There are some nighttime noises you can’t control, like a rowdy roommate, the neighbor’s howling dog, or cars on a nearby highway. Luckily, you can turn down the volume on one of the most common sleep-disturbing sounds: Snoring. These simple lifestyle tweaks can help lower the odds that you or your partner will be jolted awake by the gasps and snorts of nighttime snoring, ensuring better sleep for both of you.
Switch Up Your Sleeping Position
Lying on your back may be comfortable, but sleeping this way could lead to snoring. That’s because it places your body in a position where your tongue can easily collapse back, partially blocking your airway. Make an effort to turn on your side before you drift off to sleep, but if you find that you still wake up on your back, try this strange but tried-and-true trick: Sew or Velcro a tennis ball to the back of your pajama top. It will add pressure to your spine if you start to roll onto your back, encouraging you to remain in the side-sleeping position.
Commit to a Healthy Weight
Carrying extra pounds on your frame can lead to a thickening of the tissues in your throat, upping the chance of snoring. Talk with your doctor about whether an exercise routine or change in diet could help you slim down.
Don’t Let Happy Hour Go Too Late
If your snoring volume increases following a few rounds at the bar, cut back on drinking close to bedtime. Alcohol—as well as sedatives such as sleeping pills—can overly relax the throat muscles, triggering snoring. If you do drink, aim to have your last cocktail several hours before you hit the sack.
Start a Saline Habit
Nasal congestion, whether due to allergies or a cold, can make it difficult to breathe through your nose properly while sleeping. And if you switch to inhaling through your mouth instead, it’s likely that you’ll also start snoring. Try a saline rinse to clear out nasal blockages, or use a spray or oral decongestant.
Go to Bed Earlier
A lack of quality sleep can increase the chance that you’ll snore at night. Aim for the recommended seven to eight hours of shut-eye each night, even if that means bumping up your bedtime slightly.
If you follow this advice and snoring is still an issue, see your doctor—especially if your nighttime breathing is exceptionally loud or accompanied by frequent grunt-like interruptions throughout the night. Your physician will want to rule out sleep apnea, a more serious disorder that could lead to heart trouble, elevated blood pressure, liver problems, and more if left untreated.