Some kinds of snoring are easy to overlook. A little gentle, steady snoring can even be soothing, akin to having a cat fall asleep on your lap. It suggests sleep and relaxation. In fact, nearly half of adults snore lightly from time to time. But other kinds of snoring are disruptive and, for a brief moment, quite unsettling.
Snoring is caused by obstruction of air passage in the back of the nose and mouth. The obstruction causes friction and vibration of the tongue, soft palate and uvula.
Are you tired of waking up to the otherworldly, barely human sound of your partner, roommate or sibling snoring? Or are you the perpetrator, unaware of your tyrannical nightly noises. Tired of being tired due to interrupted sleep? Here's how to cure snoring.
- Talk to the snorer. The perpetrator won't be making the first step to cure snoring until you tell him he has a snoring problem. If you haven't already broken the news, then now's the time to do it! You have a responsibility to speak up - not just for selfish reasons, but also for his benefit (more on that below).
- Position of sleep. Back sleepers are those most susceptible to snoring. One way to potentially cure snoring is to sleep on your side. Easier said than done, though, for a lifelong back-sleeper. Back-sleepers often try to cure snoring by sewing a tennis ball onto the back of their pajamas, so that they gravitate more toward side-sleeping during the night.
If you can't fight your desire to sleep on your back, then try using a thicker pillow to elevate your head.
- Relaxants. Don't drink as much alcohol during the evening, and keep in mind that tranquilizers and sleeping pills can relax those vibrating mouth muscles enough to cause snoring as well.
- Dairy. We've all heard the old remedy for insomnia - drink a warm glass of milk. But milk causes a build-up of mucus in the air passages in the back of our throat, so refrain from drinking milk before bedtime or in the middle of the night.
- Too much bulk in the neck. An overweight neck can constrict your air passages enough to incite snoring. Exercise and weight loss can help to cure the snoring.
- Dryness. Arid room exacerbates snoring by increasing the friction of muscles in the back of the throat and also causing more nasal congestion. To cure snoring, try to run a humidifier in your bedroom while you sleep.
- Colds and allergies. As just mentioned, nasal congestion can cause the palate, tongue and uvula to converge and contort during sleep, like a foul acrobatic troupe. If snoring temporarily ensues during a cold, it will just as quickly disappear once you recover. However, if you suffer from seasonal or dust allergies, now may be the time to seek treatment; snoring probably isn't the only annoyance caused by your allergies.
- Products. You can buy breathing strips to open nasal passageways, thereby reducing snoring. Drug stores sell decongestants that can reduce snoring as well, though this isn't an advisable long-term cure for snoring.
- See a doctor. Heavy snoring isn't something that we can dismiss as an inconsequential annoyance. If you are a heavy snorer, you should schedule a checkup with your doctor. A medical exam is important to your health and the health of those around you, if only because a good night's rest is central to our health. Beyond that, your doctor will determine whether you suffer from a condition known as sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea, it means that the obstructive snoring actually causes you to stop breathing for seconds (or even as much as a minute) at a time. Your partner/roommate/sibling may have noticed that your breathing seems to stop for a period, only to burst forth in a noisy snore.
But the disturbance to their sleep is not a cause for concern when compared to the fact that long-term sleep apnea can damage your heart. Due to lapses of breathing, your blood is less oxygenated, which causes your heart to pump faster. If left untreated for a long period of time, this increased strain can lead to a rise in blood pressure and even cause your heart to enlarge. Consult your doctor to learn about treatment of sleep apnea.
Earplugs aren't the answer. Be proactive! Don't ignore heavy snoring, and don't despair in the false notion that snoring is impossible to cure. Whether heavy or light snoring, you can cure snoring by taking steps at home and scheduling an appointment with your doctor.