With temperatures dropping and snowfall sweeping across parts of the UK, Martin Seeley, the CEO and sleep expert at MattressNextDay has stepped in to provide seven essential tips for preventing snoring during these chilly nights.
1. Try this 30-second tongue exercise
Did you know that strengthening your tongue muscles can also prevent you from snoring? Mouth and throat exercises, known as oropharyngeal muscle exercises, can improve obstructive sleep apnea and reduce snoring. These exercises strengthen the airway and tongue muscles, encouraging nasal breathing and reducing the relaxation of throat tissues during sleep, therefore decreasing the chances of snoring.
One of the best techniques takes just 30 seconds to complete. To strengthen the muscles in your tongue, soft palate, and throat by simply closing your mouth and moving your tongue in one direction 10 times, then in another direction 10 times, and finally for the third round.
Witness results after just three nights, and for an added punch, studies reveal that consistent exercises over three months led to an impressive 59% reduction in snoring. Tune up your tongue for silent, restful nights!
2. Stay away from spicy foods, ice cream and milk before bed
If you’re a late-night snacker and a snorer, your food choices might be amplifying the nighttime noise. This is because the digestion process relaxes your throat and tongue muscles, allowing them to vibrate more as the night goes on.
If you must snack, opt for snore-friendly snacks by avoiding high-fat dairy, like ice cream or milk. Dairy consumption before bed can lead to the production of mucus, which may contribute to snoring by causing congestion and narrowing or blocking the airways. The lactose found in dairy is known to encourage excess mucus production and make the mucus thicker and harder to loosen, which can lead to snoring.
3. Switch to an anti-allergy pillow
Maintaining a clean pillow is key to a serene night’s sleep for snoring sufferers. Did you know that a staggering 80% of household dust (mites) is comprised of your dead skin? Considering the average person spends a third of their life in bed, it’s only natural to produce more of it overnight.
While harmless to some, for others, it can trigger rhinitis – an inflammation of the nose leading to snoring. If snoring plagues your nights, investing in an anti-allergy pillow is a smart move, as is regularly washing your pillow. By reducing fine particles around your nose and mouth, it lessens the likelihood of reacting to dust, ensuring a more tranquil sleep.
4. Sleep with a tennis ball to keep your posture in place
When you sleep on your back, the tongue, neck, and chin tag team to obstruct airways, causing disruptive airflow and throat vibrations. Therefore, you should sleep on your side to take the pressure off your airways.
Breaking the back-sleep habit can be tricky, so here’s a practical trick: sleep with a tennis ball under your top half, so it’s against your back. If you attempt a back-roll during the night, the ball will nudge you awake, ensuring a quiet night’s sleep on your side.
5. Take a hot shower to clear your sinuses
If you unwind before bed with a warm shower, did you know it can also be your secret weapon against snoring? This is because the steam from a hot shower can moisten the nasal passages, reduce nasal congestion, and make breathing easier, therefore decreasing your likelihood of snoring.
For maximum benefits, ensure the water is comfortably hot. Elevate your shower experience by hanging a bag of lavender or peppermint around the showerhead, infusing essential oils into the steam for added congestion relief.
6. Ditch the alcohol, or drink your last at least three hours beforehand
Alcohol can trigger snoring due to its relaxing effects on the muscles in the mouth and throat. When these muscles are relaxed, they can cause a partial blockage of the air passages, leading to vibrations and snoring sounds as air is forced through during breathing.
In addition, alcohol can lead to a decrease in the time spent in REM sleep, resulting in poor sleep quality and potentially exacerbating snoring. The sedative and depressant nature of alcohol relaxes the body, including the throat, making individuals more likely to breathe through their mouth, further contributing to snoring. Therefore, avoiding alcohol, especially in the last three hours before you sleep, is not recommended.
7. Make yourself a cup of peppermint tea but make sure to drink it at the right time
If you decide to ditch alcohol, peppermint tea is the perfect alternative. This is because it has purifying properties, which help clear the sinuses and promote easier breathing. It also has anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce airway congestion, making it easier to breathe and lessening the chances of snoring. However, that being said, it’s best to drink your tea at least an hour before bedtime so you’re not woken up in the middle of the night for an unexpected bathroom break.