Snoring (Holistic)Skip to the navigation
About This Condition
Reduce snoring by shedding those excess pounds and maintaining a healthy weight
Skip the late-night snack
Avoid eating before bedtime to help reduce snoring
Steer clear of smoke
Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke to reduce irritation in the nasal and throat passages, and to prevent sleep disturbances caused by nicotine
Work in a workout
Start a regular program of physical activity to help with weight loss and reduce snoring
Get a checkup
Visit your doctor to find out if your snoring is associated with a treatable medical condition
About This Condition
Snoring is caused by the movement of air across the soft tissues in the mouth or throat, such as the uvula, soft palate, and sometimes the vocal cords.
Any restriction of airflow, as occurs with nasal congestion, asthma, or polyps, increases the likelihood of snoring. Simple snoring is usually without health consequences, but inadequate sleep quality and quantity, nighttime dips in the body’s oxygen levels,1 and headaches2 sometimes accompany snoring. In addition, an association between snoring and heart disease has been established.3 , 4 When the resistance to airflow in the airways becomes so great as to cause significant interruptions in breathing, it is known as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea represents a more serious health concern than simple snoring;5 therefore, chronic snoring, which can be associated with sleep apnea, should be evaluated by a healthcare provider.
People with snoring may make a rough, rattling, noisy sound while breathing in during sleep.
Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Allergies can inflame the nasal passages, sinuses, and airways of the lungs, and commonly cause or contribute to snoring. Data collected from people with allergic rhinitis (stuffy nose)6 , 7 and asthma8 , 9 show that these people are more likely to be snorers than are nonallergic people. In addition, two preliminary studies have found that when snoring is treated using a continuous positive airway pressure device, an instrument primarily used to treat sleep apnea, nighttime asthma attacks decrease.10 , 11 Children who snore are also more likely than other children to have allergies,12 and one preliminary study found that more than half of children with allergies are snorers.13 One researcher reported that children with allergy symptoms, including snoring, commonly have food sensitivities. Although little more is known about food sensitivities and snoring, it may be helpful to test for food sensitivities.14 The possibility of asthma and allergies should therefore be considered in people who snore.
A number of studies have found an association between snoring and heart disease. High blood pressure and coronary artery disease have been correlated with snoring in both men and women, and the correlation is stronger in people with normal weight.15 , 16 , 17 , 18 In women, snoring is more common after menopause, and is strongly associated with high blood pressure in women around the age of menopause.19 , 20 Researchers suggest that, with such a strong correlation, it is important to screen for hypertension and heart disease in people who snore.21
Obesity and lack of physical activity are commonly associated with heavy snoring.22 , 23 Even in children, obesity may be linked to snoring and sleep disorders.24 One study found that obese men who snore were significantly more likely to develop diabetes over a ten-year period than were obese men who did not snore.25 Snoring is clearly a problem that should be addressed in obese men, and increasing physical activity and weight loss are widely recommended.26 , 27 , 28 A preliminary trial found that weight loss was more important in reducing snoring than either changes in sleep position or use of a nasal decongestant spray.29 In a report by the U.S. Army, weight control and physical training was advised to reduce the severity of snoring and sleep apnea, and in one presented case, full recovery from severe snoring was achieved with weight loss and use of a continuous positive airway pressure device.30 Two other cases have been reported in which combined weight loss and use of a continuous positive airway pressure device resulted in full recovery from snoring and sleep apnea.31
Smoking increases the likelihood of snoring because of its effects on the nasal passages and sinuses.32 In addition, nicotine may cause sleep disturbances that result in more snoring.33 Men are more likely to snore as they age, but one study found that smoking increases the likelihood of snoring particularly in men under the age of 60.34 A sleep study found that heavy smokers are more likely to snore than are moderate and light smokers, and that people who have quit smoking are no more likely to snore than are people who have never smoked.35 Teenagers who smoke have also been found to be more likely to snore than non-smoking teenagers, and that snoring was associated with frequent nighttime wakening and daytime sleepiness.36 Exposure to environmental smoke, or “second-hand smoke,” has been shown to increase the likelihood of snoring in children.37 , 38 Smoking cessation and elimination of environmental smoke exposure are therefore important in the treatment of snoring.
It has long been thought that consumption of alcohol contributes to snoring, and at least one study has found this to be true,39 but several studies have been unable to verify this link.40 , 41 , 42
1. Stradling JR, Crosby JH. Predictors and prevalence of obstructive sleep apnoea and snoring in 1001 middle aged men. Thorax 1991;46:85-90.
2. Jennum P, Hein HO, Suadicani P, Gyntelberg F. Headache and cognitive dysfunctions in snorers. A cross-sectional study of 3323 men aged 54 to 74 years: the Copenhagen Male Study. Arch Neurol 1994;51:937-42.
3. Nieto FJ, Young TB, Lind BK, et al. Association of sleep-disordered breathing, sleep apnea, and hypertension in a large community-based study. Sleep Heart Health Study. JAMA 2000;283:1829-36.
4. Bixler EO, Vgontzas AN, Lin HM, et al. Association of hypertension and sleep-disordered breathing. Arch Intern Med 2000;160:2289-95.
5. Skomro RP, Kryger MH. Clinical presentations of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Prog Cardiovasc Dis 1999;41:331-40.
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7. Young T, Finn L, Kim H. Nasal obstruction as a risk factor for sleep-disordered breathing. The University of Wisconsin Sleep and Respiratory Research Group. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1997;99:S757-62.
8. Janson C, De Backer W, Gislason T, et al. Increased prevalence of sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness in subjects with bronchial asthma: a population study of young adults in three European countries. Eur Respir J 1996;9:2132-8.
