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How to stop snoring

Amy Gallagher
Senior Sleep Physiologist at Cromwell Hospital
18 October 2021
Next review due October 2024

‘How to stop snoring?’ is a commonly Googled question. Snoring affects around four in 10 of us in the UK. Whether you snore, or your partner does, it’s important to look at what you can do to stop. Snoring can disturb your sleep, make you feel tired and affect your relationships. And sometimes snoring can be the result of a condition called sleep apnoea. Here I’ll share five things you can try to help stop snoring.


Five ways to stop snoring

1. Sleep in the best position to stop snoring

  • Sleep on your side and not on your back. If you struggle to stay on your side throughout the night, try taping a tennis ball into the back of your pyjama top. This will help to stop you from rolling over.
  • Raise the head of your bed with good quality pillows – one thick or two thin pillows should be about right.

2. Lose excess weight

Snoring is more common if you’re overweight. If you have too much extra weight, particularly around your neck, it can narrow your airways and make you more likely to snore. So losing a small amount of weight if you need to can have a big impact on your snoring and quality of sleep. The best way to lose weight safely is by setting realistic goals, eating well and exercising more.

3. Cut down on alcohol

Alcohol relaxes the structures in your mouth – including your pharynx, palate and tongue. This can block your airways and make you more likely to snore. So cutting down on alcohol can help you stop snoring. But when you do drink, remember to stay well within the recommended drinking limits of no more than 14 units per week.

Sleeping medicines have a similar effect to alcohol on snoring, so cut down or avoid these where you can too.

4. Stop smoking

If you smoke, try to stop. Cigarette smoke aggravates the space behind your nose and throat, and causes a buildup of mucus, which together restrict airflow and contribute to snoring.

5. Get allergies under control

If you have an allergy, for example you’re allergic to dust or have hay fever, you may get a stuffy nose (nasal congestion). This can disrupt your sleep and cause you to snore. Try to avoid contact with potential triggers (allergens) and get the right treatment to help keep your snoring at bay. A nasal spray might be helpful if your nose gets blocked. Speak to your GP or pharmacist for advice.

Other snoring treatments

If none of these measures work, and snoring is having a big impact on your day-to-day life, talk to a GP. It’s important to get medical help and find out if there’s an underlying problem for your snoring. This will make sure you get the right treatment.

For example, sleep apnoea is a condition that causes your breathing to stop and start when you're asleep, interrupting your sleep. If you have sleep apnoea, treating this should help to stop your snoring.

Treatments may include devices that you wear at night. Or if there’s anything blocking your airways, then sometimes surgery can be an option. Surgical treatments involve altering the structure of your upper airways to improve the flow of air.

Amy Gallagher
Amy Gallagher
Senior Sleep Physiologist at Cromwell Hospital

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    • Snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea. Respiratory medicine. Oxford Handbook of General Practice. Oxford Medicine Online. oxfordmedicine.com, published online June 2020
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    • Smoking. British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association. www.britishsnoring.co.uk, accessed 12 October 2021
    • Allergic rhinitis. NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries. cks.nice.org.uk, last revised August 2021
    • Why do I snore? British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association. www.britishsnoring.co.uk, accessed 12 October 2021
    • Sleep apnoea. NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries. cks.nice.org.uk, last revised August 2021

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