What are conventional medical treatments for snoring?
There are a number of treatments for snoring. But one approach will work for one person and not for another.
In order to clear the blockage in the breathing passage, snorers that are overweight are advised to lose weight to stop fat pressing on the throat. Snorers that smoke are advised to quit as smoking weakens the throat and helps to block the passageway. Snorers that sleep on their back are advised to trying sleeping on their side to stop the tongue blocking the throat. Exercising more can also help increase muscle tone. Decreasing consumption of alcohol and sedatives can also be helpful. Sometimes changing the shape of your pillows can help.
If nasal congestion or allergies are the cause of snoring, treatments for these conditions can help. See our pages on Essential Oils For Allergies & Hayfever for more information. Nasal sprays and antisnoring strips haven't been found to be very effective.
Dental appliances, especially if custom-made by a dentist, have been found to quite effective for 50-80% of snorers. They work by holding the tongue and jaw in a position which keeps the airway open. They can also help Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) in 40%–50% of cases.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) has been found effective for sleep apnea. With this device a mask is worn over the nose and face during sleep. A pump is attached which pushes air into the nasal passages, keeping it open. But some people find it uncomfortable or embarrassing to wear.
There are also surgical procedures, but even these are not always effective. And as with all surgery, there are risks involved.
What are alternative treatments for snoring?
One research study(1) published in the British Medical Journal showed that playing the didgeridoo was effective in the treatment of sleep apnea.
There has also been speculation that taking up singing may help as few singers appear to suffer from sleep apnea, perhaps because it tones the throat muscles.
Some people find that using a humidifier or steam vaporizer in their bedroom helps. Others find doing a steam inhalation just before going to bed useful.
Of course, essential oils traditionally have also been used for snoring. For more information, see the Useful Essential Oils tab.