I snore. Loudly.
I am that guy on the train, plane, wherever - who just saws wood and causes everyone else to stare.
Me? I just slept through it. I mean, snoring is something that people - espeicially guys - do, right?
I was first made aware of how my snoring impacts others in college: my roommate hated the noise; my partner reported that getting me to stop was an event that left her exhausted and frustrated; guys on my sports team did not want to room with me on away games.
One time, I woke up in the middle of the night to my teammate standing on his bed throwing pillows across the room at me. "Stop SNORING!"
I don't blame any of them. Snoring isn't fun for either party involved but I always thought there wasn't much I could do about it.
Until, that is, I learned that I could.
It was only after I started learning about snoring and and its relationship to health and wellness that I thought twice about actually doing something. Coincidentally, I attended a talk about the signs and effects of sleep apnea right around the time that a family member made the decision to start religiously using their CPAP mask after a health scare.
Since snoring--and apnea--may be hereditary, I decided to make a concerted effort to see what I could do to make the situation better. Like all worthy causes, it took some effort and a bit of trial and error on my part, but I came away with some good insights and quite a few fixes.
Here are 4 things that I tried over the years, along with my own personal success rate.
One of the first things I learned to do was become a side sleeper. Having been a dedicated back sleeper since high school, this took some work. Not only was I used to it, but it helped me to relieve any strain or pressure I had in my back.
However, there are a few tricks you can try to help you out with this. I have to stay that the payoff from switching to my side was also pretty immediate. My partner reported a noticeable decrease in snoring and mid-night disruptions (and an increase in her own sleep), which made me feel good.
Another thing I found success with was nasal strips. Although they do not solve the problem of relaxed tissue in the throat, they do open up another airway, which keeps me from only breathing through my mouth. When I breath through my mouth, my jaw tends to relax and that's when I snore.
I also tried using a thicker pillow to prop up my head so as to open up the airways but that just gave me a stiff neck. While this works for some, it wasn't for me.
Lifestyle and fitness routine changes lead to weight loss, which also played a role in the decibel decrease. I was never a big guy, but since I no longer play competitive sports I've lost a lot of the bulk that I had been carrying around from my college days.
As you can see, there was certainly no "one-size-fits-all" remedy out there for me; I had to test out a number of recommended methods to find the ones that work for me.
The upside is that I'd say that I hardly ever snore anymore - and that's worth a whole lot more than any of the time I put in to solve this issue.
While the real effects of aging have yet to hit my body (and my sleep), my partner and I both feel more prepared to address some of the larger issues that could arise further down the road.
As a final note for any other snorers (and sufferers) out there, WebMD has a great article where you can learn more about snoring, the underlying causes, associated health risks and possible solutions.