You can help prevent obstructive (OSA) and snoring if you:
- Avoid the use of alcohol and medicines, such as sleeping pills and , before bed. These can relax your throat muscles and slow your breathing.
- Eat sensibly, exercise, and stay at a weight that is as close as possible to a healthy body weight.
- Sleep on your side. Sleeping on your back can increase snoring. Try this: Sew a pocket in the middle of the back of your pajama top, put a tennis ball into the pocket, and stitch it shut. This will help keep you from sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your side may eliminate mild sleep apnea.5
- Quit smoking. The nicotine in tobacco relaxes the muscles that keep the airways open. If you don't smoke, those muscles are less likely to collapse at night and narrow the airways.
- Raise the head of your bed 4 in. (10 cm) to 6 in. (15 cm) by putting bricks under the legs of the bed. You can also use a special pillow (called a cervical pillow) when you sleep. A cervical pillow can help your head stay in a position that reduces sleep apnea. Using regular pillows to raise your head and upper body will not work.
- Promptly treat breathing problems, such as a stuffy nose caused by a cold or allergies. Breathing problems can increase the risk of snoring. Avoid taking , because they can make you drowsy and make apnea episodes worse. Instead, use decongestants, which decrease drainage.