By Dr. Prakhar Singh, General Physician
Snoring is one of the most common conditions observed among people all across the world. It is closely linked with sleep apnea, which occurs when your air passage gets blocked, generally when the throat muscles periodically relax and obstruct your air passage during sleep. Although occasional snoring may not be harmful, regular snoring can be disruptive and troublesome. Mostly people who are diagnosed with a number of underlying medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, chronic nasal congestion etc. are prone to snoring. However, there are ways to reduce snoring by adopting a few lifestyle changes. Try out the following tips-
1. Control your body weight
The fatty tissues surrounding your neck often squeeze the air passage and prevent air from flowing in and out. This usually happens if you’re overweight or obese. Losing weight can reduce the fatty tissues in your throat and allow air to pass freely. This, in turn, will reduce snoring. Avoid intake of high-calorie high-fat food, and include healthy vegetables and proteins to your diet.
2. Try sleeping on your side
You are more likely to snore when sleeping on your back because that is when the soft tissues beneath your chin and the tongue fall back into your throat. Side sleeping can prevent untoned relaxed muscles in your throat from obstructing the air passage.
3. Keep your nasal passage clear
Nasal irrigation plays a huge role in reducing snoring. Sinus infection and stuffy nose can increase the chances of snoring as it blocks your nasal passage, often making it difficult to breathe. Use saline water or neti pot, nasal strips or decongestants to clear the airway.
4. Avoid alcohol and quit smoking
Alcohol relaxes the tongue and throat muscles, and obstructs the breathing procedure. Smoking, on the other hand, causes inflammation in the membranes of your throat and nasal cavity, blocking the air passage. Hence consumption of both alcohol and cigarettes should be limited or avoided. If you’re having difficulty in quitting these habits, seek help from your doctor.
5. Keep exercising
Stretching exercises or yoga can help tone your muscles including throat muscles, which in turn reduces snoring. Deep breathing exercises or Pranayama, clears your nasal passage, lungs, helps you release carbon dioxide and inhale oxygen, thereby improving respiration and reducing snoring.
It is advisable that you adopt these tips instead of going for medications or drugs because they often come with various side effects and complications. Making these lifestyle changes and undergoing a few therapy sessions can also help you reduce snoring.