Snore No More: Try These DIY Tips to Help Stop Snoring

Tranquil scene of a young woman dreaming and sleeping on a cloud up in the sky

Key Points

  • Snoring is normal, but a loud snore can signal obstructive sleep apnea, which is dangerous.

  • Home remedies that help stop snoring include mouth and throat exercises and lifestyle changes.

  • Medical treatment can help stop snoring, but that's a last resort.

Snoring: It's the subject of a lot of jokes, and it is funny… until you're trying to sleep through it. In fact, snoring isn't just a problem for the hearers — it sometimes signals more serious problems. According to a 2022 survey, approximately 35 percent of Americans snore. What can you do to help stop snoring?

There are many methods to try, up to and including surgery. However, most people can end or minimize snoring through much less drastic steps. Read on to learn more about what activities help stop snoring and what to avoid.

older couple sleeping

What Causes a Loud Snore?

"Do I snore, John?"

"Yeah, you're a window rattler, son."

"That's just your opinion. Do I snore, Paul?"

"With a trombone hooter like yours, it would be unnatural if you didn't."

That classic exchange from A Hard Day's Night — aside from showing the endless comedic potential of snoring — illustrates a common misconception that snoring comes from the nose. In fact, the culprit is the throat — specifically, the upper part of the throat called the pharynx.

When you sleep, all your muscles relax, including the pharynx muscles. This narrows the airway, making it vibrate as air passes through. Therefore, people with big noses (like the put-upon Ringo Starr) aren't any more likely to snore than anyone else. Instead, the key factor is the narrowness of the pharynx.

Some people are just born with narrow throats, but other factors contribute to snoring:

  • Obesity: More flesh on the neck squeezes the throat.

  • Alcohol: Its sedative properties increase throat relaxation.

  • Nasal congestion: A stuffed-up nose drives more air through the mouth.

  • Sleeping on the back: The force of gravity narrows the throat more in this position.

  • Getting older: As your muscle tone softens with age, snoring tends to increase.

couple sleeping

Is Snoring Dangerous?

For most people, snoring isn't dangerous — at least, not to the snorer. If your snoring is depriving your partner of sleep, that is an issue. Failing to go through proper sleep cycles at night is bad for their health in many ways.

Loud, persistent snoring potentially signals another health problem: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). With OSA, the throat doesn't just narrow but closes off completely — so that breathing stops cold. This sets off the body's alarm bells, and after a few seconds, the sleeper starts breathing again, but the stop-and-start breathing pattern prevents extended periods of deep sleep.

If you have OSA, you probably feel tired and short of sleep even if you clocked a full eight hours. Other symptoms include dry mouth and headaches in the morning. Low-quality sleep has the same negative health effects as sleep deprivation: fatigue, depression, lack of emotional control, and worsening of chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes.

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, talk to a doctor. The condition is too serious for home remedies. However, if your goal is just to stop snoring, there are do-it-yourself methods to try before going the medical route.

woman sleeping

Mouth and Throat Exercises To Help Stop Snoring

Even if you're a fitness buff, you probably never considered your mouth and throat a target muscle group. It's true, though: Loss of muscle tone in the pharynx worsens snoring, so exercising the throat muscles often reduces it. The technical name for this sort of exercise is myofunctional therapy, and if you consult a specialist for help with snoring or sleep apnea, they likely give you a set of exercises to do.

One of the good things about myofunctional therapy is that the exercises are very low-risk — much lower than something like running — so there's no downside to trying them at home. Here are a few commonly prescribed exercises for snoring and sleep apnea, which you can do twice or thrice daily for maximum benefit.

Tongue Slide

Put the tip of your tongue at the base of your front teeth as if you were saying "T." Slowly slide the tip backward along the roof of your mouth. Repeat five to 10 times.

Tongue Push-Up

Put the tip of your tongue in the same position as above. Open and close your mouth 10 times while holding the tongue in place.

Tongue Push-Down

Press the tip of your tongue against your lower front teeth and press your tongue as flat into your lower jaw as possible. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat five times.

Tongue Stretch

Open your mouth and stick your tongue out as far as you can (you may imagine your least favorite boss in front of you if you wish). Hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat five times.

Cheek Hook

Hook your cheek with your pointer finger through your mouth and pull your cheek away from your teeth. Use your cheek muscles to resist the finger pull. Repeat on the other cheek.

Lip Purse

Purse your lips as if to kiss someone and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

Nasal Breathing

Breathe in, close your mouth, and close one nostril with your finger. Breathe out slowly through the open nostril. Do this about 10 times while alternating nostrils. If you find that one nostril is more congested, work on breathing through that nostril. Before bed, this is a good exercise to open up your nasal passages.

Jaw Side-to-Side

Open your mouth wide and move your jaw from side to side. (Be careful — don't push till it hurts.) Keep moving your jaw with your mouth open to different degrees several times.

