What can you do if your snoring is mild?
A light snorer may be loud at night, but still have plenty of air, with snoring only occasionally interrupting sleep. Whether or not your occasional wood sawing is related to larger issues, there are steps you can take to reduce nighttime noise.
Sleep on your side. According to an Israeli study, about half of snorers with sleep apnea stop when they change position. There are pillows available to help you sleep on your side and shirts that make it uncomfortable to roll on your back. For the do-it-yourselfers, you can try sewing tennis balls onto the back of your nightgown.
Strengthen your language. One of the most common causes of snoring is the back of the tongue in the throat. The easiest way to avoid this is to use a daily set of tongue exercises. But Dr Chang said it can take weeks to have an effect and most people aren’t diligent about maintaining them.
There is also a steady stream of anti-snoring devices available to buy online, most of them completely worthless. Chinstraps, nose clips and bands, nostril dilators — skip them all, Dr. Chang said. A humidifier can help you sleep better by moisturizing your nose and throat, she added, but it probably can’t stop your snoring.
What if your snoring is moderate?
If your sleep study suggests that your snoring is moderate – that stuffiness interrupts your sleep more than 15 times per hour – you should see a sleep doctor, pulmonologist or ear, nose and throat specialist . They might recommend the following:
CPAP (continuous positive pressure) device. This is a device that clips either over your nose or over your nose and mouth to increase the amount of air passing through your throat.
Mouth guard. A mouth guard helps to position the jaw a little forward so that the tongue cannot slip into the throat and block it. It’s more convenient than a tube attached to your face, but it does require a trained dentist and multiple visits to get it fitted to your teeth and jawbone. Make sure your insurance will cover it, and avoid cheaper over-the-counter protectors, as they won’t work unless properly sized.
Weightloss. Another way some people reduce snoring is to lose weight. Body mass index is reliably linked to snoring and sleep apnea, Dr. Chang said, although every throat is different. Losing weight will decrease the pressure on your trachea and allow more air to pass.