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Let’s face it: snoring is not the most comforting ‘trait’ to have. The truth is that 45% of adults snore at least occasionally, so the chances that you snore or you know someone who snores are extremely high. We usually consider snoring to be just slightly annoying, however, it may actually have a negative impact on our health. According to Daniel P. Slaughter, MD, an otolaryngologist and snoring expert at Capital Otolaryngology in Austin, Texas, 75% of people who snore have obstructive sleep apnea (when breathing is disrupted during sleep for short periods), which increases the risk of developing heart disease. We do not want to scare you, but snoring is a serious issue that may require treatment. Here are a couple of recommendations on how to change your lifestyle to reduce or stop snoring.
- Change Your Sleep Position.
Try to sleep on your side rather than your back. When you lie on your back, the base of your tongue and soft palate collapse to the back wall of your throat, causing a vibrating sound during sleep. Sleeping on your side prevents this.
- Stay Healthy.
Interestingly enough adding on even a few pounds can lead to snoring. Fatty tissue around your neck squeezes the airway and prevents air from flowing in and out freely. If snoring is an issue for you, try and begin by taking steps to control your diet and increase activity. Loosing a few of the holiday pounds might cause a nice change with your snoring habits as a byproduct of looking and feeling radiant!
- Avoid Alcohol.
You may want to pass on the round of cocktails and stick to soda water and lemon for a bit. Every wonder why your wife says you snore extra loud after a night on the town? Alcohol causes the muscles in the throat to relax more than usual during a normal night’s sleep. This added relaxation of the muscles makes the back of the throat collapse more readily, limiting the airway and causing snoring.
- Make Sure Your Nasal Passages Are Clear.
If the nasal passages become congested, it’s difficult to breathe through your nose because of the restricted passageway for air. Allergies, smoking, or sinusitis cause nasal congestion so be aware of the added negative effects of a stuffy nose and work to remain healthy.
- Control Your Sleep Hygiene.
Poor sleep habits can have an effect on you level and frequency of snoring. When you are tired and do not have enough sleep, the chances that you will snore greatly increase. “You sleep hard and deep, and the muscles become floppier, which creates snoring,” Slaughter says. Try sticking to a bedtime routine, taking extra time to relax the mind and limiting electronics at least 1 hour prior to sleeping.
Try these natural ways to fight snoring. If they do not work, consult with your doctor or consider purchasing special appliances (mainly oral appliances constructed by a dentist experienced in treatment of snoring and sleep apnea, but also other appliances such as nasal dilators).
If your biggest noise issues come from outside your home, such as traffic noise through your windows, then consider installing soundproofing curtains over your windows to minimize sleep disturbances throughout the night!