How to Stop Snoring Naturally

Three Methods:Changing Your Sleep HabitsMaking Lifestyle ChangesPerforming Anti-Snoring Exercises

Snoring, the hoarse and often harsh sound the you make if your breathing becomes obstructed during sleep, can be just plain awful! Not only can it disrupt others, but it can also cause you to feel sleepy and fatigued during the day. You may also suffer from a lack of concentration, high blood pressure, sore throat and chest pain. Snoring can have a number of different causes, including anatomical and structural abnormalities, alcohol use, obesity, allergies, upper respiratory infections (URIs) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).[1] While some serious conditions that cause snoring (like sleep apnea) can require medical intervention, mild cases of snoring can often be cured by adjusting your sleeping patterns and strategies and making some lifestyle changes.

Method 1
Changing Your Sleep Habits

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    Have a routine sleep schedule. For some people, snoring is the result of a frequently-changing or irregular sleep schedule. Working very long hours before sleeping, skipping a night's rest, or failing to sleep enough over long periods of time can leave the body extremely fatigued. When the body does get a chance to sleep, it "crashes", sleeping especially long and hard. During this intense sleep, the muscles at the back of the throat relax more than they normally would, which makes snoring more likely.[2]
    • To avoid this state, try to get a full night's sleep starting at about the same time every night. Though everyone's sleep needs are different, most adults do best with about seven to nine hours of sleep.[3] Children and teens usually require somewhat more.
    • Wait until bedtime to sleep. Naps are a great way to recharge your batteries when you have a stable sleep schedule, but they are counter-productive when trying to change sleeping habits. Do not nap at all during the day so that you can fall asleep at the appropriate time later.
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    Avoid stimulation before bed. Use the bed only for sleep and sexual activity. Do not watch TV or look at your phone. About an hour before bed, turn off all of your electronics and dim the lights of your phone and computer. Doctors note that our eyes are sensitive to the bluish light emitted by electronic screens.[4][5]
    • Avoid stimulants after mid-day. Depending on the size of your body, the amount you ingest, and your general health, the effects of caffeine can remain active in your body for up to 5 to 10 hours after initial consumption. Avoid coffee and caffeinated teas and sodas.
    • Avoid eating within three hours of going to bed.
    • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows down your body. While this will help you fall asleep, alcohol also slows down your metabolism and interferes with your brain during its sleep cycles. You're likely to wake up more often if you've consumed alcohol before bed.[6]
    • Avoid heavy exercise one to two hours before bed. Doctors advise that you avoid a heavy cardio workout a few hours before you plan to go to bed; this can unsettle your circadian rhythm and make your sleep less restful. That said, light stretching and exercising, such as an evening walk, are probably useful in getting you ready to go sleep.[7]
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    Practice breathing techniques before bed. This can help you relax before bed and also set proper and functional breathing in motion even before you hit the hay. Here are two different exercises to try:[8]
    • Deep breathing - Put your hands (palm down) on your stomach, right below the rib cage. Place the fingers of your hands together. Take a long, slow deep breath by expanding your belly. This ensures that you are using your diaphragm to breathe rather than your rib cage. The diaphragm creates suction that pulls more air into your lungs than can be achieved by expanding the rib cage. Your fingers should separate as they lie on your belly. Exhale and then repeat. Do this whenever you are short of breath or as often as you can. At first, you may feel a bit dizzy because you are getting more oxygen than you are used to!
    • Humming breath - As you exhale a breath, make a humming sound. This helps strengthen the diaphragm. Do this whenever you are short of breath or as often as you can.
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    Create an environment conducive to sleep. Keep your room dark at night. Sleep specialists note that our circadian rhythms are influenced by light and darkness. This means that many people have a hard time falling asleep when it's still light out, which happens in the summer thanks to daylight savings.[9] At night, shut your blinds and curtains. Turn off bright overhead lights. Consider getting a black out curtain which keeps any light from shining through. If it's still too bright or too much light is getting in, consider wearing a sleep mask.
