Harvard Health Letter

Ask the doctor: Which position will keep me from snoring at night?

Q. Can my sleep position keep me from snoring? If so, how can I stay in the right position overnight?

A. Snoring has to do with how your upper respiratory tract is built and whether you have medical conditions that make it prone to narrowing—which may be more likely to occur in certain sleep positions. If anything narrows your throat, mouth, or nose, it's harder to breathe. Blood oxygen levels start dropping, and blood levels of waste material—carbon dioxide—start rising. That's not good. It strains the heart and many other organs.

Some people are born with narrow air passages in the throat, nose, and mouth. Some people have conditions, like nasal allergies, that block air passages. If you have one or both of these problems, obstruction of your airways—and snoring—is more likely if you sleep on your back. Try sleeping on your side. You can buy foam wedges that can help keep you propped on your side while you're asleep.?

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