Stop snoring!

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How to Put an End to Restless Nights on the Couch

Rattling. Snorting. Grumbling. If you live with someone who snores, these are the haunting sounds of sleepless nightmares.

Unfortunately, most people don’t tire of their own snoring. They tire of being awakened by loved ones. Or they get sick of other people’s snoring.

No matter who does the snoring in your house, it benefits no one. It’s not healthy for the snorer, and it’s frustrating (and exhausting) for the people who can’t rest comfortably because of the incessant noise. 

Snoring 101

When air can’t flow easily through your mouth or nose, snoring starts. When that air is forced through an obstructed area, the soft tissues in your mouth, nose and throat start bumping into each other and vibrating…creating noise. Lots and lots of tedious, loud noise.

Obviously, snoring interrupts sleep for others. But it’s wreaking havoc on your sleep, too. Chronic snoring can be a sign of a more serious disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which can have a huge effect on your health and wellness if left untreated. Some people with OSA even gasp for air and stop breathing for a few seconds while they’re asleep.

Who snores

Snoring is extremely common. Most people snore at some point in their life, but risk factors can include:


  • Age – As we get older, our muscle tone decreases and causes our airways to constrict.
  • Alcohol and medication – These can relax muscles, restricting airflow in the mouth, nose and throat.
  • Anatomy – If you have a long soft palate, enlarged adenoids, tonsils or a large tongue, it’s harder for air to flow through your nose and mouth. A deviated septum (displaced cartilage in the nose) also blocks airflow.
  • Gender – Snoring is more common in men.
  • Family history – Snoring runs in the family.
  • Overall health – Nasal congestion blocks airflow through the mouth and nose.
  • Pregnancy – Due to hormonal changes and weight gain, women are more likely to snore during pregnancy.
  • Weight – Breathing issues are more common in people who are overweight or obese.

The effects of snoring

Occasional snoring is usually harmless. If you snore regularly, you may toss and turn at night, have a dry, sore throat in the morning and feel tired during the day. A lack of sleep can cause headaches, difficulty focusing and irritability.=

The effects of long-term snoring can increase your risk of more serious health problems, including: 

  • Decreased blood oxygen levels
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue (feeling extremely tired throughout the day)
  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes 

When to see a doctor

Talk to your provider about how to stop snoring. You should see your provider as soon as possible if you feel like you can’t breathe when you sleep or you’re extremely tired during the day. 

If you have a snoring child, talk to their pediatrician or health care provider. Children need restful sleep. Sleep deprivation increases the risk of behavior problems in kids. Sleep-deprived children are more likely to feel tired all the time or have trouble focusing at school.

Treatment for snoring

Your provider may recommend treatments to improve your posture or open your airways when you sleep. Remedies for snoring include:

  • A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine – This device sends a steady flow of pressurized air into your nose and mouth as you sleep. This keeps your airways open and helps you breathe normally.
  • Medications – Cold and allergy medications can relieve nasal congestion and help you breathe freely. 
  • Mouth guards – Wearing an oral appliance when you sleep keeps your jaw in the proper position so air can flow.
  • Nasal strips – These flexible bands stick to the outside of your nose and keep nasal passages open. 

Other non-surgical solutions may include:

  • Avoid alcohol and other sedatives before bed.
  • Maintain a healthy weight, stay active and get plenty of exercise. 
  • Raise the head of your bed a few inches to change the angle and improve airflow. 
  • Sleep on your side (not your back).
  • Try a pillow that keeps your head and neck in the proper position when you sleep.

In some cases, a minimally invasive surgical procedure may be needed to shrink or remove excess tissue or correct a structural problem. Surgery for snoring includes: 

  • Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) – LAUP reduces tissue in the soft palate to improve airflow. 
  • Radiofrequency ablation – This technique (also known as Somnoplasty) uses radiofrequency to shrink tissue in the soft palate and tongue.
  • Septoplasty – This procedure straightens a deviated septum in the nose and improves airflow by reshaping the cartilage and bone.
  • Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy – The surgeon removes excess tissue from the back of the throat (called a tonsillectomy) or the back of the nose ( called an adenoidectomy).

Don’t lose (more) sleep

Snoring is annoying. Your partner can’t stand it, and it can be a symptom of a bigger issue. If you snore loudly and frequently, talk to your doctor. There are steps you can take today to lessen your snoring tonight. The right treatment can help you breathe easier, sleep better and feel more rested.