Snoring is defined as a coarse sound made by vibrations of the soft palate and other tissue in the mouth, nose & throat (upper airway). It is caused by turbulence inside the airway during inspiration; the sound may be mild or very loud where it may affect others.
The irregular airflow is caused by a passageway blockage and usually due to one of the following
- Throat weakness, causing the throat to close during sleep
- Mispositioned jaw, often caused by tension in the muscles
- Fat gathering in and around the throat
- Obstruction in the nasal passageway
- The tissues at the top of airways touching each other causing vibrations
- Relaxants such as alcohol or drugs relaxing throat muscles
- Sleeping on one’s back, which may result in the tongue dropping to the back of the mouth
Snoring is involuntary and cannot be cured. It can however, be successfully controlled once the cause (usually a physical abnormality) is identified. The causes of snoring can be found by applying simple tests after which simple remedies can be applied to counter them. Risk factors for snoring include: sleeping on your back, increasing body weight, alcohol consumption, smoking, heavy meals (late in the evening), sleeping tablets or mood-altering drugs.
Remedies for Snoring
- Eat a well-balanced diet designed to keep weight balanced with height, age and body type. Persons that are overweight should begin an exercise program that will help in toning muscles and losing body fat. Losing weight is one of the most important natural snoring remedies, as the excess weight causes an increase in the amount of fatty tissue in the throat passage. This narrows the airway, causing snoring.
- Do not consume alcohol at least three hours before going to sleep.
- Avoid foods that increase the production of mucous which can lead to more severe snoring. Dairy foods such as milk, butter, cheese, and cream should be avoided especially two hours before sleep.
- Change sleep position. Avoid sleeping on your back as this causes the tongue to slide back to the throat and obstruct the airway. Sleep on your sides and try to keep the head elevated. Change worn out pillows with new ones.
- Allergies, asthma, a cold, or sinus infections will lead to blocked airways which make inhalation difficult and create a vacuum in the throat, leading to snoring. Try to keep the nasal passages clear by treating these conditions and using nasal decongestants or nasal strips.
- Avoid alcohol and medications before bed as they tend to increase relaxation of throat and tongue muscles and increase the chance of snoring.
- Relieve congestion by using a humidifier which will help to lubricate the throat; this is a natural remedy for snoring.
- The use of aromatherapy which encompasses herbal properties can help to stop snoring. Lavender is a natural relaxant that enhances sleep; marjoram clears sinus, helping you breathe easily. Simply leave the herb jars open in an area close to the bed for easy inhalation. Inhaling steam before going to bed also helps relieves nasal congestion by loosening mucus in the back of the throat. Eucalyptus oil can be added to the steaming water for better results.