Snoring is one of those frequently overlooked problems that doesn’t sound like much of one until you have to deal with it yourself. However, if you’ve never had any encounters with this issue, you can consider yourself quite lucky.
According to the American Association of Sleep Medicine, about 24% of adult women and about 40% of adult men in the U.S. Snore regularly.
Hence, the chances that you have had to deal with snoring yourself, with a partner or a previous partner, quickly adds up to significant odds.
Snoring can bring a considerable nuisance to all parties involved. The possible consequences of frequent snoring can range from sleep disruption, fatigue during wake time, disturbing your partner’s rest, to even breaking relationships apart.
In this article, we take a look at one of the most recommended home remedies for this sleep condition—using a humidifier during sleep, testing to see if it holds any merit.
Does a Humidifier Help with Snoring?
Snoring occurs as a result of the narrowing of a person’s airways. With constricted air canals, it becomes harder to breathe, and each breath vibrates the tissue and cartilage around the trachea, creating the noise we call snoring.
However, figuring out what causes this constriction is a significantly more complicated endeavor.
Snoring is to a sleep doctor what a fever is to a general physician. The condition may stem from a variety of causes or serve as an indication of a myriad of other developing health complications.
If you are dealing with chronic snoring, you should consider visiting a sleep specialist for a proper diagnosis to seek the root cause of the condition before opting for home remedies like humidify use.
In some cases, snoring may result from conditions like sleep apnea that can heighten the risk of other, more dangerous complications like mood disorders, heart disease, and diabetes.
So, does a humidifier help with snoring? The short answer is it depends on the cause of your case of snoring.
Potential Causes of Snoring (And Does Humidifier Helps?)
Here are some of the most common snoring triggers and how effective using a humidifier as a palliative measure can be in each case.
getting rid of snoring may be as simple as changing sleeping positions for some. A significant percentage of the population faces the highest risk of snoring when sleeping on their backs—especially with the head at the same level.
When you lie on your back, the soft palate and the base of your tongue rests on the back wall of your throat due to gravity, sometimes causing enough obstruction of airflow to trigger snoring episodes.
Another condition that can significantly increase the risk factor for snoring onset is excessive bodyweight. In overweight people, the buildup of fat tissues around the neck can substantially constrict the air channels and dramatically increase snoring occurrence.
It is no surprise that obesity also elevates the risk for other breathing-related sleeping disorders like obstructive sleep apnea.
Natural Deformities in and around the Respiratory Canal
Some naturally occurring malformations like an elongated palate or uvula, or irregularities in the nasal cavity like nasal polyps or a deviated septum can obstruct different parts of the airways and cause snoring.
Muscle Relaxants and Alcohol
Any drug or substance that affects muscle function by decreasing tension and relaxing the muscle fibers can cause or exacerbate snoring episodes. These substances can trigger relaxation of the throat muscles and consequent constriction of the airways.
Common offenders in this category include drugs like sleeping pills and antihistamines and excessive alcohol intake.
While antihistamines may help combat some nasal issues (that can cause snoring) like congestion and irritation, they can also cause blockages of their own as they are muscle relaxants.
One of the most common trigger conditions for snoring is any form of blockage of the nasal cavity.
Nasal blockages can stem from a wide range of factors, including cases of flu and infections, seasonal weather variations, excessive mucus formation (that can arise from lung diseases,) digestive conditions, or the body’s reaction to dairy consumption before bed.
Furthermore, nasal blockages can also create significant discomfort that can impede proper sleep and potentially cause snoring.
Allergies and Irritation
Another common cause of snoring and a frequent trigger of nasal blockages is the presence of allergens and irritants in the air passages.
For some folks, allergy season often coincides with an increase in the frequency of snoring onset. There are no surprises there.
When irritants and allergens enter your nasal passages, they can cause infection and swelling of structures in your nasal cavity and septum. These issues in the nose can often lead to reduced airflow, increase mouth breathing, and a higher risk of snoring occurrence.
In some snorers, the irritation of the nasal cavity may stem instead from lifestyle choices like habitual smoking.
Humidifiers can also help ease other indirectly related symptoms like a sore throat or a dry mouth.
More FAQs on Humidifier And Snoring
Which Type of Humidifier Should You Use?
Most humidifiers on the market today will get the job done—that is, increase moisture levels in the room air.
However, when it comes to combating irritation, congestion, and by extension, snoring that stem from these causes, the type of humidifier you purchase can make all the difference.
By their very nature, humidifiers are a potential breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Humidifiers have to hold water in storage, often for extended periods. And where you find water storage, there is always the potential for microbial growth.
When dealing with symptoms like congestion and irritation, the last thing you want around is disease-carrying microorganisms. With bacteria and mold spores in the air, snorers can suffer from a worsening of symptoms, or worse still, have to deal with a new set of health problems caused by the microbes.
An excellent way to reduce your risk of going through this ordeal is to opt for a warm mist humidifier.
Warm mist humidifiers feature a system that heats the water and releases water vapor into the atmosphere. Consequently, these machines do a better job of disinfecting the mist and reducing the risk of potential health complications.
On the other hand, a cool-mist humidifier is typically more susceptible to microbial growth as they store their water at room temperature.
However, irrespective of the humidifier model you pick, taking good care of the machine will significantly reduce your risk. Best practices for proper humidifier care include changing the filter regularly and cleaning the device as often as possible.
Our Recommendation: Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier
If you need a capable humidifier to ease congestion and irritation, you can go wrong with this warm mist humidifier from Vicks. The machine features a heating element that creates water vapor and a Vicks VapoPad input that ensures you get a stream of soothing mist every time.
Furthermore, the Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier sports a filter-free design that significantly reduces the hassle of maintenance.
Note: If Vicks is not the best choice for your bedroom size, you can also check other best sellers on Amazon.
When Will a Humidifier Work?
A humidifier will help to ease snoring episodes that stem from or are exacerbated by irritation, inflammation, or congestion of the nasal cavities. However, in most other forms of snoring, a humidifier will typically have little to no direct effect.
How Does a Humidifier Help with Snoring?
Humidifiers can help to make breathing easier by reducing inflammation along the airways. Consequently, by extension, a humidifier can often help ease congestion and reduce snoring.