Stop Snoring
January 7, 2004 11:25 PM   Subscribe

I snore like a mofo. Is there a reliable method to reduce or stop snoring?
posted by ed to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am sometimes told that it helps if I sleep on my side.
posted by interrobang at 11:46 PM on January 7, 2004

IANAD but I think the short answer is "no". Snoring can be caused by a number of different factors; e.g if you're overweight, prone to heavy drinking, have sleep apnœa, etc. Sleeping on your back exacerbates it.
posted by cbrody at 12:10 AM on January 8, 2004

those little breath right nasal strips help my s/o considerably. thank goodness. previously he was snoring so badly he was practically sucking in the drapes and one or 2 of the cats with each ear splitting inhale.
posted by t r a c y at 1:41 AM on January 8, 2004

I have lost 20 pounds in the last 4 months, and reports are that my snoring has dropped from 90% of my sleep time to about 5%, and the noise level from that is reduced to about half of what it was.

Hydration before bed seems to help as well, albeit running the risk of 'bladder alarm clock'. Having to pee at 4 am is far more preferable to not having a bed mate.
posted by mischief at 3:38 AM on January 8, 2004

I tend to snore only when my head gets tilted too far back. Raising the tilt of my head by repositioning the pillow tends to stop the noise.
posted by biffa at 4:14 AM on January 8, 2004

I'd hardly call it a reliable method, but apparantly people who sing frequently are much less likely to snore. A little more info (coupled with a sales pitch, but ignore that) here.
posted by fvw at 5:05 AM on January 8, 2004

Have you had a sleep test? Are you metabolically challenged? Have you talked to anyone about sleep apnea?
I wholeheartedly recommend that you seek professional help for this as it could be indicative of a larger problem, or something that strips, tennis balls behind the neck and sprays purchased from a late night infomercial might not help.
In the truest spirit of AskMeFi, I know of what I speak. My apnea required some major surgery - a UPPP, tongue based advancement, hyoid adjustment and tonsillectomy.
Many people treat the symptoms and not the problem - there are many people who use C-Pap machines who refuse to lose an extra 20 pounds and rid themselves and their partners of that machine. Good luck!
posted by TomSophieIvy at 6:01 AM on January 8, 2004

All of the above is good advice, to which I would add be especially wary of sleep apnea. Does whoever notices your snoring say that you have periods of breath-holding or other interruptions during your sleep? Are you sleepy during the daytime despite what should have been plenty of sleep the night before? If so your problem may be more serious than snoring. A visit to you family doctor would be a good place to start. As mentioned above, many factors can contribute to snoring and it is much easier to diagnose them in person than over the internet.
posted by TedW at 6:22 AM on January 8, 2004

TSI is totally right. My husband snored like a fiend and when he did the sleep test they woke him up midtest to slap a cpap machine on him-it was just too dangerous to let him continue.

If you do indeed have sleep apnea and have it treated, you will feel so much better. And since it would put you at high risk for a stroke or heart attack you just might be saving your life.
posted by konolia at 6:24 AM on January 8, 2004

Slightly tangential to the question, and apologies for taking AskMe further down the line of a discussion forum, but fvw's link is very interesting. I started singing in a choir about a year ago, and could swear that I've been sleeping better, but have never connected the two. I used to snore a fair amount (so I'm told) but unfortunately have not had a regular sleeping partner since then to tell me whether I snore any less, now that I sing regularly. There are of course plenty of other benefits to be had by joining a choir (particularly if you're a single, heterosexual male) but I won't go into those...
posted by cbrody at 6:26 AM on January 8, 2004

Breathe Right nasal strips are holding me over until I can see my otolaryngologist to do a sleep study. I know losing weight has helped over time, and losing a little more would help too.

