As many as 45% of adults snore at least occasionally, or you know someone who does. They may be the subject of jokes (“Uncle Joe snores so loudly, he rattles the windows!”), but snoring is serious business.

For one, a snorer often prevents their partner from getting a good night’s sleep, which can lead to stress. “Snoring can be a real problem for families,” says Daniel P. Slater, MD, a snoring specialist and Capital Otolaryngologist in Austin, Texas.

Not only is snoring unpleasant, but 75% of people who snore have sleep apnea (short periods of interrupted breathing during sleep), which increases the risk of heart disease, Slaughter says.

Be careful before self-medicating with over-the-counter sprays or pills until you’ve checked with your doctor, says Sudhansu Chokroverty, FRCP, FACP, MD, director of the Clinical Neurophysiology and Sleep Medicine Program at JFK Medical Center in Edison. “Many snoring drugs are marketed without scientific studies to back up their claims,” ​​said Chocroverty, a professor of neurology at Seton Hall University School of Health and Medical Sciences in New York.

Instead, try these natural solutions and lifestyle changes that can help you stop snoring.

  1. Change your sleeping position.
    Lying on your back causes the root of the tongue and the soft palate to hang over the back wall of the larynx, causing vibration during sleep. Sleeping on your side can help prevent this.

“A body pillow (a full-length pillow that supports the entire body) is easily adjustable,” says Slaughter. “It allows you to sleep on your side and makes a wonderful difference.”

Sticking a tennis ball to the back of your pajamas will prevent you from sleeping on your back, says Chocroverty. “Alternatively, you can lie in bed with your head up. This can open up your nasal passages and prevent snoring, but it can also cause neck pain.”

Regardless of sleeping position, snoring can be a cause of obstructive sleep apnea. “In that case, see a doctor,” says Chokroverty.

  1. Lose weight.
    Weight loss helps some people, but not everyone. “Even thin people snore,” says Slaughter.

If you gain weight and start snoring, losing weight can help if you didn’t snore before you gained weight. “If you add weight to your neck, it compresses the inner diameter of the larynx, making it more likely to collapse during sleep and lead to snoring,” says Slaughter.

  1. Avoid alcohol.
    Alcohol and sedatives decrease the resting tone of the muscles at the back of the throat, making snoring more likely. “Drinking alcohol 4 to 5 hours before bed can make snoring worse,” says Chocroverty. “People who normally don’t snore snore after drinking.”
  2. Maintain hygiene while sleeping.
    Poor sleep habits (also known as sleep “hygiene”) can have the same effect as drinking alcohol, says Slater. For example, working long hours without enough sleep can mean you’re too tired when you finally hit the sack. “You sleep soundly and deeply, and the muscles become flexible, which causes snoring,” says Slaughter.
  3. Open the nasal passages.
    If your nose starts snoring, keeping your nasal passages open can help. This allows for slower air flow, Slaughter said. “Imagine water flowing down a narrow garden hose. The narrower the hose, the faster the water flows.”

The parts of your nose work similarly. If your nose is blocked or narrowed by a cold or other congestion, the fast-moving air is more likely to cause snoring.

Taking a hot shower before bed can help open up nasal passages, Slaughter says. When you shower, rinse with a bottle of salt water. “Drying your nose with water in the shower can help open up the ducts,” says Slaughter.

You rinse your nasal passages with a saline solution.

If the problem is in the nose and not the soft palate, a nasal strip can help lift and open the nasal passages.

  1. Change your pillow.
    Allergens in the bedroom and on pillows can contribute to snoring. When was the last time you dusted the ceiling fan? Change the pillow?

Dust mites accumulate in pillows and cause allergic reactions that lead to snoring. Allowing pets to sleep on the bed can lead to inhaling pet hair, another common irritant.

“If you’re fine during the day but it’s bothering you at night, these things could be contributing to your snoring,” Slater says.

To keep dust mites and allergens to a minimum, put your pillow in an air fluff cycle once every two weeks and replace it every six months. Also, keep pets out of the bedroom.

Be careful before spending money on special anti-snoring pillows, says Chokroverty. “If your to

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