You’ve probably been told that ‘mouth breathing’ is a leading cause of snoring. And it’s true! So why are you still snoring, even though you’ve managed to start sleeping with your mouth closed at night?
If you’re a bit mystified, don’t worry. You’re not alone. A lot of people with an understanding of snoring problems see this problem as puzzling.
So let’s dive in and talk about it.
Why Are You Snoring With Mouth Closed? Understanding the Basics
Snoring is no joking matter.
In fact, it can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea… a dangerous sleeping disorder that can increase your risk for many different types of diseases and conditions (we will talk about this a bit further down in the article).
But here’s the tricky thing.
Not all snoring is actually ‘dangerous.’ Some of it is more benign… and while it might be annoying, it isn’t necessarily the end of the world.
Most of the literature out there tells us that there are 4 specific types of snoring.
- Nasal Snoring
- Mouth Snoring
- Tongue Snoring
- Throat Snoring
Each one of these snoring types come with their own symptoms and dangers. But only one of them is common among sleepers whose mouths are regularly closed while sleeping.
It is possible to tongue or throat snore if your mouth is closed, but it’s really unlikely.
This means that you are almost certainly experiencing nasal breathing if you’re snoring while your mouth is indeed closed.
How Do You Know if You Snore Through Your Mouth or Nose?
The best way to determine if you are snoring through your mouth or your nose is to use some kind of anti-snoring aid designed to keep your mouth closed during sleep.
If you use it and you still snore, then you know that you’re snoring through your nose and that your mouth is staying closed while you sleep.
What Types of Products Can Help You to Determine This?
An anti-snoring chin strap could be an excellent place to start.
But they also sell ‘snoring tape’ and ‘mouth strips’ that you can use to essentially ‘tape’ your mouth closed while you sleep.
These are a bit less invasive and do a pretty good job.
Note: If your nose is already congested, this test may not be a good idea. It can sometimes make it harder to breathe. For best results, resolve nasal congestion first, before using an anti-snoring device designed to keep your mouth closed.
An alternative method for determining what type of snoring you’re experiencing: Get your significant other or a family member to watch you for a while as you sleep. Ask them after the fact if your mouth was closed or open while you snored.
You can even have them record it on their phone so that you can analyze it later.
This can give you valuable insight into not just whether your mouth is open or closed, but can also give you valuable insight into how severe your snoring is, and what type of snoring you’re experiencing.
How Do I Know What Type of Snorer I Am?
If you can confirm that your mouth is usually closed while sleeping, and that you’re essentially snoring with mouth closed, then you can be pretty sure that you’re a nasal snorer.
Nasal snorers will tend to make whistling and grunting sounds. These sounds generally aren’t as loud as the noises caused by throat, tongue, or mouth snoring, because they have more to do with vibrations in the nasal passages than upper-airway vibration.
A lot of people attribute symptoms like dry mouth, bad breath, and/or a headache to nasal snoring.
But here’s the thing. These symptoms are also fairly common with mouth snoring which makes it difficult to diagnose nasal snoring based just on the symptoms.
What Causes Snoring Through Your Nose?
The most common causes of nasal snoring include:
- Blocked nostrils, as caused by conditions like a deviated septum
- An obstruction in the nose, which isn’t letting air pass-through as normal
- Allergies that cause inflammation or congestion
- A cold
- Certain types of medication
If your nasal passages are clear, and if you can breathe easily through them while you’re awake, the odds of you snoring through your nose at night become lower.
Whereas, if you tend to have trouble breathing through your nose during the day, the problem is likely to be exacerbated during the evening while you’re trying to sleep.
Do Blocked Sinuses Cause Snoring?
Yes, blocked sinuses (sinusitis) can absolutely lead to snoring. But contrary to what you may believe, they don’t always lead to nasal snoring.
What is more likely to happen is that your blocked sinuses will cause you to breathe through your mouth, which can bring on a worse type of snoring.
Sometimes Blocked Sinuses Lead to Mouth Snoring
This is another important detail to understand about clogged nasal and/or sinus passages.
Oftentimes, when you get a clogged nose, you don’t actually snore through your nose. What happens is that your body detects that it is unable to breathe properly, and switches over to mouth breathing.
This makes clogged nasal passages a more complicated problem.
Because mouth snoring is bad for you.
But you can’t force yourself to breathe through your nose if your nose is plugged-up, either.
If your sinuses are clogged, and if you use an anti-snoring device to keep your mouth closed, you may experience a more severe level of breathing difficulty.
