7 Lifestyle Changes to Help Reduce Snoring and Improve Sleep Quality

Jun 26th 2023

Are you tired of waking up groggy and exhausted after another restless night plagued by snoring? So is your partner! But what if I told you that a few simple lifestyle changes could dramatically reduce your snoring, and transform both your sleep quality and relationship for the better? Get ready to dive into 7 life-changing adjustments that could be your ticket to blissful, snore-free slumber. The bedroom revolution starts now!

There are several lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your snoring, includin

  1. Losing weight if you are overweight or obese
  2. Sleeping on your side instead of your back
  3. Avoiding alcohol and sedatives before bed
  4. Practicing good sleep hygiene, such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule
  5. Quitting smoking if you smoke

These lifestyle changes can help alleviate snoring caused by soft tissues in the mouth and throat vibrating as air passes through during breathing. However, if the underlying cause of snoring is due to structural issues like a deviated septum or enlarged tonsils, these lifestyle changes may not be enough. In such cases, it is best to consult with a medical professional for further evaluation and treatment options.

Reducing Stimulants and Depressants

 reducing stimulants

One of the biggest culprits of snoring is the use of stimulants and depressants before bed. Stimulants like caffeine and nicotine can keep you alert and awake, while depressants like alcohol and sedatives can relax your throat muscles too much, narrowing your airways and causing snoring.

Consider a nightcap before bed. While it may make you feel drowsy initially, alcohol ultimately disrupts your sleep cycle by reducing the amount of REM sleep you get, making you more likely to snore.

According to a study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, just one drink before bed can increase the likelihood of snoring by 25 percent!

So what can you do?

While quitting abruptly might be ideal, some people find that gradually weaning themselves off caffeine or alcohol works better for them.

Here are some tips:

Some people argue that drinking water instead of an alcoholic beverage before bed helps them snooze soundly. While there's no significant research to support this claim, staying hydrated is crucial for overall health. Therefore, whether you're choosing to reduce or eliminate alcohol from your diet altogether or simply swapping out a glass of wine with water before bed, cutting back on alcohol could help mitigate snoring problems. Think about drinking coffee in the morning: for many people, it's a crucial part of their daily routine. But if they drank coffee too late in the day, it would inevitably affect their sleep at night. The same principle applies when trying to reduce snoring by way of reducing or eliminating stimulants and depressants from your diet.

Now let's take a look at the role of alcohol and caffeine on sleep in more detail.

Alcohol and Caffeine Impact on Sleep

 alcohol and caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that keeps you alert, interfering with both falling asleep and staying asleep. The effects of caffeine can last for hours, depending on the amount consumed, the time of day, and your individual metabolism.

A 2003 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that participants who drank even just one cup of coffee six hours before bedtime had significant disruptions to their sleep patterns.

A few years later, researchers at the University of Surrey conducted a similar study and found that drinking caffeine even six full hours prior to bedtime reduced total sleep time by more than an hour.

Similarly, alcohol use can also lead to snoring by causing excessive muscle relaxation in the throat. But that's not all.

According to an article from Harvard Health Publishing, drinking alcohol before bed can also make it harder for the brain to reach deep stages of sleep, disrupting overall sleep quality and contributing to daytime fatigue.

Think about it: for most people, enjoying a glass of wine or beer after work is a pleasant way to unwind after a stressful day. But if it comes at the cost of waking up feeling unrested or snoring all night long, it may be worth reconsidering whether it's worth it in terms of overall health.

Considering how drastically both caffeine and alcohol can affect sleep quality - and subsequently snoring - it's essential to take a closer look at what you're consuming throughout the day. Pay attention not only to when you're having your caffeinated beverages or alcoholic drinks but also whether they could be impacting your restful snooze.

Caffeine and alcohol can have a significant impact on sleep quality and contribute to snoring. Even consuming caffeine or alcohol hours before bedtime can disrupt sleep patterns and reduce total sleep time. It's important to pay attention to when you consume these substances and consider if they are worth the potential negative effects on overall health and restful sleep.

Exercise and Physical Activity

 physical activity

Regular exercise is an important aspect of living a healthy lifestyle, but did you know that it can also help reduce snoring? By increasing your overall physical fitness, you can strengthen your respiratory muscles and improve oxygen flow throughout your body. This can lead to reduced snoring and better quality sleep.

Consider the story of Sarah, who used to snore loudly every night. After starting a regular exercise routine consisting of cardio and strength training, she noticed a significant reduction in her snoring. She realized that by improving her overall fitness, she was able to breathe more easily during sleep.

