Sixty percent of American adults snore. At first, snoring is more often a nuisance than a sign of serious illness, as a person’s quality of sleep, or that of a loved one, is disrupted. However, if restorative energy isn’t created during a full night’s rest, aging quickens its pace. With age, snoring may get worse. When the various causes of snoring are factored in, harmful effects and disease increase. Weight gain, smoking, weakened tissues and stress may lead to snoring and, with it, a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, and sleep apnea, a condition where breathing completely stops for a period during sleep.
Snoring is the telltale breathing sound made when the throat’s airway is blocked due to the sagging or collapse of the soft palette. Chinese medicine views these weakened tissues as a result of either deficient or stagnant digestive energy, which is worsened when there is a buildup of excessive mucus or fat. Smoking and other toxins directly cause swelling and weakness of this most exterior portion of the respiratory system. Today, stress is almost unavoidable and easily leads to tension in the head, neck, shoulders and jaw, which constricts the esophagus, the adjacent airway.
There are countless over-the-counter aids to manage snoring. Several invasive surgeries are available that tighten the airways to improve the flow of air, but surgery can cause scar tissue, which makes the already weakened airways that much less responsive. However, there are natural, long-term solutions: lose weight, stop smoking, mitigate stress and avoid toxins. To alleviate symptoms, here are some natural therapies you can access right away:
- Drink 5-6 tall glasses of room temperature water daily to keep the blood and lymph clean and moving, allowing proper drainage of mucus and fat.
- Avoid cold, raw or greasy foods, white sugars and flours, and dairy. All of these
- lead to mucus production.
- Drink a cup of ginger and peppermint tea before going to bed. This reduces inflammation and opens the sinuses.