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How to Stop Snoring: 11 Helpful Remedies

Snoring is often only thought of as a problem if you’re sharing space with somebody else. If you’re sleeping alone and snoring up a storm, then there is no harm, right? Not exactly. 

Oftentimes snoring can point to an underlying health issue. This could be something minor like allergies, or it could be something that needs attention like enlarged tonsils, excess weight, or sleep apnea. 

Whatever the cause, snoring should be addressed because even if it’s not waking up somebody close to you, it could have a negative impact on your own sleep1 or point to a more serious condition. 

To help you in your quest, we’re sharing 11 snoring remedies to help you (and your partner) rest easier.

1. Sleep On Your Side

For those who snore or have mild sleep apnea, reducing your snoring may be as simple as sleeping on your side or stomach2, rather than your back. 

When we sleep, our throat muscles and tongue naturally relax. For some people, this means the airway will narrow enough that it is hard to get air in and out, which is what creates the sound of snoring1. Lying on your back allows gravity to further collapse this airway, but switching over to your side or stomach should help things stay more open. 

Learn more: How to Sleep On Your Side

2. Elevate Your Head

If you simply can’t imagine life sleeping on your side, another option is to use a higher or more inclined pillow when sleeping on your back. Research shows that sleeping in an inclined position can reduce snoring3. Again, this is because the incline elevates the head and throat, which makes it more difficult for the tongue to collapse backward and the airway to collapse.  

Helpful Finds: Best Pillows for Snoring 

3. Avoid Alcohol

Research shows that alcohol dramatically worsens snoring and sleep apnea symptoms4. Not only does consuming alcohol make the severity and loudness of snoring worse, but it also alters sleep architecture overall, increases the number of times those with sleep apnea stop breathing during the night, and lowers the body’s blood oxygen saturation levels, which can be dangerous.4 

This is because alcohol (and other sedatives) further relax the throat muscles, restricting airflow through the nose, mouth, and throat.1 As such, the best solution for your health and sleep would be to avoid drinking alcohol entirely, however, stopping at least three hours5 before bed should still help with snoring. 

4. Weight Loss

Snoring and other sleep-related breathing disorders are more common in those who are overweight or obese.1 In fact, obesity is the number one cause of sleep apnea6 in the United States. This is partially because excess weight puts pressure on the upper airways7, leading to an increased throat and lung collapse. 

According to researchers with Penn Medicine, though, it is also because those who are overweight also have more fat on their tongues.6 They add that losing weight not only decreases the amount of fat in the neck and chest but it can also decrease tongue fat to further help alleviate symptoms.6 

Learn More: The Connection Between Obesity and Sleep

5. Manage Nasal Congestion

Various factors can temporarily increase nasal congestion: a cold, allergies, hormones from pregnancy, or even eating certain inflammatory foods8. No matter the cause, nasal congestion blocks airflow, making snoring more likely.1

The following tips can help you manage nasal congestion9

  • Flush the nose with a saline solution using a Neti pot 
  • Try cold and allergy medications
  • Use nasal sprays 
  • Stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water
  • Use a humidifier at night
  • Keep pets off of the bed and out of the bedroom
  • Use a hypoallergenic mattress and bedding

Helpful Link: How to Sleep With a Cold

6. Stop Smoking

Smoking cigarettes is problematic for sleep10 for several reasons. 

First, the nicotine itself makes it harder to fall and stay asleep, and it reduces the amount of slow-wave sleep and overall sleep duration.10 Second, it seems there is a correlation between smoking and snoring or sleep apnea.10 This is likely because smoke causes nasal congestion, and this seems to be true whether you are smoking yourself, or around someone else who is smoking.9 

Research shows that quitting smoking11 can help improve sleep quality and sleep apnea symptoms. 

7. Avoid Certain Medications

In 2017, a group of researchers looked at a variety of medications and their effects on sleep apnea and snoring12. The drugs that worsened sleep apnea and snoring included opioids, testosterone, and any drugs that induced weight gain.12

Opioids and sedatives (like alcohol) relax the throat muscles, making them more likely to collapse and cause snoring, sleep apnea, or both.1 As far as testosterone goes, researchers aren’t exactly clear on the association between the hormone and snoring, but males are more likely to snore and have sleep apnea than females.1 Finally, we know that weight gain can lead to increased snoring or sleep apnea episodes, so any drugs that increase weight can also increase the likelihood of breathing issues during sleep.12 

8. Nasal Strips

Nasal strips are an affordable, over-the-counter, and simple way to improve snoring in some cases. For example, if your snoring is caused by occasional nasal congestion, these strips might be worth a try. However, experts say13 that nasal strips won’t help those with sleep apnea or other underlying conditions. 

9. CPAP Therapy

If your snoring is caused by sleep apnea, your doctor might recommend you use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP14) device.

