- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
- Alternative Treatment
- Care Guide
- Questions for Your Doctor
- When to Contact a Doctor
- Find a Doctor
- Resource Guide
How to Treat Snoring
In cases of snoring without sleep apnea, lifestyle changes may alleviate symptoms. More severe cases may require surgery or devices.
Changes that may help stop snoring include:
- If you are overweight, lose weight.
- Exercise to improve muscle tone
- Avoid drinking alcohol or taking sedatives.
- Sleep on your side rather than on your back. Try taping a marble or tennis ball to your back before going to bed to prevent rolling onto your back.
- Treat causes of nasal congestion (eg, allergies or colds).
- Raise the head of the bed up about four inches. Use extra pillows or put something under the mattress.
During surgery, a laser or scalpel can be used to remove excess tissue that is blocking the airway. This type of surgery is called uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). Treatment by laser surgery requires a series of surgeries and is usually reserved for severe and disruptive cases of snoring. In case of life threatening obstructive sleep apnea that has failed other treatments, a tracheostomy may need to be done. In this type of surgery, an opening is made in your neck and a small tube is inserted. More studies are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of the surgical approaches.
Devices that can open airways during sleep include:
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) involves wearing a mask-like nasal device during sleep that maintains continuous air pressure in the nose and upper throat to keep it open. It is more commonly used for people with obstructive sleep apnea.
- Dental devices are put into the mouth during sleep to position the soft palate for better breathing.
- Nasal strips help widen nasal passages.
Modafinil (Provigil) may be used in patients who have some residual sleepiness during the day and are treated with CPAP at night.