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How to Stop Snoring: 16 Methods for a Quiet Night’s Sleep

Stop your snoring by sleeping on your side, keeping sleep debt low, avoiding alcohol close to bedtime, and getting checked for sleep apnea.
Published
2022-11-21
Updated
20 MINS
Man sleeping with head elevated and on side to help stop snoring

Maybe your partner keeps waking you up in the middle of the night in a desperate attempt to stop your snoring, or you’ve just downloaded a recording app and heard your noisy nighttime breathing for the first time. Either way, you want to fix it. 

Luckily, there are science-backed ways to reduce your snoring. These range from simple lifestyle changes to more extreme treatments, and which one works for you will all depend on how severe your snoring is. Plus, you may need more than one treatment to see a difference.

Below, we’ll cover 16 ways you can stop your snoring and how the RISE app can help. 

What is Snoring?

Snoring is the loud breathing noise someone makes while asleep. It’s caused by your muscles at the back of your throat relaxing and soft tissue hanging into your airways. As airflow moves over and around this soft tissue, it vibrates and makes a noise. 

Snoring is common — 51% of men and 40% of women snore — but that doesn’t mean it isn’t something to worry about. 

Firstly, snoring can easily disturb the sleep of your partner — anyone who’s experienced an elbow to the ribs to stop their snoring knows this all too well. By keeping your partner awake with your snoring, you’re compromising their sleep, next-day energy levels, overall health, and breeding resentment in the relationship.  

But snoring also affects the snorer. You may be waking yourself up with your snoring, or experiencing micro-awakenings, and not even realizing your sleep is being disrupted. Studies show snoring can lead to daytime sleepiness, which is annoying for daily life and downright dangerous when driving. Over time, this sleep disruption adds up, impacting your mental and physical health as your sleep debt gets higher each day (more on this soon).

Snoring can also be a sign of sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer throughout the night. 

Sleep apnea symptoms include: 

It’s thought up to one in four Americans could benefit from an obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) evaluation. Speak to a doctor if you think you could have sleep apnea, as treatment options — that can help both the disorder and your snoring — do exist. 

You can learn more about how to know if you have sleep apnea here.

What Causes Snoring?

Common causes of snoring include: 

  • Having blocked nasal passages or a deviated septum
  • Having large tonsils, adenoids, or a large uvula or soft palate and narrower airways 
  • The tongue falling back and blocking the airway 
  • Sleep apnea 

First-time snorer? You can learn why you’re snoring all of a sudden here. 

There are a few things that make you more likely to be a snorer, including: 

  • Not getting enough sleep 
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol close to bedtime 
  • Taking sleep aids 
  • Sleeping on your back
  • Having allergies or congestion 
  • Being pregnant  
  • Being older 
  • Being male 

How to Stop Snoring?

There are science-backed ways to treat snoring and ways you can work towards a quieter night’s sleep for you and anyone who can hear you. You may find you need more than one treatment to reduce or fix your snoring. 

Here’s what to try to stop snoring. 

1. Sleep on Your Side 

Depending on your type of snoring, it could be completely fixed, or at least reduced, if you change your sleep position and sleep on your side, instead of on your back. 

When you’re on your back, gravity pulls your tongue and other soft tissue into your airways, making snoring much more likely. 

One sleep study found when snorers slept on their sides, both the frequency and intensity of their snoring were reduced. 

Train yourself to sleep on your side and invest in the right pillow and mattress to make the position more comfortable. You may need a thicker pillow to keep your head aligned with your spine, or a pillow between your knees to keep your hips aligned. A pregnancy pillow, even if you’re not pregnant, can also help to make side sleeping more comfortable. 

Sleeping on your side may even help improve your snoring if you have sleep apnea and it can decrease how many times your breathing stops during the night. For some, it can even completely eradicate the sleep disorder

You can learn more about what position is best for sleep apnea here.

2. Try Positional Therapy 

If you’re a die-hard back sleeper, it can feel almost impossible to fall asleep on your side. Or you may find you naturally roll onto your back in your sleep, and this is when the snoring starts. 

If that’s the case, consider positional therapy. Positional therapy includes methods that stop people from sleeping in the worst position for them, in this case, on your back. 

A home remedy includes sewing a tennis ball into the back of your pajamas, but you can also buy positional therapy devices such as: 

  • Pillows that encourage side sleeping
  • Vests or belts that make back sleeping uncomfortable or impossible 
  • Devices you wear around your chest that vibrate when you roll onto your back
  • Foam wedges you place on either side of you that stop you from rolling onto your back

A 2015 study looked at how effective a head positioning pillow — a pillow designed to make side sleeping more comfortable and elevate the head when back sleeping — would be for participants with sleep apnea who snored. The results showed when sleeping with the pillow, participants’ snoring was significantly reduced — both the severity and frequency of it. 

