Sound sleeping: 6 natural ways to stop snoring
Ask a man if he snores, and you will hear an infuriating response like “Hey, I don’t hear anything”. It is an impressive obliviousness that can withstand volume reaching up to 80 decibels, “about the same as a vacuum cleaner” says Joseph Kaplan, M.D., Sleep Disorder Centre of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla.
About 100million Nigerians snore, most of them men. What is behind the racket? The vibration of a loosened soft palate generates those chainsaw noises. “Snoring is simply the sound of vibrating tissue created by air rushing through the narrowed opening,” says Ofer Jaacobowitz, M.D., Ph.D., an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Columbia, University of New York.
The noise is often made louder by alcohol, sedatives, thick mucus, excess weight, an anatomical obstruction, or age. For most people, snoring is a mere annoyance (separate bedrooms not withstanding). But in some cases, it indicates sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous condition where the throat collapses completely, temporarily cutting off breathing.
About 9 percent of men of age 30 to 60 have sleep apnea.
Daytime warning signs include excessive drowsiness and morning headaches and it is best treated by a physician who may prescribe appliances to be worn at night that keep the air flowing.
Surgery reduces snoring by tightening loose tissues (sort of a throat-lift), but it can be painful and its results inconsistent.
Steps to sound sleeping without snoring
1. Sleep on your side
Sleeping on your back increases the chances of snoring due to the space behind the soft palate narrows. To prevent back sleeping and stay side-aligned. I suggest you support yourself with a pillow.
2. Stay fit
Being overweight is the most common reason people snore, and a study at Srinakharinwirot University in Bangkok found that gaining weight undermines the success of anti-snoring surgery.
3. Axe the alcohol
Alcohol and sedatives reduces the tone of the muscles in the throat, causing them to vibrate.
4. Treat allergies and congestion
Snoring is often a side effect of sinus trouble, says Harriet Beinfield, L.Ac., a San Francisco acupuncturist and herbalist. She recommends aromatic oils (eucalyptus, wintergreen and peppermint) to clear sinuses.
5. Try Acupuncture
This can be useful for sinus sufferers, says Beinfield. Or use this acupressure technique: Grab the web of the skin at the base of the muscle between the thumb and forefinger and press or rub in a clockwise direction for one minute.
6. Avoid food triggers
Diary, wheat, and sugar may produce excessive yeast in the body, which can inflame the throat, says Carolyn Dean, M.D., medical advisor to yeastconnection.com (Antibiotics may exacerbate the problem). Dean recommends eating spicy foods like cayenne pepper and chilies to help in thinning mucus.