According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), approximately 30 to 50 percent of the United States population snores throughout their lifetime. The volume and frequency of your snore could indicate whether or not you have a potentially life-threatening condition, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This sleeping disorder could potentially stop your breathing or make your breathing become very shallow, with 20 to 30 pauses that last anywhere between 10 and 20 seconds in an hour, says the American Sleep Association .
Loud snoring, the most common symptom of OSA, occurs in half of the people with the condition. Some sufferers are unaware that they snore because they are seldom woken up by their own sounds. Sleep disruption does occur in patients who experience a very limited amount of oxygen entering their body while they sleep — keeping them up all night long.
The Reasons Why People Snore
Snoring is provoked by the reduced airways in either your throat or your nostrils that control the amount of oxygen that enters your body. The actual snoring sound is caused by the vibrations made by air as it struggles to get through your soft palate, uvula, tongue, tonsils, and/or muscles in the back of your throat, said Dr. Joseph Mercola, licensed physician and surgeon, on his website. Too much throat or nasal tissue is responsible for the vibrations that produce the dreaded snoring sound. The position of your tongue can also interfere with your breathing. If the air you breathe is not able to move freely through your nose and your mouth as you sleep, you will most likely be a snorer.
People snore for different reasons that include but are not limited to age, body build, nasal and sinus problems, and sleep posture. Once you are able to determine the factor that causes your snoring, you can adjust your sleeping habits to ensure a better night’s sleep for you and your family. An effective way to monitor your snoring is to ask a non-snorer to record patterns in your snoring that can help indicate the reason as to why you snore, says Helpguide.org .
Tips to Stop Snoring
It’s best to try natural alternatives that can control and even stop snoring altogether. As a person’s odds for snoring begin to increase with age — one-third of people between ages 55 and 84 snore — treating this condition early can prevent the onset of sleep apnea and potentially other health illnesses affiliated with snoring, says Discovery Health. Try these seven natural snoring remedies below to improve the quantity and quality of sleep.
1. Sleep on Your
The AAOMS says people are more susceptible to snoring when they sleep on their back. Researchers suggest to sleep on your side to get a comfortable night’s sleep. This sleep position will make sure that the base of the tongue will not collapse into the back of the throat, which can narrow the airway and prevent proper breathing.
2. Elevate Your Head
When you go to sleep, try to elevate your head to take pressure off the airway to make breathing easier. Discovery Health suggests to raise the head of the bed by putting blocks under the bed posts. A simpler alternative is to prop your upper body with pillows to allow oxygen to go through your airways.
3. Throat and Tongue Exercises
Mercola recommends snorers to do throat and tongue exercises to strengthen these body parts so they are less likely to slip backwards. He shares the following exercise tip: “Begin by simply putting your upper and lower molars together, lightly. Next, open your mouth, focusing on pressing your molars as wide apart as you can, without over stretching. Repeat this ten to twenty times. After about 5 to 10 times you should feel your jaw muscles strengthening, and the back of your mouth opening up.”
4. Inhale Steam
Before you go to bed, place your head over a steam bowl, covering it with a towel to clear out and reduce swelling in your nasal passages. You can add a few drops of essential oil to open up your nostrils and relieve nasal congestion.
5. Mouth Guard
You can visit your dentist or doctor to prescribe you an anti-snoring mouth guard. These mouth guards can hold your teeth together and keep your jaw muscles in place so they do not become too loose, says Discovery Health.
6. Avoid Alcohol and Tranquilizers
Alcohol and tranquilizers are known to be muscle relaxers that can relax your tongue and throat muscles more when you sleep. The more relaxed these muscles are, the greater the chances that you will snore. ABC News reports that the soft palate tissue and uvula begin to flap more as air passes when you sleep after consuming alcohol. Refraining from alcohol three to four hours before you go to sleep will help to reduce your chances of snoring.
7. Lose Weight
The AAOMS suggests losing 10 lbs. especially if you are overweight, in order to reduce snoring. The extra weight that may linger around your neck can cause your throat to narrow when you lie down and produce snoring when you sleep.