Another study found when people slept with a vest that had inflatable chambers on the back — designed to make back sleeping uncomfortable — they slept on their side. This helped reduce their snoring by more than 50% without negatively affecting their sleep or sleep efficiency (the measure of how long you spend sleeping while in bed).

3. Elevate Your Head

If you can’t sleep on your side, try elevating your head instead. You can buy wedge-shaped pillows or an adjustable base bed to make this more comfortable. 

Lifting your head and neck will stop gravity from pulling your tongue back into your airways and reduce the chances of your airways collapsing during the night. 

In a 2021 study, participants slept flat for four weeks and then used an adjustable base bed to sleep with their upper body at a 12-degree incline for a further four weeks. When sleeping inclined, there was a 7% reduction in snoring. Participants also woke up less frequently throughout the night and got more deep sleep when inclined, compared to when they were laying flat. 

4. Keep Sleep Debt Low 

RISE app screenshot showing how much sleep debt you have
The RISE app can work out how much sleep debt you have.

Sleep debt is the running total of how much sleep you owe your body. It’s measured against your sleep need, which is the genetically determined amount of sleep you need each night. 

You can rack up sleep debt if you go to bed late and don’t give yourself enough time to get enough sleep, but snoring itself can also contribute to sleep deprivation and high sleep debt as it can wake you up during the night. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation can also make snoring worse, so it’s a vicious circle. 

A small study found when participants slept for only four hours a night for six nights their snoring significantly increased. Some participants also had sleep apnea and sleep deprivation caused them to have more abnormal breathing episodes. 

You can use the RISE app to find out your individual sleep need and how much sleep debt you’re carrying. We recommend keeping this below five hours to feel and perform your best, and this may help to reduce your snoring. 

You can catch up on sleep and pay back sleep debt by: 

RISE users on iOS 1.202 and above can click here to view their sleep need.

RISE users on iOS 1.202 and above can click here to view their sleep debt.

5. Avoid Alcohol Close to Bedtime 

RISE app screenshot reminding you when to avoid alcohol
The RISE app can tell you when to have your last alcoholic drink each day.

It may make you feel sleepy before bed, but alcohol can disrupt your sleep in a number of ways. It causes fragmented sleep — meaning you wake up during the night — and it can suppress rapid-eye-movement sleep (REM), which is important for memory consolidation, among other things. But alcohol can also make snoring worse as it relaxes the muscles at the back of the throat. 

To stop this from happening, avoid alcohol close to bedtime. As a rough guide, you should stop drinking three to four hours before bed. RISE can tell you the exact best time to have your last alcoholic drink each day based on your individual body clock. 

RISE users on iOS 1.202 and above can click here to set up their avoid late alcohol reminder.

6. Treat Nasal Congestion 

Congestion is a common cause of snoring. This may affect you temporarily — like during allergy season or when you have a cold — or it may be something that’s harder to treat, like a pet causing a stuffy nose.

There are ways to relieve sinus and nasal congestion, though. You can try: 

  • Sprays and neti pots that clear out your airways 
  • Breathing in steam from a hot shower or holding your head over a bowl of hot water
  • Not letting pets sleep in your bed 

7. Try Nasal Strips or a Nasal Dilator  

Nasal strips work by sticking to the outside of your nose and stretching open your nostrils. Nasal dilators, on the other hand, go inside the nostrils to push them open wider. These anti-snoring devices work by creating more space in your airways, reducing obstruction and snoring. 

While they don’t work for everyone, they’re a relatively cheap and non-invasive method to try. 

One study found nasal strips helped to reduce snoring, mouth dryness, and daytime sleepiness in heavy snorers. 

And a 2019 review found both nasal strips and internal nasal dilators significantly reduced the amount of time people spend snoring. The treatments also increased people’s perceived sleep quality — although there’s no set definition for sleep quality yet. 

While both were effective, the internal nasal dilator was effective in a larger number of participants. 

8. Get Checked (and Treated) for Sleep Apnea 

Not everyone with sleep apnea snores, but loud snoring is a common symptom of the sleep disorder. 

Get checked out for sleep apnea if: 

  • You snore loudly and it sounds like it’s from your throat 
  • Your partner notices your breathing stops and starts during the night 
  • You have sleep apnea symptoms like morning headaches or excessive daytime tiredness 
  • You have health conditions that predispose you to sleep apnea like high blood pressure, diabetes, or have had a stroke 

Sleep apnea can be life-threatening if left untreated, so it’s always worth getting checked out for the disorder. Plus, treatment options can help to reduce your snoring, as well as manage your breathing throughout the night. 

