Have you ever asked these questions before:
How to stop snoring at night?
Do you, your partner or your roommate snore at night?
Do you or somebody else you know make a sawing log sound while asleep?
Snoring is a problem that can cause daytime fatigue, irritability and has a whole host of other health problems that one does not need.
Snoring is a reoccurring sleep issue in many people and makes it difficult for those around them to deal with. However, this also affects the snorer’s quality of sleep as well.
There are some cases where this is an indicator of sleep apnea which would require treatment from a medical center.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways on how to stop snoring at night that range from changing lifestyle habits to special devices that are made to counteract snoring.
As you progress through this article, you will discover the tests that help you rule out the cause of your snoring. You will also find techniques that you can use to help yourself and the various treatments options that are available.
Table Of Contents
Part I: Rule out what is causing your snoring
- Causes of snoring
- Is it snoring or sleep apnea?
- Tests to recognize the cause of snoring
Part II: Treatment Options
- Chin Strap Devices
- Mouth Devices
- Nasal Devices
- Lifestyle Changes
- Positions That People Sleep In
- Continuous positive airway pressure machines (also known as “CPAP” machines)
Part III: Ways to reduce snoring
Part I: Rule out what is causing your snoring
Those who snore loudly are able to produce a noise that has level up to 80 decibels. For a reference, an alarm clock or a dishwasher can produce that same level of sound.
Approximately 40% of people will snore at some point in their lives. More than 25% of people will snore on a continuous basis. Women are less likely to snore than men are.
Snoring can increase as a person gets older, yet starts to decrease when one reaches about age 70.
The techniques and other anti snoring devices only assist in controlling the problem rather than curing the sleep disorder once and for all. However, many people say that both the techniques and devices when working together help manage the disorder.
Is snoring a problem for you, your partner or your roommate?
In the case that you live by yourself and snoring does not impact your sleep in any way. Then this will not be issue. However, if you wake up, have had less than ideal sleep and it causes a disturbance to those around you. Then at this point, it is a clear issue.
There are surveys that shows that the partners of those who snore can suffer from bad health due to disrupted sleep patterns. The other remedy that their partner employs is sleeping in another bedroom away from them or their roommate.
There is scientific evidence that snoring worsens over time if not kept in check. Snoring for an extended amount of time can cause damage to the blood vessels that connect to your muscles. The result is that there is less control and can worsen the snoring.
Trying to deal with a loud snoring partner or roommate is not the best course of action in the long term.
2. Causes of snoring
The audible noise that you hear from snoring is caused by vibrations of different areas of the soft tissue in your nose and mouth as you are inhaling and exhaling.
The pull of air in and out as you breathe makes a portion of your nose and mouth vibrate, this is even more evident if the normal airways are minimized in size. The fact is that snoring can originate from a few different locations such as:
- The nose passageways.
- Uvula – the small soft tissue that hangs from the roof of the mouth.
- Tonsils – these are the glands located at the top of your throat.
- The soft palate – is a layer of soft tissue located at the back and top portions of your mouth.
The issue is that when a person is asleep the muscles located in the mouth and neck can relax which causes the airway to become restricted in size or even obstructed.
As a result the speed and pressure of your breath when you inhale/exhale causes a loud noise to be produced as your body forces your respiratory system to breathe.
There are circumstances that can worsen snoring such as when you have either swollen tonsils or a cold. These can make the airways smaller and makes it more difficult to breathe in and out.
Is it snoring or sleep apnea?
It is an important note to keep in the mind that snoring can potentially be an indicator of another sleep disorder called sleep apnea. Yet, it is rather difficult to diagnose yourself whether you just snore or really have sleep apnea.
The majority of people who snore are not aware that they have sleep apnea up until the point that they receive medical assistance. Often times, it is their partner or roommate that informs them that they sometimes cease breathing for short periods of time while they are asleep.
Sleep apnea is more serious than snoring and can have long-term health problems. I recommend that you mention any history of snoring to a medical professional with emphasis on snoring that is reoccurring or loud.
