Health & Wellness Articles

6 Ways to Prevent Snoring

Sleep Soundly (and Soundless!)

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Snoring—that loud, hoarse breathing during sleep—is a nuisance, whether it affects you personally or the person you share a bed with. And that's a lot of people, since 37 million people are consistent snorers, according to the National Sleep Foundation. The sound originates in the very back of the mouth, where the soft tissues of many structures meet. When these tissues vibrate together, snoring occurs. This phenomenon is much more common in men than in women, and usually increases with age.

Generally, snoring is not a cause for concern, unless it interferes with the sleep of others. But in some cases, it can be a sign of a serious medical condition called sleep apnea. In sleep apnea, people actually stop breathing for about 10 seconds at a time throughout the night, causing dangerous dips in blood-oxygen levels. According to the National Institutes of Health, this disorder may contribute to high blood pressure and even stroke. Anyone who snores on a regular basis should be medically evaluated to rule out this condition. If sleep apnea is not involved in your snoring, then there are lots of techniques to try that may help reduce or even eliminate snoring.

Here are six simple suggestions that may help to reduce snoring:

1. Lose weight if you're overweight. Excess weight can contribute to a host of health problems, but it also narrows the airway, increasing the likelihood that those tissues will rub together.

2. Limit or avoid alcohol and other sedatives at bedtime. These substances relax the airway, leading to snoring. Limit yourself to less than one drink daily for women, or less than two drinks daily for men, and consume your last drink at least four hours before bedtime.

3. Avoid sleeping flat on your back. Back-sleepers are more prone to snoring since this position allows the flesh of your throat to relax and block the airway. If you are a habitual back-sleeper, try this method to retrain yourself: Stuff a tennis ball into a sock, and safety-pin the sock to the back of your pajamas. Each time you roll to your back during the night, you'll feel uncomfortable and turn back to your side.

4. Don't smoke. Besides contributing to other respiratory problems, smoking also leads to nasal and lung congestion, which can result in snoring. Take steps to quit today.

5. Avoid secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is just as harmful, and causes snoring in the same ways actual smoking does. Encourage your loved ones to quit, and avoid smoky restaurants and bars.
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • STELFARWELL
    Thanks to the practical tips! But there are already available remedies and devices to eliminate snoring. - 2/6/2014 10:57:57 PM
  • METAMORPH2010
    Eeks! I just read WHEREIS170's comment about sleep apnea and feel compelled to clear up those misconceptions! Sleep apnea is not "taking over as an excuse for snoring"! Snoring the most obvious symptom of sleep apnea, and sleep apnea is frequently (though not always) caused by obesity. It is a serious condition leading to hypertension and heart attacks, not to mention a severely diminished quality of life. Nobody slaps a machine on your face without testing first, and believe me, you don't want to be a "hose head" if it isn't going to help. The CPAP machine and masks are unpleasant and -- I might add -- serious motivation to lose weight just so you won't need them anymore, but the improvement in your functioning if you are compliant with the treatment is amazing. Treating sleep apnea makes it possible to lose the necessary weight to overcome the condition if it is caused by your obesity. Without treatment, you just feel too cruddy to do anything with your life. And the reason sleep apnea diagnoses are becoming more common is twofold: there is greater awareness of the condition, and obesity is on the increase. No excuses here -- just the cold, hard reality of another medical condition caused (usually) by obesity. - 12/3/2013 12:33:13 AM
  • TONYBILLS
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  • GOODWITCH333
    Hmmm. My super skinny, non smoking, physically fit, side sleeping DH still snores like a trucker. I dunno, do truckers snore? - 2/21/2013 11:12:17 AM
  • I'm passing this on to my bf. He is overweight, drinks a lot, and he smokes. His snoring is so bad that I want to be one of those couples with two bedrooms. - 1/16/2013 12:32:20 AM
  • SHARONSOWN
    Another point of view: My beloved snores horribly, and I ended up resorting to earplugs or another room. Then he was away for awhile and I couldn't sleep with all that quiet! His snoring is music to me now, knowing that he's home and all is well. - 10/29/2012 9:50:11 PM
  • What an eye opener! I have had people drive miles because they said they coould not sleep in the same BUILDING as me. I never associated my snoring with my weight problem. Also, it's hard to sleep on your side when you're fat.

    There may yet be hope for my household! - 2/17/2012 10:35:33 PM
  • Being overweight contributes to snoring immensly, however sleep apnea, is real condition. I know it seems like everyone who snores now is diagnosed to have sleep apnea, much like anyone who is moody is bipolar. If you do snore alot, it may well be worth a trip to the dr. and get checked out for sleep apnea. If you do have it and get a breathing machine, you will be surprised at how much more energy you have from sleeping better. - 6/15/2010 10:13:40 AM
  • Why is it that sleep apnea is taking over as an excuse for snoring. Man, it's like they want us all on those breathing machines these days. When they can't figure it out at the docs office, then that's what they suggest, unless your lucky to be sent to a sleep clinic (if your lucky). Sometimes truth hurts, your over weight and the fat in your neck (and inside your throat) is causing you harm. Why can't people be honest. I don't get it sometimes. Their quick enough to tell you to quit smoking but not to lose some weight. - 4/21/2010 8:32:07 AM
  • HBUBBA
    Thank you, informative,and complete. - 1/2/2010 9:12:32 AM
  • Another reason to lose weight and get fit. Great article, but I'm puzzled about why it's listed under "just for men" ! Surely I'm not the only woman who snores. - 10/30/2009 11:22:12 AM
  • My husband quit smoking and what a difference it makes as far as his snoring goes...(it of course made a difference in lots of positive ways). I tried not to complain because it's not like a person snores loudly on purpose ...but...It is really nice to be able to sleep soundly again, for both of us. - 5/17/2009 12:53:43 PM
  • Great article. - 12/24/2007 12:46:43 AM

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