Tips to Help Prevent Snoring

Tips to Help Prevent Snoring

Your snoring may get better if you make a few simple changes in your sleeping and waking habits. These changes might be all you need to improve or even cure your snoring, or they may work best when used along with other types of treatment.

Person putting tennis balls into pocket sewn on back of tee shirt.

Sleep on Your Side

Sleeping on your side may keep throat tissue from blocking your air passage. This may improve or even cure snoring. But it can be hard to stop sleeping on your back. Try sewing a pocket or sock onto the back of a T-shirt or pajama top. Put a few tennis balls or a bag of unshelled nuts into this pocket or sock, then wear the shirt to bed. This will help keep you from rolling onto your back. If this doesn't work, try wearing a backpack full of foam pieces, or put a wedge-shaped pillow behind you.

Avoid Alcohol and Certain Medications

Alcohol and medications such as sedatives, sleeping pills, and antihistamines make breathing slower and more shallow. They also make your muscles relax, so structures in your throat can block your air passage. These changes can cause or worsen snoring. If you snore, avoid alcohol. Talk to your doctor if you take medications to help you sleep.

Lose Weight

Too much weight can make snoring worse. Extra weight puts pressure on your neck tissues and lungs, making breathing harder. If you're overweight, ask your doctor about a weight-loss program.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise can help you lose weight, tone your muscles, and make your lungs work better. These changes may help improve your snoring. Ask your doctor about an exercise program like walking, or something else that you enjoy.

Unblock Your Nose

If something blocks your nose, treating the problem may help improve snoring. Your doctor can suggest medications for allergies or sinus problems. Nasal strips applied on the bridge of the nose can aid breathing. Surgery can straighten a deviated septum, reduce the size of the turbinates, or remove polyps (growths). If you smoke, try to quit because smoking makes a stuffy nose worse.

Understanding the Risks of Sleep Apnea

In some cases, snoring is not physically harmful, but it can be associated with a more serious condition called sleep apnea. Some common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud, frequent snoring

  • Heavy daytime drowsiness

  • Difficulty breathing during sleep

If you are concerned that you might have sleep apnea, talk with your doctor about tests and treatments that may help.