You also need to inform your doctor if you have ever woken up feeling as though you had a difficult time breathing, feeling as though you are gasping for air and any signs that you stop breathing.
4. Tests to recognize the cause of snoring
There are a few methods to help manage snoring. The next step to take is to figure out if the issue is related to your nose, tongue, or mouth.
To find the location of where your snoring is coming from, there are tests that you can try at home to help identify the specific area:
1. The Nose Test
This test is best done standing in front of a mirror :
- Close your mouth and have it remained closed throughout the entire test.
- Use your finger and push in on one side of your nose and hold that nostril closed.
- Take a breath through your open nostril.
- Take note and see if your open nostril pulls in or collapses when you take a breath in.
- Repeat on the opposite side of your nose.
- Try to keep your nostril open by holding it apart and try to breathe once more.
If you see that your nostrils collapse slightly when you take a breath in and that your breathing seems to be easier when you hold your nostrils open, you could potentially be a nose snorer.
It is recommended that you do not perform this test if you currently have an obstructed nasal airway or a cold as these conditions can give you inaccurate results.
2. The Tongue Test
This test will specify if your tongue vibrates as well if it is the main offender:
- Open your mouth and make a snoring sound.
- Stick out your tongue (the same thing you would do in a doctor’s office) and lightly grasp your tongue with your teeth to hold your tongue in place.
- Attempt to make a snoring sound.
If you had a difficult time making a snoring sound with your tongue sticking out, it could be that a vibrating tongue is the issue.
If you had no difficulties making a snoring sound, then the issue is in a different location.
3. The Open Mouth Snorer Test
The majority of people naturally breathe through their mouths more than they do through their nose. However, if your mouth drops while you are sleeping this motion can lead to snoring. To find out you can try this test:
- Open your mouth and attempt to snore. You will need to put some effort, yet give it a try.
- Now close your mouth and attempt to make a snoring sound one more time.
If you are able to produce a snoring sound when your mouth is open, yet have a hard time producing a sound when your mouth is closed. It is likely that your snoring could be from when your mouth opens wide while you are asleep.
An important thing to keep in mind that these tests are not conclusive and there can be more than one version that can apply to your case.
However, these tests will give you some hints as to what category of treatment that you should attempt first.
Part II: Treatment Options
Chin Straps Devices
Chin straps are an easy and effective solution for those individuals who snore through their mouths. However, if you snore through your nose or have an obstructed nasal airway due to a cold, then this device will not work in this case.
The important thing to keep in mind is that it is not recommended to wear a chin strap if you have sleep apnea. The exception is that your doctor recommends that you use one along with a cpap machine.
These anti snoring chin straps secure the jaw in place and reduce the chance that the tongue and throat tissues flap back and forth. This in turn stops the airway from being block.
Although, these devices are not the most attractive thing to wear when lying in bed, yet if necessary there are a few varieties that you can try.
Fortunately, chin straps are inexpensive and in terms of comfort they are roughly the same as using a mouth device. These are worth a try and see if they work for you.
Mouth pieces are effective for those who snore through their mouth or tongue.
There are a few different types of mouth pieces that are available and they all function in their own separate ways. These devices are separated into three main categories:
Tongue retaining mouthpieces – these reposition the tongue to stop the tongue from obstructing the airways. As with the “MAD”, these are useful for people who snore due to their tongue moving backwards which then obstructs the airway and causes vibrations.
Mandibular advancement devices (MAD for short) – these move the tongue and jaw forward to minimize the restriction that is placed on your throat. These are practical for those who snore due to a vibrating tongue.
Vestibular shield – these devices restrict the amount of oxygen you can get receive through your mouth. Therefore, it forces you to breathe from your nose. These are handy for those who snore from their mouths.The MAD devices have the highest amount of health authority endorsements more so than the other available options. The devices are the ones that are typically recommended first for treatment. There is also some independent research that demonstrate that they are effective.
