Snoring & Sleep Apnoea
Quick DIY Tips to Help You Stop Snoring For Better Sleep
February 1, 2020
When we sleep, our muscles relax and we lose consciousness of how the body responds. The muscles around the throat and nasal passages can also relax and partially block the airways. It results in vibrations and sounds that we recognize as snoring.
Snoring is a common occurrence and many people brush it off as ‘part of their nature.’ However, sometimes it can be a source of discomfort or embarrassment for the snorers, especially if it happens too frequently when sleeping with their partners. It can also reduce the quality of your sleep; ever felt like you didn’t get a good night’s rest and woken up tired?
But more than just a night-time noise, Sleep Medicine Specialists (sometimes known as “Snoring Specialist”) also warn that that snoring could be associated with a condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA. The good news is there are several things you could try to help you stop snoring before making a visit to an ENT Specialist.
Change your sleeping position
In many cases, snoring is often a result of awkward sleeping position. Are you a back sleeper? If you are, the chances of snoring are higher due the airways getting blocked or narrowed. When your muscles relax, the base of your tongue and soft palate loosens to the back wall of the throat and blocks the airway. As you breathe, the narrowed airway vibrates creating the snoring sound.
Switch up your sleeping position and sleep on your side. If you often would roll unto your back mid-sleep, invest in a body pillow to maintain a side-sleeping position. Alternatively, a cheaper approach would be to tape a tennis ball to your back during sleep!
Add humidifiers to your room
If you are snoring and have allergies or upper respiratory illness, a humidifier may help to decrease your snoring. Dry air in your room (especially in an air-conditioned room) may aggravate your snoring, and humidifiers work by adding moisture in the air to lubricate your nose and throat. This moisture can also loosen mucus and encourage drainage, which leads to less restriction in your air passages. This makes it easier for air to flow in and out without causing noisy vibrations.
Change your beddings
Nasal allergies due to common house dust mites and other allergens in your bedroom is a major cause of snoring. Clean your pillows, mattresses and sheets regularly and change them frequently. Choose the right pillow to keep your head elevated and encourage better breathing to reduce snoring.
Open nasal passages
Over the counter products like stick-on nasal strips can be placed on the nose bridge to widen the space in your nasal passage. Similarly, a nasal dilator can be applied across the nostrils to make your breathing more effective and lower airflow resistance, reducing your snoring. However, quite often, these may not work, and you may have to visit an ENT Specialist to deal with common causes of blocked nose.
If you are overweight or obese, there will be more fat tissues around the neck and throat region. This results in a narrower breathing passageway, making it more susceptible to collapse during sleep. There is no secret to losing weight and we know that the key to weight loss is to reduce your calories intake and to exercise regularly.
Check if you have OSA and seek treatment
The above tips can help you find one that works in making you reduce or potentially stop snoring. However, if you experience irregular breathing patterns, loud snoring followed by episodes of quiet during which you cease breathing, chances are you may have Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Consult an ENT Specialist or a doctor trained in Sleep Medicine to get a diagnosis and treatment for the condition. Doctors have observed that overweight men who drink alcohol are the most common group who suffer from OSA. That doesn’t mean that women and children, or slim non-drinkers cannot have the condition. If untreated, there’s a higher risk of fatigue-related conditions as well as heart disease.
Medically reviewed by Dr Gan Eng Cern