Snoring is caused by obstructed airways during sleep. Most instances of snoring are benign, but when snoring becomes a chronic problem, it can affect alertness, productivity, and even negatively impact personal relationships.
For some, snoring is simply a mild annoyance, while for others, it's an indicator of a serious underlying condition, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).1 Chronic snoring often requires medical attention in order to find the right snoring remedies. Even in its most mild form, it can disturb sleep patterns and cause daytime sleepiness.
Fortunately, there are many snoring remedies that can help alleviate symptoms. These solutions include snoring home remedies, such as throat and mouth exercises and adjusting sleeping positions; using an anti-snoring device, like a CPAP for snoring; or a surgical correction of abnormalities in breathing passageways.
Snoring is common and is believed to occur in almost half of the adult population.2 In these cases, there are a few at-home steps people can take to try to reduce the sound and frequency of snoring. Some basic lifestyle changes can help reduce the likelihood of snoring.
One reason for snoring may be improper sleeping position.3 One way to improve your sleeping position is to make sure your head is properly elevated by a pillow. Another snoring solution is to adjust your sleeping position to a side position, rather than sleeping on your back. Sleeping on one's back in a supine position allows the tongue to fall to the back of the throat which creates interference in the throat's airways causing vibrations and snoring.
Other snoring home remedies include avoiding alcohol and smoking, practicing mouth and throat exercises, called oropharyngeal exercises,4 and addressing any causes of nasal congestion. Many people treat nasal congestion with medications like antihistamines, which can help.5 However, some medications can make people drowsy, and sedative medications and tranquilizers are known to make snoring worse.6 Other nasal decongestion methods, such as nasal steroids, nasal strips, humidifiers, and chin strips, have been known to cause reprieve from symptoms of snoring for users, although there is less research on these snoring remedies.
In some cases, snoring can greatly disrupt one’s life. For severe snoring, it is best to seek the guidance and help of a medical professional. There are several effective snoring remedies that can be prescribed by doctors, depending on the severity of the snoring and whether it is connected to other sleep disorders.
Snoring devices are very popular and can be a non-invasive way to tackle the issue. An anti-snore guard works by moving the jaw forward, allowing for the widening of the airways in the throat. This typically results in a reduction of noise from the obstruction. One of the most common snoring devices, called a mandibular advancement device, and has been known to help ease or eliminate snoring.7 This device functions by bringing your tongue forward so that it cannot obstruct or block the airways located at the back of the throat during sleep. Another prevalent anti-snoring device is called a tongue stabilizing device. This device also moves the tongue forward, creating more space in the back of the throat.8
Because snoring stems from blocked airways, the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy can reduce or eliminate the problem for many people.9 CPAP machines usually include a mask that is worn while sleeping. The face mask works by delivering pressurized air through the nose and mouth or just the nose to keep the throat open and allow continuous breathing.
If the patient has an abnormality in the upper airways, surgical treatment can be the best option. Surgery is dependent on the particular cause of snoring. Surgical solutions to snoring conditions often involve stiffening of the soft palate to reduce vibration or removing nasal blockages to allow people to breathe through their noses.10
Snoring is not necessarily dangerous. Many people snore without any negative long term health problems. When snoring is especially loud and goes on for a long period of time, it can be an indicator of a dangerous underlying sleep disorder.
Trying to regulate your life and avoid stimulants or tranquilizers before bed can help reduce the effects of snoring.
Loud snoring if often the result of narrow or obstructed airways. Very loud snoring is often associated with sleep apnea and should be monitored and addressed.
Many devices are thought to help prevent or eliminate snoring. CPAP machines are some of the most common devices that help many people reduce or eradicate intense snoring from their lives. There are also other anti-snoring devices, such as the mandibular protruding device, that can help move the jaw forward and reduce the intensity of snoring.
Yes, generally speaking, snoring does get worse with age. As people age, their muscles surrounding their tongue and throat often become weaker, making snoring increasingly likely. The weakening of the muscles can be counteracted to some degree by incorporating oropharyngeal exercises into one’s routine.
© 2021 American Sleep Association.