Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, a serious disorder that multiplies your risk of high blood pressure and possibly type 2 diabetes. So if you snore badly—or your bedmate says you do—your first step should be to talk with a doctor, who might refer you to a sleep clinic to rule out that health problem and, if you have it, treat it. But many snorers don't have sleep apnea. What to do then?

A few simple steps might help you stop snoring:

  • Shed those extra pounds. Being overweight can cause flabby throat tissue.
  • Quit smoking. That's easier said than done, but tobacco smoke can irritate the membranes in the throat. 
  • Avoid drinking alcohol close to bedtime. It can make the muscles in your throat too relaxed.  
  • Ask your doctor whether you might benefit from occasional use of a steroid nasal spray.
  • Sleep on your side. That helps open up your airway.  

Try Exercises That Target Flabby Tissue in Your Mouth and Throat

Snoring is caused when soft tissue in your throat partially blocks the airway, and airflow causes the tissue to vibrate, producing the telltale noise.

Researchers in Brazil found that when volunteers performed mouth “strength training” moves for three months it reduced the frequency of snoring by 36 percent and the intensity of snores by 59 percent. In contrast, a group who wore nasal-dilator strips to sleep saw minimal improvements, as measured by sleep studies and reports by their bed partners.

The short exercise routine, performed three times a day, includes moves that the researchers say can be done after brushing your teeth or even while driving your car. Here are four exercises to try to help you stop snoring:

Exercise 1: Push the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth and slide the tongue backward. Repeat 20 times.

Exercise 2: Suck the tongue upward against the roof of the mouth and press the entire tongue against the roof of the mouth. Relax the tongue and repeat. Repeat 20 times.

Exercise 3: Force the back of the tongue against the floor of the mouth while keeping the tip of the tongue in contact with the bottom front teeth. Repeat 20 times.

Exercise 4: Elevate the soft palate (the back of the roof of the mouth) and the uvula (the fleshy protrusion that hangs from the soft palate) while making the vowel sound "A." Repeat 20 times.