It may sound a little harsh, but it is true. Snoring can kill you. Well, probably not immediately, but over time, definitely. For one, snoring can cause you to lose sleep or not get the quality sleep that you need. When you get in a routine of not getting the sleep you need, it can result in all sorts of health problems later on. These health problems, like heart disease for example, can eventually shorten your life.
There is also a more serious type of snoring that is called sleep apnea. To put it simply, you snore so bad that your airways get blocked completely while you are asleep. When your airways are blocked, your breathing stops and your brain is not getting oxygen which results in your brain telling you to move, wake up, or snort to get air. Again, this tampers with the quality of your sleep and after living this way for so long, the health problems are again surely to come.
Let me share a real-life story with you so it may shed some more light on how serious this can be. My grandfather took my brother and I camping several times every Summer when we were kids. We would always try to make sure we went to sleep before he did. If we didn’t, we knew we would have trouble falling asleep listening to him snoring and snorting for air. I remember many nights my brother and I would lay there laughing while we made bets on how long he was going to stop breathing in between snores.
It isn’t so funny now. To make a long story short, my grandfather suffered from 3 heart attacks before he was 55 and didn’t find out he had sleep apnea until he was 65. By then, it was too late. The doctor said the damage had been done and untreated sleep apnea was the most likely cause of his heart problems. He died 7 years later of congested heart failure. Could his life have lasted longer? I certainly think so.
So how do we stop snoring? Well, if you are concerned that you have the sleep apnea symptom mentioned above, go see a doctor. They can do a sleep study on you and assign you a cpap mask to sleep with so that you get proper airflow through the night. If you just want to try and get rid of snoring period, even if you have sleep apnea, then these natural methods can more than likely help you.
The biggest cause of snoring is weight. When you get overweight, your muscles and tissues get flabby, even in your throat. The excess tissue causes the blockage in your airway when your throat relaxes at night. The result is snoring.
If you know you are overweight, then don’t try to lose weight. Lose it!
Losing only 10% of your weight can decrease your snoring symptoms or even cure it! I am a great example. When I weighed 215 lbs., my wife started complaining about me snoring. I lost 25 lbs. and now I don’t snore at all she says.
Your bedroom air may be dry. If you think lack of moisture could be the problem, then getting a humidifier could possibly fix it. Dry air dries out your throat and can cause snoring. A humidifier will keep your airway passages moist and reduce friction.
3. Raise Your Head
The best way to raise your head is by lifting the head of your bed 2-4 inches. If you simply add a pillow, you may not be able to sleep as well and you could even make snoring worse with the pillow making your neck bend.
By raising your head, you can reduce the works of gravity on your throat and tongue which can cause blockage in your airway.
4. Don’t sleep on your back
Again, similar to the “raising your head” fix we just mentioned, sleeping on your back and gravity on your throat tissues and tongue do not mix well. When you sleep on your back, your tongue tends to fall back and your tissue collapses into the airway.
If you have to sleep on your back, then trying raising your head mentioned above. To make yourself not turn to your back during sleep, try putting a tennis ball in the back pocket of your pajamas or sewing a pocket onto a t-shirt in the middle of the back section. You may think that is a dumb fix, but it works wonders in the night when you don’t consciously know what you are doing.
5. Allergies: keep your house clean
This doesn’t need much explaining and is much easier said than done for many people. Keep your house clean, especially your bedroom.
Dust and allergens in your house accumulate over time and can cause your nose to get stuffy which then causes you to snore. If you go to sleep every night with the feeling of “I just can’t breathe”, then this could apply to you.
6. Say NO to alcohol
You may think alcohol helps you fall asleep, but it also makes you snore which reduces the overall quality of sleep. Alcohol makes your throat muscles and tongue relax even more than normal.
You probably are catching on by now, but this causes that blockage that we are trying to avoid. If you routinely have a drink before bed, then try cutting it out.
7. Quit smoking
Smoking can cause upper airway inflammation and irritation. If you smoke, you normally cough more than normal. If you are coughing, then you have inflammation in your throat tissues.
I know, you may be thinking “no alcohol and no smoking too! I’d rather just snore!” If you can’t quit, then reduce. Moderation is always best in about anything, including these 2 habits.
8. Get plenty of sleep
The more tired you are, the more chances you are to snore because the muscles in your throat/mouth relax more causing more airway blockage. Make sure you are getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
Put yourself on a schedule to go to bed within 30 minutes of the set time nightly. Exhaustion can cause snoring. Stop the exhaustion and you may stop the snoring.
9. Nasal congestion
Breathing out of your mouth? You shouldn’t be. Usually if you are sleeping with your mouth open it is because you can’t breathe well through your nose due to nasal congestion.
It could be your allergies from your home like mentioned earlier. If not, it could be seasonal, and the best way to take care of a seasonal allergy before bed is to take a decongestant or antihistamine.
10. Try nasal strips
Remember the nose strips all those professional football players used to wear? They actually do work. You should be able to find them at any local drug store.
Tape them on your nose before bed and they will help lift your nostrils to promote more airflow. If you have plenty of airflow going through your nostrils, you are less likely to open your mouth during sleep.
11. Try neck brace
My first thought is I don’t want to wear a neck brace! Nobody does, but when you are going to bed, who cares?! A neck brace helps keep your chin up and your throat straight so it doesn’t bend and cause the muscles and tissues in your throat to rub together.
These are soft, foam braces that you can get at about any drug store also. They actually can be very comfortable once you get used to them.
12. Don’t eat big meals before Bed
Getting a full stomach before you go to sleep can cause you to snore due to the pressure it puts on your diaphragm. Eating before bed is not good for weight reasons also. Your body slows down while you are sleeping which makes it retain more fat.
The simple fix is don’t eat anything a couple hours before you go to bed. Again, easier said than done right? If you must eat something, make it small and try to make it healthy. A big bowl of ice cream before bed was my weakness. I thankfully alleviated that problem.
There is one thing about snoring. You are not alone. Over 42% of men snore according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Out of that 42%, 75% of them have sleep apnea. So, if you snore, it is quite possible you could have at least a mild case of sleep apnea.
These fixes can help reduce or even cure the problem. If you hate the idea of getting tested for sleep apnea and having to wear a cpap mask, then first try these natural methods. You may be surprised how well they can help or stop snoring for good.