TomSophieIvy and those who are familiar with apnea: Do you know how often the breath holding/gagging sort of things occurred for them to consider the apnea serious? I know that it happens to me, but I don't know how often it happening makes it serious.
posted by VulcanMike at 6:39 AM on January 8, 2004

I lost some wait (15 pounds) and stopped snoring as badly, but I could control it (and still do when my sinuses are clogged) using a combination of Afrin, Breath-Right Strips and the U-shaped 'Chin-up' Strips that help to keep your mouth closed while you sleep. I look pretty silly when I'm wearing these things, but they really help.
posted by drobot at 6:40 AM on January 8, 2004

As an additional note, my regular doctor told me on Tuesday that untreated apnea can eventually result in brain damage/early dementia and even depression due to the cumulative effect of a lack of oxygen to the brain.
posted by VulcanMike at 6:52 AM on January 8, 2004

VulcanMike: here is a somewhat technical article detailing specific sleep study criteria for a diagnosis of sleep apnea. Basically, if you have more than 5 episodes of apnea or hypopnea per hour, you can be considered to have sleep apnea. If you have more than 20, there is some reasearch suggesting you are at increased risk for death.
posted by TedW at 6:56 AM on January 8, 2004

TSI: You act as if the only reason someone uses a CPAP machine is because they're overweigt and "refuse to lose an extra 20 pounds".

Want to see the pictures from when they had to burn out scar tissue in my trachea with a laser in 1993, and said "that's all we can safely take out, sorry."? Want to talk to my doctor who said that I'll *always* have to use a CPAP machine, and my mother who can verify that I've had apnea even as a skinny little kid?

The CPAP machine saved my life, my health, and my marriage. Ed, definitely get a sleep study done and get checked for apnea.
posted by mrbill at 7:08 AM on January 8, 2004

Also, my doctor said that 5 apnea "incidents"/hour qualified as "having apnea" and 10-20/hour was where insurance kicked in to pay for treatment. I was up around 112. 8-(
posted by mrbill at 7:11 AM on January 8, 2004

TSI: You act as if the only reason someone uses a CPAP machine is because they're overweigt and "refuse to lose an extra 20 pounds".

mrbill: TSI clearly says 'many' which doesn't even imply a majority, let lone all - clearly indicating that the statement doesn't apply to all sufferers.
Why so cranky? Aren't you getting enough sleep?
posted by biffa at 7:27 AM on January 8, 2004

Well, Jesus, who knew? Thanks for the various tips. The breathing strip thing has always struck me as a quack remedy. But it hasn't occurred to me that this could be apnea. Incidentally, I've snored for as long as I can remember (so I've been told), even when I weighed 30 or so pounds less than I do right now (and I'm joining a gym this year to work off a sizable chunk of this weight). Sometimes I suffer from sizable bouts of insomnia, which cause me to drink a cup of coffee during the afternoon or have a mid-afternoon nap to get by. Lots of extremely vivid dreams that I recall too, which may suggest erratic sleep cycles. And I frequently sleep 4-5 hours a night, which sometimes feels enough and sometimes not.

I've suspected that this may not be normal, but I have a stupid habit of not complaining when I'm completely or partially incapacitated. Needless to say, I'm going to see my doctor and check this out.
posted by ed at 7:32 AM on January 8, 2004

On preview: Good call ed - my sleep study was pretty shocking.

I was waking up nearly 150 times a night. I've been using a CPAP (I've gotten quite used to it, and actually enjoy the white noise), and while I'm working on losing some weight, my snoring predates my heft, so I don't know if I'll ever be able to stop using it. My wife much prefers the sound of it to my wall-shaking snores, though...
posted by jalexei at 7:40 AM on January 8, 2004

If it goes away when you sleep on your side, do this:

Put a tennis ball inside a sock. Sew the sock onto the back of your pajama tops.

This will keep you from sleeping on your back.
posted by bondcliff at 7:42 AM on January 8, 2004

Yeah, my husband stopped breathing over a hundred times during the test.

Ed,the sleeping problems and daytime drowsiness you describe very well could be a sign of apnea. I'm glad you decided to check it out.
posted by konolia at 7:48 AM on January 8, 2004

MrBill - really, no offense was intended. There are a host of reasons why a CPAP is needed - you and I both know that.
In my case, weight gain exacerbated an existing issue - basically, the back of my throat was too small for the air I need. Now the back of my throat looks like a tunnel has been bored out of it - plenty of room for the air to get in now.
I recommend that anyone who is having sleep troubles that include stopped breathing please schedule a visit to a sleep specialist. Thanks to everyone for posting the side effects - which also include erectile dysfunction, memory loss, compromised autoimmune system and drifting into concrete barriers in the middle of the day while driving outside of Toronto at 110 kmh.
posted by TomSophieIvy at 9:34 AM on January 8, 2004

TSI: no problem. I really shouldnt read AskMeFi early in the morning and get easily offended.

In any case - Ed, good luck.
posted by mrbill at 11:40 AM on January 8, 2004

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