There are lots of ways to help your snoring problem… if your nose itself isn’t the problem.
Sew tennis balls in the back of your pjs. Sleep on your side. Don’t drink alcohol.
Doesn’t work? Have a sleep study and maybe you’ll get to use a CPAP machine.
Go to your dentist and be fitted for a super sexy oral appliance or a mouth guard.
Or, you can try one of several horrible sounding surgeries – here’s the list from mayoclinic.org.
- Palatal implants. doctors inject braided strands of polyester filament into your soft palate, which stiffens it and reduces snoring. Palatal implants don’t have any known serious side effects; however, the benefits and safety of the procedure are still being studied.
- Traditional surgery. In a procedure called uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), you’re given general anesthetics and your surgeon tightens and trims excess tissues from your throat — a type of face-lift for your throat. The risks of this procedure include bleeding, infection, pain and nasal congestion.
- Laser surgery. In laser-assisted uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (LAUPPP), an outpatient surgery for snoring, your doctor uses a small hand-held laser beam to shorten the soft palate and remove your uvula. Removing excess tissue enlarges your airway and reduces vibration. You may need more than one session to get your snoring under control.
- Radio-frequency tissue ablation (somnoplasty). In this outpatient procedure, you’ll be given local anesthetic. Doctors use a low-intensity radiofrequency signal to shrink tissue in the soft palate to help reduce snoring.
Boy, that sounds fun. Especially when you might need more than “one session”. However, do you see what all of these surgeries have in common?
The Soft Palate.
In every case, the soft palate is targeted in an effort to reduce or eliminate snoring. Guess what the soft palate is made of?
Muscle and connective tissue.
Guess what else? The muscles in the soft palate get lax as you age. (In my experience, lots of muscles get “lax as you age” if you don’t use them!)
So how then do you “workout” those lax muscles in the soft palate?
Smithsonian.com in January of 2014 reported a story on British choir director Alise Ojay’s specially designed singing sound system as a way to eliminate snoring. The author wrote,
“Ojay came up with the idea back in 1997, when a friend shared that his snoring was so severe that it led ultimately to the breakup of his last relationship. After listening in on his snoring, she suspected that his soft palate (a swath of controlled tissue located near the back of the mouth) was very lax, to the point where it produced loud acoustic vibrations with each breath. She then wondered if making sounds that toned up his palate would allow it to better resist the force of the air that funneled through each time he breathed in.”
She put a mirror in front of her own mouth, watched how her soft palate moved with each note, and created singing for snorers.
Doesn’t that sound like a much better way to stop snoring? Work the muscles!
Speaking of working the muscles
Further, remember that diaphragmatic breathing is what allows opera singers belt out those notes, so don’t forget how I cured myself of snoring: diaphragmatic breathing.
I am really convinced that the walking or running and breathing all though my nose in an inhale 3 breaths, exhale 4 breaths pattern forced that muscle to firm up.
I blogged about that previously, but under the headline of engaging core muscles, which is an additional benefit. Breathing powerfully has SO MANY BENEFITS! Read that blog post here.
Sidebar: I also notice that eating sugar makes my nose run, which interferes with breathing through my nose, so I try to not be a sugar eater!
How else can I stop snoring?
Interestingly enough, there were comments at the bottom of the smithsonian.com article. One comment stated that learning to play the didgeridoo was akin to singing for snoring.
Another suggested that if you didn’t have a didgeridoo, surely you had a vuvuzela that you could blow. What, you ask, is a vuvuzela?
It is a long horn blown by fans at soccer matches in South Africa.
Those sound like fun options!
I would encourage any people out there sawing zzzs loudly to investigate the fun, noninvasive, nonsurgical ways to improve their snoring. Singing? Breathing? Playing a horn?
How did you get yourself to stop? Let us know in the comments below.