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Snoring is a common issue faced by many. As much it is a physiological problem, it is also a nuisance, disturbing your sleep and increasing daytime fatigue and sleepiness. Snoring is mainly caused by an obstruction in the airways, which could be due to loose muscles, a long soft palate or extra fat around the throat. However, it may also be indicative of an underlying condition like a deviated nasal septum or sinus infection. Sleeping posture, age, obesity and lifestyle factors also influence snoring habits.

A condition called sleep apnoea is also marked by loud snoring during sleep. This is mainly caused by an obstruction in the airways, which makes it difficult to breathe for a few seconds. However, central sleep apnoea is due to interference in brain signals. Nonetheless, sleep apnoea increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and memory problems.

While dental mouth devices, nasal strips and surgeries are available as treatment options for snoring, if there is not an underlying condition, you can opt for some easy home remedies to alleviate the possible reasons.

So buckle up because it’s going to take some determination to change your lifestyle habits.

  1. Snoring remedies
  2. Exercises to stop snoring
  3. Yoga and pranayama for snoring
  4. Neti pots for reducing snoring
  5. Other remedies for snoring

Are you bothered by your habitual snoring? Does your spouse constantly complain of sleeping disturbances due to your loud snoring? You can stop fretting now because there are some simple remedies you can try at home to get rid of your snoring problem.

Lose weight to stop snoring

If you have recently put on some extra pounds and have started snoring, chances are that extra weight is putting pressure on your throat muscles, making it difficult to breathe. Studies suggest that obese men, in the age group of 30 to 70, who are habitual snorers, are at a much high risk of developing diabetes than obesity. Though slim people may also snore, it is usually due to another factor.

Instead of going on crash diets and skipping meals, it is best that you go for a balanced diet. You may consult a nutritionist or start a regular exercise regime to get rid of all that extra fat. But you don’t need to go overboard with a weight loss program. A body mass index (BMI) value of about 25 is regarded to be the best to get rid of snoring problems. Further, if you have a normal BMI, you don’t need to opt for any kind of weight loss program, instead, look for reducing specific fat deposits around your neck area.

Snoring in obese children is attributed to poor academic performances among other things. Studies indicate that regular aerobic exercise is beneficial in reducing snoring in such cases.

(Read more: Diet chart for weight loss)

Change your sleep position to reduce snoring

So, you are not overweight and you still have snoring problems. Have you ever wondered if your sleep position has some role in your snoring habit? Studies have demonstrated a direct association between a supine position (sleeping on your back) and snoring.

According to NIH, sleeping on your back makes your neck tissues to put extra pressure on your airways which, in turn, causes snoring. Head positioning pillows (keep your head well positioned to avoid snores) have proven to be beneficial in such cases, especially in people who have a normal weight. It has been found to have curative effects on position-obstructive sleep apnea.

Don’t like pillows? You can always ditch them and sleep on your side instead. However, that might take some time getting used to. Or you can do what the WW1 soldiers did and put some sort of weight or obstruction on your back to avoid sleeping on your back. Interestingly, in 1984, a woman sewed a plastic ball in the back of her husband’s shirt to keep him from sleeping on his back. All it takes it a bit of creativity.

Stop taking alcohol before bed to stop snoring

If you a regular drinker or take mild to moderate amount of alcohol every day, it could be the culprit behind your snoring habit. Not only does it increase snoring but also it disturbs sleep and sleep quality.

Studies indicate that alcohol consumption relaxes throat muscles which makes it difficult to breathe. Alcohol consumption at night makes it difficult to breathe putting excessive pressure on the airways ultimately leading to snoring and sleep apnea.

Although alcohol consumption does not induce snoring in non-snoring people, it has been found that men who drink regularly are at a 25% higher risk of developing a snoring problem than women. To whoever said women can’t handle their drinks.

An overall reduction in alcohol intake is recommended to alleviate snoring issues.