If your nasal passages are plugged up, you may need to breathe through your mouth just to be able to breathe.
For this reason, your primary goal when you end up with clogged sinuses should be to unclog them as quickly as possible, so that you can get back to sleeping as usual.
How Do I Stop My Nasal Passages From Snoring?
The best way to stop your nasal passages from snoring is to solve the congestion/inflammation/blockage issue that’s keeping you from breathing normally.
Generally, when people are able to breathe as-usual through their nostrils, they don’t snore through them.
So fixing the root cause of the problem is the best way to remove the symptom (snoring).
How Can I Open My Nasal Passages While Sleeping?
The first thing to do is to try to diagnose the problem.
If you have a deviated septum, you may need to talk to your doctor about a possible surgical remedy.
If you’re suffering from allergies, you may need to go on allergy medication or remove the source of the problem (i.e. clean up the dust, get rid of the cats, etc.).
If you’re suffering from a cold or seasonal nasal congestion, then taking steps to alleviate the congestion will help you to minimize your snoring risk.
You may want to visit a doctor to see if you need an antibiotic for a sinus infection. If you’re dealing with a common cold, you may want to try a range of traditional snoring remedies.
How to Unclog Your Nose When Suffering From a Common Cold
There are a variety of methods you can use to try to unclog your nasal passages if you’ve come down with a common cold. You can try:
- Using a humidifier
- Taking a hot shower
- Using saline spray
- Draining your sinus with a neti pot
- Using a warm compress on your forehead and/or over your nose
- Utilizing over the counter or homeopathic decongestants
What Is the Best Anti Snoring Device for Snoring With Mouth Closed?
If you’re snoring with mouth closed, and truly need to find relief from a case of nasal snoring, then here are the best products on the market that may be able to help you.
Nasal strips can be found in almost any pharmacy. They can also be ordered online.
These thin strips have an adhesive backing, and you basically stick them to your nose before laying down for bed. The strips pull gently outward, pulling the walls of your nostrils away from your nasal passages, expanding them and creating more room for air to move through.
They don’t always help as much with mouth, throat, or tongue snoring… but nasal strips are surprisingly effective if you find that you’re having trouble breathing through your nose at night.
Even better, they can return your body to the ‘normal’ process of nasal breathing, and keep you from switching over to mouth breathing which can further reduce your odds of suffering from a snoring problem.
Nasal dilators are small devices that you insert into your nostrils to help keep them widened out and open.
They basically perform the same function as nasal strips, except that they push outward from the interior of the nasal passages instead of pulling outward from the outside, like a nasal strip.
They tend to work almost as well, though they’re a bit more invasive.
The main upside to them is that you don’t have to keep buying them over and over again like you need to with nasal strips, as nasal strips are disposable.
A Quick Note About the Dangers of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a sleeping disorder characterized by pauses in breathing that take place many times over the course of the night.
What happens is that the soft tissues of the upper airway collapse inward during sleep, once the muscles relax constricting the airway. This usually causes some pretty noisy throat/tongue snoring… but that’s not the only problem.
If the throat constricts to the point where it cuts off your oxygen supply, you may stop breathing.
When your brain registers that this has happened, it will jolt you awake so that you can take a breath.
You may not realize that this is happening, because it may not wake you up completely. But it does pull you out of REM sleep, and therein lies the problem.
OSA leads to prolonged and dangerous sleep deprivation. As a result, it can contribute to a number of problematic health issues, including:
- Weight gain
- Daytime fatigue
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
- Liver problems
- Sleep-deprived partners (your snoring will likely keep them awake as well)
… and that’s just to name a few.
The symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea are as follows:
- Loud snoring
- Dry mouth upon waking
- Waking up gasping for air during the night
- Excessive daytime drowsiness
- Difficulty focusing and paying attention during the day
- Morning headaches
If you think that you may be experiencing episodes of OSA while sleeping, it is very important that you speak with your doctor about undergoing a sleep test.
Snoring isn’t always dangerous. But if it’s an indicator of OSA, then it actually is dangerous, and definitely warrants a doctor’s visit.
In Conclusion – Snoring With Mouth Closed
Hopefully, this post has helped you to understand the dangers of nasal snoring, how to diagnose it, and how to go about fixing the problem.
Snoring is always an issue to be concerned about. If you can solve the problem, you’ll be much better off for it.
The most important factor, though, is that you take action to solve your snoring problems.
Unfortunately, even if your problem is that you’re snoring with mouth closed the issue isn’t going to go away on its own.
Taking the initiative and seeking out a remedy that works for you is the best course of action.