Natural Treatments for Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Posted on: 2 May 2019

If you are a heavy snorer, then you may unknowingly have obstructive sleep apnea. This condition can cause periodic apneic, or breathing cessation episodes to occur during sleep. If not recognized and treated, obstructive sleep apnea can raise your risk for cardiovascular disease and excessive daytime sleepiness.

If you snore and believe you have sleep apnea, see your doctor, who can recommend effective snoring treatments. In the meantime, here are some natural treatments you can try to help minimize snoring and subsequent sleep apnea:

Raise the Head of Your Bed

Many people who snore also have gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. This causes irritating stomach acid to travel up into your esophagus, irritating your vocal cords. Stomach acid can even reach your sinuses, causing inflammation of your nasal cavities.

This can worsen snoring, and in some cases, cause periods of breathing cessation while you sleep. GERD can also cause throat inflammation, and in severe cases, block your airway. When you sleep with the head of your bed raised, it will help keep stomach acid in your stomach where it belongs, instead of traveling up into your upper digestive tract. If sleeping with the head of your bed elevated fails to improve your GERD symptoms, ask your family physician to refer you to a gastroenterologist for further evaluation and treatment. 

Sleep on Your Side

When you sleep on your back, your tongue can slip back into your throat, blocking your airway, which can lead to snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Sleeping on your side will help keep your airway open by keeping your tongue from obstructing your trachea.

Also, if you sleep on your left side instead of your right side, it will keep stomach acid from rising up into your throat, further contributing to snoring and sleep apnea. It is important to note, that sleeping on your right side will do little to prevent acid from escaping from your stomach.

Avoid Alcohol Before Bedtime

Consuming alcohol close to bedtime may also worsen snoring. Because it is a muscle relaxant, alcohol may cause your lower esophageal sphincter muscle to relax too much so that it becomes unable to keep acid in your stomach, resulting in reflux and subsequent snoring.

Alcohol can also relax the back of your tongue so that it slides into your throat, blocking your airway. In addition to alcohol, antihistamines, anti-anxiety medications, and sleeping pills can also contribute to snoring and sleep apnea, however, never discontinue usage of these medications if they have been prescribed by your doctor without first getting medical clearance to do so.

If you snore, see your physician, who can provide you with names of reputable sleep apnea doctors for further evaluation and treatment. With appropriate snoring treatments, your risk for obstructive sleep apnea will decline, as might your risk for heart disease and high blood pressure.