Quit smoking to get rid of habitual snoring

Smoking is yet another risk factor for habitual snoring. Regular smoking induces inflammation (swelling and redness) in the airways, narrowing them down and avoiding the proper flow of air. Stopping or reducing excessive smoking has been found to reduce snoring frequency and even stop snoring altogether. Additionally, a previous smoking habit may also be responsible for your current snoring problem. If you have a history of regular smoking, it is best that you refer to a doctor to know the exact reason and treatment for your condition.

Your snoring habit not only harms you but those around. Passive smoking is a major risk factor for snoring among non-smokers and preschool children apart from being a health concern for them.

Steam inhalation reduces snoring

Snoring is mainly caused by any kind of obstruction in your nasal pathway, which makes nasal congestion one of the top reasons for snoring. If it is due to an allergy, you can check for and eliminate the allergens or stay away from them. Steam inhalation is the perfect remedy for nasal congestion. Clinical studies suggest that inhalation of steam at around 44 degrees can significantly improve airflow.

You can take steam before sleeping to improve snoring and get a better sleep. Also, some essential oils like peppermint and eucalyptus may add to the benefits of steam by clearing obstruction from your nasal passage and reducing inflammation.

Salt therapy for snoring

Salt therapy seems like an interesting name, isn't it? It is as easy as inhaling salt particles. No, you don’t have to put a heap of salt near your nose. Just buy a salt lamp and put it somewhere around the corner of your bedroom.

How does a salt lamp help you in reducing snoring, you might ask. Well, salt is a natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. It reduces the production of histamines in the body, which are mainly responsible for eliciting an allergic response and nasal congestion. In fact, halotherapy is a pretty famous technique for the treatment of respiratory problems and relieving nasal obstructions. The tiny salt particles spread in the air and absorb dust and allergens. Also, they aid in maintaining moisture levels, which is a trigger for congestion in some people.

However, due to an increasing demand, a lot of fakes are being sold in the market, so make sure that you buy good quality lamps from a trusted source.

(Read more: Rock salt benefits)

Exercising is the solution to every health problems. Interestingly, it may also be beneficial for relieving snoring. Exercising your soft palate, tongue and throat muscles is generally beneficial for strengthening these muscles and keeping them from obstructing your airways while you sleep. Here are a few anti-snoring exercises:

  • Position your tongue between your teeth and gently swallow 5 times. Repeat this exercise 3 to 5 times a day.
  • Breath in through your mouth and puff your mouth with air. Keep your lips closed and breath through your nose. Release the air after a few minutes.
  • Gargling twice a day can strengthen tongue muscles.
  • You can also practice tongue exercises by making sounds like ‘ah’, ‘la lah lah lah’, and ‘ma...pa’ about 5 times at a time by keeping a gap between every sound.
  • Try to make the ‘sss’ sound without letting air pass out through your nose.
  • Singing can also reduce snoring and sleep issues, as suggested by clinical studies. So, stop bothering about sounding bad, nobody is judging you for your voice.

Yoga and pranayama are the perfect tools for keeping most of your health problems at bay. Regular yoga practice, in general, can aid in improving your health but specific yoga asanas help to improve your circulation and strengthen your lungs, which improves snoring. Here are some easy asanas that may be helpful for habitual snorers:

Dhanurasana or bow pose

This asana stretches the chest muscles and improves lung functions.

  • For this pose, you need to lie down on your stomach with your arms on both sides.
  • Inhaling, raise your feet back up and grab your ankles with your palms.
  • Your upper body and thighs would be above ground. Face up at the ceiling as you get into this pose.
  • Hold the pose for a few seconds.
  • Exhale as you release the pose and lie back straight into your first position.
  • Repeat 2-3 times.

Wheel pose or Urdhva dhanurasana

Apart from strengthening your lungs, this pose also benefits your spine and limbs.

