    Sleep on your side. According to sleep specialist Marc Kayem, sleeping on your back causes the tissues in the back of your throat to droop down, which leads to blockage and snoring.[5] Turning onto either side alleviates this problem, reducing your risk of snoring.
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    Prop yourself up by at least 4 inches if you must sleep on your back. You can use an inclining pillow or lift the head of the bed to raise your sleeping position. This reduces constriction in the back of your throat, making you less likely to snore.[6]
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    Use a special pillow meant to stop snoring. Some patients report sleeping better with an anti-snoring pillow.[7] There are several designs to choose from, such as wedges, cervical support pillows, contour pillows, memory foam pillows, and pillows made for use with sleep apnea. Look for pillows labeled to reduce snoring.[8]
    • Anti-snoring pillows may not work for everyone.
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    Quit smoking. Smoking increases your risk of snoring. It also makes snoring worse. Overall, giving up cigarettes can help you breathe better, so give it a try.[9]
    • If you’re struggling to quit, talk to your doctor about quitting aides, like gum, patches, and prescription medication.
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    Limit your use of sedatives. Sedatives relax your central nervous system, which includes your throat muscles. This can increase the risk of snoring. Avoiding them can help reduce your snoring risk.[10]
    • If you have trouble sleeping, it might help to get on a sleep schedule.
    • Talk to your doctor before quitting any prescription medications.
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    Sing for 20 minutes a day to help tighten your throat muscles. Since slack throat muscles can be the cause of snoring, tightening them can help eliminate your symptoms. When performed daily for at least 20 minutes, singing can help tighten your muscles.[11]
    • Alternatively, you could play a wind instrument, such as the oboe or french horn.[12]

Keeping Your Airways Open While SleepingDownload Article

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    Apply nasal strips or a nasal dilator to keep your airways open. Over-the-counter nasal strips are an easy, inexpensive way to keep your airways open. They work by attaching to the outside of your nostrils and pulling open your nose. Similarly, a nasal dilator is a re-usuble nasal strip that you wear over your nose to help keep your airways open.[13]
    • You can find both nasal strips and nasal dilators at local drugstores or online.
    • These items do not work for everyone, especially if you have an underlying condition like sleep apnea.
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    Take decongestants or rinse your nasal passages if you have sinus congestion. Sinus congestion blocks your airways and can cause snoring. Over-the-counter decongestants can help relieve sinus congestion. Another great option is to rinse your sinuses with saline solution before bed.[14]
    • Only rinse your sinuses with a sterile saline solution, which you can buy over-the-counter or make at home. When making your own, use distilled or bottled water.
    • It’s also a good idea to take antihistamines if you have allergies, which can lead to sinus congestion.
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    Use a humidifier to keep your airways moist. Dryness in your airways sometimes causes snoring, but keeping the airways moist can alleviate this problem. A humidifier is an easy way to avoid dryness. Place the humidifier in your bedroom while you’re sleeping.[15]

Seeking Medical TreatmentDownload Article

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    Talk to your doctor to rule out underlying medical conditions. According to sleep specialist Marc Kayem, snoring can have medical consequences when it's connected with sleep apnea.[16] This is a serious condition linked to other health complications such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and depression. If you notice the following symptoms, make an appointment to discuss them with your doctor.[17]
    • Excessive sleepiness.
    • Headaches after waking.
    • Difficulty concentrating during the day.
    • Sore throat in the morning.
    • Restlessness.
    • Waking up at night due to gasping or choking.
    • High blood pressure readings.
    • Chest pain at night.
    • Being told you snore.
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    Allow your doctor to conduct an imaging test. An X-ray, CT-scan, or MRI will let your doctor check your sinus passages and airways for issues, such as narrowness or a deviated septum. This allows the doctor to eliminate possible causes so that they can recommend the right treatment options.[18]
    • These tests are noninvasive and painless. However, you may experience some discomfort from staying still for a period of time.
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    Undergo a sleep study if your symptoms continue after other treatments. Most patients will get better after making lifestyle changes and visiting their doctor. However, sometimes the underlying issue is more complicated. For example, you may have sleep apnea a condition where you stop breathing for a short period of time before naturally recovering. Your doctor may recommend a sleep study to find out what is causing your snoring.[19]
    • A sleep study is very easy for the patient. Your doctor will schedule an appointment at a sleep study clinic, where you'll sleep normally in an office that resembles a hotel room. You'll be hooked up to a machine that causes no pain and minimal discomfort. An expert in another room will then monitor your sleeping to produce a report for your doctor.[20]
    • You may be able to do an at-home sleep study. Your doctor will give you a device to wear while you sleep, which will record your sleep information for later analysis.
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    Use a CPAP machine if you have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that requires medical treatment for a good outcome. This not only disrupts sleep, it’s also associated with other life-threatening conditions. Your doctor will likely prescribe a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help you breathe better at night.[21]
    • It's important to use your CPAP machine every night and to follow all of your doctor's instructions.
    • Clean your CPAP machine properly. Clean your mask daily, and your tubing and water chamber once a week.[22]
    • Using your CPAP machine can help you breathe easier, snore less, and sleep better as you work on controlling and ultimately eliminating your sleep apnea. In many cases, you will not need a CPAP for life. Talk to a respiratory therapist for more information regarding starting and stopping CPAP use.
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    Get fitted for a dental mouthpiece to relieve snoring. A dentist can fit you for a mouthpiece that pulls your jaw and tongue forward slightly so that your airways remain open. While they can be effective, they are also costly. They can carry a price tag as high as $1,000 USD.[23]
    • You can find inexpensive over-the-counter mouthpieces that may work, though they won’t be as well-fitted as one shaped by a dentist.
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    Consider surgery if no other treatment options work. In rare cases, surgery is necessary to treat the causes of snoring. Your doctor will discuss this option if they think it’s best for you.[24] According to sleep specialist Marc Kayem, there are different options available.[25]
    • The doctor may perform a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy to remove the obstruction causing your snoring, such as inflamed tonsils or adenoids.
    • If you have sleep apnea, the doctor might tighten or reduce your soft palate or uvula.
    • A doctor may also tighten the frenum of your tongue or reduce the size of it to help your air flow more freely through your airways if they find that your tongue contributes to airflow obstruction.[26]

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