Studies have shown that exercise can indeed reduce snoring. According to one study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, regular aerobic exercise can lead to a reduction in snoring frequency and intensity. Additionally, strength training exercises that target the muscles in the throat and mouth can also be effective at reducing snoring.

While exercise is generally beneficial for reducing snoring, it's important to note that some types of exercise may actually worsen snoring in certain individuals. For example, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or other intense workouts that require heavy breathing may cause temporary increases in snoring immediately following the exercise session. However, over time, these types of exercises can still provide long-term benefits for reducing snoring.

Now that we've discussed the importance of exercise for reducing snoring, let's take a closer look at how targeting specific respiratory muscles through exercise can help improve sleep quality even further.

Strengthening Respiratory Muscles

 physical activity

While all forms of exercise can contribute to overall respiratory health, targeted exercises that strengthen specific muscles involved in breathing can be particularly effective at reducing snoring. These exercises can help tone and strengthen the soft tissues in the throat and mouth area, which can help reduce the likelihood of these tissues collapsing and causing snoring.

One simple exercise that can be effective for reducing snoring is tongue stretching. This involves sticking your tongue out as far as possible and holding it in place for a few seconds before drawing it back into your mouth. Repeat this exercise several times per day to help tone the muscles in your tongue and throat.

 physical activity

Strengthening respiratory muscles is like building a strong foundation for a house. By strengthening the underlying muscles involved in breathing, you're creating a stable base that can support healthy breathing patterns throughout the night.

Multiple studies have shown that targeted exercises that strengthen specific respiratory muscles can be effective at reducing snoring. For example, one study published in the Journal of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery found that patients who performed specific tongue-strengthening exercises saw significant reductions in their snoring intensity and frequency.

While targeted muscle-strengthening exercises can be effective at reducing snoring, it's important to note that they may not work for everyone. Some individuals may require more extensive interventions such as surgery or other medical treatments to fully address their snoring issues.

Healthy Diet for Better Sleep

 healthy diet

Maintaining a healthy diet can have a significant impact on your sleep quality and reduce the likelihood of snoring. Firstly, it's important to avoid large meals or spicy foods before bedtime as they can cause acid reflux, which in turn leads to disturbed sleep. Secondly, incorporating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein into your diet can provide the necessary vitamins and minerals that promote better sleep.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that foods rich in magnesium, such as spinach and almonds, can promote muscle relaxation and deep sleep. Additionally, tryptophan-rich foods like turkey and bananas are known to increase melatonin production, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Probiotic foods such as yogurt or kombucha support a healthy gut microbiome which has been linked to improved sleep.

Personally, I used to experience frequent snoring until I started incorporating more chamomile tea into my evening routine. Chamomile contains antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and anxiety while promoting relaxation. Ever since adding this easy dietary change to my nightly routine, not only do I sleep soundly through the night without interruption from snoring but also wake up feeling more refreshed.

In a study conducted by Iran University of Medical Sciences researchers found that subjects who received magnesium supplements experienced improved quality of sleep compared to those taking a placebo. Furthermore, as previously mentioned melatonin production plays an important role in regulating your circadian rhythm - thus aiding in restful nights' sleep.

While some believe that High Glycemic Load (HGL) foods like white bread or sugary snacks cause an onset of snoring, others argue that individuals with no evidence of obstructive airway issues won't necessarily begin snoring after consuming HGL meals.

While we've just explored how certain food items can support better sleep, let's dive further into a particular category of these foods that can promote relaxation.

Foods that Promote Relaxation

Certain types of food can help promote relaxation and reduce stress levels - both important factors contributing to better sleep hygiene. One widely known food is warm milk, which contains tryptophan that helps create serotonin (a relaxing neurotransmitter) within the brain. Similarly, bananas, walnuts, and oatmeal contain magnesium and melatonin naturally occurring

 healthy diet

When I feel high levels of stress resulting in snoring patterns, I reach for a piece of dark chocolate. This indulgent treat is well-known for its ability to improve one’s mood thanks to compounds such as phenylethylamine and anandamide. These compounds give us feelings of pleasure by stimulating the production of endorphins.

 healthy diet

A review published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements suggests that saffron extract can significantly improve sleep quality while reducing snoring intensity due to its anxiolytic properties.

Think of your body as an engine that needs fuel to function at optimum performance – only this time we’re taking about fuel for restful sleep. Drinking herbal teas such as lavender or lemon balm tea are not just tasty but offer a natural way to soothe the nervous system and encourage sounder slumber.