The con of MAD devices is that some individuals have stated that they are uncomfortable to wear and can result in stiffness and soreness if worn for an entire night.
There was a survey that was conducted and was discovered that 30% of people ceased using them after a few attempts. However, that indicates that 70% of users still use their devices even after the first few attempts.
If the MAD device has peaked your interest, these are six tips that I recommend:
- Choose a device that you believe will suit your needs after trying the tests above.
- Follow your doctor’s recommendation.
- Conduct your research online
- Carefully read the reviews before purchasing.
- Find out if there is guaranteed money back trial period.
- Try out the mouthpiece, you should be able to wear it without feeling too much discomfort.
If you have tried the standard devices and they do not work. There is always an option to have your dentist create a custom-made mouthpiece.
If you have a small mouth or other mouth related issues, then you should consult your doctor or dentist first.
An important thing to remember is this path will have a higher cost.
In spite of the claims, there is no real evidence that custom-made mouth devices are superior to their over the counter counterparts.
If you are one of those people who snores through your nose.
Nasal devices in the form of dilator or a strip are a potentially helpful treatment.
The nasal dilator is a device works by sitting inside your nostrils and keeps your nostrils open from the inside. Nasal strips are devices that have a sticky side that adheres to the outside of your nose.
At first these devices seem uncomfortable to wear, yet most people do become accustomed to them rather quickly. There is no independent research for their effectiveness that can be found. Yet, these devices are inexpensive so they are worth an attempt.
These also can possible work for those who snore through their mouth. The idea behind this is that you may breathe and snore due to your nasal passageways being either limited or obstructed.
It is possible that these devices which open up your nose can help you stop breathing through your mouth.
There are certain lifestyle and health factors that can add to your snoring issue such as:
- Allergies – if your nose becomes swollen because of allergies. An example is hay fever, this will cause you to breathe through your mouth and will elevate the risks of snoring.
- Smoking – Smoking can cause inflammation to the nose and throat. The result of having an inflammed nose and throat is an air passageway that is reduced in size for your breathing.
- Anti Depressants and Sedatives – These substances can loosen your muscles, which lead to snoring or worsen the issue.
- Drinking Alcohol – Consuming alcoholic beverages before your bedtime can relax the muscles and elevate the risk of snoring. This is a simple factor to determine by making a note if you snore after a drinking session.
- Being Overweight – the result of being overweight is that there is more soft tissue in the neck and the base of the tongue. This can elevate the restriction of the airways and aggravate your snoring. Medical professionals suggest that women who have a neck circumference greater than 16 inches (40.6 cm) and men who have a neck circumference greater than 17 inches (43.2 cm) have a greater risk of snoring and possibly developing sleep apnea.
If you consult your doctor about a snoring issue. They will most likely look at these factors and will advise you to take action to correct them.
5. Positions That People Sleep In
People who sleep on the back are more likely to snore than those sleep on their side or stomach. This happens because your head is pushed closer to your chest and that position constricts your airways. Your soft tissues and tongue can also move backwards to obstruct your airways.
However, some people find that sleeping on their side or their stomach can feel uncomfortable and there are people who will shift over to their back while they are sleeping regardless. Yet, it will help you out greatly if you do not start going to bed while lying on your back.
Fortunately, there are pillows in the market that are made for side sleepers with some of them being very comfortable. These pillows will motivate you to sleep on your side more.
Pillows To Elevate Your Head
If you lie on your back in a fairly flat position, the soft tissues and your tongue will move backwards and obstruct your windpipe. Some people find it helpful to either use extra pillows or specially made anti snoring pillows to elevate and support their heads while they are sleeping.
These are not the only options that medical professionals recommended, yet are worth a try if you are still attempting to sleep in that elevated position. You can always try using an extra pillow before considering the special pillow option.
6. Continuous positive airway pressure machines (CPAP machines)
These machines are designed for those with sleep apnea and there are a number of different options. In addition, these machines have been known to help some people minimize their snoring.
An important note to keep in mind is that cpap machines are expensive and will take some time to adjust to. This can be a last resort for those who just snore. In the event that you tried the other options and they did not work.
