What can you do if your snoring is mild?
A mild snorer may make noise at night, but still get enough air, with the snoring only interrupting sleep occasionally. Whether or not your occasional wood saws deal with broader issues, there are steps you can take to reduce nighttime noise.
Sleep on your side. About half of the sleep apnea snorers in an Israeli study were found to stop when they changed position. There are pillows available to help you sleep on your side and shirts that make it uncomfortable to roll onto your back. For the do-it-yourselfers, try sewing some tennis balls onto the back of your nightgown.
Strengthen your tongue. One of the most common causes of snoring is when your tongue slides back down your throat. The easiest way to avoid this is with a daily set of tongue exercises. But dr. Chang said it can take weeks to take effect and most people aren’t diligent about sticking to them.
There are also a steady stream of anti-snoring devices available to buy online, most of them totally worthless. Chinstraps, nose clips and strips, nostril dilators — skip them all, said Dr. chang. A humidifier may help you sleep better by moisturizing your nose and throat, she added, but it probably won’t stop your snoring.
What if your snoring is moderate?
If your sleep study suggests that your snoring is moderate — that the lack of air interrupts your sleep more than 15 times an hour — you should see a sleep specialist, pulmonologist, or ear, nose, and throat specialist. They can recommend the following:
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. This is a device that is attached to your nose or to your nose and mouth to increase the amount of air passing through your throat.
mouthguard. A mouthguard helps to position the jaw slightly forward so that the tongue cannot creep down the throat and block it. It’s more convenient than a tube that attaches to your face, but it requires an experienced dentist and multiple visits to fit it to your teeth and jaw. Make sure your insurance covers it and avoid cheaper over-the-counter guards as they won’t work unless properly calibrated.
weight loss. Another way for some people to reduce snoring is to lose weight. The body mass index is reliably linked to snoring and sleep apnea, said Dr. Chang, although every throat is different. Losing weight will reduce the pressure on your windpipe and allow more air to pass.