When we snore, it means that air is flowing through our throat as we breathe in our sleep. This can cause the tissues in our throat to vibrate, which can create harsh or irritating sounds.

If you or your partner snores, it can disrupt your sleep. Snoring may indicate a severe health condition, such as:

  • obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), or blocked airways
  • obesity
  • an issue with the structure of your mouth, nose, or throat
  • sleep deprivation

In other cases, snoring may be caused by sleeping on your back or drinking alcohol too close to bedtime.

Home Remedies and Lifestyle Changes for Snoring

If your snoring is caused by a simple factor like your sleep position, there are some easy home remedies you can try. Making some lifestyle changes can also help treat your snoring.

Sleep on Your Side

Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue to block your airway.


Sleeping on your back allows your tongue to fall backwards into your throat, which narrows your airway and partially obstructs airflow. Try sleeping on your side instead. If you find that you always end up on your back in the middle of the night, try sewing a tennis ball in the back of your pajama top. This will make it uncomfortable to sleep on your back and will help train your body to sleep on your side.

Get Enough Sleep

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society, adults need to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

If you are sleep deprived, you may be more likely to snore. This is because sleep deprivation can cause your throat muscles to relax, making you more susceptible to airway obstruction.

Snoring can cause sleep deprivation by leading to interrupted sleep.

The recommended amount of sleep for adults is seven hours per night. The amount of sleep recommended for children varies by age, with preschool-aged children needing 10 to 13 hours a day, school-age children needing nine to 12 hours a day, and teens needing eight to 10 hours a day.

Raise the Head of Your Bed

If you elevate your head a few inches when you’re sleeping, it might help to reduce snoring by keeping your airways open. You can use things like bed risers or pillows to increase the height.

When you sleep, your digestive system slows down. If you want to help your digestive system out while you sleep, try raising the head of your bed by about four inches.

Use Nasal Strips or a Nasal Dilator

If you have a problem with snoring, you can try using nasal strips. These strips are placed on the bridge of your nose and help to increase the space in your nasal passage. This makes your breathing more effective and can reduce or eliminate your snoring.

An external nasal dilator is a stiffened adhesive strip that is applied on top of the nose across the nostrils. This decreases airflow resistance, making it easier to breathe.

There are also internal nasal dilators, which you insert into your nose.

Adhesive strips placed on the bridge of the nose can help widen the nasal passage, making it easier to breathe. A nasal dilator is a stiff adhesive strip that is placed externally across the nostrils, which can help reduce airflow resistance and make it easier to breathe. However, nasal strips and external nasal dilators are not effective for people with OSA.

Limit or Avoid Alcohol Before Bed

It’s a good idea to avoid drinking alcohol for a few hours before bedtime. Alcohol can make your throat muscles relax, which can lead to snoring.

Alcohol can also disrupt your sleep in other ways.

A 2020 study found that people who drink alcohol tend to sleep less deeply. This is because REM sleep is important for things like forming memories and dreaming.

Avoid Taking Sedatives Before Bed

If you take sedatives, you should talk to your doctor to see if there are any other options. Stopping sedative use before bed may help to ease your snoring. Just as with alcohol, sedatives can also cause muscles, such as your throat muscles, to relax.

Before taking sedatives, tell your doctor about your snoring. Sedatives and alcohol relax your central nervous system, causing your muscles, including those in your throat, to relax too much.

Try to Stop Smoking, if You Smoke

One study from 2014 suggests that smoking may make snoring worse, as it increases the risk of OSA. However, more research is needed to confirm this.

You should speak to a doctor about different therapies that can assist you in quitting smoking, such as gum or patches.

If you stop smoking, you may snore less, as well as enjoy other health benefits.

Maintain a Moderate Weight

If you are overweight, shedding some pounds may help to reduce the amount of tissue in your throat that could be causing your snoring.

One way to lose weight is to reduce the number of calories you consume each day. This can be done by eating smaller portions and choosing foods that are more nutrient-rich. Getting regular exercise is also important. If you need help, you can talk to a doctor or a nutritionist.

Overweight people may have extra throat tissue that causes them to snore. Losing weight can help reduce or eliminate snoring.

Treat Nasal Congestion or Obstruction

You are more likely to snore if you have allergies or a deviated septum which restrict airflow through your nose, causing you to breathe through your mouth.

If you have chronic congestion, you may need a prescription steroid spray or surgery to correct a structural defect in your airway, such as a deviated septum.

What the Experts Think

To determine what is causing your symptoms, your doctor will review your signs and symptoms and your medical history. Your doctor will also perform a physical examination.

Why Do We Snore Anyway?

