If your breathing is interrupted during sleep, you may make loud, harsh sounds, known as snoring. Snoring can be very annoying. Not only will your sleep cycle be disrupted due to snoring, but you will also feel tired and sleepy the next day. You may also have trouble concentrating, have high blood pressure, sore throat, and even chest pain. Snoring can be caused by a variety of things, including anatomical and structural abnormalities, alcohol use, smoking, allergies, upper respiratory tract infections (ARI), and obstructive sleep apnea. While serious causes of snoring such as sleep apnea need to be treated medically, milder cases can often be treated by adjusting your sleep pattern, trying some techniques, and making lifestyle changes.
Method 1 of 3: Changing Your Sleep Pattern
Step 1. Go to bed regularly following a schedule
For some people, snoring is caused by a changing or irregular sleep schedule. Working long hours before bed, not getting a good night's rest, or not getting enough sleep in the long run can leave you feeling exhausted. If your body doesn't get enough sleep, you will end up sleeping very long and long. When you sleep like this, the muscles in the back of your throat will relax more than usual. As a result, you are more likely to snore.
- To avoid this kind of long, long sleep, try to get a full night's sleep at the same time every day. Although everyone's sleep needs are different, most adults can function optimally if they get about 7-9 hours of sleep every day. Meanwhile, children and teens usually need more sleep.
- Sleep according to a set schedule. Naps are great for restoring energy if you stick to a regular schedule. Even so, napping can also prevent you from changing your sleep pattern. So, don't take naps all day so you can get a good night's sleep.
Step 2. Avoid stimulation before bed
Use your bed only for sleeping and having sex. Don't watch TV or use your cell phone while you're in bed. About an hour before bedtime, turn off all electronics and dim your phone and computer screens. According to doctors, our eyes are sensitive to blue light emitted by electronic screens.
- Avoid consuming stimulants after noon. Depending on your body size, the amount consumed, and your overall health condition, the effects of caffeine can last in the body for up to 5-10 hours after consumption. So, avoid consumption of coffee, caffeinated tea, and soda.
- Avoid eating 3 hours before bed.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant that slows down the body's work. Although it can help you fall asleep, alcohol will slow down your metabolism and interfere with how your brain works during the sleep cycle. As a result, you will wake up more often if you drink alcohol before bed.
- Avoid strenuous exercise 1-2 hours before bedtime. As recommended by your doctor, avoid strenuous cardio exercises a few hours before bedtime, as they can disrupt your circadian rhythm and make you sleep less soundly. However, light exercise and stretching, such as an afternoon stroll, may help prepare your body for sleep.
Step 3. Try practicing breathing techniques before bed
This technique can help you relax before going to bed while also breathing properly and functionally before ending the day. Here are 2 different exercises you can try:
- Deep breathing: place your hands (palms pointing down) on your stomach, just below your ribs. Put your fingers together. Take a deep breath slowly by inflating your stomach. Make sure you breathe using your diaphragm and not your ribs. Pulling the diaphragm can suck more air into the lungs than inflating the ribs. Do this technique whenever you are out of breath or as often as possible. At first, you may feel a little dizzy from getting more oxygen than usual.
- Buzzing breathing: while exhaling, make a buzzing sound. This technique will help strengthen the diaphragm. Try to do it whenever you are out of breath or as often as possible.
Step 4. Create an environment conducive to sleep
Dim the room lights at night. According to experts, the body's circadian rhythm is strongly influenced by dark and light. This means that many people will find it difficult to fall asleep in bright conditions or when the lights are still on. Close the bedroom curtains at night. Turn off the main light in the room. Consider buying thick, impermeable curtains. If your room is still too bright or if there is still a lot of light coming in, consider using a sleep mask.
- Regulate your room and body temperature. Since your body temperature drops during sleep, you can make your body think it's time to sleep by lowering your temperature. If it's cold outside, take a hot shower so that when you're done, your body temperature will drop. Meanwhile, if the temperature outside is hot, let the room temperature warm up for a while then turn on the air conditioner.
- In the dry season, you may be able to turn on the humidifier in your bedroom while you sleep. A sensitive throat will sometimes become irritated if exposed to dry air while breathing overnight.
- Turn on white noise. You can turn on soft music or a fan as background sound.
Step 5. Keep irritants out of the room air
The membranes of the throat and soft palate can be irritated by dust, pollen, animal dander, or other airborne particles, especially if you are allergic to these particles. This irritation can cause swelling of the throat membranes, which narrows your airways, increasing your chances of snoring. Fortunately, these irritants can usually be easily removed by keeping your bedroom and bed as clean as possible. Here are some examples of what you can do:
- Wash sheets and pillowcases once a week. If you are allergic to pollen, don't dry the sheets, just machine dry them. Or at least, dry it in a place away from pollen.
- Change sleeping pillows every 6 months.
- Vacuum the room and clean all surfaces (including anything attached to the ceiling) regularly.