  • Lie down on your back.
  • Bend your knees and put your feet close to your rear.
  • Place your palm near your head with your fingers facing your shoulders.
  • Push your palms and feet to the ground and pull up your abdomen and back until your body makes an arch with your spine.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds.
  • Release and repeat 2-3 times

Cobra pose or Bhujangasana

  • For this pose, you need to lie down on your stomach and place both your palms on either side of your shoulder.
  • Gently raise your shoulders and upper body forward. Inhale as you do so.
  • Keep rising until your naval is above ground and your spine is bowed a bit backwards. Don’t overstrain.
  • Look up at the roof/sky and support your posture with your elbows and forearms.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds.
  • Release and repeat for about 2 to 3 times.

You can easily perform all of these asanas at home without needing extra equipment, but always make sure that you are not overstraining any muscle.

Apart from the above-mentioned asanas, you can practice some easy pranayama techniques to improve your breathing and clear your nasal passage. Let us have a look at the basic steps of some breathing techniques.

Anulom vilom

  • Take a few normal breaths.
  • Now, close your right nostril with your thumb and breath in through your left nostril.
  • Hold your breath for a second.
  • Close your left nostril with your last two fingers and leave the right nostril.
  • Breath out through your left nostril.
  • The exhalation time should be double the time that it took to inhale. (it can be worked up gradually)
  • You can repeat this for 3-5 times.

(Read more: Anulom Vilom pranayama benefits)

Kapalbhati

Also known as the shining skull, it clears your sinuses and strengthens your abdomen. Here is how to do it:

  • Sit down in cross-legged fashion.
  • Take a few breaths and focus on inhalations and exhalations.
  • Now slowly inhale until you fill your lungs to its utmost capacity.
  • Hold your breath for a fraction of a second and then release forcefully, using all your abdominal muscles.
  • You can repeat this for 2-3 times or increase it to about 5 times gradually, but don’t tax yourself. Immediately stop this exercise if you notice any disorientation or discomfort.

(Read more:  Kapalbhati pranayama benefits)

Neti pots are small pots with a long spout which is used to push water into the nasal cavity. Popularly known as nasal irrigation, it is an old ayurvedic treatment for upper respiratory tract infections and congestion and has become highly popular all over the world now. These pots are filled up with saline (salt in water) solution which is then pushed through the nose to clean off any obstructions. Also, the healing and cleansing effects of salt also come into play. However, you need to know exactly how to use these pots safely. Here is an easy nasal irrigation method defined by the FAO:

  • Tilt your head towards the right side over a sink.
  • Keep your forehead and chin at the same level so the water does not come down to your mouth.
  • Gently pour the saline water through the left nostril. It should flow out through your right nostril. Keep breathing through your mouth as you do so.
  • Repeat the whole process for the other side.

Some people experience saline dripping even after half an hour after this irrigation method but there is nothing to worry about. Though if you notice any irritation in the nose you can reduce the salt concentration in the saline.

If done properly, nasal irrigation would keep your sinuses clear and reduce snoring.

There are some things that should be kept in mind while using neti pots:

  • Use clean pots. Always wash your neti pots with boiling or sterile water and make sure you dry it properly before storing it back.
  • Keep the pots in a clean and dry place so they don’t carry dust and allergens which would be quite counterintuitive.
  • Do not use tap water to prepare saline, instead opt for distilled, sterile or boiled water.
  • Generally, you will get a saline mixture along with the device itself though, about 0.9 to 3% saline solutions are used for nasal irrigation.
  • Make sure to wash and dry your hands before using neti pots.
  • Snoring can disturb your sleep but it is believed that an inadequate sleep can also induce snoring since it doesn’t give you enough time to heal from the day’s stress. So, make sure that you get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day.
  • Just like alcohol, sedatives may also relax your throat muscles, making them push back towards your airways and inducing snoring. So, it is better to avoid these.
  • Heavy dinner can also increase the risk of snoring. Take your dinner about 2 to 3 hours before bedtime to keep snoring at bay.

In the end, a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle is the key to most of the problems.

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References

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