Sleeping with your head raised may take some of the pressure off of the airway, making breathing easier. Raise the head of the bed by putting blocks under the bed posts, or prop up your upper body (not just your head, which can actually inhibit breathing) with pillows.
Excessive snoring may also indicate that you have sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder. The National Sleep Foundation (www.sleepfoundation.org) recommends that you see your doctor if:
- You wake up during the night choking and gasping for breath
- You have been told that your snoring is disturbing to others
- You don't feel refreshed when you wake up
- You are extremely tired during the day
- You wake with a headache
- You are gaining weight
- You have trouble concentrating, remembering, or paying attention
- Your bed partner notices that your breathing pauses during sleep
It's important to have sleep apnea treated, not only because it interferes with your daily functioning, but because it boosts your risk of vascular disease. Sleep apnea can be treated with lifestyle modification, surgery, oral mouth guards, or a CPAP machine, which blows air into the back of your throat while you sleep. For more information see Sleep Apnea In-Depth.