5 Reasons You are Snoring — and How to Stop It
Snoring results from your body pushing air through your throat and nose at night when you’re trying to sleep. Snoring doesn’t always indicate a serious medical condition, although it sometimes can. It may be caused by several underlying factors that are surprisingly easy to treat, including excess weight and poor sleeping habits. Here are five reasons you might be snoring and how to stop it once and for all, to achieve more restful sleep.
The airways of overweight people can become narrowed, even if they don’t have an actual sleep disorder. Narrowed airways lead to vibration of the upper airway tissues resulting in the sound we know as snoring. This may explain why some obese patients, regardless of their underlying health status, report loud snoring or difficulty breathing while asleep. To prevent that from happening, doctors recommend losing weight through diet and exercise to help keep the airway clear. If you think this may relate to you, losing some weight can make a difference in how well you breathe during sleep, which in turn helps you sleep better.
Alcohol Before Bed
Alcohol can have sedative effects that cause your body to relax. This relaxing impacts your nasal passages, causing reduced airflow and snoring, also resulting in a dry throat. Alcohol is also linked to poor sleep quality and duration, as it disrupts your natural sleep cycle, contributing to fatigue and possibly headaches the next day. To avoid snoring in your sleep, we recommend cutting out alcohol as much as possible, especially before bedtime. Also, make sure you’re getting enough water every day; dehydration can cause problems with your throat tissues.
Cold or Sinus Problems
Many snorers have colds or sinus problems. Their nasal passages, throat, and mouth may be inflamed, clogged or narrowed, making it difficult to breathe out all of their air. This can cause snoring. If you’re a snorer with nasal congestion, try regularly using a neti pot; these devices flush fluid through your nasal passages. Your doctor might also prescribe a decongestant, nasal spray or antihistamine to help reduce swelling in your nose. Surgery might be required if other methods don’t work in some cases.
When you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re fatigued. When you’re fatigued, it’s more difficult for your body to use oxygen efficiently, so even mild sleep deprivation can cause significant snoring. Fatigue causes a common snoring side effect: hypopnea (less breath) or apnea (no breath). When you’re tired, your muscles relax during sleep more than normal. That relaxation allows your tongue, soft palate, and uvula to fall back into your throat when you breathe in, which can contribute to snoring and other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
Sleeping On Your Back
Back sleepers often snore because gravity makes it more difficult to keep their airways open while asleep. If you’re a back sleeper, try propping your head up with extra pillows or placing a small wedge between your body and mattress to slightly elevate your head. Another option is to sleep on your side instead of your back—this position can help minimize snoring by keeping airways fully clear.
Snoring can be more than just a habit–it may be a sign of a serious health issue. It’s important to talk to your doctor to identify the cause of snoring and discuss different options for stopping it for a better night of rest.