If you are like most Americans you probably wake up in the morning feeling like you didn’t really sleep at all. Perhaps you spent the night tossing and turning, fighting for space on the bed or struggling to tune out the distractions. One of those distractions might just be you. Snoring by both you and your partner may not only be keeping you up at night but it could also be contributing to problems with your health.
David Jack, a wellness coach and contributing editor at Men’s Health Magazine, says that many couples that experience inadequate sleep as a result of one person’s snoring often find larger problems in the relationship. “[Sleep] is a root of wellness,” Jack says. “Good sleep is so important and there are so many people struggling with it to the point that it is affecting their daily life, but it is also affecting their relationship.”
So how do you know if you partner’s or your own snoring is just a mild, rare disturbance or something more serious?
Jack describes a difference between occasional light snoring and a more serious medical condition. "Snoring that’s connected to sleep apnea that’s moderate and severe…is a medical condition," Jack says. He recommends seeing an ENT doctor who specializes in the ear, nose, and throat connection.
If you aren’t quite ready to get the full work up, Jack describes various mechanical and positional therapies that can be used to help lessen or prevent snoring.
Mechanical therapies focus on training your muscles to maintain their proper alignment. One such therapy involves doing simple exercises with your tongue, like stretching it down to your chin and then up to your nose or curling your tongue behind and in front of your teeth. Another mechanical exercise involves continuously shifting your jaw line out and back; an easy exercise that you can insert multiple times a day into your regular schedule.
If you are looking for something more concrete, however, scientific research and studies focused on changing the position you sleep in have shown positive results. These positional therapies do take some adjustment but in the long run have been proven to reduce snoring dramatically.
Jack recommends laying your side, moving your pillow so that your neck is lined up with your spine, and bending your knees with a pillow in between them. He says that this position is not only effective in reducing snoring, but also in reducing pain and discomfort that comes along with sleeping in a strained position.
Jack’s greatest piece of advice? Personalize your sleep routine, as there is no single solution that works for everyone.
“[People] always ask what’s the best for this, what’s the best nutrition, what’s the best therapy for snoring? It’s the one that works for you. It’s the one that makes a difference.”