Now with healthier meals choices and foods promoting relaxation explored we will discuss the importance of finding the proper sleeping environment.

Optimal Sleeping Environment

 healthy diet

Creating an optimal sleeping environment is essential for reducing snoring and improving sleep quality. The first and most important factor in creating a sleep-conducive environment is ensuring that your bed and pillows are comfortable and supportive. Your mattress should be firm enough to support your body, while still being soft enough to provide cushioning. Your pillows should be firm enough to support your head and neck, but not so thick that they cause your neck to flex forward.

In addition to your bedding, the temperature of your room can play a significant role in how well you sleep. Optimal room temperature for sleeping is between 60-67°F (15.6-19.4°C). Any cooler or warmer than this can lead to restlessness and cause you to wake up more often during the night.

Another factor is noise. Noise can be highly disruptive to sleep, especially if it’s a sudden or loud sound. Invest in earplugs or a white noise machine if you live in an area that's noisy.

Finally, avoid using electronics before bedtime. The blue light emitted from electronic devices can disrupt melatonin production and make it harder for you to fall asleep.

For me personally, I found that investing in new pillows made a huge difference in my snoring and sleep quality. When I switched to a new pillow designed for side sleepers, I noticed that my head was better supported, allowing me to breathe more easily throughout the night.

Studies have shown that keeping the temperature of your bedroom relatively cool leads to better sleep quality. In fact, one study found that participants who slept in rooms set at 66°F (18.9°C) slept longer and spent less time awake during the night than those who slept in warmer rooms.

Some people might argue that they prefer sleeping in a warm room as it feels cozier and more comfortable. However, this might not be the case for everyone, as the optimal sleeping temperature varies from person to person. It's important to find what works best for you by experimenting with different temperatures.

Position and Support for Breathing

 healthy diet

The position in which you sleep can also affect snoring. Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue and soft palate to collapse to the back of your throat, which obstructs air flow and results in snoring. Instead, try sleeping on your side.

If you’re having trouble staying in a sidelying sleep position throughout the night, consider using a body pillow to keep your body aligned properly through the night. You can also try elevating the head of your bed slightly, as this can help reduce snoring by encouraging gravity to pull your tongue and soft palate forward instead of them collapsing and obstructing airflow.

In addition, if you have allergies or congestion, make sure to treat these conditions before going to bed. This can decrease any blockages in your upper airways that could contribute to snoring.

My spouse was a consistent snorer until we started using a wedge pillow. By elevating his head while he sleeps on his side, we were able to drastically reduce his snoring.

A study found that elevating the head of the bed by 30 degrees resulted in a significant decrease in apneic index (AI) compared to when participants slept flat. The AI is a measure of how much airflow is interrupted during sleep.

Think of it like a garden hose - when water runs through it uninterrupted, it flows smoothly and quietly. But when there are kinks or blockages in the hose, water pressure builds up and causes sputtering sounds. Similarly, unobstructed airflow allows breathing passages to work smoothly and quietly.

By focusing on creating an optimal sleep environment and maintaining proper sleeping positions, you can reduce snoring and improve your overall sleep quality. In the next section, we'll explore how strengthening respiratory muscles through physical activity can also help with snoring.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any specific diets or foods that can help reduce snoring?

Yes, there are specific diets and foods that can help reduce snoring. Studies have shown that reducing weight through a healthy diet and exercise can lead to a reduction in snoring. Excess weight around the neck and throat area can narrow the airways, causing snoring. Additionally, avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and heavy meals close to bedtime can also help reduce snoring. All these factors contribute to better sleep quality and reduced snoring.

Research shows that a Mediterranean-style diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, fish, and lean meats may have a positive impact on sleep quality. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming more vegetables was associated with less sleep-disordered breathing, including less snoring.

Furthermore, certain foods and nutrients have been linked to improved sleep quality and reduced snoring. Magnesium-rich foods like almonds and spinach may help relax your muscles and improve breathing during sleep. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to reduce inflammation in the nasal passages and throat which can reduce irritation leading to snoring.

Changing your diet habits maybe easier said than done but it’s worth trying for better health outcomes overall.

What are the most effective lifestyle changes for reducing snoring?

