Snoring can be the result of a variety of issues, ranging from the anatomy of your throat to your lifestyle. As defined by the Mayo Clinic, snoring is the “hoarse or harsh sound that occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe”. When you go to sleep, the muscles in your throat relax, narrowing your nasal passages. If those tissues relax enough, they can block your nasal passages and increase the amount of tissue that can vibrate when you breathe. This additional tissue vibration is what we hear as snoring.
To reduce snoring, we need to reduce the amount of tissue in your nasal passageways. Soundly can help strengthen your airways with daily game-based exercises reduce tissues in your resting throat, but you might need to make changes to your lifestyle to fully move into soundless sleep.
Another way to avoid both inflammation and excessive relaxation in your throat is to reduce or eliminate certain foods from your evening diet. We’re not saying you have to give these foods up entirely, just avoid them as your last meal of the day or bedtime snack.
Reducing excessive relaxation
- Nightcap: Alcohol relaxes your throat muscles and increases the chances that you will snore. If you’re going to imbibe, finish up at least three hours before bed to give your throat a chance to firm up again.
- Medications: if you take your pills before bed, ask your doctor about what is in them. Drugs could have caffeine or muscle relaxers that keep you up and increase your likelihood of snoring when you do finally get to bed.
Reducing inflammation and mucus production
- Allergens: If you have even mild allergies to certain foods, avoid them before bed. These foods can cause inflammation and increase mucus production in the nose and throat, which can then lead to snoring. Check to see if you have a gluten sensitivity, as it is an easy one to miss.
- High fat meats and diary: I’m looking at you, Bacon Cheeseburger. High fat meats and cheeses like steak, bacon, cheeseburgers, brie and processed meats, contain saturated fats that are used for prostaglandin production, a molecule that leads to inflammation.
- Sugar: It is the new super villain of our times. Sugar can not only give you an energy high that makes it difficult to go to sleep, it also increases releases cytokines, another molecule related to inflammation. Though processed sugars are worse, some think that natural sugars lead to similar inflammation. Avoid that cake and apple right before bed.
- Wheat: Processed wheat flour (and those oh so yummy biscuits) actually fuel production of molecules that cause inflammation and mucus production. Opt for whole wheat if you must, but remember, these are gluten free.