Blow Up a Balloon

No, really. Blowing up balloons trains you to breathe in through your nose and out your mouth, while most snorers habitually breathe through their mouths both ways. Blowing through party horns is another entertaining way to do this.

Say the Vowels

Saying A-E-I-O-U (skip the "sometimes Y") 10 or 20 times in a row exercises your mouth muscles. Try saying them at different speeds as you go, exaggerating the mouth movements.


Okay, this isn't a specific exercise, but there's evidence that singing strengthens all the muscles of your mouth and throat. One British study by M. P. Hilton et al. in the International Journal of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery found: "Improving the tone and strength of pharyngeal muscles with a 3 months programme of daily singing exercises reduces the severity, frequency and loudness of snoring, and improves symptoms of mild to moderate sleep apnoea."

If anyone complains about your singing, tell them it's better than listening to you snore.

couple sleeping

Other Ways To Stop Snoring Naturally

In addition to the mouth and throat exercises, there are also lifestyle changes that doctors recommend to reduce snoring. Like most lifestyle changes, they aren't easy (or as much fun as singing), but they usually yield long-term benefits.

Lose Weight

As noted earlier, excess weight around the neck weighs on the pharynx and increases the likelihood of snoring. This is one possible reason why snoring and sleep apnea are more common in men than in women: They have different distributions of neck fat. Either way, reduced snoring is yet another reason to seek help for obesity.

Cut Back Drinking

Alcohol aggravates snoring by relaxing throat muscles, so skipping the nightcap before bed reduces the risk of snoring. (How many martinis you have with lunch is up to your own discretion.) Other sedatives likely have similar effects, so consider alternatives if you're using sedative drugs to help you sleep.

Sleep on Your Side

Not all snorers are back sleepers, but if you are, try sleeping on one side or the other. Using pillows correctly often makes this more comfortable: You need a sufficiently thick pillow under your head to keep it separate from your shoulder, and a body pillow against your belly makes it easier to stay in the right position.

Raise the Head of Your Bed

If you just can't get comfortable sleeping in any position other than on your back, elevating your head a few inches reduces the pressure on your pharynx. A bed with an adjustable frame, or a wedge pillow added to a flat frame, helps achieve this without straining your neck.

Clear Out Your Nose

Sometimes, snoring results from chronic allergies that clog up the nose and inflame the whole nose-and-throat area. While there's no cure for such allergies, there are a few ways to reduce nasal congestion while sleeping.

  • Keep your bedroom clean to reduce dust and pollen.

  • Use a humidifier in your bedroom, especially if you're in a dry climate or are using forced-air heating.

  • Wash out your nose with a nasal spray before bedtime. Saltwater sprays are the gentlest, while corticosteroid sprays are good for allergies, and decongestant sprays help runny noses from both allergies and colds.

  • Apply adhesive nasal strips (available over the counter) that keep nostrils open.

man sleeping

Medical Treatments for Snoring

If none of those home remedies work, doctors have several different ways to stop snoring. The method they choose depends on your personal preferences and needs. However, insurance plans usually don't cover them unless you also have OSA or another breathing-related disease; snoring alone isn't considered a serious enough problem.

Treatments for Nasal Congestion

If you're struggling with allergies despite attempts at home treatment, a doctor might be able to provide stronger remedies. These include oral and injectable prescription drugs that control your body's allergic reaction.

Oral Appliances

You might not think to visit your dentist about snoring, but dentists can create custom-made devices that hold your lower jaw or your tongue forward at night so they don't fall back against your throat. However, sleep specialist Dr. Sogol Javaheri warned that the results vary: "They can be really uncomfortable and only work about half the time."

A lower-stakes way to try an oral appliance is to order a "boil-and-bite" device online. You boil them at home to soften them, then clench them in your teeth to create a custom fit. These are much cheaper than what you'd get from a dentist.

CPAP Machines

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are the most popular treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnea. You hook the mask up when you go to bed, and the machine feeds air through a tube into your nose and mouth at a sufficient pressure to keep your airway open.

CPAP machines usually end snoring, but they make some noise of their own, which might annoy your sleeping partner. However, it's a more muted, continuous sound than loud snoring, so some good sleeping music could cover it up.


Sometimes, snoring and OSA aren't because of anything you're doing wrong but just the natural shape of your throat. In that case, surgery can permanently fix the problem. Some surgeries move the jaw forward like dental appliances, while others reshape the throat's soft tissue. However, the risks of this approach are considerable, and doctors usually resort to them only in severe OSA cases that resist other treatments.

white man sleeping with mouth open

Snore No More

If you or someone you sleep with has a snoring problem, you don't have to just put up with it. You can try many options at home that don't involve drugs, devices, or throttling someone in their sleep. As a bonus, the lifestyle changes that reduce snoring also make you healthier in other ways — so don't hesitate!

To learn more about snoring and other sleep issues, follow Snooze.

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