- Avoid Heavy Meals at Night: Do you sometimes (or often) just a little bit peckish about half an hour before you plan on going to bed? And does the little snack that you were going to have, become more than just a snack? This is something that you should avoid.
Why? Late-night eating promotes snoring because the process of digestion tends to relaxe the throat and tongue muscles, which causes semi restriction of the airway. And if you really do need to eat to get to sleep, make sure that you avoid high-fat dairy products such as ice cream and cheese just before tucking into bed. Milk products can also keep mucus from draining properly from the throat area.
- Avoid Spicy Foods at Night: There’s nothing like a bit of “hot”. Right? There is just before bed!
Why? Spicy foods can often trigger indigestion, which has been linked to snoring.
- Learn to Play a Wind Instrument: This is often regarded as one of the stranger ways to consider when it comes to stopping snoring. I mean, playing the sax is kind of cool, but its not everyone’s cup of tea. And trumpets and flutes may not really appeal. What about the didgeridoo? You should give that a shot!
Why? Playing a wind instrument can help improve the muscle tone of the roof of your mouth and strengthen your upper airways. Studies have shown that playing one wind instrument in particular, the Australian didgeridoo, can be particularly helpful for people with respiratory problems, as well as those who snore. It may sound silly, but it really works. By strengthening the throat muscles (just like any other muscle in your body), makes it less flabby and more taut, and consequently less likely to vibrate when breathing heavily during sleep.
- Avoid Sleeping Pills: There is a significant percentage of the population that are now prescribed sleeping pills for a variety of reasons. Some people are even calling it an epidemic. For whatever reason, if you snore and are taking sleeping medication, it is well worthwhile having a conversation with your medical practitioner about other options.
Why? Because drugs such as sleeping pills are designed to over-ride the bodies normal sleep mechanism, and as a result of the often deep sleep patterns resulting from medication, they relax the throat muscles and may actually increase snoring.
- Avoid Antihistamines: Is hay-fever driving you mad? But you’re also snoring? If possible, ditch the antihistamines! However, remember that before stopping any prescribed or recommended medication you should consult your doctor.
Why? Antihistamines tend to dry things out in the body, and they can possibly produce over-relaxation. Dryness can make snoring worse by can causing irritation in the throat and mouth that wasn’t originally occurring. And as you will likely now be aware, over-relaxation of the throat muscles can make them even more lax, contributing to more, and worse, snoring. If a blocked nose is keeping you up, there are alternatives to antihistamines. A great recommendation is an old-fashioned remedy that works extremely well – inhaling hot steam with eucalyptus. Just fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Toss in some eucalyptus oil or fresh eucalyptus leaves, and let it sit for a minute or two.
- Skip the Nightcap: If you tend to drink before bedtime, don’t!
Why? Alcohol relaxes the throat muscles. Relaxed throat muscles equal snoring. Period.
- Don’t Smoke: We know, that’s a hard ask sometimes!
Why? Smoking, or exposure to second hand smoke relaxes the throat muscles and also causes congestion in the nasal passages and lungs. If you smoke, you need to stop for a lot of reasons, including the fact that it contributes to snoring.
- Sleep on Your Side: If you tend to snore when you sleep on your back, try sleeping on your side.
Why? When you sleep on your back, as you fall asleep and your muscles relax, the tongue tens to fall back and block the throat. Likewise, any mucus and fluid will sit in the back of the throat and irritate or obstruct the airflow. If making that change is hard for you, try the age-old tennis ball trick. Sew a sock to the back of your pyjama top and put in a tennis ball. If you attempt to lie on your back, pressure from the tennis ball will wake you. In time, you will naturally begin to sleep on your side, and the tennis ball will no longer be needed. If you still sleep on your back, try a cricket ball. Just joking! (about the cricket ball).
- Use a Firm Pillow: It seems that everyone has a preference when it come to pillows. Some like them soft, some hard; some thin and some thick! If you snore you should consider only sleeping on a firm pillow.
Why? Sleeping with a very soft pillow that doesn’t support your head can increase the angle of your neck, which in turn can force your tongue and jaw to fall backward in your throat. This in turn can block your airway causing you to snore. Keep it firm.
- Get Some Exercise: With all our explanations around toning up those throat muscles, we should also tone up our other muscles.
Why? Just as internal muscles such as your throat muscles help reduces snoring if they are taut, so do other body muscles, especially in our upper bodies. Poor overall muscle tone and overly relaxed muscles contribute to snoring problems. Exercise will tone you – and the tissues that are involved in snoring – up. But remember that you should exercise at least three hours before bedtime. Working out any later could keep you up.
11. Elevate Your Bed: Since we have mentioned the need of a firm pillow, it could also be worthwhile elevating the head of you bed as well?
Why? If you elevate the head of your bed by about four inches, the new position may make breathing easier as it can push your tongue and jaw forward. You may be able buy a foam wedge to put under the mattress, or you place other items such as rolled-up towels or blankets underneath the mattress so that the head of the bed is elevated. Alternatively, it is sometimes possible to find wedge shaped pillows that support the shoulders and raise your body up evenly. It’s better to elevate the entire head of the bed than to use several pillows to achieve the same elevation, because pillows can crimp the neck, which may actually contribute to snoring.
- Lose Weight: For many of us, this is the elephant in the room. Believe it or not, skinny people do snore, however as we gain excess weight, we also store fat internally which places pressure on our airways and other organs which can cause or increase snoring.
Why? Excess weight and fatty tissue can cause your throat to narrow. If you are overweight, especially if you have a double (or triple) chin, weight loss can reduce or often eliminate snoring. If you lose 10 pounds, you will shrink your neck size by 1 inch, and that may help to get your snoring under control.
- Explore Over-the-Counter Options: Various over-the-counter products help minimize snoring.
Why? These include nasal sprays that moisten your nasal passages, anti-snoring throat sprays that lubricate and tone your throat muscles, chin strips that reposition your tongue and jaw to open your airways, and special pillows that force you to sleep on your side.
Mandibular Advancement Devices help to hold your lower jaw forward and Tongue Stabilising Devices hold your tongue from falling back when sleeping.
There are also herbal remedies that can assist the body in fighting inflammation on the throat and in reducing mucus and phlegm. Each tool will not work equally well for every person, but they have produced enough positive results that they are worth a try.
The Snorblok range of Anti snoring products is one of the most trusted and comprehensive available in the New Zealand market today, so it is well worthwhile perusing the range and trying some of these products. You have nothing to lose but your Snoring!