    • Set the temperature of the room and your body. Because the body drops in temperature when it falls asleep, you can trick your body into thinking it's time to sleep by simulating a temperature drop. If it's cold outside, take a hot shower so that when you come out, your body experiences a temperature drop. If it's hot outside, allow your room to heat up and then turn on the air conditioner.
    • If you live in a dry climate, you may want to try running a humidifier in your bedroom as you sleep. Sensitive throats can sometimes be irritated by breathing in dry air throughout the night.
    • Turn on white noise. You can listen to some light music or put a fan on for some background noise.
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    Keep bedroom air free of irritants. The membranes of the throat and soft palate, the tissue at the back of the roof of the mouth, can be irritated by breathing in dust, pollen, dander, and other airborne particles — especially if you have allergies to these things. This irritation can lead to swelling of the throat membranes, narrowing the airway and making snoring more likely. Luckily, eliminating these irritants is usually a simple matter of keeping the bedroom and the bed itself as clean as possible. Here are a few pointers:[10]
    • Wash sheets and pillow cases every week. If you have pollen allergies, dry them in a dryer and not on the clothesline, or at least inside where there is less pollen.
    • Replace old pillows every six months.
    • Vacuum the room and clean surfaces (including ceiling fixtures) regularly.
    • Keep animals out of the bed.
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    Sleep on your side. In adults, snoring usually occurs when the soft palate and upper throat collapse during sleep, restricting airflow to the lungs and causing the characteristic "rattling" noise of snoring with each breath.[11] When you sleep on your back, the positioning of your head and neck make it much easier for the soft palate to collapse on the tongue and upper throat. To start fighting a bad case of snoring, try sleeping on your side. This simple change is sometimes enough to drastically improve a bad case of snoring.[12]
    • While sleeping face-down on the stomach can also help with snoring, it's often advised against because it can lead to soreness in the neck and lower back.[13]
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    Elevate your head slightly. Sometimes, stopping a bad case of snoring is as easy as buying a bigger pillow. Propping your head by just a few inches during sleep can reposition your tongue and jaw, opening your airway and making snoring less likely. Try using more than one pillow, buying a thicker pillow, or simply folding your current pillow over on itself to give your head the extra elevation you need to stay snore-free.[14][15]
    • Keeping your head raised helps keep the airways open.
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    Clear your nasal passages before bed. If your sinuses are blocked when you go to sleep, your body may rely entirely on mouth-breathing (which is much more likely to cause snoring) while it's asleep. To prevent this, try to make a habit of clearing your sinuses before sleeping. One easy way to do this is simply to take a hot shower a few minutes before you get into bed; the hot water and warm, moist, air stimulate your sinuses to open. Items you may want to use include neti-pots and other liquid nasal-clearing devices, nose strips, and decongestants.[16]
    • Buy a can of sterile salt water solution at your local pharmacy, or make a salt water solution. Add 1/2 teaspoon to a glass of warm water. Do not make the solution too strong; it can burn nasal membranes. Before bed, tilt your head left then right while using the canned solution to deliver the salt water to all areas of your sinuses via the nostrils. If you use your own solution, you can inhale the solution via a teaspoon closing one nostril, then the other. Or, use a neti pot which pours the solution in one nostril and out the other. You should notice your sinus cavities opening and breathing become easier. The remainder of the solution will filter down your throat, also opening the throat cavity.
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    Be cautious of sleep apnea. Usually, snoring is annoying, but not seriously dangerous. However, in some cases, snoring can be a sign of a potentially life-threatening condition called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea, which is much more likely in people who are obese, is a condition in which the airway becomes so obstructed during sleep that the body doesn't receive sufficient air. When this happens, sleep is frequently interrupted, extreme fatigue occurs, and snoring becomes very pronounced. Since sleep apnea can greatly increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other serious medical conditions, it's very important to see a doctor if you exhibit the signs of sleep apnea, which are listed below:[17]
    • Very loud snoring during sleep
    • Waking from sleep with a choking sensation
    • Extreme fatigue even after a full night's rest
    • Restless sleep
    • Headaches in the morning
    • Narcolepsy (falling asleep at inappropriate times)
    • Decreased liveliness, decreased libido, mood changes

