Snoring is a common condition that has long been a popular subject for jokes. Affecting both men and women, close to half of all normal adults snore at least once in a while. For habitual snorers, though, snoring is far from amusing. Along with being a major annoyance for bed mates who rarely get a good night’s sleep, snoring can have more serious consequences for the snorer. Habitual snoring may be an indication of an underlying health problem, such as sleep apnea. Where sleep apnea is ruled out, years of nightly snoring can still lead to health issues such as high blood pressure and, eventually, a higher risk for stroke and cardiovascular problems.
Physical changes during sleep, external irritants, and lifestyle are all contributing factors to habitual snoring. In most cases, there are effective natural solutions for problem snoring that anyone can try.
Sleeping on your back causes your soft palate and the base of your tongue to fall back into the rear wall of your throat. As you breathe, these structures vibrate and create sound. When you sleep on your side, your tongue and soft palate are in a more natural position that avoids vibration.
To help your body get used to a new sleeping position, try using several pillows placed along the length of your body to act as a comfortable support. A full-length body pillow is also very helpful. Some people attach tennis balls to the back of their sleepwear to wake them up should they roll over on their backs.
Nose and soft palate secretions are likely to be thicker if you don’t drink enough water or fluids throughout the day. These secretions can cause snoring. Women should be drinking about 96 ounces of fluids each day. For men, the magic number is 128 ounces.
Allergens are common causes for reduced nasal airflow, which leads to snoring. Get rid of dust from overhead fans, carpeting, and bedroom furniture. Pillows are inviting surfaces for dust mites. Every few weeks, run your pillows through the air or ‘fluff’ cycle of your dryer. This will help control both dust mites and other allergens that may be contributing to a snoring problem.
Constricted nasal passages squeeze air through at a higher rate that is likely to lead to snoring. Steam from a hot shower right before bedtime helps keep nasal passages open. Spraying nasal passages with a salt water rinse may also help avoid snoring.
Sleep on your side, drink enough fluids, remove allergens, and keep nasal passages clear. These simple changes in sleeping routines and overall lifestyle are often all that are needed to reduce or eliminate a snoring problem.