During sleep your breathing slows down which causes a narrowing of the airway. If the airway begins to narrow a little too much, you'll start to snore. While 40% of adults snore, men are more likely to snore than women. However, because of hormonal changes snoring increases among women as they get older. Snoring is more common in people that are overweight because excess fat in the neck area reduces the width of the air passage.

Besides being overweight, decreased muscle tone, congestion, anatomical abnormalities, alcohol, and prescription medications can all result in a narrow airway during sleeping. Snoring can be a precursor to more serious problems in the future such as sleep apnea. Anyone who snores heavily on a consistent basis should undergo a sleep study and receive a thorough examination of the throat, mouth, palate, tongue, and neck.

There are many different treatments for how to stop snoring. Some involve surgical intervention while others do not.

Nonsurgical Treatments for Snoring

Lifestyle changes such as losing weight, quitting smoking, not drinking alcohol in the evening and avoiding muscle relaxants and sleeping pills can make a big difference. Some people only snore when sleeping on their back and some experts recommend sewing a tennis ball on the back of your pajamas to remind you to sleep on your side but that hardly seems like a practical idea. Propping up one end of your bed a few inches can make a world of difference. This helps to elevate your head more easily than can be accomplished with extra pillows.

Other solutions may include a humidifier and nasal strips to help dilate the airway. If you feel congested, prescription nasal steroid sprays can help. You should discuss the different options with your doctor. There are also many different types of dental devices on the market that are designed to hold your tongue a certain way which keeps the airway open. Although these can be very effective most people find them very uncomfortable and hard to get used to.

Surgical Treatments for Snoring

Surgery should be used only as a last resort if other methods have proven ineffective. There are a few different types of surgeries depending on your unique situation. Some surgeries may involve removal of the uvula, tonsils, and a rim of loose tissue at the edge of the soft palate. Another procedure known as somnoplasty involves the use of sound waves that are sent through needles which shrink the obstructive tissue. Implants can also be placed in the soft palate to prevent collapse. If a deviated septum is to blame, a surgery can be performed to straighten the tissue.

Snoring not only can be a health concern but it can also affect the loved ones in your life. If you need additional assistance in learning how to stop snoring you may want to seek the advice of a medical professional.