While there are many ways to try to reduce snoring, it’s been found that certain foods can actually make your snoring worse. Snoring is unpleasant, irritating, and for some, quite dangerous. Roughly 75% of snorers suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, a dangerous but treatable sleeping disorder. Before taking any serious measure, try a few at-home remedies to reduce the snoring. Many times, slight modifications to your regular sleep routine or your diet can drastically reduce the problem.
Changes to your Sleep Routine
At the very least, snoring can be a mild nuisance to those nearby. On the other hand, snoring can be detrimental to the health of both the snorer and anyone else in earshot trying to sleep. So, if you’re tossing and turning at night, kept awake by your snoring partner, your health is suffering just as much as theirs.
1. Change your sleeping position:
If you sleep on your back, this position causes the base of the tongue and the soft palette to collapse to the back wall of your throat. This collapse causes a vibrating sound, causing you to snore. Sleeping on your side prevents this collapse, making it much more difficult for those vibrations to occur. A full-length body pillow can make a big difference, too, especially if you find sleeping on your side uncomfortable. A large body pillow provides support that makes it easier to maintain sleeping on your side throughout the night.
2. Open nasal passages
Snoring can also be caused by nasal congestion. A stuffy nose causes you to breathe more rapidly in order to get enough air. A cold or any kind of nasal blockage causes the air you breathe to rush in and out unsteadily, causing you to snore.
If your stuffy nose is to blame, there are a couple things you can add to your nightly routine. Try rinsing out your nostrils with salt water in a warm, steamy shower. Neti-pots work very well, too, especially right before bed. Nasal strips do a good job of lifting and expanding the nasal passages with cooling vapors. When you breathe through your nose slowly and evenly, the air can move in and out with no interference.
[Related: Why does Snoring Happen?]
3. Change your pillows
Layers of dust on your furniture are not easy to ignore, but what if you couldn’t see it? Allergies. Once they’ve made their way in, they can be difficult to get rid of, so it’s best to replace your pillows regularly.
Though pets are the best snuggle buddies at night, they’re also covered in dander, an allergen that commonly causes a reaction in people who are sensitive. If you can’t bear to kick your furry friends out of bed, make sure to wash your bedding once a week. Also, putting your sheets and pillowcases through the fluff cycle once every couple of weeks, and replacing them every 6 months will help keep your bed allergy-free.
What foods that cause snoring should you avoid?
Food can be another cause of your snoring issues. Whether in or out of the home, it’s important to be mindful of what you put into your body, if you have a problem with snoring.
When you were a kid, your parents may have talked you into drinking a warm glass of milk before bed. Continuing this ritual as you relax in your hotel room is something to avoid as the consumption of dairy products can increase mucus production, thus contributing to snoring. Mucus buildup (sounds yucky, doesn’t it?) can partially block the nasal passage and either be the cause or an intensifying factor to your snoring. Avoiding dairy products extends beyond just avoiding milk a couple hours before bed. Other dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and ice cream can have the same effect. Take this into account if you’re traveling to an area where dairy items are a popular part of the local cuisine!
Replace that yucky glass of milk with non-dairy milk like almond or rice milk. There are also dairy-free cheeses, yogurts, and ice cream products that may be available at local grocery stores. If you run out of luck, avoidance during your trip or limiting consumption to the morning or afternoon is recommended. The closer you drink or eat dairy products to bed, the more likely that it’ll negatively affect your snoring.
[Related: Why does Snoring Happen?]
Anything but the sweets, you say! If you have a sweet tooth, you won’t be happy to hear that processed sugar can turn acidic, leading to the production of mucus. The list of products that are heavy on sugar is seemingly endless but includes desserts, pastries and pies, chocolate, soft drinks, and energy drinks.
Instead of drinking a Coke a couple hours before bed, try a sugar-free soft drink or water. As with dairy products, we don’t want you to miss out on enjoying popular local desserts during your vacation, but it might be helpful for your beauty sleep (and your partner’s) to avoid the indulgent midnight snack.
If you’re not one to indulge in processed sugar to begin with, you may enjoy eating a lot of fruit. Even though it’s a healthy option, fruit contains fructose, a natural sugar. Fructose has the same effect as the sugar used in desserts and treats.
Especially if you’re visiting a tropical locale, the juiciness and freshness of local fruit isn’t something to be missed. Enjoy fruit with your meal earlier in the day and avoid finishing your day with fruit as a snack before bed. Try munching on a granola bar, a handful of almonds, or a pack of fruit snacks instead! If you’re feeling rebellious, eat an avocado. It’s technically a fruit and doesn’t contain much fructose!
