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Rea­sons Why You Snore and How to Stop

Why It Hap­pens
If you snore, it’s because the relaxed tis­sues in your throat vibrate as the air you breathe in rush­es past them. About half of U.S. adults do it from time to time. Things like your weight, your health, and the shape of your mouth can make you more like­ly to sound like you’re saw­ing logs dur­ing the night. 

How Do I Know If I Snore?
If it’s loud enough to wake your part­ner, you prob­a­bly have heard about it. If you don’t believe them or sleep alone and want to know for sure, turn on a voice-acti­vat­ed recorder before you fall sleep.
Stuffy Nose
Any­thing that stops you from breath­ing through your nose can make you snore, like if you’re stopped up from a cold, flu, or aller­gies. Over-the-counter med­i­cines or nasal strips can help open up those air­ways, but talk to your doc­tor if you’re stuffed up for weeks at a time.
You Sleep on Your Back
This can make you snore or make it worse. Sleep­ing on your side is bet­ter, and cud­dling with your part­ner — “spoon­ing” — gets both of you on your sides. You also could try sleep­ing with two or three stacked pil­lows so you’re not flat on your back. If nei­ther of those works, sew a small pock­et between the shoul­der blades of a shirt that’s a lit­tle tight. Put a ten­nis ball in the pock­et so it’s uncom­fort­able when you roll onto your back.
The Shape of Your Nose
If the thin wall between your nos­trils didn’t form quite right, one side can be small­er than the oth­er — that’s called a devi­at­ed sep­tum. That can make it hard­er for you to breathe and make you snore. The same can hap­pen if your nose was hurt in an acci­dent. Talk to your doc­tor if you think some­thing like this is going on with you — surgery can some­times fix it.
The Shape of Your Mouth
If the upper part of your mouth toward your throat — your soft palate — is low and thick, it can nar­row your air­way and make you snore. That also can hap­pen if the small piece of tis­sue that hangs from your soft palate — the uvu­la — is longer than usu­al. You may be born with these things, but they can get worse if you’re over­weight. Surgery can some­times help with this, too.
Is It Your Med­ica­tion?
Drugs that make you sleepy (called seda­tives), mus­cle relax­ants, and some anti­de­pres­sants can relax your tongue and the mus­cles in your throat. Talk to your doc­tor if you snore and take any of those — she may be able to change your meds.  
Sleep Apnea
This is seri­ous snor­ing that stops your breath­ing as you sleep. It may make you gasp for breath or wake you dur­ing the night. Signs of it include dry mouth, headache, or a sore throat in the morn­ing. It’s linked to stroke, high blood pres­sure, and heart dis­ease, so see your doc­tor if you think you might have sleep apnea. She may rec­om­mend a device that helps you breathe while you sleep or, in some cas­es, surgery.
If Your Child Snores
It’s not unusu­al for kids to snore now and then, espe­cial­ly if they have a cold or aller­gy. But in some cas­es, it can be a sign of an infec­tion in the sinus­es, throat, lungs, or air­ways, or pos­si­bly sleep apnea. If you’ve noticed that your child snores loud­ly most nights, talk with her pedi­a­tri­cian about it.
If You’re Preg­nant
Moms-to-be are like­ly to snore because their nasal pas­sages can swell and make it hard­er to breathe. Weight gain dur­ing preg­nan­cy also can push on the diaphragm, which helps move air in and out of your lungs. But preg­nant women should tell their doc­tors if they snore, because it can be linked to health issues like high blood pres­sure.
What You Can Do: Watch Your Weight
You’re more like­ly to snore if you’re over­weight, espe­cial­ly if your neck is more than 17 inch­es around. Los­ing a few pounds may help keep it in check — talk to your doc­tor about a plan that would be right for you.
What You Can Do: Cut Back on Alco­hol
Like some med­i­cines, adult bev­er­ages can relax your tongue and throat mus­cles, and that can make you snore. It helps to watch what and how much you drink, espe­cial­ly close to bed­time.

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