Sleep apnea treatments include: 

  • Sleeping with a continuous positive airway pressure machine, or CPAP machine, which blows pressurized air into your airways to keep them open 
  • Using oral appliances to make more space in your airways and keep soft tissue from obstructing them 
  • Losing weight 

You can learn more about how to get rid of sleep apnea here.

9. Wear an Oral Appliance 

Oral appliances come in many shapes and forms. They can be mouthpieces or mouthguards that hold the tongue in place, stopping it falling back into the airway as you sleep. Or they could bring your lower jaw forward, creating more space in the airway. Other appliances include chin straps that keep your mouth closed through the night. 

Which oral appliance you use will all depend on what’s causing your snoring. You can speak to a doctor to find the best one for you and experiment to see if a certain type of appliance works best. 

10. Improve Your Sleep Hygiene 

RISE app screenshot showing you when to get and avoid bright light
The RISE app can guide you through 20+ sleep hygiene habits each day.

As we mentioned, sleep hygiene is the set of habits you can do to help you fall asleep and stay asleep all night. When it comes to snoring, sleep hygiene will help you meet your sleep need and keep sleep debt low, which will help lower the chances of snoring. 

Plus, having excellent sleep hygiene means the sleep you do get will be the best it can be and you’ll be maximizing your daytime energy levels. 

Good sleep hygiene includes: 

  • Getting bright light first thing: This resets your body clock, helping you feel sleepy at the right time later that evening. Try to get 10 minutes of natural light as soon as possible after waking up, or 30 minutes if it's overcast or you’re getting light through a window. 
  • Avoiding light before bed: As light suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin, late-night light from screens and overhead lighting can keep you awake. To avoid this, put on blue-light blocking glasses and dim the lights 90 minutes before bed.
  • Avoiding caffeine, large meals, exercise, and alcohol too close to bedtime: These common sleep disruptors can keep you awake or wake you up during the night. Check RISE for the best time to avoid each one. 

The RISE app can guide you through 20+ sleep hygiene habits and tell you the best time to do them to make them more effective.  

RISE users on iOS 1.202 and above can click here to set up their 20+ in-app habit notifications. 

11. Don’t Use Sleep Aids 

If you find yourself struggling to sleep, it can be tempting to turn to over-the-counter sleep aids and sedatives. But, sleep aids can increase your snoring as they cause the throat muscles to relax. 

And, as snoring can lead to sleep problems for you and your partner, you could be making the problem you were trying to solve in the first place even worse.  

Sleep aids also come with dangerous and unpleasant side effects. Focus on good sleep hygiene to fall asleep easily instead. 

12. Lose Weight 

You’re more likely to snore if you’re overweight as fat can build up in your throat, making your airways smaller and more likely to be obstructed. Being obese can also increase your risk of sleep apnea, a common cause of snoring. 

One study looked at snorers and asked them to sleep on their sides and use a nasal spray. These treatments lead to minor improvements in sleep apnea episodes, but no improvements in snoring frequency. 

Participants then underwent a six-month weight loss program and tried side sleeping and nasal spray again. Those who lost more than 6.6 pounds reduced their number of snores from 320 to 176 an hour. And those who lost about 16.7 pounds virtually eliminated their snoring. 

The researchers concluded: “​​In most cases, the combination of weight loss, sleeping on one's side, and the administration of a nasal decongestant significantly reduces the frequency of snoring in asymptomatic men who snore heavily. The major effect appears to be related to weight loss.”

If you need to lose weight, focus on being in a caloric deficit, exercising, and getting enough sleep each night. 

13. Strengthen Your Throat Muscles and Tongue

Exercise in general can help you lose weight and improve the tone of your throat muscles, meaning they’re less likely to collapse during the night. But specific exercises to strengthen your throat muscles and tongue can also help reduce snoring.

One study had participants do either daily oropharyngeal (throat) exercises or respiratory exercises and use nasal strips for three months. 

Those who did the respiratory exercises and used nasal strips didn’t notice a change in their snoring. Those who did the daily throat exercises, however, decreased the frequency of snoring by 36% and the total power of their snoring by 59%. 

The throat exercises included: 

  • Pushing the tip of the tongue against the top of the mouth and sliding it backward 20 times 
  • Sucking the tongue to the top to mouth and pressing it up 20 times 
  • Pushing the tongue down into the bottom of the mouth while keeping the tip of the tongue touching the back of your teeth 20 times 
  • Lifting the soft palate and uvula while saying “A” 20 times 

A 2017 meta-analysis looking at both throat and myofunctional therapy (tongue exercises) concluded that both were effective at reducing snoring. 

14. Quit Smoking 

Smoking increases your odds of snoring as it irritates and inflames your airways. It can also increase the amount of mucus you produce, contributing to congested airways. 

Even if you don’t smoke yourself, living with smokers may also make your snoring worse. 

