Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle Changes

There are certain behaviors that you can integrate into your lifestyle to improve your breathing and reduce your snoring. Often, doctors will recommend the following self-care techniques alone or in combination with other therapy.

Lose weight.
Snoring and sleep apnea can be weight related. When you have extra fat around your neck in particular, it’s easier for the muscles around your airway to collapse and block off the airflow to your lungs. Losing even a couple pounds can make a difference in your ability to breathe at night.

Sleep on your side or stomach, not on your back.
Often snoring and sleep apnea is worse when you sleep on your back. You can train yourself to sleep on your side. Take a sock and fill it with one or two tennis balls. Sew the sock to the back of a t-shirt. When you sleep in that shirt, the tennis balls will remind you not to turn onto your back.

Avoid alcohol and certain medications.
Alcohol and certain medicines, like sleeping pills, painkillers and muscle relaxants, cause the muscles in your throat to relax more than normal. When you drink alcohol or take these pills before bed, you set the stage for breathing problems once you fall asleep. The more the muscles around the airway relax, the worse your snoring and sleep apnea may be.

Stop smoking.
Smoking can increase the amount of swelling and fluid retention in your airway. The nicotine in cigarettes can relax the muscles that keep the airway open. The result is a small narrow airway that is more likely to collapse when you are asleep. Smokers tend to have more problems with snoring and sleep apnea than non-smokers.