The 3 Ways to Stop Snoring, According to Science

Your partner will thank you.

Giphy / The Simpsons

Tired of having your sleep-deprived partner elbow you awake in the middle of the night? It’s probably time to do something about your snoring. After all, they’re probably tired of it too.

If you’re the type of person who practically conducts a late-night symphony with their sonorous snoring, rest easy: There’s a science-backed method to stop snoring — once and for all.

But if you want to find a way to stop growling in your sleep like a sad, old bear, you need to first know what snoring is. Snores happen when your body tries to forcefully breathe out through an obstructed airway. It’s like the opposite, night-time version of that annoying prick in your office who snorts through his congested nose all day. These obstructions can be caused by all sorts of things: physical ones like your tongue or mucus, even the natural relaxation of your body’s muscular system that happens while you sleep.

Even though your airway is partially blocked, you still need to breathe. So your body forcibly expels the air, resulting in a turbulent airflow that vibrates your flesh as it moves. That vibration is what causes the annoying noises that keep so many people up at night.

Solutions for snoring range from quick and easy to downright awful. There are three main types of interventions: opening the airway, changing your behavior, and straight up tunneling all the flesh out of your throat.

The first is the easiest. There are tons of nasal strips out on the market. Just stick one to the outside of your nose and it will hold your nostrils open. There are also a number of mouth guards out there that can keep your tongue from flapping back and blocking your throat. For most infrequent snorers, this should do the trick on its own.

Beyond that, you may be snoring because of your sleep position. Sleeping on your side instead of your back will keep your tongue out of the way. Also, propping yourself up with pillows so you’re reclining instead of lying flat on your back could do the trick.

But if you’re one of those sadists who prefer the nuclear approach, you could also look into surgeries. If your snoring is so bad that nothing else is working and it comes down to choosing between surgery and breaking up with your significant other, you can have the noisy flaps of skin taken out of your throat. You can also lop off your tonsils too. Basically your body will still be working hard to breathe in spite of whatever obstruction you’re dealing with, but it will do so quietly.

It’s important to remember that snoring is a symptom, not a disease. If you’re more than an occasional snorer, you may want to visit your doctor and ask about sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea that may respond better to different interventions.

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