When your sleeping partner saws logs so loudly that it prevents you from sleeping, you probably have the urge to rev up a chainsaw of your own. Unfortunately, no matter how irritating it is for fellow sleepers, snoring is a totally unintentional nocturnal sound, and most snorers don’t realize the decibels they are producing until you give them the evil eye the morning after.
Fortunately, even sleepers who have snored for most of their lives can change the ways they doze. There are a variety of reasons snorers make the sounds they do, some of which are genetically encoded while others depend on lifestyle choices. There are a variety of snoring solutions you and your partner will need to experiment with to find what does the trick, but you can start with any of these simple, natural ways to kill the lumberjack for a restorative, restful sleep.
Clean the House
Your house is a haven for allergens like dust, dander, and pollen, which can trigger allergies that cause airways to become congested. In some people, with congestion comes snoring. If your snorer is particularly susceptible to allergies, you should make sure that the house is always dusted and swept to prevent these pesky particles from ruining your sleep. Of course, as neither of you is to blame for the problem, neither of you should be stuck solely with the solution; you should divvy up the household chores to make them go faster and smoother.
Sleep on One Side
Snoring is caused by the vibration of the soft tissues at the back of the mouth collapsing and vibrating with every breath. By rolling the snorer onto his or her side, the tongue — the usual culprit in snoring — won’t roll back into the throat and cause noise.
If your snorer is having trouble staying on his or her side throughout the night, you can create a gentle reminder with a tennis ball and a few simple stitches.
- Procure one of your partner’s old T-shirts, preferably one that has a large front pocket and fits him or her quite snugly
- Remove the pocket from the front of the shirt
- Sew the pocket to the mid back of the shirt, and leave enough room to allow the tennis ball to fit inside
You can also purchase a pre-made version if you are unsure of your skills with needle and thread. While your snorer sleeps, his or her body will want to prevent the tennis ball from causing discomfort, so your snorer should stay comfortably sideways the entire snore-free night.
Sleep With a Raised Head
If your snorer finds side sleeping to be unbearable, you can experiment with raising his or her head slightly higher to alter the position of the throat and tongue. At first, you can try using multiple pillows to see if this remedy works; if you find success, it may be wise to invest in a mattress that allows for flexibility at the head to prevent neck and back strain that may build with too many pillows. Flex Head beds, comparable to Sleep Number, can be inexpensive and a godsend to those suffering from snoring.
Dry air, like allergens, can irritate the delicate soft tissues of the nasal passages and throat, which will lead to congestion and snoring. If for some reason you are hesitant to move to an exotic, tropical location that provides a comfortable, naturally humid sleeping environment, you can purchase a humidifier at almost any bed and bath store. You can also add fragrant oils like peppermint or eucalyptus to your humidifier to produce a more peaceful atmosphere while you drift to sleep.
Strengthen the Throat
Loose, flabby throat tissue can vibrate loudly disrupting others, so it makes sense that toning the muscles of the throat will stop the problem entirely. Pranayama is a meditative practice that places one’s focus entirely on one’s breathing, and people with a variety of sleep disorders, from snoring to insomnia, have found relief with regular pranayama sessions. Alternatively, you can build strength in your tongue and jaw muscles with a variety of simple exercises, including:
- Stick your tongue straight out of your mouth as far as it can go, and then slowly move it side to side, keeping it straight.
- Repeat tongue twisters that utilize the tongue and teeth, like “the lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue.”
- Move your lower jaw forward past your upper jaw, and repeat.