- Keep pets out of bed.
Step 6. Sleep on your side
In adults, snoring is usually caused by the lowering of the soft palate and the upper part of the throat during sleep. As a result, the flow of air to the lungs is blocked and a rough sound comes out when breathing. When sleeping in a supine position, the position of the head and neck will make it easier for the soft palate to descend to the tongue and upper throat. As a first step to overcome snoring, try sleeping on your side. Sometimes this simple change is enough to reduce snoring.
Sleeping on your stomach can also help reduce snoring. However, this position is not recommended because it can cause pain in the neck and lower back
Step 7. Elevate the head slightly
Sometimes, to stop snoring is actually quite easy, just by buying a bigger pillow. Elevating your head just a few inches during sleep can help shift the position of the tongue and jaw, open the airway, and reduce the likelihood of snoring. Try using more than 1 pillow, buying a thicker pillow, or folding your current pillow to support your head higher and avoid snoring.
Elevating the head can help open the airway
Step 8. Clean the nasal cavity before going to bed
If your sinuses are blocked during sleep, your body will rely on mouth breathing (which will most likely cause you to snore). To prevent this, try to get in the habit of clearing your sinuses before going to bed. One easy way to do this is to take a hot shower a few minutes before bed. Hot moist water and steam will stimulate the sinuses to open. Other things you can use are neti pots and other nasal cleaning kits, nasal tapes, and decongestants.
Purchase a sterile saline solution at your local pharmacy or make your own saline solution. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water. Do not make a solution that is too concentrated because it can sting the nasal membranes. Before going to bed, tilt your head to the left then to the right while pouring this solution all over the sinus area through the nostrils. If you are using a homemade saline solution, you can inhale it from a teaspoon by alternately closing one nostril. Or, use a neti pot to pour the saline solution into your nostrils one at a time. You should feel your sinus cavities open and you can breathe more smoothly. The remaining salt solution that enters the throat will also open the throat cavity
Step 9. Watch for sleep apnea
Generally, snoring is only annoying, but not harmful. Even so, in some cases, snoring can be a sign of a life-threatening disease, namely sleep apnea. Sleep apnea, which is a condition where the airway is closed during sleep, causing the body not to get enough air, is more likely to occur in people who are obese. When sleep apnea occurs, your sleep cycle will be disrupted, you will experience fatigue and snore very often. Because sleep apnea can increase your risk of stroke, heart attack, and other serious illnesses, you must See a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms of sleep apnea:
- Snoring very loudly while sleeping.
- Woke up with a suffocating sensation.
- Extreme fatigue even after a night's sleep.
- Restless while sleeping.
- Headache in the morning.
- Narcolepsy (falling asleep at inappropriate times).
- The zest for life and libido is reduced, and emotions are prone to sudden changes.
Method 2 of 3: Changing Your Lifestyle
Step 1. Lose weight
Just like other physical problems, being overweight can also interfere with sleep even more. Snoring is associated with obesity. People who are overweight or obese (especially men) tend to have larger neck and throat tissue with weak muscles. What's more, obesity is a contributing factor to serious sleep problems like sleep apnea. To eliminate these harmful effects, try to lose weight with diet and exercise. Usually, your GP will recommend a diet and exercise program to help you lose weight, or refer you to a specialist for further treatment. Some tips that can help include:
- Increase fiber intake. Eating more fiber will improve the regularity of the digestive tract while making you feel full longer. In other words, fiber can help reduce the amount of food you eat because you are less hungry. Good sources of fiber include brown rice, barley, corn, rye, Bulgarian wheat, sorghum, and oatmeal.
- Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Eat more green leafy vegetables, such as swiss chard, mustard greens, spinach, lettuce, beetroot along with your daily diet. These vegetables are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and low in calories. Fruit is also a great source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients that are delicious as a snack.
- Limit your intake of red or fatty meats. Eat more skinless fish and poultry.
- Avoid white foods such as white bread and white rice. These foods have gone through a processing process and lost most of their nutrients. In general, avoid buying packaged or ready-to-eat food, as well as fast food. These foods tend to be high in sugar, salt, and fat which are added to improve their taste.
Step 2. Get more exercise
Some evidence suggests that exercising a healthy amount each day can help control snoring. Of course, exercise can also help you lose weight and slim down. As a result, the neck tissue will also be leaner and you are less likely to snore and experience sleep apnea. In addition, by improving overall muscle strength, exercise can also help maintain the shape of the throat during sleep. If the soft palate of your mouth doesn't come down to your tongue, your chances of snoring are greatly reduced.
Everyone's exercise needs are different. However, the US Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults do moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking) for at least 2.5 hours a week, combined with 2 days of moderate-intensity strength training. If you exercise harder, your total exercise time can be reduced
Step 3. Meet the body's fluid needs
When you are dehydrated, the secretions in your nose and throat will naturally become thicker and stickier. In some cases, this can cause the airway to become even more blocked and make snoring worse. Drink plenty of water (8-10 glasses of 240 ml of water every day). Adequate body fluids will keep the tissues in your nose and mouth moist, thereby reducing difficulty breathing.
