Scientists found a surprising reason we’re tired in winter: seasonal snoring! Dry air causes folks to ‘saw’ overnight, disrupting sleep. And 40 percent don’t even realize they’re snoring. Here’s how to stop snoring at night and wake up refreshed.
Fluff your pillow.
One hidden cause of snoring: a sensitivity to dust mites. “Bedding is a prime habitat for mites,” says Yelena Kopyltsova, MD, of ENT and Allergy Associates in New York. The problem ramps up in winter, when we spend nearly an extra hour in bed. The fix: tossing your pillow in the dryer for 15 minutes on high heat once a month, which kills 100 percent of mites. Tip: Put one drop of peppermint, lavender, and thyme essential oils on a clean tennis ball and toss in the dryer to fluff. A UK study found those scents ease snoring.
Cluck your tongue.
Open your mouth and place your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Now, tighten your tongue and throat muscles (as if swallowing) until your tongue suctions across the top of your mouth. Hold for 5 seconds, then pull your tongue away with a click. This lessens your odds of snoring by 59 percent, Brazilian scientists say. “The connective tissue lining our airway becomes less firm as we age,” says Lisa Billars, MD, Chief of Neurology and Sleep Medicine at Kaiser Permanente in Georgia. “When this loose tissue vibrates as we breathe, it causes snoring.” But tongue-clucking tightens lax tissue, dramatically reducing the vibration.
Use your nose.
Half of us breathe through our mouths at night, and it’s a top cause of snoring, a study in Neuroreport found. When we lie down, gravity pulls blood into the sinuses, which shrinks nasal passages and triggers mouth breathing. The fix: Rest your lips lightly together and take slow, deep breaths through your nose until you nod off. This initiates a relaxation response that opens sinuses wide which will stop snoring.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.