Being the Best Passenger Possible: How to Avoid Snoring on an Airplane

So you have an issue with snoring. It happens to the best of us. In fact, according to John Hopkins Medicine, an estimated 45% of people snore occasionally, while 25% of people snore regularly. If you’ve lived with others for a while, you should know which camp you’re in, and if you’re the type to involuntarily make some noise while you’re living it up in dreamland, you might be a little nervous when boarding an airplane. This is especially if you’re one of the louder noise makers out there.

Avoid Snoring on an Airplane

So, is there anything you can do to avoid snoring on a plane, other than the obvious (staying awake)? Yes, actually. There are several ways to at least mitigate the amount of noise you make. You can also check our guide if you want to get rid of snoring once and for all.

I’ll give you a rundown on the methods you can turn towards.


What Causes Snoring on an Airplane?

What Causes Snoring on airplane

While there can be a number of complications that cause snoring, but the root of it is as simple as simple gets: snoring happens when air can’t flow easily through your nose or mouth. Your throat tissue is relaxed, and when air flows over that relaxed tissue, it vibrates and makes the snoring noise.

Snoring is caused by a number of things, some you can change, and some you can’t, but there are still ways to mitigate the sound. Here are some causes of snoring

  • Obesity
  • Drinking alcohol before bed
  • Bad sleeping positions
  • A structural issue with your air passages
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Nasal congestion
  • Age
  • Allergies
  • Smoking
  • Swollen tonsils/adenoids

A side note that is related: according to WebMD, an estimate of 75% of people who snore have a condition called obstructive sleep apnea, which is when one’s body stops breathing for short periods whilst they are asleep. This can raise the risk of heart disease. If you snore, you might want to inquire with your doctor about it.

So if you want some soundless sleep, here are some things you can do.


Check Your Sitting Position

Sitting Position on the airplane

Just the fact that you’re sitting on a plane should be enough to help your snoring. When you’re on your back, your tongue can fall back and block your airway. When you sit down, your tongue lies flat and you’re able to breathe easier. So when you sleep on a plane, try not to slump to the side or with your neck at an odd angle and you should be good to go.


Lay Off the Alcohol

Lay Off the Alcohol on the airplane

If you’re on a particularly long flight and you’re thinking about purchasing a drink before you take your nap, you might want to reconsider. Alcohol greatly relaxes your throat muscles, and as I’ve said, snoring happens when air flows over greatly relaxed throat muscles. People who don’t snore are more likely to do so if they consume alcohol. The more you drink, the more likely you are to snore, and if you do snore, it will get only louder the more you drink. So, all in all, you should think about staying off of the alcohol and instead have a water or a soda.


Use Anti-Congestion Treatments

Anti-Congestion to avoid snoring on an airplane

Congestion is a big reason why some people snore. After all, it’s partially blocking your airways. Depending on what’s causing the congestion. So what do I mean by “anti-congestion treatments”? Well, it depends on what you might have. For example, someone with allergies will tend to have a pretty bad time with congestion, while others might just be sick.

Whatever the reason, you need to get rid of all that congestion. If you believe you might have a cold before you get on a plane, take some anti-cold medication. However, if it’s allergies, or just general nasal congestion, you can do things such as utilize a Neti Pot, use a saline spray, or use a steroid spray such as Flonase or Nasacort. This should get all the gunk out of your nasal passages and leave you breathing easier, and thus snoring less.


Don’t Take Sleep Medication

Sleep Medication makes you snore

It’s understandable that you might want to sleep your way through a cramped flight, but if you’re prone to snoring, then sleep medication might be a bad idea. This does include sleep aids, like melatonin. It’s also for the same reason why I advise to stay away from alcohol: it can relax your throat muscles and cause snoring.


Take a Look at Oral Appliances / Anti-snoring Devices

Anti snoring mouthpiece

Thankfully we have ways to stop chronic snorers to help the loved ones that have to listen to it every night. There are two kinds: the store-bought kind that you can fit in for if you want to ensure snoring doesn’t happen just this one time, or the kind that are fitted by dentists for repeat usage. Both of these are pretty much guaranteed to help with a snore-less sleep.

You can find appliances to help on Amazon or even in some stores, or you can ask your dentist if they’re able to provide one. If you’ve never worn one before, it can seem uncomfortable, but you get used to it. You can find a couple of anti snoring mouthpieces we reviewed here.


Stop Smoking

If you’re a habitual smoker, it might not be as easy as just saying it, but it’s still something to mention. If you’re going on a plane, try to stop smoking for several hours beforehand. Smoking actually irritates the membranes in your nose and throat, which can thus block the airways. So, if you want to keep your snoring to a minimum, you might want to lay off the smoking for a bit until you reach your destination.


Throat Exercises

Throat Exercises to stop snoring

If you’re looking through this list and you’re checking everything off as things you’ve got on lock, then perhaps what you need is just some throat exercises to keep those muscles nice and limber. You can do this by repeating each vowel out loud for three minutes a few times a day. You can also close your mouth and pulse your lips for about three seconds. It’s not a slam dunk fix-it, but it works for some people.


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