Snoring is a common issue, affecting approximately 90 million American adults, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Of these men and women, about 37 million snore regularly. Although sawing logs isn’t typically a cause for concern, frequent snoring can lead to daytime fatigue and irritability as well as certain health conditions. And if your snoring is keeping your partner from getting a good night’s sleep (or vice versa), it can cause relationship issues, too.
Why do people snore?
Snoring, or noisy breathing, occurs when a person has difficulty moving air through his or her nose and throat during sleep. This causes the surrounding tissues to vibrate, resulting in the all-too-familiar “snore” sound that may aggravate anyone within listening distance.
Common causes of snoring include:
- Snoring is more prevalent in middle and old age as the throat narrows and loses muscle tone.
- Men are more prone to snoring because they typically have narrower air passages than women.
- Physical structure. Attributes such as a cleft palate, enlarged adenoids, a narrow throat and excess throat and nasal tissue can increase the likelihood of snoring.
- Excess body weight. Carrying extra weight—especially around the neck and/or throat—can cause snoring.
- Nasal/sinus problems. Snoring may also result from a stuffed nose or blocked airways.
- Alcohol, nicotine and certain medications. Booze, cigarettes and medicines, such as tranquilizers, can relax the muscles and increase the odds of snoring.
- Sleeping position. Lying on your back can cause flesh in your throat to relax and impede your airway, which can trigger snoring.
Sometimes snoring has a more serious cause, such as sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep. Contact your physician if you experience any of the following:
- Morning headaches
- Daytime exhaustion
- Choking, gasping or pauses in breathing while asleep
- Falling asleep while eating, talking or at other inappropriate times
- Impaired attention or memory
Although there is no universal cure for snoring, the following may provide some relief:
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity can tone muscles throughout the body, including those in the throat, which can help reduce snoring.
- Lose weight. Dropping even a few pounds can reduce fatty neck and throat tissue, which, in turn can decrease or stop snoring.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and certain medications. Alcohol and drugs, such as sedatives, can relax the throat muscles and impede breathing. Cigarettes can irritate nose and throat membranes, which can block airways and trigger snoring.
- Avoid certain foods before bed. Consuming dairy or large meals near bedtime may worsen snoring.
- Use a humidifier. Moist air can reduce swelling of nasal tissues and lessen snoring.
- Adjusting sleeping position. Sleeping on your side and/or elevating your head a few inches can ease breathing and reduce snoring.
- Use snore spray. Products, such as Essential Health Helps Stop Snoring® Throat Spray can provide effective relief.
- Use an anti-snoring device. These can open your nasal passages to improve air flow. Try Scandinavian Formulas Nozovent Anti-Snoring Device, which has been clinically proven to reduce snoring.
- Use anti-snoring strips. Drug-free strips, like Breathe Right Nasal Strips, can “open nasal passages for up to 31% more airflow.” Use them nightly to reduce congestion and snoring!