6 Ways to Stop Snoring and Improve Your Mental Health

snoring and mental healthMost people consider snoring to be an annoying but normal side-effect of sleep. However, snoring may not be as harmless as you think. It is estimated that 73% of people who snore have sleep apnea. Individuals with sleep apnea are 40% more likely to die early than their peers.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes your breathing to stop and start repeatedly while you sleep. If you snore loudly and usually feel exhausted after getting a long night of sleep, you may have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea has been linked with a variety of physical and mental health issues such as heart disease, stroke, anxiety, and depression. The three major types of sleep apnea are:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea – due to relaxation of the throat muscles
  • Central sleep apnea – due to your brain not sending proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome – a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea

What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Snoring loudly
  • Difficulty breathing when you sleep
  • Headaches when you wake up
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Hypersomnia

Sleep Apnea, Snoring and Mental Health

A number of studies have confirmed that sleep apnea can have a negative impact on your mental health. Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, these mental health concerns may range from irritability and headaches due to a lack of sleep, to serious episodes of anxiety and depression. One study found that older men who snore loudly report less sexual satisfaction. All of these issues result in a lower quality of life.

So what can you do if you are a loud snorer? Consider the six helpful suggestions below.

1. Use Nasal Cones 

Nasal cones are small devices that look just as their name implies. They are small cones that go into your nostrils and are usually used for nose snorers. Nose snoring, unlike throat snoring, is caused by stuffed and small nasal cavities. Nasal cones treat snoring issues by opening and increasing airflow in the nostrils. 

Nasal cones can also be used by people with sinus problems. Many individuals report that these devices help them with congestion relief. For better results, the cones can be used in combination with some other anti-snoring devices. You can learn more about nasal cones and read helpful reviews on a variety of health websites. 

2. Sleep On Your Side 

Sleeping position can affect the quality of your sleep considerably. For instance, sleeping on your back makes your tongue move backward. This may partially block your airflow and cause harsh snoring sounds. Practice sleeping on your side so that your airflow is unrestricted. This may help to reduce or completely stop your snoring. 

3. Maintain a Healthy Bodyweight 

Snoring is closely linked with obesity. This means the quality of your sleep may be connected to your body weight. Getting rid of excess bodyweight can reduce the amount of tissue in your throat and reduce snoring. If you want to lose weight effectively, try to reduce the number of calories you consume during the day by eating smaller portions and/or eating less frequently.

Another great way to lose weight is to exercise regularly. Not only dues regular exercise help to burn fat, but it also helps you to sleep sooner and longer. If you are having issues with losing weight, it may be best to consult a nutritionist.

4. Limit Alcohol Intake Before Sleeping 

It’s tempting to think that drinking a lot of alcohol can help you sleep. However, it’s likely that you may get drunk and fall asleep in an unhealthy body position. Therefore, it is recommended not to consume alcohol at least three hours before bed. Alcohol also has a tendency to relax your throat muscles which may lead to more snoring. 

5. Avoid Smoking Before Bed 

If you are a smoker, it is best to reconsider your decision to have a cigar or cigarette right before bed. Smoking has the tendency to irritate the membranes in your nose and throat and block your airways. This can make your snoring worse. Over time, smoking also contributes to the buildup of tar on all the tissues throughout your respiratory system.

6. Raise the Head of Your Bed  

Raising the head of your bed by about four inches can help to reduce your snoring. If your head is raised slightly, it can prevent your tongue from blocking your airways as you rest.

Restful sleep is vital for your long term physical and mental health. If snoring is reducing the quality of your sleep, we encourage you to try the tips above. In addition to these suggestions, some people try other anti-snoring devices, homemade remedies, as well as mouth and throat exercises. If you are not able to get your snoring under control, it is wise to talk to your doctor about it.