- Each person's daily fluid needs vary based on gender, body size, and activity level. Generally, you are considered to be drinking enough water if you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is clear or pale yellow in color.
- If you find it difficult to increase your water intake, try drinking a glass of water with each meal and between meals. Also make sure to drink water before, during, and after exercise.
Step 4. Avoid relying on sleeping pills
Any drug or chemical you use to fall asleep has the potential to cause addiction if used repeatedly. Even short-term use can cause you to snore excessively. Chemicals that can help you sleep usually also relax your body's muscles, including the muscles in your throat. As a result, the soft palate will drop behind the tongue during sleep and cause snoring.
Note that alcohol is also included here. As with sleeping pills, alcohol also has an antidepressant effect on the nervous system so that it keeps the airway closed while you sleep
Step 5. Clear nasal obstruction or congestion
Make sure your nasal cavity is clean and not clogged. So, you can breathe through your nose and not through your mouth during sleep. Allergies or deviated septum can block the flow of air through the nose and must be addressed. If you suffer from allergies, you can use an antihistamine or nasal spray as directed by your doctor. To treat problems with the structure of the nose, such as a deviated septum, you may have to undergo surgery.
Do not use oral decongestants or sprays to clear the nasal passages for more than 3 days in a row. Long-term use of decongestants can cause relapse and worsen nasal congestion due to drug dependence. Ask your doctor for a prescription steroid spray if your nasal congestion doesn't improve
Step 6. Avoid smoking
In addition to a variety of other health problems, smoking can also increase your chances of snoring. Although this causal relationship is not fully understood, smoking is thought to irritate the throat and trigger swelling and inflammation that narrows the airway during sleep. In addition, if smokers also experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms at night, their sleep cycle will be disrupted, increasing the risk of airway obstruction.
Note that secondhand smoke exposure is also known to have the same snoring effect as active smokers
Method 3 of 3: Trying Exercises to Overcome Snoring
Step 1. Try lengthening your tongue
As odd as it sounds, believe it or not, exercises to strengthen the mouth and throat have been shown to reduce the likelihood of snoring. The chances of these muscles dropping during sleep and obstructing the airway are reduced if they are stronger. Here are two examples of tongue exercises you can try:
- Keep your tongue out as much as possible. Slide right and left slowly until it touches the corners of the mouth. Slide the tongue to the top of the mouth without rolling. Repeat this movement for about 15 seconds. Do it for at least a few minutes several times a day.
- Place the tip of your tongue behind your front teeth and slide it back. Do this movement for 3 minutes every day.
Step 2. Try exercising your jaw by chewing
Another exercise you can do to prevent snoring is to strengthen your jaw muscles. Although there are several methods you can try, the basic technique is the same. You just need to imitate the chewing motion, but without any food in your mouth. Follow these steps:
- Open your mouth as wide as possible (as if you were going to bite into a large apple) and hold it for about 10 seconds.
- Close your mouth then rest for a few seconds before repeating.
- Repeat for at least a few minutes several times a day.
Step 3. Try working your throat muscles
Strengthening the throat muscles can help prevent the soft palate from sinking behind the tongue. One of the easiest throat exercises to do is to say the vowels out loud and clear repeatedly, about 30 times before going to bed, with a short pause between each letter.
If you do this exercise correctly, you should make sounds like: "A, a, a, a, a … e, e, e, e … O, o, o …", and so on. If you're embarrassed to do this exercise in front of your partner, you might want to try it while driving to work
Step 4. Sing
One of the best exercises for the throat is singing! Singing is not only known to reduce the frequency of snoring, but can also improve sleep quality. Singing strengthens the muscles that control the throat and soft palate, preventing them from falling down during sleep.
If you've never tried singing before, try signing up for vocal lessons, joining a local choir, or singing while driving
Step 5. Try playing didgeridoo
Learning to play this Australian Aboriginal wind instrument is known to reduce or even solve the problem of snoring in adults. Playing this instrument can help strengthen the throat and soft palate.
Step 6. Know when you should consult a doctor
Although trying to deal with snoring with the above approach is quite reasonable, not all cases of snoring can be overcome with natural approaches. Your doctor may recommend using an oral assistive device or other device. Be sure to consult a doctor if:
- The above approach does not produce a significant difference in 2-4 weeks.
- You suspect sleep apnea that needs to be treated with equipment such as a CPAP machine or even surgery.
- You experience extreme fatigue throughout the day. This situation can be dangerous and should be investigated further. Don't get into an accident, lose your job, or miss school.
- Snoring can be entered into a state of evil cycles. In this cycle, weight gain will make snoring worse, resulting in louder snoring, and so on. While the natural approaches in this article may help, it may take a long time for you to see results. Meanwhile, doctors can provide faster treatment for snoring.