9. Ballard RD. Sleep, respiratory physiology, and nocturnal asthma. Chronobiol Int 1999;16:565-80 [review].
10. Guilleminault C, Quera-Salva MA, Powell N, et al. Nocturnal asthma: snoring, small pharynx and nasal CPAP. Eur Respir J 1988;1:902-7.
11. Chan CS, Woolcock AJ, Sullivan CE. Nocturnal asthma: role of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Am Rev Respir Dis 1988;137:1502-4.
12. McColley SA, Carroll JL, Curtis S, et al. High prevalence of allergic sensitization in children with habitual snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Chest 1997;111:170-3.
13. Green RJ, Luyt DK. Clinical presentation of chronic non-infectious rhinitis in children. S Afr Med J 1997;87:987-91.
14. De Luca L. The food bronchial stimulation test (FBST) is a new method for the diagnosis of food allergens. Study of 86 children with food allergy with respiratory manifestations. Pediatr Med Chir 1988;10:103-10 [in Italian].
15. Ketterer MW, Brymer J, Rhoads K, et al. Snoring and the severity of coronary artery disease in men. Psychosom Med 1994;56:232-6.
16. Hu FB, Willett WC, Manson JE, et al. Snoring and risk of cardiovascular disease in women. J Am Coll Cardiol 2000;35:308-13.
17. Bixler EO, Vgontzas AN, Lin HM, et al. Association of hypertension and sleep-disordered breathing. Arch Intern Med 2000;160:2289-95.
18. Nieto FJ, Young TB, Lind BK, et al. Association of sleep-disordered breathing, sleep apnea, and hypertension in a large community-based study. Sleep Heart Health Study. JAMA 2000;283:1829-36.
19. Gislason T, Benediktsdottir B, Bjornsson JK, et al. Snoring, hypertension, and the sleep apnea syndrome. An epidemiologic survey of middle-aged women. Chest 1993;103:1147-51.
20. Shaver JL, Zenk SN. Sleep disturbance in menopause. J Womens Health Gend Based Med 2000;9:109-18 [review].
21. Bixler EO, Vgontzas AN, Lin HM, et al. Association of hypertension and sleep-disordered breathing. Arch Intern Med 2000;160:2289-95.
22. Lindberg E, Taube A, Janson C, et al. A 10-year follow-up of snoring in men. Chest 1998;114:1048-55.
23. Koskenvuo M, Partinen M, Kaprio J, et al. Snoring and cardiovascular risk factors. Ann Med 1994;26:371-6.
24. Slyper AH. Childhood obesity, adipose tissue distribution, and the pediatric practitioner. Pediatrics 1998;102:e4 [review].
25. Elmasry A, Janson C, Lindberg E, et al. The role of habitual snoring and obesity in the development of diabetes: a 10-year follow-up study in a male population. J Intern Med 2000;248:13-20.
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27. Collard P, Rodenstein DO. Management of simple snoring in adults. Monaldi Arch Chest Dis 1993;48:623-6 [review].
28. Fritsch K, Bloch KE. Noninvasive alternatives to CPAP in therapy of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Ther Umsch 2000;57:449-53 [in German; review].
29. Braver HM, Block AJ, Perri MG. Treatment for snoring. Combined weight loss, sleeping on side, and nasal spray. Chest 1995;107:1283-8.
30. Sonna LA, Smith PL, Schwartz AR. Obstructive sleep apnea presenting during infantry field exercises: does the Army Weight Control Program protect soldiers from obstructive sleep apnea? Mil Med 1996;161:362-6.
31. Aubert-Tulkens G, Culee C, Rodenstein DO. Cure of sleep apnea syndrome after long-term nasal continuous positive airway pressure therapy and weight loss. Sleep 1989;12:216-22.
32. Benninger, MS. The impact of cigarette smoking and environmental tobacco smoke on nasal and sinus disease: a review of the literature. Am J Rhinol 1999;13:435-8.
33. Phillips BA, Danner FJ. Cigarette smoking and sleep disturbance. Arch Intern Med 1995;155:734-7.
34. Lindberg E, Taube A, Janson C, et al. A 10-year follow-up of snoring in men. Chest 1998;114:1048-55.
35. Wetter DW, Young TB, Bidwell TR, et al. Smoking as a risk factor for sleep-disordered breathing. Arch Intern Med 1994;154:2219-24.
36. Delasnerie-Laupretre N, Patois E, Valatx JL, et al. Sleep, snoring and smoking in high school students. J Sleep Res 1993;2:138-142.
37. Forastiere F, Corbo GM, Michelozzi P, et al. Effects of environment and passive smoking on the respiratory health of children. Int J Epidemiol 1992;21:66-73.
38. Corbo GM, Fuciarelli F, Foresi A, De Benedetto F. Snoring in children: association with respiratory symptoms and passive smoking. BMJ 1989;299:1491-4.
39. Koskenvuo M, Partinen M, Kaprio J, et al. Snoring and cardiovascular risk factors. Ann Med 1994;26:371-6.
40. Kauffmann F, Annesi I, Neukirch F, et l. The relation between snoring and smoking, body mass index, age, alcohol consumption and respiratory symptoms. Eur Respir J 1989;2:599-603.
41. Lindberg E, Taube A, Janson C, et al. A 10-year follow-up of snoring in men. Chest 1998;114:1048-55.
42. Stradling JR, Crosby JH. Predictors and prevalence of obstructive sleep apnoea and snoring in 1001 middle aged men. Thorax 1991;46:85-90.
Last Review: 01-23-2015
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2016.