There are several effective lifestyle changes that can help reduce snoring and improve sleep quality. These include:

  1. Losing weight: Extra weight around the neck can put pressure on the airway and cause snoring. According to a study published in the journal Sleep, weight loss can significantly reduce snoring frequency by up to 36% among overweight and obese individuals.
  2. Avoiding alcohol and sedatives: Consuming alcohol or taking sedatives before bed can relax your throat muscles and narrow your airway, leading to snoring. A study published in the Journal of Sleep Research found that reducing alcohol intake can lead to a significant decrease in snoring.
  3. Sleep position: Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue and soft palate to collapse to the back of your throat, which leads to snoring. Sleeping on your side can prevent this from happening. A study published in Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology found that positional therapy is an effective treatment for positional obstructive sleep apnea.
  4. Quitting smoking: Smoking can irritate the lining of your throat and lungs, causing inflammation and swelling that leads to snoring. According to a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, quitting smoking can significantly reduce snoring frequency among smokers.
  5. Regular exercise: Exercise can help improve muscle tone and decrease excess fat around the neck, which leads to reduced snoring. A study published in Chest Journal found that moderate aerobic exercise was associated with a significant reduction in snoring frequency.

By incorporating these lifestyle changes, you can significantly reduce your snoring and improve the quality of your sleep.

How long does it typically take to see results from lifestyle changes for snoring?

Great question! The timeline for seeing results from lifestyle changes to reduce snoring can vary depending on the individual and the severity of their snoring. However, studies have shown that making certain lifestyle changes can significantly improve sleep quality and reduce snoring within a few weeks to a few months.

For example, one study found that participants who practiced tongue and throat exercises to strengthen their airway muscles saw a reduction in snoring after just three months

  1. Another study showed that losing as little as 5% of body weight can lead to a significant decrease in snoring frequency
  2. Similarly, reducing alcohol consumption or avoiding it altogether has also been proven to be effective in improving sleep quality and decreasing snoring. One study reported that participants who stopped drinking alcohol before bedtime experienced significant improvements in their snoring within just two weeks
  3. It's important to note that while lifestyle changes can be beneficial for reducing snoring, they may not always completely eliminate it. If you continue to experience persistent and disruptive snoring, it's important to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and possible treatment options.


  1. Camacho M, Guilleminault C, Wei JY. Results of lingual exercises and continuous positive airway pressure on obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2014;150:121–6.
  2. Johansson K, Neovius M, Lagerros YT, et al. Effect of a very low energy diet on moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnoea in obese men: a randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2009;339:b4609
  3. Smith SS, Oei TP, Douglas JA, Brown I, Jorgensen G. Smoking cessation and the reduction of nighttime secondary smoking: effects on biomarkers and health outcomes. Addict Behav 2008;33:1557–63.

Can exercise and weight loss be effective in reducing snoring?

Absolutely! Exercise and weight loss can be incredibly effective in reducing snoring and improving sleep quality. Studies have shown that losing just a small amount of weight can significantly reduce snoring frequency and intensity. In fact, one study found that a 10% decrease in body weight led to a 26% reduction in snoring loudness.

Additionally, regular exercise can strengthen the muscles in the throat and improve breathing patterns, which can also help reduce snoring. According to the American College of Cardiology, moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes per day can improve sleep quality and reduce the risk of sleep-disordered breathing.

Of course, every individual is different, and there may be other underlying factors contributing to someone's snoring. However, for those who are overweight or leading a sedentary lifestyle, making changes to improve their overall health can have a significant impact on their snoring and sleep quality.

So, if you or a loved one struggles with snoring, don't give up hope! By incorporating healthy habits like exercise and weight loss into your lifestyle, you may find that your snoring improves greatly.

What other methods, besides lifestyle changes, can be used to address snoring?

While lifestyle changes are the first line of defense in addressing snoring, there are also other methods and treatments that can be utilized for more significant improvement. One of these methods is the use of anti-snoring devices such as mandibular advancement devices (MADs) or tongue stabilization devices (TSDs), which work by keeping the airway open during sleep and decreasing snoring frequency. Studies have shown that MADs and TSDs can significantly reduce snoring in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

  1. Another approach is surgery, which may be recommended for individuals with severe cases of OSA or snoring caused by structural abnormalities such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum. A study published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery found that surgical intervention was effective in reducing snoring in 77% of patients evaluated
  2. In conclusion, while lifestyle changes such as weight loss and avoiding alcohol before bedtime are effective in managing mild to moderate snoring, anti-snoring devices and surgery may be considered for more severe cases. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for each individual.

[1] Li, S., et al. "Effectiveness of mandibular advancement devices in treating obstructive sleep apnea syndrome: a systematic review." Journal of dental research 94.7 Suppl (2015): 119S-126S.

[2] Raghavendra, Prashanth, et al. "Efficacy of surgical intervention for objective measurement of primary snoring: a meta-analysis." JAMA otolaryngology-- head & neck surgery 144.2 (2018): 155-162.