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Five natural remedies to help stop snoring

WebMD Medical Reference
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

There are many jokes about snoring, but it's no laughing matter to the millions of adults who snore and the people who love them.

An estimated 40% of adults snore according to a survey by the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association. Problem snoring is more common in men and in people who are overweight. Snoring usually gets worse with advancing age.

Many couples can't sleep in the same room because of snoring. Twice as many men than women snore.

Fortunately, there are lifestyle changes and natural remedies that can help you stop snoring:

1. Change your sleep position

Snoring occurs when the soft palate, uvula, tongue, tonsils and muscles in the back of the throat vibrate and generate the characteristic sound of snoring during sleep.

Snoring may only happen when you are lying on your back and your tongue falls back and increases airway resistance. If you are one of these snorers, sleeping on your side will usually help you stop snoring. Some people add a pocket to the back of their pyjamas between the shoulder blades and a put a ball, like a tennis ball or golf ball in it to help avoid sleeping on the back.

Some people find raising the head of the bed by 10 - 15cm helps.

However, as snoring progresses, it can occur when you are sleeping on your side or with your head elevated. Eventually, snoring can become present all night and at all positions. Then, it's time to examine your lifestyle.

2. Lose weight to help stop snoring

Overweight people tend to have bulky neck tissue, which increases snoring risk. If you are overweight, losing even a modest amount of weight may help you stop snoring.

3. Avoid alcohol before bedtime

If you snore after having a couple of drinks at night, either cut back or eliminate it altogether for a quieter night's sleep.

4. Exercise more

Exercise can help strengthen a person's neck muscles, which in turn may help prevent narrowing of the airways. Don’t exercise too close to bed-time, as it may keep you awake.

5. Anti-snoring devices

A variety of devices and solutions are sold to help prevent snoring. Some may be more effective than others.

Nasal strips stick to the outside of the nose, keeping the nostrils apart during the night.

Nasal dilators are placed inside the nose to push the nostrils apart.

Chin strips of tape under your chin help stop the mouth opening during sleep.

A mandibular repositioning splint (MRS), or mandibular advancement device (MAD), pushes the jaw and tongue forward to help prevent snoring.

If these don’t work, a partner kept awake by snoring could consider using ear-plugs to block out the noise.

If snoring remains a serious problem, seek medical advice. An underlying medical condition may need to be treated or an operation may be recommended to help prevent snoring.

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Reviewed on September 11, 2013

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