Snore No More: Treatments to Help You Stop Snoring

When you sleep, you might be off in a dream world, obliv­i­ous to what’s going on. Back in real­i­ty, you may be mak­ing grum­bling, snort­ing, or rat­tling nois­es, often referred to as snoring. 

Snor­ing is extreme­ly com­mon, and almost every­one snores at some point in their lives. It hap­pens when some­thing is obstruct­ing your air­way, restrict­ing air­flow through your nose and mouth. 

Not all snor­ing sounds the same. Snor­ing sounds can include whistling, snort­ing, grum­bling, rum­bling, and qui­et vibrations.

Snor­ing can often be asso­ci­at­ed with a sleep dis­or­der called obstruc­tive sleep apnea (a con­di­tion that caus­es you to tem­porar­i­ly stop breath­ing while you sleep). Untreat­ed obstruc­tive sleep apnea can be asso­ci­at­ed with sig­nif­i­cant long term risks such as heart attack, stroke, and demen­tia. OSA is an under-rec­og­nized dis­or­der that has many effec­tive treat­ments available.

If you snore or you’ve been told you snore, you might be seek­ing solu­tions to improve your sleep and that of those around you. Clin­i­cal eval­u­a­tion is worth­while, as there are sev­er­al options for treatment. 

Below is an overview of approach­es that can be tak­en to help address snoring. 

Lifestyle Changes to Stop Snoring

Before ven­tur­ing into med­ical treat­ments for snor­ing, sim­ple lifestyle changes can often help. Fac­tors such as your weight, what posi­tion you sleep in, and your over­all health can play a role. 

Lifestyle changes to treat snor­ing include: 

  • Los­ing weight
  • Chang­ing your sleep posi­tion to avoid sleep­ing on your back
  • Avoid­ing sleep deprivation 
  • Treat­ing nasal con­ges­tion with cold or aller­gy medication
  • Avoid­ing alco­hol close to bedtime

If these approach­es to stop snor­ing aren’t effec­tive, you may need to con­sid­er addi­tion­al treat­ment options. 

Non­sur­gi­cal Med­ical Treat­ments for Snoring

Snor­ing is a result of an obstruct­ed air­way. To open your air­ways, your health­care provider might rec­om­mend non­sur­gi­cal approach­es to address your snoring. 

If your snor­ing is a result of obstruc­tive sleep apnea (OSA), a con­tin­u­ous pos­i­tive air­way pres­sure (CPAP) machine may be an option. A CPAP machine has a mask that fits over your mouth or nose as you sleep. This mask sends pres­sur­ized air into your air­way, keep­ing it open and elim­i­nat­ing snor­ing relat­ed to sleep apnea. 

In some cas­es, mild or mod­er­ate OSA can be treat­ed with an oral mandibu­lar advance­ment device (oral appli­ance). These are mouth pieces that are cus­tom fit­ted to repo­si­tion your low­er jaw to treat sleep apnea and snoring.

In sit­u­a­tions where there is promi­nent snor­ing but no evi­dence of sleep dis­or­dered breath­ing, con­ser­v­a­tive options such as nasal strips or mouth tap­ing can be con­sid­ered. Mouth tap­ing has been put forth fre­quent­ly on social media, but there is not yet strong clin­i­cal evi­dence to sup­port its effi­ca­cy in treatment.

If you have ques­tions about how to stop snor­ing, make an appoint­ment for a sleep con­sul­ta­tion at the South Bend Clin­ic Com­pre­hen­sive Sleep Cen­ter to find out what’s caus­ing your snor­ing and how it can be treated. 

Surgery to Stop Snoring

If your snor­ing is severe, your health­care provider may rec­om­mend surgery to open your air­way by reduc­ing or remov­ing excess tis­sue. Surgery can also be used to address a struc­tur­al prob­lem, like a devi­at­ed septum. 

Sur­gi­cal approach­es to snor­ing include: 

  • Sep­to­plas­ty, which address­es a devi­at­ed sep­tum (when the bone and car­ti­lage that sep­a­rates your nasal pas­sage is off-cen­ter) to improve airflow
  • Infe­ri­or turbinate reduc­tion, which con­sists of trim­ming tis­sue on the inside of the nose to reduce obstruc­tion of the airway.
  • Ade­noidec­to­my or ton­sil­lec­to­my, which gets rid of extra tis­sue in the back of your upper throat/​nose (ade­noidec­to­my) or throat (ton­sil­lec­to­my)
  • Abla­tion ther­a­py, which uses radiofre­quen­cy ener­gy to reduce tis­sue in your tongue and soft palate

Find­ing the Right Snor­ing Treat­ment For You

The most effec­tive approach to stop snor­ing depends on the rea­son you’re snor­ing in the first place. To deter­mine what’s caus­ing your snor­ing, talk to your health­care provider.

In many cas­es, a sleep study (either at home or in the sleep lab) may be rec­om­mend­ed. This test allows your physi­cian to rule out obstruc­tive sleep apnea as a cause and ini­ti­ate appro­pri­ate treat­ment. We per­form both home sleep apnea tests and attend­ed in lab polysomno­grams at the South Bend Clin­ic Com­pre­hen­sive Sleep Cen­ter.

Snor­ing is com­mon — and some­times com­plete­ly nor­mal. But if it’s dis­rupt­ing your sleep or some­one who sleeps next to you, it might be time for a change. Togeth­er with your health­care provider, you can help deter­mine why you’re snor­ing and how best to address it. 

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  • I am passionate about treating sleep disorders and work to address problems comprehensively during the visit.