Although a snorer isn’t aware of the problem, anyone who shares the bed certainly is. That noisy breathing robs both the culprit and others of appropriate rest by disrupting sleeping patterns, rendering them groggy victims in the morning.
About 40 million Americans snore, according to the National Commission on Sleep Disorders. To silence this nighttime rumble, the American Academy of Otolaryngology offers the following suggestions:
1. Adopt a healthy lifestyle — Those with good muscle tone are less likely to snore. Shaping up your lifestyle can assure that the tongue and throat muscles are in shape as well.
2. Lose weight — Overweight people often have bulky neck tissue, which can narrow air passageways, causing vibrations when the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate and the uvula on the roof of the mouth.
3. Avoid tranquilizers, sleeping pills and antihistamines before bedtime — Being heavily sedated relaxes the muscles too much, causing collapsible airways to narrow.
4. Avoid alcohol for at least four hours before going to sleep — Alcohol can also oversedate someone if consumed too close to bedtime.
5. Avoid snacks for three hours before retiring — Food can trigger saliva and mucus production, which can interfere with breathing.
6. Establish regular sleeping patterns — Disturbed sleep and sleep deprivation can cause snoring. Establishing regular sleeping patterns can assure that you are not overly exhausted and thus keep you from snoring.
7. Sleep on your side rather than your back — When you sleep on your back, the lower jaw tends to drop open and snoring is more likely. You can sew a sock to the back of your pajamas and put a tennis ball into the sock to keep from rolling over or ask someone you sleep with or a roommate to roll you back onto your side if you should end up on your back.
8. Tilt the head of your bed up four inches — You can do this by stacking pillows underneath you. This allows easier free-flow of the air through the throat and nasal passages.
9. Add some humidity to your bedroom — A dry throat tends to vibrate more than one that is moist. A humidifier could help keep your mouth and throat from drying out.
10. If snoring continues, contact your doctor — Snoring means obstructed breathing and that can be serious. Your doctor can determine whether your snoring stems from sleep apnea, a condition in which loud snoring is interrupted by frequent episodes of totally obstructed breathing. These obstructions cause a snorer to stop breathing for seconds or even minutes. Ask your doctor about surgical and nonsurgical treatments for these more serious conditions.