Snoring can be a serious issue both to your health and your relationships. It’s more common than you might think. It is thought that around 30% of adults snore and up to 50% in some demographics. Persons most at risk are males who are overweight, although it can affect both genders and all body types. Often it becomes more of an issue as we get older and can lead to daytime drowsiness for you and your partner which can affect your work and other areas of your life.
So Why Do People Snore?
Snoring is a snorting or rattling noise caused when a person tries to breathe while asleep. When you snore your tongue, upper throat, soft palate and uvula vibrate against your tonsils and the adenoids. This can cause loud snoring that disrupts sleep. While you sleep your airways are more relaxed and narrow and this affects the air pressure in your airways, which then causes the tissues to vibrate.
There are many causes and many different types of snorers. Some people snore infrequently and the sound they make is rather quiet while others snore every night and cause loved ones to use ear plugs or sleep in another room. Sometimes a cause cannot be determined however the following are common causes that can be investigated:
- Being overweight, overeating or a lack of exercise. In particular having a lot of fatty tissue around the neck can contribute. Don’t eat a heavy meal before heading to bed as this can cause your throat muscles to relax more than normal. Losing weight can help by easing constriction of the upper airway.
- Sleeping position often has a large effect on the tone and volume of your snoring. Sleeping on your back may worsen snoring so try out some different sleeping positions to see if they help. You can use a tennis ball if this helps you stay in position.
- Smoking has been shown to have an effect on snoring and this includes second hand smoke. So if you are not a smoker try to reduce your exposure to second hand smoke.
- Having a cold or blocked airways can increase or cause snoring. Using a nasal decongestant spray can help.
- Alcohol and sleeping pills can both have an effect on snoring. Alcohol is a really common cause of snoring and sometimes there can be a significant difference in snoring volume between your first and second glass of wine so reduce alcohol consumption and test its effect of your snoring.
- Allergies can restrict airways and cause snoring.
- Dehydration can be a cause of snoring. Drink plenty of fluids prior to bed and throughout the day as secretions in your nose and soft palate become stickier when you’re dehydrated which can create more snoring.
Treatments For Snoring
There are many potential treatments for snoring but they general fall into three categories:
- Lifestyle modification so controlling diet, sleep position, allergies etc
- Nasal devices such as nasal strips and oral devices such as mouthpieces and chin strips
- Surgery, which is generally considered a last resort and only recommended in extreme cases
Often changing your lifestyle including diet can have positive effects on your snoring and no further intervention is required. Diet and weight loss has been shown to help in many cases and if you’re prone to acid reflux be especially careful about what you eat since acid can irritate the throat and the tissues of the upper airways, causing them to collapse while you sleep and cause snoring. Food allergies can also be to blame especially dairy and wheat allergies. An elimination diet may help you to discover if there are any certain food types that affect your snoring. Some foods can also be eaten to help elevate snoring symptoms.
Here are five foods that are easy to incorporate into your diet to help reduce snoring.
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5 Foods To Help Reduce Snoring
Add one drop of peppermint oil into a glass of water and gargle before going to bed. Gargle this on a daily basis, but don’t swallow it. The anti-inflammatory properties of peppermint help to reduce the swelling of the lining of the throat and nostrils, which then promotes easier breathing and less snoring. You can also rub a little peppermint oil into the lower section of each side of your nose before going to sleep. It works particularly well for snoring due to a head cold or allergy but can be used at any time.
Having a warm tea prior to bed may decrease congestion and phlegm that can aggravate the throat and contribute to snoring. Chamomile tea, white tea and green tea have all been associated with the reduction of congestion and can provide some relief to snorers. Nettle and Sage teas may also help alleviate snoring symptoms. The anti-allergen properties of nettle tea can be especially good for snoring that may be caused by allergies and sage tea can be used to reduce inflammation and mucus congestion.
Honey is a natural decongestant and an antiseptic too. Honey reduces the swelling in the throat that causes snoring and is actually used by opera singers to relax the throat. Honey and thyme mixed together reduces the mucus in the air passages. Why not add some honey and lemon or honey and thyme to your nightly cup of tea to help reduce your snoring.
Add onions to your daily diet for their anti-inflammatory properties. They are also full of antioxidants and can act as decongestants. Garlic and horseradish help to dry up the nasal passages and reduce any excess mucus, which can help to reduce any sinus blockage. Garlic can also help to reduce inflammation in the respiratory system and is easy to add in while cooking your dinner or you can either chew on one or two garlic cloves before bed with a large glass of water to help reduce your snoring.
Pineapple is famous for its anti-inflammatory properties and can be a delicious addition to almost any meal to help improve your sleep. Add a pineapple salsa to a dinner of grilled fish and steamed vegetables or some fresh pineapple in a fruit salad for dessert before bed.
Do you have any foods that you have found helped reduce your snoring? Let us know in the comments below.