There are lots of good reasons for you to try to mute snoring. An unhappy spouse may be one of them, but if you’re blaming your daytime drowsiness on your snoring problem, a new study finds that the two may not be connected.
Canadian scientists asked 74 people to strap a small microphone to their face while they slept. The microphone recorded how often they snored. The next day, they were all asked to rate how sleepy they felt. The results show those who snored the most were no more tired than other participants. Snoring also did not affect how many hours they slept or how often they woke up. You can see the results for yourself in the American Journal of Otolaryngology.
The fact is that snoring can be a major issue, especially if it is affecting your quality of life. Yes, there are lots of things you can try to reduce snoring, from snoring aids to snoring devices. But here are some do-it-yourself suggestions that may help to keep your airways open during sleep.
Avoid alcohol — or don't drink alcohol within three hours of bedtime. This will help prevent your airway muscles from becoming slack while you sleep.
Avoid taking tranquilizers or sedatives to help you sleep. Like alcohol, these drugs may relax muscles in the throat.
If you are overweight or obese, extra fat tissue in the neck and throat can narrow the airways.
A sinus infection or allergies may cause nasal tissues to swell. If swollen nasal tissues are the problem, a humidifier or medication may reduce swelling.
If you smoke, you’re more likely to snore, possibly because of increased swelling and irritation in the upper airway.
Sleep on your side or elevate your head. When you sleep flat on your back, your tongue falls back and presses against the top of your airway, so sleeping on your side may help. You can also try elevating your head by using an extra pillow or a wedge pillow.
If you snore and have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, or your snoring is causing your significant other sleepless nights, you should talk to your doctor about a possible solution. If you think you’re having trouble breathing during sleep, it could be a sign of Obstructed Sleep Apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when airflow is interrupted because of the narrowing or closure of the throat.
You may find that you have a deviated septum or narrow airways and you could benefit from a nasal dilator that’s designed to increase airflow through your nose. You may have a sleep disorder, or there could be some other underlying reason for your snoring. In fact, one study even found fat tongues may be the culprit.
Once you determine what is causing your snoring, you’ll be on the road to much quieter nights.
Snoring is just one of the many health concerns you can address when you schedule a midlife health screening with your doctor. If you’re unsure which preventive screening you may need, check out our “Midlife Screening Checklist.” You’ll not only learn which screenings you need but also what age you should consider having them done.