Method 2
Making Lifestyle Changes

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    Lose weight. Like many other physical problems, being overweight can make sleeping worse. Snoring is associated with obesity. People who are overweight or obese (especially men) tend to have bulkier throat and neck tissue and poor muscle tone, which can lead to a narrower airway (and excessive snoring) during sleep. Worse, however, is the fact that obesity is a contributing factor in potentially serious sleep disorders, like sleep apnea.[18] To eliminate these harmful effects, work to lose weight with diet and exercise. Usually, your general practitioner will be able to recommend a diet and exercise regimen to help you lose weight or may even refer you to a specialist for extra help. Some helpful tips include:
    • Increase the fiber in your diet. More fiber increases bowel regularity and helps you feel “full” longer. In other words, fiber can help decrease the amount of food you eat because you don’t get hungry as often. Good sources of fiber include include brown rice, barley, corn, rye, bulgar wheat, kasha (buckwheat) and oatmeal.
    • Eat more fruits and vegetables. Get more leafy vegetables like Swiss chard, collard greens, spinach, lettuces, beet greens into your diet. These are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals and are low in calories. Fruits are also great sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other essential nutrients and make a great snack.
    • Limit the amounts of fatty or red meats in your diet. Increase the amounts of fish and skinless poultry you eat.
    • Avoid foods that are “white” like white bread and white rice. These foods have been processed and have lost a significant amount of their nutritional value. In general, try to avoid pre-packaged or prepared foods as well as most “fast foods.” These tend to have higher amounts of sugars, salts and fats added to “improve”their taste.[19]
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    Get more exercise. Some evidence suggests that getting a healthy amount of exercise every day can make snoring more manageable. Obviously, exercise can help you lose weight and slim down, making your throat tissue less bulky and reducing your chance of snoring and sleep apnea. However, by improving your overall muscle tone, exercise can also help your throat maintain its proper shape during sleep. If your soft palate and upper throat do not collapse downward into your tongue, your chance of snoring is greatly reduced.[20]
    • Everyone's exercise needs are different. However, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that adults get at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (like brisk walking) per week, along with two days of moderate strength-training exercise.[21] If more intense exercise is performed, the total amount of time spent exercising can be smaller.
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    Keep hydrated. When people are dehydrated, the secretions in their nose and throat naturally become thicker and sticker. In some cases, this can translate to a more obstructed airway and increased snoring. Drink lots of water (8 to 10 8oz. glasses per day). Staying hydrated can keep the tissues inside your mouth and nose moistened, which can help control breathing difficulties.[22]
    • Different people's daily water needs can vary greatly based on their sex, size, and level of activity. In general, you'll know if you're getting enough water if you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is colorless or a light yellow.
    • If you have trouble getting more water in your diet, try drinking a glass of water with each meal and then between each meal. Be sure as well to drink water before, during and after any exercise you may do.
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    Avoid relying on sleep aids. Any sort of drug or chemical that helps you get to sleep can potentially become an addictive crutch with repeated use. Even short-term use can cause episodes of excessive snoring. The same sorts of chemicals that make it easier to get to sleep also usually relax the body's muscles, including those in the throat. This causes the soft palate to collapse on the back of the tongue during sleep, leading to snoring.
    • Note that this includes alcohol, which, like sleeping pills, can have a depressant effect on the nervous system, making the airway collapse during sleep.
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    Treat nasal congestion or obstruction. Make sure that your nasal passages are clear so that you can breath through your nose rather than your mouth when you sleep. Having allergies or a deviated septum can limit airflow through your nose and so it's important to address these conditions. If you are suffering from allergies, you can try taking an antihistamine or using a nasal spray, as recommended by your physician. In cases of a structural defect, like a deviated septum, you may need to have surgery to fix the problem.[23]
    • Do not use an oral or spray decongestant to clear your nasal passages for more than three days in a row. Long-term use of decongestants can have a rebound effect and in fact cause the congestion to worsen, such that you build up a reliance on these medications. Ask your doctor about a prescription steroid spray if your congestion does not improve.
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    Avoid smoking. In addition to many other well-documented health problems, smoking can increase the likelihood of snoring. Though the cause-and-effect relationship isn't perfectly understood, it's thought that the throat irritation from smoking can lead to swelling and inflammation, narrowing the airway during sleep. In addition, if the smoker suffers from overnight nicotine withdrawal, his or her sleep may be interrupted, raising the risk of airway obstruction.[24]
    • Note that being exposed to second-hand smoke has been found to have the similar snoring-causing effects as actually smoking tobacco.

