Is There a Permanent Way to Stop Snoring?

Reviewed on 11/22/2021

Treatments to stop snoring include lifestyle changes, anti-snoring mouthpieces, mouth exercises, continuous, auto, or bi-level positive airway pressure (CPAP, APAP, or BiPAP) devices, and surgery.
Treatments to stop snoring include lifestyle changes, anti-snoring mouthpieces, mouth exercises, continuous, auto, or bi-level positive airway pressure (CPAP, APAP, or BiPAP) devices, and surgery.

Snoring occurs when tissues in the airway at the back of the throat vibrate as air passes over them during sleep.  

Snoring is more common in men than in women, and it occurs more often in older people, though anyone of any age may snore. 

How to Stop Snoring

Treatment to stop snoring and whether that treatment is permanent depends on the cause of the snoring and the symptoms it causes.

No treatment may be needed if snoring is infrequent and does not disturb a person’s sleep or the sleep of someone they live with. 

Treatments to stop snoring include lifestyle changes, anti-snoring mouthpieces, mouth exercises, continuous, auto, or bi-level positive airway pressure (CPAP, APAP, or BiPAP) devices, and surgery. 

  • Lifestyle changes
    • Maintaining a healthy weight
    • Limit or avoid use of alcohol and sedatives
    • Adjust your sleeping position
      • People who sleep on their back may be more likely to snore due to airway obstruction
    • Elevate the head of the bed with risers, a wedge pillow, or an adjustable frame
    • Don’t smoke
    • Use an anti-snoring pillow
  • Reduce nasal congestion
    • Treat allergies or other sources of nasal congestion 
    • Change sheets, vacuum, and dust regularly if allergies cause snoring
    • Breathing strips that go over the nose 
    • Internal nasal expanders
    • Take a hot shower before bed to open up sinuses
    • Use a humidifier or vaporizer
  • Anti-snoring mouthpieces
    • Mandibular advancement devices which hold the lower jaw forward
    • Tongue retaining devices which help hold the tongue in place so it doesn’t slide back toward the throat
  • Mouth exercises
    • Strengthening the mouth, tongue, and throat can build muscle tone to reduce snoring 
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Anti-snoring apps
    • Can help record snoring, analyze sleep, and play sound to wake you up when a snore is detected
  • Treat sleep apnea
    • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine
    • Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machine
    • Automatic positive airway pressure (APAP) machine
  • Surgery
    • Tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy to remove enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids
    • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) which thins and tightens tissue in the throat
    • Thermal ablation palatoplasty (TAP) uses radio waves to shrink throat tissues
    • Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) uses a laser to shorten the uvula
    • Palatal implants (also called the Pillar procedure) involves insertion of implants into the soft palate to help stiffen the soft tissue and reduce vibration
    • Somnoplasty uses radiofrequency heat energy to remove or stiffen tissues of the uvula and soft palate so they don't vibrate

What Are Symptoms of Snoring?

Snoring itself is a symptom of other conditions. Depending on the cause, snoring may be accompanied by symptoms such as: 

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia 
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Unintentional sleep episodes
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Waking up gasping or choking 
  • Lack of focus or mental sharpness
  • Morning headaches and congestion
  • High blood pressure
  • Nighttime teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • A bed partner describing loud snoring and/or breathing interruptions during the patient's sleep
  • Obesity or recent weight gain

Why Do People Snore?

There are numerous causes and risk factors for snoring, such as: 

  • Sleep apnea
  • Nasal infections
  • Nasal congestion
  • Nasal deformities
  • Obesity
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Use of sedatives
  • Smoking
  • Older age 
  • Sleep position
  • Large tonsils, tongue, or soft palate
  • Deviated septum
  • Nasal polyps
  • Jaw that is small or set-back
  • Pregnancy
  • Postmenopausal status
  • Male sex

How Is Snoring Diagnosed?

The cause of snoring is diagnosed with a physical examination and a patient history, along with reports from any bed partners of the patient. 

  • Polysomnography (in laboratory or home sleep studies) testing for sleep disorders such as sleep apnea may be performed by a sleep medicine specialist. 
  • Allergy testing may be performed if allergies are suspected. 
  • An ear, nose, and throat specialist (otolaryngologist, or ENT) may be seen for suspected nasal deformities such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps. 
  • A lung specialist (pulmonologist) may perform tests if asthma is suspected. 

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Reviewed on 11/22/2021
References
Image Source: iStock Images

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/snoring

https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/sleep-and-wakefulness-disorders/snoring