Treatment of snoring

From mouthwashes, nasal sprays and irrigation kits, to nasal strips and nostril dilators – to name a few – there are hundreds of products that claim to reduce and/or treat snoring.

Most snorers, or their bed partners, will have purchased many of these remedies, which are readily available from pharmacies and online shops.

Some give temporary relief and can be useful. In most cases, however, simple lifestyle changes go a long way to bringing snoring under control.

The following simple methods should be tried before resorting to more complicated treatment options such as surgery. (A snorer suffering with daytime fatigue should seek medical or dental help immediately.)

  1. Avoid drinking alcohol at least 3-4 hours before bedtime.
  2. Avoid sedatives, especially at bedtimes.
  3. Limit – or better still, quit – smoking.
  4. If you have allergies, try to remove causes and triggers from your bedroom – such as pets – and regularly change your pillows, which may be harbouring dust mites and mould spores.
  5. Sleep on your side – there are several products available to help you stay in this position comfortably. 
  6. If you are overweight, losing weight as part of a controlled diet will help.
  7. Take regular exercise. 
  8. If you regularly wake up with a dry mouth or sore throat, use a humidifier to help moisten your bedroom air.
  9. Have an oral device professionally fitted. While they are available to buy over the counter, it is not recommended that such a device is self-fitted.  
  10. Seek advice from your local dentist, who is trained in the management of snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). After eliminating any other underlying cause of your snoring – such as OSA – your dentist will provide you with a custom-made oral appliance, or refer you for any further treatment you may need with a physician or ENT specialist. 

In cases where snoring is part of moderate to severe OSA, accompanied with daytime symptoms or medical conditions such as hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, the treatment of choice is the provision of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

If the obstruction is in the nasal passages – or the result of a very large uvula or a floppy palate – surgery, such as a UPPP or laser-assisted uvuloplasty (LAUP), may be suggested by an ENT specialist.

Skeletal causes of airway constriction – for example, as a result of a significantly recessed (retrognathic) or protruding (hypoplastic maxilla) lower jaw – may also require surgery to volumetrically open the airway.