Research shows the more you smoke, the more you snore. And those who quit smoking and haven’t smoked for four years have the same prevalence of snoring as those who have never smoked, so quitting can make a difference.   

15. Use a Humidifier or Dehumidifier 

Very dry air or very wet air can irritate your upper airways and make snoring worse. 

A humidifier can help to add moisture to the air if it’s too dry and a dehumidifier can remove moisture if it’s too moist. 

Bonus: A humidifier can also help relieve congestion, another cause of snoring.

16. Get Surgery 

In extreme cases, surgery may be needed to solve your snoring. This is viewed as a last resort, but it can help those whose snoring is caused by their anatomy. 

For example, research found when people with nasal obstructions had surgery to fix it, 77% said the surgery either improved or eliminated their snoring altogether.  

Surgery options include: 

  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), or removal of tissue from the uvula and soft palate
  • Fixing a deviated septum 
  • Removing the tonsils 
  • Removing the adenoids 
  • Maxillomandibular advancement, or moving the jaw forward to open up airways 
  • Implanting a hypoglossal nerve stimulator, which makes the tongue stick out, stopping it from blocking the airways 
  • Inserting palatal implants into the soft palate to stop it from hanging down 

When Should I See a Doctor About My Snoring?

Snoring may be common, but it’s worth seeing a doctor about it if: 

  • You have sleep apnea symptoms like morning headaches or excessive daytime sleepiness 
  • You’re snoring is very loud
  • You snore more than three night’s a week 
  • Your partner notices pauses in your breathing during the night 
  • You wake up in the night gasping for breath 

Even if you don’t notice these things, snoring is still something that’s worth getting to the bottom of. It can easily impact your partner’s sleep and next-day energy levels, and it compromises your own sleep and energy, too. 

Getting a good night’s sleep is vital to everything from your productivity to your mood, so anything that impacts your sleep is worth fixing. Plus, sleep deprivation can lead to serious health issues like obesity, depression, heart disease, and early death. 

How Can My Partner Sleep with My Snoring?

Is your loud snoring keeping your partner up? We recommend getting to the bottom of the problem and solving your snoring once and for all to improve both your sleep and theirs. 

But, while you do that, there are ways your partner can be less disturbed by your noisy breathing at night. 

They can: 

  • Wear earplugs 
  • Use a white noise machine
  • Go to sleep before you 
  • Sleep in a separate room 
  • Improve their sleep hygiene so they fall asleep faster, wake up less often, and nothing else gets in the way of their sleep

You can learn more about how to sleep when someone is snoring here. 

Quieter Nights Are Possible  

Snoring isn’t just an annoying habit, it can disturb both your sleep and the sleep of your partner, impacting everything from your energy levels to your productivity to your overall health and wellness. 

Depending on how severe your snoring is, you may be able to reduce it with lifestyle changes like sleeping on your side, avoiding alcohol close to bedtime, or using nasal strips. Losing weight, sleeping with an oral appliance, and getting surgery are also options. 

The RISE app can help in your journey to quieter nights. RISE can work out your individual sleep need and how much sleep debt you’re carrying. It can then guide you through 20+ sleep hygiene habits to help you sleep as soundly as possible each night. 

By keeping sleep debt low, you’ll be less likely to snore, and you’ll boost your daytime energy levels. 

Your snoring and sleep apnea questions answered:

Summary FAQs

Why do I snore so much?

People snore for different reasons. The common causes are soft tissue hanging into your airways or a blockage in your nostrils. These things can be caused by alcohol, excess weight, congestion, or sleeping on your back. Snoring can also be a sign of sleep apnea.

How do you stop snoring quickly?

Stop snoring quickly by sleeping on your side or elevating your head if you sleep on your back. Nasal strips or internal nasal devices can help to open your airways and a hot steamy shower can relieve congestion. In the long term, avoid alcohol close to bedtime, strengthen your throat and tongue, and get enough sleep each night.

How do you stop snoring naturally?

Stop snoring naturally by sleeping on your side or elevating your head if you sleep on your back. You can also avoid alcohol before bed, quit smoking, lose weight, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night, as sleep deprivation makes snoring worse.

How to stop snoring exercises

Exercises that strengthen the throat muscles and tongue can help to reduce snoring. Try pushing the tip of the tongue against the top of the mouth and sliding it backward, sucking the tongue into the roof of your mouth, and pushing it into the bottom of your mouth, while keeping the tip of your tongue at the back of your teeth. Repeat these exercises 20 times. Consistent practice over several weeks might be required.

Best snoring solutions

The best snoring solution will all depend on what is causing your snoring. Try sleeping on your side or elevating your head, avoiding alcohol before bed, using nasal strips or internal nasal devices, and keeping sleep debt low.

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