If your partner has been complaining about your snoring during the night or you’ve woken up because of your own snoring, you may be wondering what causes snoring problems and what you can do to fix them. Snoring may seem innocuous or like a minor issue at first, but if left unaddressed, can become worse over time. To prevent problems, it’s important to be aware of the factors that can cause snoring and the steps you can take to remedy them. While some remedies, like side sleeping, may seem intuitive, others, like plastic surgery, might not. Here are a few surprising leading causes and their quick fixes for reference.
1. You Have a Deviated Septum
If you have functional problems like a deviated septum, they could be at the root of your breathing difficulties, including snoring. A deviated septum is when your nasal septum is displaced more to one side than another, making it hard to breathe through the smaller nasal passage. A common sign of this is having to breathe primarily through only one nostril. In order to address this problem, you may need to get rhinoplasty and have the issue corrected. If this is a concern for you, consult with a doctor to see if the procedure is right for your situation.
2. Your Nasal Passages Are Closed
If your nasal passages are clogged or otherwise narrowed, you may be more likely to snore. This is a common situation in times when you have a cold, since your nose is likely to be stuffed up with more mucus than usual, causing the fast-moving air to produce snores. To prevent this, try opening up your nasal passages before bed with a hot shower. Rinsing your nose with saltwater or a saltwater solution during your shower could also be helpful. In some cases, using nasal strips could help lift up your nasal passages and keep them open throughout the night. However, keep in mind that nasal strips won’t be effective if the problem is in your soft palate.
3. You Have Allergies
It may come as a surprise, but allergies to common materials and particles can sometimes lead to snoring. For instance, if you rarely change the sheets in your bedroom and you’re unknowingly allergic to dust mites, you could be worsening your own snoring situation. To prevent this, try cleaning more often and making sure you have clean sheets on the bed at all times. You may also want to get an allergy test done to ensure you’re not exposing yourself to anything that could be triggering your snoring.
4. You Sleep on Your Back
Several studies have shown that people who sleep on their back may be more likely to snore than people who sleep on their side. This is because lying on your back causes your tongue and soft palate to fall back against your throat as you sleep, resulting in vibrations. A simple fix for this is to try to train yourself to sleep on your side. You can start by laying on your side as you go to bed and then repeating until you’ve gotten into the habit and don’t roll onto your back without thinking about it.
5. You’ve Recently Gained Weight
Interestingly, there’s some evidence that weight loss may help with snoring. While this may not be the case for everyone, since people with lower body mass indexes can still snore, if you’ve recently gained weight and only started having snoring problems after the weight gain, it could be a contributing factor for you. Try a healthy, sustainable combination of diet and exercise to get back to your previous weight and see if that makes a difference in how much you snore.
6. You Drink Alcohol Before Bed
Another fascinating and potentially unexpected cause of snoring is drinking alcohol before bed. This is due to the fact that alcohol relaxes the muscles in the back of your throat, which can increase the likelihood of snoring. The best way to avoid this is to refrain from drinking alcohol about four to five hours before you plan to go to bed, in order to give any potential effects enough time to wear off.
7. You’re Dehydrated
It may come as a surprise, but not drinking enough water could be causing you to snore. When you’re dehydrated, nose and soft palate secretions become sticky, leading to snoring. The easy fix is to make sure you get at least eight cups of water throughout the day.
8. You Have an Irregular Sleep Schedule
Finally, if you regularly work long hours or if your sleep schedule is highly irregular, it could be confusing your body and causing you to snore. With irregular sleep, you’re more likely to be exhausted when you finally do hit the hay. This means there’s a greater chance of your muscles becoming too relaxed, resulting in snoring. To prevent this, try to get to bed around the same time each night and wake up at a regular hour. A good rule of thumb is to vary the time by no more than an hour each day to get your body used to it.
While snoring during your sleep might seem harmless or like a minor annoyance, if left unchecked, it can quickly devolve into a bigger problem. Thankfully, being aware of the causes and what you can do to address them can make a big difference. The next time you catch yourself or your partner snoring, keep these main factors in mind and you’ll be well prepared to address the issue right away.