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Snore No More: Your Guide to Stopping Snoring Naturally

Are you tired of waking up to your partner's elbow in your ribs, or feeling groggy and unrested due to snoring? You're not alone.

According to Spire Healthcare, snoring is a common issue affecting around 45% of adults, with 25% experiencing it regularly. While occasional snoring is usually harmless, chronic snoring can disrupt sleep quality and even be a sign of more serious conditions like sleep apnoea.

Before resorting to surgical interventions or relying on devices, consider these natural solutions to help you stop snoring and get a better night's rest.

Understanding the Causes of Snoring

Snoring occurs when the tissues in your throat relax and partially block the airways, causing vibrations as you breathe.

Several factors can contribute to this, including:

  1. Mouth anatomy: The structure of one's mouth plays a significant role in breathing patterns during sleep. Individuals with a low, thick soft palate have less space in their airway, making it easier for it to close during sleep, which can cause snoring. Similarly, enlarged tonsils or adenoids act as physical obstructions in the throat. These anatomical features can narrow the airway enough to disrupt the smooth flow of air, leading to the vibrations we recognise as snoring. Addressing these issues may require medical intervention, such as surgery or the use of dental devices, to prevent the airway from narrowing during sleep.
  2. Alcohol consumption: Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that has a relaxing effect on the body's muscles, including those in the throat. Drinking alcohol, especially before bedtime, can lead to an increased relaxation of the throat muscles and decrease the natural defense against airway obstruction. This relaxation increases the likelihood of snoring as it can cause the airway to collapse more readily. To minimise snoring, it is advisable to limit alcohol consumption, particularly in the hours leading up to sleep.
  3. Nasal problems: Chronic nasal congestion or a deviated septum - a condition where the nasal passage is crooked - can significantly affect breathing through the nose. This restriction forces individuals to breathe through their mouths while sleeping, increasing the chances of snoring. Addressing nasal congestion through over-the-counter nasal decongestants, saline sprays, or having surgical correction for a deviated septum can help improve airflow through the nose and reduce snoring.
  4. Sleep deprivation: Failing to get enough sleep on a regular basis can lead to the muscles in the throat becoming floppier, which exacerbates snoring. This relaxation can narrow the airway, making it more susceptible to the turbulent airflow that causes snoring. Establishing a healthy sleep routine that ensures adequate rest can help mitigate this risk, leading to a more peaceful night's sleep both for the snorer and their partner.
  5. Sleep position:The position in which one sleeps can significantly affect snoring. Sleeping on the back, for example, allows gravity to pull the tongue and soft tissues at the back of the throat downward, potentially blocking the airway. This blockage can cause snoring. One simple solution to this problem is to sleep on one’s side. Special pillows/bed wedges and body positioning devices are available to help maintain a side-sleeping position throughout the night, reducing the likelihood of snoring.
  6. Being overweight: Excess weight around the neck area can narrow the airways. The additional fatty tissue can push against the throat's internal structures, decreasing the space through which air can flow freely. Losing weight through a combination of diet and exercise can decrease the severity of snoring by reducing the pressure on the neck and improving overall respiratory health.
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    Natural Remedies for Snoring

    1. Change Your Sleep Position
    1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
    • Losing excess weight, especially around the neck, can help reduce snoring.
    • Adopt a balanced diet and regular exercise routine to manage weight.
    1. Avoid Alcohol and Sedatives Before Bed
    • Steer clear of alcohol and sedatives for at least a couple of hours before bedtime.
    • These substances relax the muscles in the throat, exacerbating snoring.
    1. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
    • Establish a consistent sleep schedule and create a relaxing bedtime routine.
    • Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature.
    1. Keep Nasal Passages Clear
    • If chronic nasal congestion is an issue, try sleep sprays, nasal strips, a saline rinse, or a nasal dilator.
    • Avoid allergens in the bedroom, like dust mites, pets and pollen.
    1. Stay Hydrated
    • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent the secretions in your nose and soft palate from becoming sticky.
    • Aim for at least NHS recommended 6-8 glasses of water per day.
    1. Try Throat Exercises
    • Strengthen the muscles in your throat by practising exercises like singing or playing a wind instrument.
    • Specific exercises, like placing the tip of your tongue behind your top teeth and sliding it backwards, can help tone throat muscles.
    • Join a choir - why not? It can help strengthen those out of shape throat muscles and bets of all it's fun!  Choir director, Alise Ojay is adamant vocal exercises are the answer to a good night's sleep.  
    Person lying in bed with a Putnams body pillow

    When to Seek Medical Help

    While these natural remedies can be effective for mild to moderate snoring, it's essential to consult a doctor if:

    • Snoring is loud, disruptive, and occurs frequently
    • You experience excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, or difficulty concentrating
    • You have noticed pauses in breathing during sleep
    • Lifestyle changes and natural remedies have not improved snoring

    These could be signs of sleep apnoea, a serious condition that requires medical attention. A doctor may recommend a sleep study to diagnose sleep apnoea and discuss treatment options like continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy or oral appliances.

    The Bottom Line

    Snoring is a common issue that can often be managed with simple lifestyle changes and natural remedies.

    By understanding the causes of snoring and implementing these holistic solutions, you can reduce snoring, improve sleep quality, and wake up feeling refreshed and who knows you might uncover a new skill, choir master! 

    However, if snoring persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it's crucial to seek medical evaluation to rule out underlying health conditions and determine the best course of treatment.

    Let us know your solutions below we would love to hear from you.   

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