Loud snoring is often viewed as more of a social problem than a medical one. It interferes with both the quality and quantity of the snorers and their loved ones' sleep. In extreme cases, snoring may cause marital strife when the partners of the snorers have to put up with the noise regularly. So 'how to stop snoring naturally' is one of the most asked question.
Occasional snoring is normal in most people. In fact, it is estimated that about half of the population will snore at some point. However, medical studies show that excessive snoring is often a symptom of a potentially risky medical condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. These are regular but short episodes of interrupted breathing during sleep, which increase the risk of heart disease. Excessive snoring is however not necessarily to apnea.
When you fall asleep, your body muscles relax. The muscles and tissues in your throat also relax and obstruct the air passage. The air you breathe while you are asleep causes the tissues to vibrate as it passes through the narrowed passage, causing the snoring sound. In some rare cases, this sound can be as high as 80 decibels, which is almost as loud as chainsaws and jackhammers! If you are worried that your snoring is getting out of hand, or if you have tried all manner of remedies without much success and are wondering "how do i stop snoring?" Several remedies exist to help people who snore reduce or stop habitual snoring.
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Different ways to stop snoring:Lifestyle changes
Some changes can make a big difference to reduce your snoring or stop it altogether. It is important to consult your doctor to rule out any underlying medical problem with snoring as a symptom. The doctors will also advice you on how to reduce snoring and how to prevent snoring. Lifestyle changes are also effective in helping people with sleep apnea reduce their snoring.Control your body weight
Your body weight can be a contributing factor to your snoring problem. Excess weight around the neck causes the throat and air passages to narrow further, worsening the snoring. If you are overweight or if you have recently gained a significant amount of weight, consider making changes such as taking up physical activities or modifying your diet to reduce the weight. Not only will this help to reduce snoring, but it will also improve your overall health and wellbeing.Reduce alcohol consumption
If you drink, go easy on the alcohol if you want to stop snoring. Substances that cause muscle relaxation such as alcohol, sedatives and sleeping pills tend to worsen the snoring problem. It takes more effort to breathe as the muscles and tissues at the back of the throat are more relaxed and cause obstruction. If you snore and must drink, avoid alcohol close to bedtime.Watch your sleep position
If you normally sleep on your back, you are more likely to snore. This is because your soft palate and the base of your tongue collapse into the back of the neck, obstructing the air passage, which causes snoring. Try to sleep on your side and on a reclined position, with your head slightly raised. Use a good pillow that provides support to your body and neck while you sleep.Adopt good sleep habits
Good sleep habits promote restful sleep and can help to reduce snoring. Sleep deprivation is a common problem as more people work longer hours and party late into the night. When you get less than enough sleep, your body eventually become extremely fatigued. This means that when you fall asleep, you sleep heavily and snore more.Hydrate
Taking enough fluids helps to keep your soft palate and nasal passages clear, which reduces snoring. When you are dehydrated, nasal and soft palate secretions are thicker and stickier and this is likely to aggravate snoring. The Institute of Medicine recommends consumption of about 12 cups of water, including fluids from foodstuffs and drinks. The fluid requirements for men are higher and they should take about 16 cups per day.Breathe easy
Because obstructions in the nasal passage are the main causes of snoring, it helps to keep the passage as clear as possible. This will ease breathing and reduce snoring. If your nasal passages are clogged, nasal strips, which are applied on the bridge of the nose help to clear things up and make breathing easy. Also, taking a warm shower at bedtime and using a salt rinse in your nose helps.
Sometimes these small changes will effectively reduce snoring and allow you and your family to have peaceful sleep through the night. In extreme case of snoring however, other interventions may be recommended. Your doctor can refer you to a good ear nose and throat (ENT) specialist, who will evaluate you and suggest the most suitable treatment option for your problem. These options are listed as:Dental and oral devices and lower jaw positioners
These look much like the mouth guards used by athletes. They work either by bringing your tongue forward in your mouth while you sleep to prevent it from flopping back to the back of your throat or by keeping your jaw in the right position. Consult a dentist if you need to use a dental device.Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
This is a device placed at the bedside that blows pressurized air in a mask, which you place over your nose. Radio Frequency (RF)
This technique uses radiofrequency waves to shrink the tissues in the back of your throat and soft palate. The method reduces obstructions and opens up the air passage to make breathing easy. Several treatment sessions may be needed to shrink the tissues sufficiently.Surgery
Surgical removal of excessive tissue in the soft palate maybe recommended especially in the cases of obstructive sleep apnea. Traditional surgical procedures include Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy and Thermal Ablation Palatoplasty. Small implants may also be used on the area. Also known as the pillar procedure, implants cause scar tissue to grow around the area, which stiffens the soft palate and stops the snoring.Laser Assisted uvulopalatoplasty and somnoplasty
These newer technologies are used to reduce snoring. They use laser to remove parts of the soft palate and open up the air passage. The procedures are performed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons while the patient is under general or local anesthesia.
Some of these techniques are still undergoing studies to improve their performance and results. While lifestyle changes alone may work, medical treatment may just be the answer to the question "how do I stop snoring?"