Do you snore? According to ear, nose and throat experts, 45% of adults snore occasionally, and 25% do so habitually - meaning every time they nod off. Also, men and people who are overweight are more likely to snore. But if your snoring could wake the dead, there’s good news! Some simple lifestyle changes can help. I found these tips at WEB MD.
- First, change your sleeping position. According to the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center snoring occurs when the soft palate, tongue, and the muscles in the back of your throat relax and rub against each other, generating a loud, vibrating sound. And when you lie on your back, your tongue plops backward and blocks your airway. So, sleep on your side. You can also raise the head of your bed 4 inches by placing blocks under the headboard. That way, your tongue won’t collapse into the back of your mouth and trigger your nocturnal chain-saw impersonation.
- Another way to stop snoring: lose some weight! We’ve talked before on the show about the long-term health benefits of losing weight, and how it can help your heart, your cholesterol, and your mood. But shedding just 10% of your body weight can also eliminate snoring! Why? According to the Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Columbus, Ohio, overweight people tend to have bulky neck tissue that literally squeezes the airway closed – making throat tissues vibrate. But if you lose just a modest amount of weight, the volume of neck tissue decreases, which helps keep your airways open. That would be 15 pounds on a 150 pound person.
- Inhale steam before you go to bed. People who are stuffed up with cold or allergy congestion tend to snore more. Why? Because it forces you to breathe through your mouth, increasing the vibrations in the back of your throat. But studies show that breathing in steam breaks up congestion and opens the constricted airways. So, get a steam vaporizer for your bedroom, or run hot water in the sink, and breathe in the steam to loosen mucus at the back of the tongue. Because snoring starts in the throat, not the nose.