If you, or your partner, snore, the chances are good you have tried – or will try – almost anything to stop – or at least significantly reduce – the nighttime noise. At some point you may have certainly wondered will a humidifier help with snoring.
Humidifiers can help some snorers. Those whose snoring is caused by – or worsened by dry air.
There are a number of causes of snoring, but it has been shown in research studies that dry air aggregates the soft tissues at the back of the throat and in the nose, which may lead to snoring, or worsen a snoring problem. Additionally, sleeping in a bedroom full of very dry air has been shown to lead to increased mucus production in the throat, which again, can lead to or worsen snoring.
Will a Humidifier Help With Snoring?
Adding a humidifier to the bedroom may be helpful for snoring that is primarily triggered by any of the following:
- Air that is over conditioned
- Sinus problems – either short term or chronic
In addition, sleeping in a bedroom in which the air remains at an ideal humidity level is, many experts say, great for your skin (wrinkle prevention!) your hair and your nails, so you may not only be able to use one to snore less but also to look better when you wake up.
So, if you were wondering if it is good to sleep with a humidifier in general the answer is often yes, and provided you make use of it sensibly and safely it certainly will not do any harm.
What Type of Humidifier Is Best for Snoring?
There are three basic types of humidifier available for sale. The most complicated and expensive, a whole home humidifier, is usually only utilized in homes in very dry climates. When choosing a humidifier for snoring most people make a choice between the two other, far less expensive and complicated options: a cool mist humidifier or a warm mist humidifier.
The two options have distinct pros and cons and may be better in some circumstances than others. To help you make an initial decision between the two let’s take a look at the way they work and exactly what those pros and cons are.
Cool Mist Humidifier
A cool mist humidifier, as its name suggests, adds moisture to the air by spraying an exceptionally fine mist of cooled water into the air. This is achieved in one of two different ways.
An ultrasonic cool mist humidifier makes use of high frequency vibrations that launch tiny drops of water (too small for the naked eye to see) to moisturize the air until an ideal humidity level is reached – usually considered to be a relative humidity of 50-55%.
An evaporative cool mist humidifier is made up of a water reservoir, a wick, and a fan. Water is drawn up via the wick and then dispersed into the room by the fan.
Cool Mist Humidifier Pros
- Cool water can take the heat out of a hot room fast, so is great for warm climates.
- Cool mist humidifiers use less energy than other options and can even be run, in some cases, on batteries, making them portable for use when camping or staying in a hotel.
- No heat is required to make use of a cool mist humidifier, so it is safer to operate around kids and pets.
Cool Mist Humidifier Cons
- Are prone to mold and mildew unless cleaned very regularly
- Evaporative models can be noisy, thanks to the fan.
- Ultrasonic humidifiers often create a white dust that settles on nearby surfaces. The dust is completely harmless, but it can be an eyesore.
- Evaporative models will need to have their wick changed often
Warm Mist Humidifier
A warm mist humidifier requires more electricity to function, as it contains a heating element that warms the water in an attached reservoir before it shoots it into the air, in the form of steam.
Warm Mist Humidifier Pros
- Will warm the room slightly, making it an excellent choice for colder climates and winter use.
- Is usually quieter than many cool mist humidifiers as it does not make use of a fan.
- The heat generated inside prevents mold, mildew, and bacteria formation.
- Essential oils or medicated aromas can be added (things like Vicks)
Warm Mist Humidifier Cons
- Are often more expensive than cool mist humidifiers, both to buy and to run
- May not be safe around children or pests, as they pose a scald risk if knocked over.
- May make the air too warm in summer/warmer climates.
Thew fact is though, no matter which type of humidifier you choose it will balance the moisture levels in the air, which may help prevent, or lessen, the types of snoring we discussed earlier. Snoring that is caused by a respiratory condition such as COPD or sleep apnea may be lessened, but as these are serious medical conditions then other prescribed treatments should be followed as well.
What to Look for in a Good Humidifier
As you shop, keep the following in mind as you make a choice between the (many) different humidifier models on the market.
If you are easily disturbed by noises at night, then you will need to find a humidifier that operates as quietly as possible. Usually, humidifiers without fans are quieter than those that make use of them, but you can find some models that are specifically designed to operate at a much lower noise level.
If you live in an area that has a year-round climate that’s warm – Texas or Arizona for example – a warm mist humidifier may make the air in your bedroom too warm, and a cool mist humidifier may be the better choice.
Humidifiers come in varied sizes, and like air conditioners each of them has a designated capacity – as in the size of the space they can be effective in. When shopping for a humidifier for snoring, make sure the one you choose can handle the size of your bedroom.
Some warm mist humidifiers especially can use a lot of power, so look for an energy efficient model to save money. Choosing a model like this one that can run on a battery backup may be an even better choice if you are concerned about saving as much on your energy bills as you can.
Value for Money
There are some very inexpensive humidifiers available, but opting for one may be a false economy, as they often break down and stop working a lot sooner than a higher quality option, which means they offer a poor ROI.
If you will be using a humidifier around small children or pets ensure that it has the proper safety features, such as an anti-tip mechanism for a warm mist humidifier which contains an automatic shut-off which turns the humidifier off when water level is low.
What is the Best Method to Stop Snoring?
Some forms of snoring, as we mentioned, are related to serious medical conditions. That is why if you are not sure why you snore you should consult with your doctor before doing anything else.
If you head online, you will find all kinds of remedies and aids to stop snoring. No one method suits everyone, but there are some inexpensive things you can try including the following:
Get a Better Pillow
A pillow that better supports your head and neck, especially if you are a back sleeper, may help decrease your snoring. Memory foam is an excellent choice, or, if you want to ensure you stay cool, try a latex pillowinstead.
Keep Your Bedroom at a Constant Temperature
A room that is too hot or too cold can cause all kinds of respiratory problems, and thy can increase the amount you snore. Try to keep your bedroom at a constant temperature year-round. According to the experts at the Cleveland Sleep Clinic that is around 60-67F.
Try Breathing Strips
Those funny little breathing strips – the ones that look like Band-Aids for your nose – really do help many people decrease the amount they snore. As they are also very inexpensive you have little to lose by trying them if you have never done so before.
Try an Essential Oil
If you have chosen a warm mist humidifier some say that adding certain essential oils to it, meaning that it will be added to the air along with moisture, can be helpful in decreasing snoring.
Choosing the right essential oil may be the key to success. Limited research has found that eucalyptus oil reduces excess mucus production, so may be effective in reducing snoring, and clove oil has long been used to help loosen phlegm in the chest, which may help reduce snoring by making it much easier to breathe when you are asleep.