The CPAP uses mild air pressure to keep your airways open during sleep so that your breathing won’t start and stop. It does this by way of a mask that slips over your nose or nose and mouth, a motor, and a tube connecting the mask and motor.14

For those with sleep apnea, this is one of the most popular and effective options for treating symptoms like snoring.14 

Learn More: Best CPAP Machine

10. Anti-Snoring Mouthpiece

Certain oral appliances, or mouthpieces, can help hold the jaw and tongue in their proper positions to improve airflow.1 These fall into three categories15

  • Mandibular advancement devices – These are usually made from molded hard plastic, and they snap over the lower jaw and upper teeth to reposition the jaw to a large degree.
  • Mouth guards – These are usually made from plastic and can help reposition the jaw, but to a lesser degree. 
  • Tongue retaining devices – You can think of this as a soft, plastic splint designed to hold your tongue in place throughout the night. 

It’s important to note, though, that many insurance companies will only cover these mouthpieces if they are used to treat sleep apnea, but not snoring.15

Explore our picks for the Best Anti-Snoring Mouthguards

11. Surgery

If your snoring is caused by your anatomy and can’t be resolved by any of the other methods mentioned above, there are a few surgical options you might consider. Each of these is used to reduce the amount of excess tissue, which causes snoring.   

  • Tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy – Enlarged tonsils or adenoids are common causes of snoring, especially in children. In this surgery, the doctor removes the tonsils in the back of the throat and/or the adenoids, located behind the nose.1 
  • Septoplasty – The septum is the part of the nose that runs down the middle, dividing the nose into a left and right side. It is made up of bone and cartilage, and in this surgery, the cartilage and bone will be reshaped to improve airflow.1 
  • Ablation therapy – This technique uses radio frequency to shrink excess tissue at the back of the throat and tongue. It is also called somnoplasty.1
  • Laser-assisted Uvuloplasty (LAUP) – This procedure uses lasers to shrink the tissue in the soft palate area of the throat (the soft part of the throat near the uvula).1 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a higher pillow stop snoring?

Yes, getting a higher pillow can help keep your head elevated during sleep. Studies show that sleeping at more of an incline can help reduce snoring and so can sleeping on your side or stomach rather than back.2, 3 

What’s the trick to no longer snoring?

Snoring can be caused by a variety of things, so the trick to stop snoring for good is to find out what is causing your snoring and then address this root issue. For example, if your snoring is caused by excess weight, all sorts of treatments can help temporarily, but the snoring will keep coming back until you get to a healthy weight. Likewise, if you are snoring because you are sick or have allergies, the snoring won’t go away until you’ve treated the allergies or sickness. 

To find out what is causing your snoring, talk to your doctor. They may recommend you see a sleep specialist if they suspect you have sleep apnea.

Why do I snore so badly?

Most people snore occasionally for a variety of reasons. However, if you snore loudly and frequently, it may be because you have an underlying issue like sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous sleep disorder. If you snore loudly most nights of the week, you should speak to your doctor.

How can I stop snoring naturally?

Some natural ways to stop snoring include sleeping on your side or stomach rather than your back, losing weight, drinking plenty of water during the day, avoiding alcohol or sedative medications at night, avoiding any foods you might have a sensitivity to, sleeping at more of an incline with a higher pillow or adjustable base, quitting smoking, and clearing up any congestion you might have.1

Natalie G.

Natalie G.

Writer

About Author

Natalie is a content writer for Sleep Advisor with a deep passion for all things health and a fascination with the mysterious activity that is sleep. Outside of writing about sleep, she is a bestselling author, improviser, and creative writing teacher based out of Austin.

Combination Sleeper

    Resources

  • 1. “Snoring”. Cleveland Clinic. Last modified May 11, 2024.
  • 2. “Choosing the Best Sleep Position”. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Webpage accessed November 1, 2024.
  • 3. Danoff-Burg, Sharon., Rus, Holly M., et. al. “Sleeping in an Inclined Position to Reduce Snoring and Improve Sleep: In-home Product Intervention Study”. JMIR Formative Research. 2022.
  • 4. Burgos-Sanchez, Christian., et al. “Impact of Alcohol Consumption on Snoring and Sleep Apnea: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis”. National Library of Medicine. 2020.
  • 5. “When to stop drinking alcohol, water or caffeine before bed for better sleep”. University of Michigan Medicine. 2020.
  • 6. “Losing Tongue Fat Improves Sleep Apnea”. Penn Medicine. 2020.
  • 7. “Sleep Apnea and Obesity: Are They Related?”. Obesity Medicine Association. 2018.
  • 8. “Foods that increase inflammation”. NY Center for Sinus Relief. Webpage accessed November 1, 2024.
  • 9. “Nasal Congestion”. Cleveland Clinic. Last modified July 1, 2022.
  • 10. Pataka, Athanasia., et. al. “Does Smoking Affect OSA? What about Smoking Cessation?”. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2022.
  • 11. Jang, Yun Seo., et al. “Association between smoking and obstructive sleep apnea based on the STOP-Bang index”. Scientific Reports. 2024.
  • 12. Jullian‐Desayes, Ingrid., et al. “Impact of concomitant medications on obstructive sleep apnoea”. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 2017.
  • 13. “Are Nasal Strips Really Effective?”. Baltimore Sinus Specialists. Webpage accessed November 1, 2024.
  • 14. “CPAP”. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Last modified March 24, 2022.
  • 15. Corliss, Julie. “Dental appliances for sleep apnea: Do they work?”. Harvard Health Publishing. 2021.