When you’ve got a snorer in the family, nights can go from peaceful to problematic in minutes.
If your partner starts sawing logs, you’re faced with a choice: Get them to stop (difficult), lie awake and suffer (infuriating) or give up and hit the couch (aka Sore Neck City).
And when you’re the snorer, you feel guilty because you’re doing something that’s bugging your loved one … but it’s difficult to fix the problem while asleep.
When you get a heads-up that your snoring is causing trouble, there are some techniques you can try before calling in reinforcements, from finding the best nasal strips for snoring to making lifestyle changes.
Here are a few quick suggestions to restore serene slumber. Note, though, that these are ideas for run-of-the-mill, annoying snores — not sleep apnea, which occurs when a person breathes erratically during sleep and requires medical advice for treatment.
Why You Snore
People of all ages are known to snore now and again. But the teeny-tiny snoozles of an infant are far less disruptive than a grown man’s thunderous honk.
According to the Mayo Clinic, snoring happens when soft tissues at the back of your mouth and in your throat relax a little too much during sleep. These tissues partially block your airway and vibrate as air passes through, causing that distinctive buzzsaw sound.
Some folks are more prone to snoring due to factors outside their control: The shape of one’s soft palate, chronic nasal congestion, a deviated septum and plain, old heredity all play a role. Nevertheless, there are ways to help.
Tip No. 1: Cut Back On The Booze
If you’re in the habit of drinking in the evenings, it’s time to reevaluate.
A 2020 review of medical studies found that alcohol consumption is closely associated with an increase in snoring and “altered sleep architecture,” meaning your brain isn’t going through its sleep cycles in the usual way.
More alarmingly, the researchers noticed a correlation between drinking alcohol and a lower blood-oxygen saturation overnight. It’s not shocking, though, when you consider that alcohol relaxes your muscles — all of them.
If your partner notices that you tend to snore more when alcohol is present, that’s probably a sign that it’s time to cut back.
Tip No. 2: Adjust Your Sleeping Posture
Sleeping on your back often makes snoring worse because your tongue slumps into your airway a bit as you snooze. Try sleeping on your side to see if that helps.
The Cleveland Clinic suggests sewing a ball to the back of your shirt to avoid rolling onto your back overnight. And if you just aren’t comfortable on your side, try raising the head of your bed about 4 inches. Whatever works, right?
Tip No. 3: Clear Up Congestion
For folks who struggle with chronic congestion — from allergies, for example — keeping your nasal passages open can be a big help. Ask your doc about an antihistamine or steroid nasal spray that can help you breathe easier.
Tip No. 4: Nasal Strips
These Band-Aid-looking adhesive strips work by propping your nostrils open, creating a nice, open passage for breathing. They’re drug-free, affordable and easy to find at grocery and drug stores.
Best of all, they seem to work: A 2016 literature review at University of California, Irvine, showed that nasal strips and other over-the-counter “nasal dilators” did generally offer relief, and were a good alternative to surgical interventions. If you’re interested in trying this method, check out the best nasal strips for snoring.
Tip No. 5: Consider Your Weight
Excess fat tissue in the throat and neck can exacerbate snoring, according to Harvard Medical School. If you’re looking at losing a few pounds, you could notice some benefit in your snoring situation but, as Harvard notes, folks of all weights and sizes snore — weight loss isn’t always a fix.
At the end of the day (pun intended), if none of these simple methods work — or if you or your spouse are growing concerned — give the doctor a call. Quiet nights aren’t just a dream.