Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea
Before you attempt to treat your snoring at home, it’s important to talk to your doctor or a sleep dentist about sleep apnea, which is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate attention. Some of the warning signs of sleep apnea include:
- Waking feeling tired
- Daytime sleepiness, especially if you fall asleep at work or while driving
- Lack of energy, motivation, or desire
- Loud snoring–the louder you snore the more likely that you have sleep apnea
- Choking or gasping sounds indicating you stop breathing
- Stubborn weight gain
- Waking with a headache
- Medical conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes
If you have any of these warning signs, it’s important to be evaluated for sleep apnea before trying home remedies for snoring.
Snoring occurs with the soft tissues of your airway, like your tongue, soft palate, and throat. This is more likely when you sleep on your back and gravity pulls everything backward. Sleeping on your side can significantly reduce snoring.
Many people have difficulty simply switching from a back sleeper to a side sleeper. You can help ease this transition by getting a pillow that holds your head in a comfortable position for side sleeping and doesn’t interfere with breathing. If you are having more difficulty, try wearing a pocket t-shirt backwards or sewing a pocket on the back of your pajamas and putting a tennis ball in the pocket.This will make it uncomfortable to sleep on your back.
Watch What You Eat, Drink, and Breathe
You might be more likely to snore if you’re causing inflammation in your nose or throat before bedtime. This can occur if you are eating or drinking foods that you have a mild allergy to. Get tested for food allergies to find out which ones are likely to cause irritation in your throat.
Speaking of allergies, airborne allergens can cause irritation in your nostrils and throat and stimulate production of mucus. Find out what potential allergens could be contributing to your snoring and take steps to reduce them, perhaps by cleaning more, installing a humidifier, or changing your air filter more often.
But it’s not only allergies that contribute to snoring. Alcohol can also be a problem. Cut out drinking in the evening, as the effects of alcohol can linger for hours, causing your airway to sag while you sleep.
Weight Loss and Exercise
Another major cause of snoring is excess weight carried around the throat. This puts more pressure on your airway, causing more sagging. As part of any attempt to treat snoring, it’s recommended that you also try to lose weight.
Exercise in support of weight loss is good, partly because any exercise will improve the muscle tone in your throat, but there are more specific exercises that can contribute to reduced snoring. Singing lessons, learning to play a wind instrument (such as didgeridoo), and potentially yoga can all improve the tone of your throat muscles, reducing your risk of snoring.
Don’t Give Up
Some people see good results with these at-home snoring treatments, but many don’t. If you have tried all these steps and your snoring still persists, that doesn’t mean you have to live with snoring. We offer safe, effective, and comfortable snoring treatment so you can sleep peacefully and quietly.
To learn how our snoring treatments in Denver can help you, please call (303) 691-0267 for an appointment at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado.
Self Screening: Do You Have Problems Sleeping?
The Epworth Sleepiness Scale
This self-administered test is used to determine your level of daytime sleepiness which can be caused by sleep apnea.