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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Do sleep positions help with snoring?

    If I sleep in a certain position like on my back will it make my snoring worse? I've read an article recently that suggests you should sleep on your side- is this true? I am a back sleeper so wondering if this is a contributing factor?
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    The Sleep Health Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of ‘valuing sleep’ as part of a healthy lifestyle alongside regular exercise, a … View Profile

    Almost everybody who snores will snore worse if they are on their back. Some people only snore on their back, but do not snore in other body positions.
     
    Therefore the primary rule for snorers is to avoid sleeping on your back. People who managed to sleep on their side usually snore less.
     
    In addition, slightly elevating the head to reduce nasal congestion usually helps with snoring as well.
     
    Sleeping curled up or in the foetal position versus spreadout doesn't matter a great deal as long as the back is avoided. For more information click here.

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    Dr Peter Solin

    Respiratory & Sleep Medicine Physician

    Dr Peter Solin is a highly trained authority in sleep disorders medicine and respiratory medicine, having graduated from Melbourne University in 1987 and undertaken specialist … View Profile

    For most people, sleeping on the back worsens snoring, and in some people, snoring is absent when you are on your side but present when you are on your back.
     
    When you are on your back, there is a subtle backward movement of the lower jaw and tongue which narrows the airway and sets up vibrations/snoring.  Therefore, it is generally true that sleeping on your side is preferable to sleeping on your back.  Of course not all people can manage to avoid sleeping on the back, and some love sleeping on their back.
     
    There are some practical steps and commercially available gadgets which help you to keep on your side.
     
    Incidentally, if someone is unconscious, the basic first aid manoeuver is to lift the jaw forward and if possible keep them on the side: a basic anti-snoring and anti-obstruction technique!

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