You’ve been trying to sleep but your spouse just keeps waking you up with his incessant snoring. You’ve tried everything to get him to stop. Nudging, poking, and even kicking him. It stops for a minute when you get him to turn over but then it starts up again. What are you supposed to do?!
Snoring is an annoying and complicated sign that there is problem with breathing during sleep. When breathing passages are restricted, the body has to work harder to get the air to pass through the airways. Breathing restrictions result in vibration of the airways which creates the sound commonly known as snoring.
Loud snoring or sleep disturbed breathing may be caused by a variety of different problems, and determining the reason for the snoring in the first place is really the only way to stop it. Sometimes snoring has several factors that contribute to its overall result. It may be that one factor is not responsible.
For instance, allergies can contribute to snoring problems for many people because the nose is stuffy and breathing is limited. Then, if the person struggling with allergies is also overweight, the snoring might be even louder or more prevalent due to the contribution of both factors. Add that to sleeping on the back, dry air in the house, or some other factor, the multiple aspects can turn into a severe problem.
Using Humidifiers for Snoring
Since the causes for snoring may be multi-faceted, the way to treat snoring may also need to be multi-faceted as well. One of the most commonly overlooked reasons that can contribute to people snoring is dry air in the house.
In an ideal situation, people breathe through their noses while they sleep. The nasal passages have the ability to warm and moisten the air as it enters the body, making it the ideal setup for breathing. But when people have a stuffy nose, congestion, or some other problem such as a deviated septum, they turn into mouth breathers. And mouth breathing is just not as effective as breathing through the nose because the air is dry and cold.
Dry air passes through the airways much more roughly than humid air does. Habitually breathing dry air in through the mouth and over the throat can cause irritation, inflammation, and even possibly a sore throat. This irritation can result in more vibration as the air passes roughly over the breathing passages, resulting in snoring.
Another reason that dry air can cause snoring is that it is more likely to be full of dust and allergens floating around. Air that is humid has a tendency to keep the allergens or dust lying on the surfaces of objects or stuck to the ground, rather than floating about in the air. The increase in allergens in dry air may be a contributing factor to creating a stuffy nose, congestion, irritation in the mouth and throat that ultimately resulting in vibration that produces loud snoring noises.
Dry air is particularly a problem during cold, winter months. The fact that cold air is naturally less humid is a negative starting point. Then, add to that the effects of forced air heating that dry out the air, and your house, workplace, and even your car are all places where the air you are breathing is too dry and may be irritating.
So if dry air can be a contributing factor to snoring, then adding moisture to the air may be the very thing to reduce or even completely eliminate the snoring in your house. And this can be easily done by the regular use of a humidifier.
How Do Humidifiers Help with Snoring?
One great thing about using a humidifier for snoring is that the person who does the snoring does not necessarily have to be responsible for it. If you feel like you are constantly nagging your partner or roommate about their snoring, but can’t get them to do anything about it, using a humidifier may be your first point of entry. You can set up and use the humidifier in the house without the participation of the actual person who is snoring.
Choosing a cool mist humidifier to use in your bedroom at night, and throughout the house during other times of the day, is likely to be your best option for adding humidity to the air. Choose a humidifier that is large enough to impact the size of the room in which you are using it. Some people add essential oils (such as peppermint or eucalyptus) to their cool mist humidifiers that help to open up the air passages and promote healthier breathing during sleep.
Other Snoring Treatment Options
A humidifier is not likely to stop snoring altogether. As mentioned previously, snoring is a multi-faceted health condition that may require more than one treatment. Other reasonable treatments for snoring that may be used in tandem with a humidifier include:
- Weight Loss. Losing even just a few pounds may help reduce fat deposits around the neck and result in reduction of snoring.
- Allergy Treatment. If dry air and allergens affect snoring, then see your doctor or try an over-the-counter allergy medication during heightened hay fever seasons.
- Alcohol Intake. Reducing you’re alcohol intake, especially at night, may help with snoring. Drinking alcohol causes lax muscle tone and can make snoring worse. It also has a tendency to promote dehydration.
- Stop Smoking. Irritation and inflammation in the throat and mouth may be a contributing factor to snoring.
- Exercises. General exercise of the whole body creates muscle tone in the neck and mouth, which is good for preventing snoring. In addition, special exercises can be done to increase muscle tone in the neck that help the air move more smoothly while you are breathing during sleep.
- Adhesive Nasal Strips. Sometimes opening up the nasal passages is enough to reduce snoring by a large margin. These sticky nasal strips can be placed on the outside of the nose just before going to sleep to help reduce snoring.
Since it’s not likely that dry air is the only cause of snoring in your house, you may find that using a humidifier for snoring is not quite enough to control it. If the snoring is severe, talk to your doctor about whether it is related to a more serious sleep breathing condition such as sleep apnea.
Reducing snoring with a humidifier is a good start, though. Sleep deprivation is a serious problem so anything you can do to promote healthier sleep habits and better sleep hygiene is sure to make a difference in the long run for you and for your snoring partner!