Snoring is more common among smokers than among nonsmokers, so many people hope that their snoring problem will go away when they quit smoking. Although there’s a connection between snoring and smoking, quitting may not help you stop snoring entirely.
Fortunately, there are other effective treatments available. Making lifestyle changes, fixing your sleeping habits, or using a snoring mouthpiece may help.
Why Smoking Causes Snoring
Several studies have found a correlation between smoking and snoring. Heavy smokers are much more likely to snore than nonsmokers for a variety of reasons. Smoking irritates the mucus membranes in your airway, which causes the tissues that line your airway to swell up. Snoring occurs when the tissues in your mouth and throat collapse and vibrate against each other as you breathe. When these tissues are swollen, it’s much more likely that they’ll touch each other and vibrate.
Smoking can also contribute to snoring because it causes your body to produce extra mucus. Your airway is already fairly small, so anything that obstructs or narrows it at all can have a big impact on your breathing. Extra mucus in your throat can cause the air to move turbulently through your airway as you inhale, which creates the snoring sound.
The mucus and phlegm produced by your body in response to smoking can lead to nasal congestion as well. When your nose is congested, you’ll breathe through your mouth as you sleep. Mouth breathing is one of the most common causes of snoring because it causes the air to move directly past the tissues in the mouth that may vibrate against each other.
Why Quitting Might Not Help
If you’re a smoker and a snorer, the cigarettes probably contribute to your sleep-disordered breathing. Unfortunately, quitting smoking might not end the problem entirely. Ex-smokers are slightly less likely to snore than current smokers, but they’re still more likely to snore than people who have never smoked.
It can take a long time for the irritation and swelling in your airway to go away. If you quit smoking, you shouldn’t expect your snoring problem to disappear overnight.
Also, your snoring may be influenced by a number of other factors. If you’re overweight, the excess weight on your neck and throat may cause the tissues to collapse and obstruct your airway. Allergies can cause congestion and swelling in your airway. Some people are predisposed to snoring simply because of the structure of their mouth and throat.
Quitting smoking is very beneficial for your health, and it won’t make your snoring problem worse. You should still consider quitting, but you shouldn’t expect it to immediately solve your snoring problem.
You can try a wide variety of easy treatments and strategies to end your snoring problem. One of the simplest treatments is to make changes to your sleeping habits. If you usually sleep on your back, try sleeping on your side instead. When you lie on your back, it’s much easier for the tissues in your mouth and throat to collapse and block your airway. Sleeping on your side may be the only thing you need to do to stop snoring. If you roll over onto your back while you sleep, using a body pillow may help you stay on your side for the entire night.
You should also avoid drinking alcohol for a few hours before going to sleep. Alcohol can make the tissues in your throat relax excessively, which will cause them to block your airway and vibrate when you inhale. Getting enough sleep every night can prevent your mouth and throat from collapsing, too. When you’re overtired, the tissues and muscles will relax too much as soon as you fall asleep.
Allergies are a major cause of snoring for many people, so clearing all the allergens out of your bedroom may be very helpful.
Change your sheets and pillowcases, dust off the surfaces of all your furniture, and wipe down your ceiling fan blades.
If you still snore after quitting smoking and making these changes, a snoring mouthpiece may help. Snoring mouthpieces are designed to position your jaw in a way that prevents the tissues from collapsing. Mandibular advancement devices and tongue retaining devices are two of the most popular mouthpieces, and most people find that they’re comfortable and easy to adjust to.