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Snoring: Care Instructions


Snoring is a noise that you may make while breathing during sleep. You snore when the flow of air from your mouth or nose to your lungs makes the tissues of your throat vibrate while you sleep. This usually is caused by a blockage or narrowing in your nose, mouth, or throat (airway).

Snoring can be soft, loud, raspy, harsh, hoarse, or fluttering. If you have a bed partner, they may notice that you sleep with your mouth open or that you're restless while sleeping. If snoring interferes with your or your bed partner's sleep, either or both of you may feel tired during the day.

You may be able to help reduce your snoring by making changes in your activities and in the way you sleep.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Lose weight, if needed. Many people who snore are overweight. Weight loss can help reduce the narrowing of the airway and might reduce or stop snoring.
  • Limit the use of alcohol and medicines. Drinking a lot of alcohol or taking certain medicines, especially sleeping pills or tranquilizers, before sleep may make snoring worse.
  • Go to bed at the same time each night, and get plenty of sleep. You may snore more when you have not had enough sleep.
  • Sleep on your side. Sleeping on your side may stop snoring. Try sewing a pocket in the middle of the back of your pyjama top, putting a tennis ball into the pocket, and stitching it closed. This will help keep you from sleeping on your back.
  • Treat breathing problems. For example, a blocked or stuffy nose caused by colds or allergies can disturb airflow. This can lead to snoring.
  • Use a device that helps keep your airway open during sleep. This could be a device that you put in your mouth. Other examples include strips or disks that you use on your nose.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking can make snoring worse. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
  • Raise the head of your bed 10 to 15 centimetres (4 to 6 inches) by putting bricks under the legs of the bed. This may prevent your tongue from falling toward the back of the throat, which can make a blocked or narrow airway worse. Putting pillows under your head will not help.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You snore, and you feel sleepy during the day.
  • Your sleeping partner or you notice that you gasp, choke, or stop breathing during sleep.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.