5 On Your Side

Rest easy with these simple tips to stop snoring

Posted May 4, 2017 6:24 a.m. EDT
Updated May 4, 2017 7:01 a.m. EDT

Grunting, whistling, snorting, buzz-saw-like sounds.

Snoring is a problem about 37 million Americans deal with, and although it can be an annoyance for significant others sharing a bedroom, it can also indicate more serious health issues.

Snoring usually happens when your airway is partially blocked, usually a result of nasal congestion, enlarged tonsils, floppy tissue or even alcohol.

Experts say nasal strips don't always work to quiet the racket.

Instead, they recommend targeting the root issues of the problem.

To ease a stuffy nose, elevate your head or sleep on your side.

Other tips – avoid alcohol at least four hours before bed, don't smoke and lose weight.

"If these steps don't work, it's probably time to call a doctor who can test you for obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA," Consumer Reports health editor Diane Umanski said.

OSA happens when a person stops breathing while they sleep. Usually, it's because something blocks your airway.

If affects about 34 percent of men and 19 percent of women who snore regularly.

Snoring can also create serious risks, including a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, cardiac arrhythmia and hypertension.

One treatment a doctor may recommend is continuous positive airway pressure therapy, normally with the use of a C-PAP machine. The device goes your head and increases airflow into your throat.

The takeaway, experts say, is to not underestimate the effects of snoring and make changes to let you and your partner rest easier.

Another at-home strategy for snoring prevention involves tongue exercises. One involves pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth.

If all else fails, there are surgical options. Ask your doctor about those.