Constantly being poked and prodded by your partner all night for snoring? Their sleep quality may not be the only one in jeopardy. Snoring may indicate poor breathing, which can cause you to wake up multiple times throughout the night (even if the noise itself doesn’t).
Nasal strips, mouth guards, and other products can relieve snoring for many sleepers, but there’s another option—and it’s free.
It all comes down to your go-to sleep position. If you snore (and it’s not sleep apnea), your optimal sleep position is on your side. Why? It’s all about breathing.
A study in 2014 found that patients who slept in supine position—that is, flat on their back—had the highest rate of snoring. In fact, the researchers went a step further, noting that the study gives evidence to the theory that most snorers without sleep apnea are “supine dependent,” meaning they prefer to sleep on their backs.
When you sleep on your back, your tongue may slip toward the back of your throat and obstruct your airway, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Cue the chainsaw noise.
Instead, experts recommend sleeping on your side, which helps prevents any blockage in your breathing. Of course, changing your sleep position after decades of habit ain’t easy. Try propping a pillow behind your back so you’re less likely to roll back into supine position. (Or, if you’re lucky, ask your partner if you can be “little spoon,” and use their body to keep you on your side. You’re welcome!)
Of course, if you’re still snoring, you may want to speak with a doctor about other treatment options, especially if you’re showing other symptoms of the serious condition sleep apnea. (Learn the signs of sleep apnea here.)
Psst—sleeping on your back isn’t always a bad thing. Here are the pros and cons of all the sleep positions.