How To Stop Snoring At Night, According To A Snoring Expert
I’m all about self-improvement, and consequently, I’m a huge believer in books, tools, and hacks that help you to become a happier person. When it comes to knowing how to stop snoring, however, things get a little complicated. How are you supposed to fix your snoring when it’s something that you do subconsciously while you’re passed out? This is where my qualifications end, and the qualifications of Dr. Jonathan Greenburg begin.
Dr. Greenburg is a dentist and bio-engineer with five treatment centers in the Los Angeles area that exclusively treat snoring and sleep apnea. He’s also the founder and CEO of Zyppah — Happy Z spelled backwards — which makes him a great person to ask about snoring solutions and remedies, and he was more than willing to find some time in his busy schedule to share his insights.
While most people’s incentive to stop snoring is the complaining they hear from their partners, snoring affects your health way more than you might realize. “It interrupts your REM sleep, which is crucial for optimal health,” says Dr. Greenburg. “In fact, when you don’t get your normal REM sleep (which should be 20 – 25 percent of your sleep), it leads to exhaustion, irritability, lack of patience, rash decisions, a reduced immune system, low Leptin levels, a slow metabolism, and even depression.” Check out Dr. Greenburg’s top tips to stop snoring, so you (and your partner) can get a healthy, full night’s rest.
1. Know It’s All About The Tongue
People tend to blame the nose when it comes to snoring — a deviated septum, clogged nasal passages, or broken bones — but Dr. Greenburg says it’s actually all about the tongue. “Our tongue is a muscle, and as it relaxes, it falls back in the throat, partially blocking it. The same effect is created when you put your thumb over the end of a hose, partially blocking it. The pressure, force, and speed of the water increases dramatically.” Until you target the tongue, you won't get anywhere on your journey to quiet nights.
2. Learn To Breathe Through Your Nose
According to Dr. Greenburg, breathing through your nose is a great way to reduce snoring, and that’s why he regularly recommends the book Close Your Mouth, by Patrick McKeown. It’s a quick and easy read about the Buteyko Method, which is a breathing technique that, once learned, has the potential to greatly reduce asthma, nasal congestion, snoring, and other issues associated with poor breathing.
3. Skip The Alcohol And The Late-Night Eating
“Alcohol is a muscle relaxant. The tongue is a muscle,” says Dr. Greenburg. “Therefore, with alcohol, it falls further back in the throat,” so snoring is much louder and more obtrusive after those few nightcaps. Eating before bed also adds to the issue, because often right after a meal, mucus builds up in the back of the throat and creates more obstructions while breathing through your mouth.
4. Train Yourself To Sleep On Your Side
“Snoring is always worse when you sleep on your back. It’s because gravity is pushing your tongue backwards. Pillows that get you off your back can help tremendously,” Dr. Greenburg says. If you really have trouble sleeping on your side, this side sleeper pillow might just help. It cradles your body, neck, and head with a shape-contouring foam, and it’s especially convenient because of a removable washable cover and a built-in ear pocket.
5. Never Sleep In A Dry Room
“Keeping the throat moist will not only be more comfortable, but will also reduce the snoring a little,” Dr. Greenburg says. “Humidifiers help the dry mouth issue, which can be somewhat effective.” This best-selling Ultrasonic cool mist humidifier gives you a continuous stream of hydrating cool air to lubricate your nasal and throat area, but because it’s so quiet and can operate continuously for up to 16 hours (with a safety-off function), it’s one of the best options while sleeping.
6. Find The Right Mouthpiece
Most mouthpieces bring the jaw forward to reduce snoring. This ZYPPAH Snoring Eliminator was created by Dr. Greenburg himself, and is especially effective because it brings the jaw forward as well as compresses the tongue. Consequently, it no longer vibrates against the back of your throat, and the snoring just stops altogether. One happy reviewer says, “I’m so pleased with the simplicity of this product and how well it performs for me, I had to share. I only have one complaint: why wasn't this available 30 years ago?”
7. Keep The Pets Downstairs
I know it completely breaks your heart, but sending the pets downstairs before bedtime could be a huge help when it comes to reducing your snoring. “Sleeping with cats and dogs on the bed if you have allergies can definitely be an issue,” Dr. Greenburg says, as the closing of the throat and the build-up of mucus makes it harder for your tongue to lay flat, out of the way, and separate from the throat.
8. Strengthen Your Tongue Muscles
Since snoring is all about the tongue falling to the back of the mouth, any tongue exercises that strengthen the muscles are a surefire way to reduce the nightly noise. A fun and effective way to improve your tongue strength? Dr. Greenburg says, “Playing the didgeridoo!” If you’re looking to reduce snoring and learn an instrument simultaneously, this hand-fired modern didgeridoo is weatherproof, lightweight, sealed with beeswax, and sized for easy playing, so it’s great for beginners.
9. Keep Your Mouthpiece Clean
People tend to avoid mouthpieces when it comes to snoring solutions, attempting to use nasal options instead, but according to Dr. Greenburg, “If it were the nose, you would snore while you were awake.” Consequently, mouthpieces are the only way to go, and to keep them clean and sanitary, SNAP! Clean is one of your best bets. It works on all types of pieces and materials, and it gets rid of any viruses, germs, and fungi in 30 seconds.
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.
Images: Fotolia (1); Amazon (5); Zyppah (1); Giphy (3)