Snoring drives your bed partner crazy. Listening to your partner complain about snoring makes you crazy. Thankfully, there are many ways on how to stop snoring in order to eliminate the issue. Some solutions are easy fixes, while others require medical treatment.
Before we get into solutions, let’s talk about why people snore. Snoring is caused by vibration of the palate (roof of your mouth) and uvula (the thing that hangs in the back of your throat) against your tongue and throat. It’s just simple mechanics.
If you are an adult and have periods where you stop breathing during the night or wake up gasping, call your doctor. If your child snores, talk to your pediatrician.
Simple How to Stop Snoring Solutions
The simple mechanical reason for snoring may be relieved with easy, low cost or free solutions to change how your palate and uvula are positioned while sleeping.
- Raise your head while sleeping. You can accomplish this by putting some extra pillows under your head. If the head of your bed is adjustable, try raising it about 25 or 30 degrees to start.
- Most people who snore sleep on their backs. Try sleeping on your side. You can place pillows behind your back so you don’t roll over and begin snoring again.
- Avoid alcohol or sedatives before you sleep. Alcohol and sedatives are nervous system depressants, which increases laxity of your jaw. When your jaw relaxes, there is a greater likelihood it will slide back, and the palate and uvula will partially block the air moving through the throat.
- Lose weight. I know, this one might not be so simple for many people. When we gain weight, we gain weight everywhere, including the neck and airway areas. Weight loss can reduce the excess tissue in
the area and may relieve snoring.
- Do you have sinus or adenoid problems? Take care of them. Nasal or throat congestion increase your chances of snoring.
Snoring Solutions – Next Steps
You’ve tried all the simple solutions, but continue to snore. It’s time to start thinking about going to a doctor to learn how to stop snoring. The doctor will perform an exam and may order tests or studies. The information gathered will help the doctor determine the best treatment for your snoring.
Depending on your insurance, you may need a referral from your primary care doctor to a doctor who specializes in sleep problems. Take a few minutes to confirm if you need a referral to avoid denied insurance claims.
When you go to the specialist, you may want to bring your bed partner to help give an accurate account of the snoring issue. At the office, expect the following:
- Medical history questionnaire. Be prepared with a list of any medical issues and the medications you take. Know your sleep habits, and note if you’ve had any issues with memory loss, auto accidents, heart trouble, or reflux. Be honest about your social history, including drinking, smoking, and drug use. All can contribute to snoring or other sleep problems.
- Questions to evaluate your sleepiness also called the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.
- Physical exam. Your height, weight, pulse oximetry (a measure of how much oxygen is your blood), and blood pressure are important. The doctor will look inside your ears, nose, and throat, feel your neck, and listen to your heart and lungs. He or she will also look for swelling, especially in your feet and ankles. The doctor will ask specific questions during the exam.
Depending on the result of your questionnaire, conversation with your doctor, and physical exam, the doctor may recommend one or more of the following labs and studies:
- Bloodwork to measure cholesterol and count blood cells (called a complete blood count, or CBC).
- Imaging studies, like X-ray, CT scan, or MRI.
- Sleep study. Some sleep studies are done at home. Some need to be in a special sleep center where many different systems are monitored.
Medical Based Snoring Solutions
The recommendation from your sleep specialist will depend if you have a condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). People diagnosed with OSA have a higher chance of complications related to the heart and circulatory system. If you have OSA, follow your physician’s instructions carefully.
- Dental appliances look like sports mouth guards. You wear the appliance while sleeping, and it prevents your jaw from slipping back.
- Airway pressure machines keep the airways open with air pressure. There are many different types of machines which deliver varying levels of pressure.
- Surgery is an option of last resort. Very few people who snore need surgery.
This article has covered many tips on how to stop snoring. Some are simple and easy, like sleeping on your side or putting a few extra pillows under your head. Obesity, smoking, alcohol, and sedatives can contribute to snoring as well. Controlling these behaviors may decrease or eliminate snoring.
If you stop breathing during the night, wake up gasping for air, or have a child who snores, please see your doctor.