Snoring is the sound of obstructed air movement in the respiratory system due to excessively relaxed throat muscles and tissues. This obstructed air causes the soft tissue in the throat and roof of the mouth to vibrate which creates a sound while sleeping. The snoring noise can be produced both ways- from breathing in and breathing out.
Snoring can be loud, which causes distress to the snorer, their partner and the people surrounding them, but there is also soft snoring. The volume of the snoring is dependent on how much air passes through the narrow passageway of the throat. If the throat muscles and tissues located on the passageway are too relaxed, this obstructs the air passing through smoothly; hence the sound will tend to be louder.
People who have too much throat and nasal tissue or “floppy” tissue that is more prone to vibrate are more likely to snore. The tongue can also play a role in interrupting smooth airflow.
So, why do we only snore when sleeping?
After all, we breathe air in and out during the day and it passes smoothly enough and we don’t create a snoring sound while we are awake. Well, when we head into bed to sleep after a long busy day, our body’s muscles and tissues relax; this includes the throat and mouth. The relaxed muscles and tissue push down on the throat, hence causing the air obstruction in the passageway.
How to stop snoring in your sleep?
Below are some anti-snoring bedtime practices you can do at home which may help stop snoring. We are all individuals that respond to different methods, so it may take a little time, patience and experimenting with different solutions to find out what works for you (or your partner) to stop snoring:
- Sleep on our side instead of your back. Sleeping on your back causes the relaxed muscles and tissues in the throat to push down and interrupt airflow. Usually you are not aware of the position of your body while sleeping, therefore to maintain a side sleeping position, try using positioning pillows. As the name suggests, These pillows are heavy and firm enough to hold you in side sleeping position and ensure you don’t roll onto your back or your stomach. Place a pillow behind and in front of you when you sleep on your side to prevent any rolling of the body. Eventually your body will adapt to side sleeping and you won’t need the assistance positioning pillows. Check out the Hullo Pillow, made from organic cotton and Buckwheat Hulls, it is designed to help you sleep better.
- Try sewing a tennis ball to the front and back of your pyjamas. This is a little bit more uncomfortable than other methods, however it has proved to be effective for some people. If you roll out of your side sleeping position, the tennis balls will keep you in check, as it is definitely not pleasant sleeping on a hard tennis ball.
- Sleeping on the sofa for a few weeks may also teach your body to sleep on its side as the sofa has limited space for you to roll around. If the sofa is big enough to allow you roll onto your back, try placing a positioning pillow behind you to limit the space. Eventually, your body will learn to sleep on its side.
If the above solutions sound too uncomfortable or you must absolutely sleep on your back, try the below:
- Increase the elevation of your pillow, either through stacking two pillows together or investing in an anti-snoring pillow. The elevation helps to alleviate the pressure that the relaxed throat muscles and tongue put on the airway passage, allowing smooth unobstructed airflow through the respiratory system. Be sure not to have your neck bent too far upwards as this will over stress the neck muscles. Read up on anti snoring pillow reviews to find the one most suitable for you.
- Try an anti snoring mouthpiece. These devices help reposition the lower jaw and tongue by bringing them forward, allowing air to pass through the throat and nose smoothly. There are many different types of these devices on the market, from home kits to anti-snoring aids specifically designed for you by a dentist, so do your research to find which is the best for you. The American Sleep Association has reviewed a range of popular anti snoring devices, worth the read if you are considering this method.
- Keep your sinuses and nasal passages clear. There are many ways to do this: blowing your nose before bedtime, using a saline rinse to clear the sinus, a neti pot, nasal decongestant spray or nasal strips and diffuser with Eucalyptus or Tea Tree Oil scent can all assist in smooth breathing during sleep. If you suffer from hay fever or allergies, take extra precautions to keep you room free from dust and pets. Consult your doctor if you would like to explore taking antihistamines to alleviate the allergic symptoms.
- A humidifier helps keep the air in the room moist, as dry air can sometimes irritate the nasal passages, causing snoring.
Be sure to keep a mental note on the position you wake from in the morning. If you are on your side, that’s a good sign, it means the method you are using is working! If you are still waking up on your back, try a different tactic and don’t give up!