Part of your vacation may mean enjoying the nightlife at your destination of choice. However, be careful with how many rum and Cokes you down or you may sound like a lawnmower throughout the night. Studies have shown that even one drink can intensify your snoring. There’s an interesting connection to both red wine and cheese as well. A chemical called tyrosine is found in some red wines and some fermented cheeses. Tyrosine can affect sleep quality and snoring. Definitely something to keep in mind if you’re visiting a destination where wine and cheese are popular such as France, Spain, or Italy.
Drink alcoholic beverages with lower alcohol content like beer or wine coolers. Another option is to mix your alcohol consumption with food. Just make sure it’s food that’s not included in our list!Now that you know what to avoid while you’re on vacation, have a blast and enjoy it to the max. After all, nobody wants to share a room with a buzzsaw!
Good Bedtime Routine
Before you decide on calling in sick tomorrow, check out our tips to help create the optimal sleeping conditions or our pre-bedtime routine so you can fall into that deep, sweet slumber you’ve been looking forward to all day.
Relax before Bed
Many people use the last hour before bedtime to catch up on emails, check social media, watch a TV show, hit the gym, or munch on a midnight snack—but these activities should typically be reserved for earlier in the day. Eating right before bed can cause indigestion, which may lead to problems sleeping. Going to the gym can give you a boost of energy that might make it more difficult to fall asleep. Watching TV, checking your phone, or using a tablet or laptop can also make sleep a bit harder to come by because of the type of light that emulates from these devices. Instead, try doing something relaxing like soaking in a warm bath, doing nighttime yoga, reading a book, or meditating.
Ditch the Lumpy Mattress
Unfortunately, mattresses do have a shelf-life. If you’ve had yours for seven years or longer, it’s probably time for a new one. Picking a mattress might feel a bit like a Goldilocks and the Three Bears type of situation, but here are some tips to help you find the one that’s “just right” for you. Remember that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of mattress, so you’ll need to do a bit of research to find one that meets your specific needs. For example, a more firm mattress might be a good choice for someone who suffers from back pain, while an adjustable mattress is a good option for those with sleep apnea.
Start a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Setting a bedtime for yourself might feel a little childish to you, but choosing a time to consistently go to bed and another time to consistently wake up can help get your biological clock on a steady schedule so you can sleep better and spend less time counting sheep. This doesn’t mean you need to go to bed at 8:30 PM every night—just pick a time that works for you. Wondering how much sleep you should get? It depends on your age and specific needs, but a good rule of thumb is to aim for a bedtime and wake-up time that will allow you to get around 7–8 hours of sleep per night.
Dim the Lights before Bed
Don’t wait to hit the lights until right before diving into the pile of duvets and pillows on your bed for your snooze-fest. Consider installing a dimmer switch in your bedroom, or invest in a lamp with low-watt bulbs so you can relax without bright lights for about an hour before bed. This will signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and get ready for sleep.
Get Your Allergies under Control
If you’ve ever dealt with seasonal allergies, you know that they can disrupt your sleep with their trademark symptoms—the constant coughing, sneezing, and sniffling can really make it difficult to get the Z’s you so desperately need. A simple tip is to keep your house clean. Vacuum daily, dust often, and wash your sheets and blankets weekly. If you’ve spent any time outside, potentially exposing yourself to pollen, ragweed, or mold spores, be sure to take off your shoes at the door and change clothes immediately after walking in the front door to avoid spreading those pesky allergens to your home.
Don’t Stress if You Wake up in the Middle of the Night
When you wake up in the middle of the night, roll over to check the time, and see that it’s 2 AM, it can be easy to fall into the trap of stressing about the very few number of hours left until your alarm will start blaring. Do your best to relax by breathing deeply, relaxing your muscles, and practicing meditation. If you can’t fall asleep for more than 15 minutes, you can get up and read a book, do some light stretching, or choose some other non-stimulating activity to help you feel sleepy again. Avoid anything with bright or blue light, like watching TV or playing a game on your phone as this can make you even more awake.
Sleep is a wonderful, beautiful thing, but unfortunately, it’s something we often take for granted until we find ourselves having trouble falling (or staying) asleep. Implementing these tips into your sleep schedule can help you sleep like a log at night so you can tackle work and your other responsibilities like a boss during the day.
Don’t let allergy struggles ruin your life! There’s a lot you can do in order to have a great time during your time off while having allergies or sleep apnea.