I recommended that you go consult a medical professional prior to investing in one.
There are a few different options for surgery that are available to help end snoring. Surgery is usually a last resort and most times only offered to those whose snoring has serious effect on their health or well-being.
These surgical procedures may or may not be covered by your health insurance plan and be quite costly if you go through with a private treatment option.
These are the main options for surgery:
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP for short)
This surgical procedure calls for removing excess soft tissue in the mouth, the uvula (the small tissue that hangs from the roof of the mouth) and in some cases the tonsils if they are deemed to be an issue.
This procedure uses a general anesthetic and the result can be a few weeks worth of discomfort after the procedure. There success rate of curing snoring from this method of surgery is approximately 50%.
This surgical procedure resembles UPPP that is listed above. However, this procedure uses high frequency radio waves and lasers to eliminate the soft tissue. The result of this operation can be a significant amount of discomfort and may or may not have the same success rate as UPPP.
Soft Palate Implants
This procedure only pertains if it is accepted that the vibrations of the soft tissues located in the back of your mouth is the source of your snoring.
Medical professionals will use an anesthetic, special substances are injected into the person’s soft palate to make it rigid and stop it from vibrating when the person is breathing.
This procedure involves using radio waves to shrink and stiffen the soft palates to help end vibrations. This is different from soft palate implants because this procedure uses radio waves rather than injections.
There are other options in the market that are worth considering such as nose and mouth sprays. Yet, there is not a lot of evidence to reinforce their effectiveness. The majority of sleep experts most times do not recommended these options. However, given their low cost they are worth an attempt.
Ways To Block Out Snoring
The solutions listed about are about how to make a person stop snoring at night. Yet, if this proves to be a challenge or if it seems impossible. There is one more option and that is to minimize the effect the noise has on you.
The most simple and successful method to block out snoring is to use some earplugs. These handy plugs will minimize the level of noise and in some instances will stop the noise from disrupting you completely.
If earplugs are not your preference, then you can try using some noise cancelling earphones. These handy devices are excellent in their ability to drown out people who snore loudly.
Part III: Ways To Reduce Snoring
The first thing that you must realize in spite of the hype, is that there is no 100% end all cure. You will discover that there is some and trial that will need to be done in order to figure out what works.
To help you get started, there are 8 ways that you can follow that will help reduce your snoring:
- If you find that you snore loudly or have indicators for sleep apnea, the first thing you should do is consult a medical professional for their help.
- Perform the tests in “Part I” of this article and try to pinpoint the location from where you snore whether that would be from your nose, tongue, or mouth.
- In spite of what type of snorer you are, you should get your partner to help you determine if you snore only or snore worse than normal when you lie on your back. If that is true, then I recommended that you try sleeping on your side. This is an excellent and more comfortable alternative than the different anti snoring devices.
- If you believe that you snore from your mouth or a vibrating tongue despite your sleeping position or that you are unable to sleep on your side. Then I recommend that you try using a tongue retaining mouthpiece or a mandibular advancement device.
- If you tried using a mouth device and it does not work. I recommend that you try a vestibular shield or a chin strap.
- If you snore through your nose or believe that you snore through your mouth due to an obstructed nose, try using a nasal device.
- At this point in the list, you probably noticed that I did not begin with lifestyle changes because while smoking, drinking, and being overweight contribute to your snoring. The suggestion to change these factors is the simple part. The difficult part is taking the time and action to implement these changes. However, if you are aware of these factors and are willing to make a change to improve your health. The rewards will not improve your overall health, but can also help reduce snoring as well. That is not only a win for yourself, it is also a win for your partner and your roommate.
- If you have exhausted all the above ways to reduce your snoring, then a medical professional will help you find a proper treatment.
There are different ways to help to manage and reduce snoring. The important thing to do is to recognize how snoring can effect you or another person in the long run.
Have you tried any of the methods that were mentioned in this article?
Please feel free to share your experience on snoring.
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