1. Lose Weight: Excess weight and fatty tissue can cause your throat to narrow. If you are overweight, especially if you have a double (or triple) chin, losing weight can reduce or even eliminate snoring. If you lose 10 pounds, you will shrink your neck size by 1 inch, and that may help get your snoring under control.
  2. Skip the Nightcap: Alcohol relaxes the throat muscles. If you tend to drink before bedtime, don’t! You’ll sleep more soundly, but make less noise.
  3. Don’t Smoke: 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.
  4. Avoid Antihistamines: If a stuffy nose is keeping you up, there are alternatives to antihistamines. I recommend 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.
  5. Sleep on Your Side: If you tend to snore when you sleep on your back, try sleeping on your side. If making that change is hard for you, try the old tennis ball trick. Sew a sock to the back of your pajama top. Put a tennis ball in the sock. Then go to sleep. 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.
  6. Avoid Sleeping Pills: I prescribe sleeping pills for some patients – but with caution if they snore, because these drugs relax throat muscles and may actually increase snoring.
  7. Sleep on a Firm Pillow: 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 will block your airway, causing you to snore. I’ve had mixed reviews from patients as to whether “anti-snoring” pillows that you see advertised on television work any better than a standard firm pillow. Some patients have reported good results from one or more of these pillows, but some have found them to be very uncomfortable. My best advice is to try out a few pillows for yourself and see if any of them work for you.
  8. Elevate Your Bed: Elevate the head of your bed by about four inches. This position may make breathing easier, and it pushes your tongue and jaw forward. You can buy a foam wedge to put under the mattress, or you place rolled-up towels underneath the mattress so that the head of the bed is elevated. 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.
  9. Avoid Heavy Meals at Night: Late-night eating promotes snoring because the process of digestion also relaxes the throat and tongue muscles. If you must eat, avoid high-fat dairy products, such as ice cream, before sleeping. Milk products can keep mucus from draining properly.
  10. Avoid Spicy Foods at Night: Spicy foods can trigger indigestion, which could lead to snoring.
  11. Get Some Exercise: 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.
  12. Learn to Play a Wind Instrument: 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. Although other wind instruments have not been studied, there is no reason to believe that they won’t work just as well.