According to BSSAA (British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association) there are over 15 million snorers in the UK, with the majority of that number being men. That’s a hell of a LOT of snoring going on. It’s a wonder any of us are getting any sleep with the amount of racket that must be creating! Thankfully there are some simple solutions to stop you snoring at night and I’ve managed to find 8 of them to share with you today.
Snoring happens when something gets in the way of the throat as you breathe when you’re asleep. It could be that your tongue gets in the way, or that your nose is blocked because you have a cold, or that the muscles in your throat have relaxed too much. This ‘obstruction’ causes the surrounding tissue to vibrate and it is this vibration that creates that all too familiar snoring noise.
It’s usually nothing to worry about. Indeed, for the most part the snorer is oblivious, it’s only when they get a prod in the back or given the evils in the morning by their partner that they realise something’s wrong. Because sharing a bed with a snorer can feel like torture and so I’m here to not just help you, but to help your partner too!
Read on to discover 8 simple solutions to stop you snoring at night:
1. Change Your Sleep Position
Sleeping on your back is the worst position for you if you’re a snorer. The reason for this is because when you lie on your back the inside of your throat relaxes and it obstructs the airway slightly. Which is when the snoring starts up. You are literally hearing the sound of flappy flesh rattling with every breath. And it is super annoying to anyone that can hear it!
You obviously can’t control how you move around when you’re asleep, and the chances are if you’re a back sleeper your body will automatically try and get itself back into that position if that’s what it’s used to. However, try starting the night off in a different position and over time your body should adapt to this change. Ideally you should sleep on your side as this is considered the healthiest position for optimum good quality sleep. And if you really can’t manage to stay off your back you could always give the whole sewing a tennis ball into the back of your pyjamas thing – if that doesn’t stop you, nothing will!
2. Avoid alcohol
You’d think that having a glass or two of your favourite tipple before bed would be the path to a glorious night’s sleep, but that’s the problem… it relaxes you too much! And for the snorers among us, being relaxed results in one thing… a night of noisy snores. Fine if you’re the snorer, not so fine if you’re the one trying to sleep next to a jumbo jet.
Not only that, but alcohol also disrupts our usual sleep patterns. If you’ve been drinking, you are likely to spend more time in deep sleep and less time in the REM restorative phase. This means we feel more tired when we wake because our body hasn’t had time to recuperate properly. Deep sleep is when we sleep the most intensely, it can be harder to wake up and harder to stop snoring. If someone has moved onto their back during deep sleep, they’re not going anywhere.
So, if you want a better night’s sleep and decrease your chances of snoring you’re best off staying away from the booze before bedtime.
3. Create Healthy Sleep Rituals
Sleep hygiene is tantamount to quality sleep and whilst it won’t necessarily sort your snoring out 100%, it will help you on your way. Creating small habits at bedtime can help establish a much more regular sleep pattern and this leads to higher sleep quality and therefore lowers the risk of snoring.
The problem with snoring is that it disrupts your sleep, so it becomes a bit of a cyclical problem. You need more sleep in order to stop the snoring, but the snoring prevents good sleep. It’s catch 22. Sticking to the same sleep schedule each night should see you waking up at the same time each morning. Hey, you might even get to the point where you don’t even need an alarm clock any more, you’ve trained your body that well. And this will make you feel much more energised during the daytime, so that come the evening you’ll be more than ready for your bed.
Other small habits you can implement include:
- Switching off screens an hour before bedtime
- Avoiding caffeine too close to bedtime
- Limiting daytime naps
- Not eating too late
- Keeping your room cool
- Making sure the room is dark
- Keeping noise to a minimum
All of these factors help promote better sleep and if you can crack that, you’re halfway there!
4. Have A Hot Shower
One of the main reasons people snore is because they sleep with their mouth open and this is often because the nasal passages are blocked in some way. This could be due to having a cold, the temperature, or allergies etc. And because they can’t breathe comfortably out of their nose they are left with no other choice than to breathe through the mouth, which of course then increases the chances of snoring.
Number 4 in our simple solutions to stop snoring is to have a hot shower before bed. The steam from a hot shower will help open up the nasal passages and they should remain open for the time it takes you to fall asleep. If you have a stuffy nose you could also try rinsing your sinuses with saline to help open up the airways.
5. Mouth Taping
This next one is a bit controversial, as it involves quite literally taping your mouth up. Sounds a bit extreme I know, but the logic is that if you’re a habitual mouth breather when you sleep, a way of forcing yourself to breathe out of your nose is by restricting the mouth. OK, so it’s still sounding a bit extreme, however this viral TikTok trend is big news at the moment and as long as it’s done correctly and you use the right tape, then apparently yes, it can help with snoring.
Microporous surgical tape is the best tape to use for mouth taping as it is intended for use on human skin and won’t cause irritation like some other tapes. It is also less restrictive, more comfortable, and easier to remove when you’re finished with it. It’s not for everyone, sure. Some people hate the idea of having their mouths sealed shut over night, I know I definitely would. But it does have its place and is worth considering if you are keen to stop your snoring.
For a more in depth look at mouth taping read our article What Is Mouth Taping And Will It Help My Snoring?
6. Change Your Bedding
As I mentioned above, restricted nasal passages are a common cause of snoring and one of the reasons for a blocked up nose is allergies.
Make sure you change your bed sheets at least every fortnight, or ideally every week, to prevent allergens and dust mites building up too much. You could also try switching to anti-allergy bedding, such as pillows and duvets, which are filled with more tightly woven stuffing to ensure dust mites can’t get into them.
If you’re concerned by any allergies that are affecting your sleep and making you snore, speak to your GP as they may want to prescribe allergy medication to help relieve it.
7. Use Anti-Snore Devices
There are lots of different products on the market that are geared towards snoring prevention. You just need to find the right device to suit your particular problem.
If you tongue is partially blocking the back of your throat and your snore is deep and throaty look for an anti-snore device that you wear in your mouth. They look a bit like a sport’s players mouth guard and they work by bringing the tongue forward, thus clearing any potential obstruction.
If you’re a mouth breather, i.e. your mouth instinctively falls open when you sleep, look for a device that will keep your mouth closed. Something like a chin strap, or an anti-snore device that you wear in your mouth to make you breathe through your nose will help with this. You could also give mouth taping a go, which I mentioned earlier.
If you’ve got a blocked nose you can get nasal breathing strips or nasal expanders to help hold the nose open while you sleep. Or you could try using a nasal decongestant spray to clear the airways.
8. Ear Plugs (For Your Sleep Partner)
And if all else fails, well there’s always ear plugs for your sleep partner! It won’t stop the snoring, but it may at least mean you both get a good night’s sleep and allow you to continue sharing a bed together.
Seriously though, if you have tried countless solutions to stop you snoring and nothing has helped then it is time to visit your GP for help. It could be that you have sleep apnoea, or another sleep related condition that snoring is merely a symptom of. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, being overweight, and not doing regular exercise can also make snoring worse, so give yourself a bit of a life overhaul and see if that makes a difference.
Snoring is common, but that doesn’t mean we have to live with it. It can be treated, and hopefully these 8 solutions to stop you snoring will see you well on your way to a silent night.