Getting a good night’s sleep is critical to overall health and happiness. So for those who snore (and those who with whom they sleep), snoring is serious business.
Among other things, according to snoring expert Daniel Slaughter, MD, "Snoring can create real problems in a marriage.” Plus, 75% of those who snore actually have obstructive sleep apnea, which can elevate one’s risk of developing heart disease.
If you are someone for whom sleeping smoothly and snore-free is an issue, here are 3 tips on how to stop snoring and get more restful sleep.
- Sleep on your side, not your back
When you sleep on your back, the base of your tongue and your soft palate both collapse against the back of your throat. This causes vibrations, which is part of what causes the snoring.
A quick fix for this is to sleep on your side and get a body pillow. According to Slaughter, " [A body pillow] enables you to maintain sleeping on your side and can make a dramatic difference."
Note: If your snoring continues even if you switch up your sleep position, it’s possible you have obstructive sleep apnea. In this case, it’s best to see a doctor.
- Stay hydrated
When you’re dehydrated, the secretions in both your nose and soft palate get stickier, which Slaughter says can lead to more snoring.
Be sure to drink plenty of fluids during the day. The Institute of Medicine says women should drink about 11 cups of water a day, and men should take about 16 cups (from both food as well as beverages).
Also consider getting a humidifier for your bedroom at night, especially during the winter. In addition to limiting snoring, getting a humidifier can actually help you fight off illness – research shows that increasing humidity levels to 43% or above significantly reduces the ability of airborne viruses to cause flu infections.
- Fluff your pillows
Pillows can accumulate dust mites as well as pet dander if you allow a dog or cat to sleep on the bed. Both of these can cause allergic reactions that lead to snoring. "If you feel fine during the day but obstructed at night, these things may be contributing to your snoring," Slaughter says.
The way to fix this is to first replace your pillows every 6 months (similar to your toothbrush). In addition, put pillows in the dryer on the air fluff cycle every few weeks, and keep pets out of the bedroom.
Finally, be sure to regularly dust your overhead ceiling fan.
“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.” - Anthony Burgess