Method 3
Performing Anti-Snoring Exercises

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    Try a tongue extension. Though it may sound unlikely, believe it or not, there is some evidence that performing exercises to physically strengthen the mouth and throat can make snoring less likely. With these muscles stronger, it's less likely that they'll collapse during sleep and obstruct the your airway.[25] Here are two tongue exercise to try:[26]
    • Stick your tongue out as far as it goes. Slowly move it to each side, touching it to the corners of your mouth. Move the tongue to the top of the mouth without curling it. Repeat the motions above for about 15 seconds. Repeat for at least a few minutes several times per day.
    • Place the tip of your tongue behind your top front teeth. Slide your tongue backwards. Do this for three minutes each day.
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    Try "chewing"-style jaw exercises. Another exercise you can do to prevent snoring involves strengthening your jaw muscles. Though there are several ways to do this, the basic idea is usually the same — simply imitate the motion of chewing without any food in your mouth. Follow the steps below:[27]
    • Open your mouth as far as it goes (as if biting into a large apple) and hold it open for about ten seconds.
    • Close your mouth and let it rest for several seconds before repeating.
    • Repeat for at least a few minutes several times per day.
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    Try exercising your throat muscles. Strengthening the muscles of the throat can help keep your soft palate from collapsing onto the back of your tongue. One easy throat exercise is simply to repeatedly say each vowel loudly and clearly about thirty times before bed, taking short breaks in between vowels.[28]
    • When the exercise is done correctly, you should sound more or less like this: "Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah ... ee, ee, ee, ee ... Oh, oh, oh ...," and so on. If you're embarrassed to do this in front of your partner, you may alternatively want to do this as you drive to work.
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    Sing. One of the best throat exercises of all is to simply sing! Not only has frequent singing been shown to decrease the frequency of snoring, but it increases the quality of sleep. Singing works to increase muscle control in the throat and soft palate, thus strengthening your muscles and keeping them from collapsing during sleep.[29][30]
    • If you don't already sing, try enrolling in singing lessons, joining a local choir, or even simply singing in the car.
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    Take up the didgeridoo. Learning to play this aboriginal wind Australian instrument has reportedly decreased or eliminated snoring in adults. This is because playing the instrument helps to strengthen the throat and soft palate.[31]
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    Know when to consult a doctor. It is sensible to approach snoring with less-intensive approaches. But not all snoring can be cured by natural approaches, either. Your doctor may suggest mouth appliances or other approaches. Be sure to consult a doctor if:
    • These approaches do not make a significant difference within two to four weeks.
    • You suspect sleep apnea, which may require devices such as CPAP machines or even surgery.
    • You are extremely fatigued during the day. This can be a dangerous situation which needs investigating before you have an accident, lose a job, or fail school.
    • Snoring can be a condition that feeds into a vicious circle, in which gaining weight worsens the snoring and makes the snoring even worse and so on and so on. Many of these "natural" approaches may work, but may take significant time, whereas a medical professional can sort through more quickly.

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