Dr. Brandon Peters-Mathews, a board-certified physician in both neurology and sleep medicine who currently practices at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, explained that snoring occurs due to the vibration of tissues within the throat when the airway muscles relax during sleep.

Normally, this happens when the air flow is disturbed around the soft palate, uvula, or base of the tongue, said Peters-Mathews.

According to the text, having difficulty breathing through the nose may lead to mouth breathing and snoring. If someone breathes through their mouth at night, it can shift the lower jaw and tongue backward, which then affects airflow through the throat.

Could Snoring Be Dangerous?

According to Peters-Mathews, snoring by itself is not usually a cause for concern, but it can be a sign that there is an issue with breathing during sleep. This issue could be something as serious as sleep apnea, which is a sleep disorder characterized by periods of stop-and-start breathing.

Peters-Mathews wasn’t surprised to hear about our experience using different devices.

He said that both external and internal nasal dilators may increase airflow through the nose and reduce snoring, but that they unfortunately would not be expected to adequately resolve associated sleep apnea.

The person advised against using a chinstrap to treat snoring, pointing out that mouth breathing could become necessary if nasal obstruction is present or if the person has difficulty breathing through their nose.

The text is saying that the person is glad they had the other person take the device off when they did because it seemed to be causing the person difficulty breathing.

Peters-Mathews suggests that people with chronic snoring should be evaluated by a sleep physician rather than using over-the-counter devices.

Alternative Medicine

There are a lot of products you can buy to try and stop snoring, like nasal sprays or homeopathic therapies. But most of them haven’t been shown to work in scientific studies.

Coping and Support

If your partner is the one who is snoring loudly at night, you may feel frustrated and exhausted. You can try using some home remedies to help lessen the noise, but if those don’t work, then your partner will need to make an appointment with the doctor.

In the meantime, you can try using ear plugs or background noise to mask the snoring noise and get more sleep.

When to Contact a Doctor

If you’re a snorer, you’re in good company. Approximately half of all adults snore, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation.

Snoring can interfere with your sleep and your partner’s sleep. In addition to being annoying, it may be a sign of a serious health problem. If you’re concerned about snoring, talk to your doctor. There are a number of things you can do to reduce or stop snoring.

Reach out to a doctor if:

  • You have signs or symptoms of sleep apnea, such as:
  • gasping for air while you sleep
  • nocturia, or frequent urination at night
  • hypersomnia, or excessive daytime sleepiness
  • waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • waking up with a headache
  • Snoring affects the quality of your sleep.
  • Home remedies and lifestyle changes do not reduce your snoring.

Preparing for Your Appointment

You will most likely talk to your family doctor or a general practitioner about your sleep issues, but you might be referred to a specialist if your case is more serious.

Arriving prepared for your doctor’s appointment can help make the most of the time you have together. Here’s some information on what you can do to get ready, as well as what you can expect from your doctor.

What You Can Do

Make a list of any symptoms you are experiencing, including any that may not seem related to why you scheduled the appointment. Ask your partner to describe what they hear or notice at night while you are sleeping.

If you are having difficulty sleeping, you should consider making an appointment with a doctor. It may be helpful to ask your sleep partner to accompany you so that they can discuss your symptoms with the doctor.

Please list all medications, vitamins, and supplements that you are currently taking.

Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Your time with your doctor may be limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. For snoring, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What makes me snore when I sleep?
  • Is my snoring a sign of something more serious, such as OSA?
  • What kinds of tests do I need?
  • What happens during a sleep test?
  • What treatments are available for snoring, and which do you recommend?
  • What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
  • Are there any alternatives to the primary approach that you’re suggesting?
  • Are there any steps I can take on my own that will help my snoring?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?

Feel free to ask your doctor any questions you may have during your appointment.

What to Expect From Your Doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you some questions. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you first begin snoring?
  • Do you snore every night or only once in a while?
  • Do you often wake up during the night?
  • Does anything you do seem to improve your snoring?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your snoring?
  • Does your snoring depend on specific positions of sleep?
  • How loud is your snoring? Does it bother your bed partner? Can it be heard outside the bedroom?
  • Does your bed partner ever tell you that you have pauses or irregularities in your breathing during sleep?
  • Do you snort, choke or gasp yourself awake from sleep?
  • What daytime symptoms are you experiencing, such as sleepiness?

What You Can Do in the Meantime

While you’re waiting to see your doctor, here are some tips you can try:

  • Don’t drink alcohol or take sedatives before bed.
  • Try over-the-counter nasal strips.
  • Sleep on your side, instead of your back.
  • If nasal congestion is an issue, try an over-the-counter decongestant for a day or two.


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Rhoda is an award-winning dietitian, mature age model, and CEO of Sayvana Women.  

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