Snoring is a snorting or grunting sound made during sleep. For some people, it occurs during night sleep, while it occurs during the day and night in some severe cases. Many who snore are not aware of this – it only creates a problem for the people around them while they are asleep. It has led to problems in some relationships and has also ruined good sleep. But the good news is it can be dealt with.

What Causes Snoring?

Snoring happens when you can’t move air freely through your nose and throat during sleep. This makes the surrounding tissues vibrate, which produces the familiar snoring sound. People who snore often have too much throat and nasal tissues that are more prone to vibrate. The position of the tongue while sleeping can also prevent smooth breathing which leads to snoring. The common causes of snoring include:

  • Age
  • Being overweight or out of shape
  • The way you’re built
  • Nasal and sinus problems
  • Alcohol, smoking, and medications
  • Sleeping posture

What causes you to snore may be linked to the cure. Monitoring the way you snore can help you know the reasons why you snore, what makes it worse and how to deal with it. It is something people do unconsciously. You, therefore, need someone who is conscious to help monitor your snoring pattern. A sleep partner may help or you can set up a camera to record yourself at night.

The type of snoring, which can be closed-mouth snoring, open-mouth snoring, snoring when on your back and snoring in all positions, indicates the cause of your snoring, which may be helpful in dealing with it.

A number of people were asked if they know they snore and if there is a possible way out of it. This is what they have to say:

I don’t think I snore; I sleep in the midst of people who are fond of teasing you with the truth about you. They’ve teased me with some of my funny hallucinations but had never for once teased me with snoring.

Snoring seems like what can be stopped but how I can’t tell. Maybe some medical advice would help?

Ayanfe, Akure

Yes, I snore. There are currently medications to stop it.

Mari, Mexico

I don’t know I snore, except for a few occasions when my partner tells me I snored but I think it happens when I’m so tired and stressed up.

I don’t think it can be stopped. It is something you do unconsciously or unaware.

Dotun, Ekiti

I don’t snore. I’m not sure it can be stopped or maybe you could just kick the person hard when he/she snores.

Happiness, Port Harcourt

Snoring may lead to health issues such as sleep apnea: a serious sleep disorder where breathing is briefly interrupted many times each night, which leads to extreme fatigue and sleepiness during the day.

To correct this, there have been so many anti-snoring devices made today, but unfortunately, many of these devices are not backed up by research or they work by simply keeping you awake at night.

There are, however, proven ways it can be dealt with when you know your snoring pattern and level. What will work for one person may not work for another as the cases may differ from one person to another.

Possible Solutions to Snoring

There are self-help strategies to stop snoring and there are also medical ways of putting a stop to it. For the self-help strategies, bedtime remedies can be used as well as lifestyle changes. These require patience and a willingness to experiment with different solutions to make it work.

Bedtime solutions include:

Change your sleeping position: once you know your sleeping posture, then you can try another posture to correct it. There is a likelihood you snore in other sleeping positions if the style doesn’t work. Specifically, designed pillows are also available which helps to elevate the head by four inches and may ease breathing and encourage your tongue and jaw to move forward.

Sleep on your side instead of your back: you’ll likely snore if you sleep on your back instead of your side. Create ways to make sleeping on the back a discomfort and after a while, sleeping on your side will become a habit. This will then deal with the one associated with sleeping on your back.

Clear nasal passages: make sure you clear your nose if they are stuffy before going to bed. You can rinse your sinuses with saline (salt and water solution) before bedtime. A neti pot, nasal decongestant, or nasal strips can also be helpful in making you breathe more easily while sleeping.

Keep bedroom air moist: even if you don’t snore, a stuffy or dusty bedroom may give you catarrh when you sleep. It is, therefore, necessary to keep the room moist as dry air can irritate membranes in the nose and throat. This can lead to difficulty in the passage of air, thereby causing you to snore.

The lifestyle changes include:

Lose weight: one of the causes of snoring given earlier is being overweight or out of shape. To correct this, you have to lose weight, even if it is a bit. This can help reduce fatty tissue at the back of the throat and decrease or even stop snoring.

Quit smoking: another cause of snoring is smoking. Smoking highly increases the chances of you snoring. It irritates the membranes in the nose and throat which block the airways and cause snoring. Even when you sit close to a smoker, there are more chances of you snoring because you are inhaling much of the smokes from the cigarette/cigar. When you quit smoking, you also quit snoring as the case may be.

Avoid alcohol and medications: alcohol and medications such as sleeping pills and sedatives relax the muscles in the throat and interfere with breathing which leads to snoring. It is therefore good to avoid alcohol if possible and also talk to your doctor about any prescription medications you’re taking that can make snoring worse.

Be careful with what you eat before bedtime: according to research, eating large meals or consuming certain foods such as milk or soymilk before bedtime can make snoring worse. Try eating as early as possible before going to bed, this bit can bring quick snoring relief.

Exercise: this can help you live a healthy life and not to reduce snoring alone. It is needed to reduce weight, which reduces fatty tissue in the back of the throat.

Medical treatment can be used if the self-help solutions for snoring are without success. New advances in the treatment are developing all the time and devices are becoming more effective and comfortable.

A physician or an Otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor) may help proffer solution by recommending medical advice or surgical procedures such as:

  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
  • Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP)
  • Palatal implants
  • Somnoplasty
  • Custom-fitted dental devices and lower jaw positioners.

Remember health is wealth. Don’t let snoring be a cause to separate with your lover or have a fatigued day. Do yourself good by being willing to correct it while sleeping as it can hinder your productivity during the day. Remember you only live once. Once is enough when you live it well.