How Sleeping on the Back Causes Snoring and Remedies

Ever heard a snorer say that they only snore when they sleep on their back? If you’re wondering if your sleep position has any bearing on whether you snore or not, this article is for you. We will explore the impact that sleeping on your back has on snoring and what can be done to fix this.

What is Snoring?

Snoring is an old age problem that affects both men and women and occurs when there is obstruction in the throat and the nasal passages which causes vibration in the soft palate and uvula tissues to vibrate as air flows in and out during breathing while asleep.

Causes of Snoring 

Being overweight can cause extra tissue to accumulate around your neck. This can put pressure on the air passage and narrow it, making you more susceptible to snoring.

 Snoring can also be worsened by nasal congestion, caused by cold or allergies. When your nasals are congested, you automatically result to breathing through your mouth, which causes the tongue to collapse to the back of the throat and block the airway.

Alcohol, too much coffee and certain types of medication can cause your throat muscles to relax. The relaxed muscles can obstruct the airway and cause you to snore when you sleep.

Age, smoking, sleep position and Obstructive Sleep Apnea are other key causes of snoring.

How Does Sleep Position cause Snoring?

Do you enjoy sleeping on your back side? You are at more risk of snoring. Back sleeping encourages gravity to easily take effect and cause the tongue tissues to collapse into the throat and block adequate airflow. 

Sleeping on your back can actually cause a complete airway collapse known as sleep apnea – a severe sleep disorder that is mainly characterized by pauses in breathing, gasping or choking.

It can be a little challenging to know if you have sleep apnea, especially if you sleep alone but symptoms such as morning headaches daytime sleepiness are strong indicators.

Sleep apnea can have significant and even deadly consequences, so it is vital that you see a doctor if you suspect that you have it.


What are The Remedies? 

Snoring that is caused by sleeping on your back can be remedied by simply changing your sleeping position on your side. Various studies show that people who snore without sleep apnea, have had the frequency and intensity of their snoring lessen after they started sleeping on their side.

How to Change Your Sleep Position

Changing your sleep position is not as easy as ABC…you are asleep after all. You can however learn to sleep on your side and maintain this position. A nudge from your partner’s elbow can usually do the trick, but then they would have to keep doing it every time you snore and this can seriously impede their sleep. It is therefore important that you find a more sustainable way to achieve this is.

There are a number of devices that you can use to maintain the sleeping on your side position, including:

Modified nightshirts 

This is one of the most inexpensive home remedies for back-sleeping induced snoring. Sew a pocket on the spine of your snug-fitting T-shirt and place a tennis ball in the pocket. You can also use a backpack or fanny pack to accomplish the same result, which is that whenever you roll onto your back during sleep, you become uncomfortable and naturally go back to sleeping on your side.

The discomfort isn’t so much that it will awake you, just enough to get you to get off your back to your side. If you have a significantly huge build or are obese, use a firmer ball, like a golf ball or baseball, as opposed to a tennis ball to achieve the same result.

Vibrating neckbands 

These devices are the automated equivalent of a nudge in the ribs from your bed partner. They attach to your body and vibrate whenever they detect that you are sleeping on your back and get you back to sleeping on your side.

Special positioning pillows

One or two regular pillows can help ease breathing and open up your airways, or you can use specially designed pillows to prop up your head a little bit make it harder for you to sleep on your back. Some of these pillows have armholes to stop you from turning in your sleep.

You can also use bed wedges that fit between the mattress and box spring, and inflatable mattress overlays to achieve the same result.

Bed risers 

Investing in bed risers such as an inflatable mattress pad is a good and affordable way to keep your head elevated and ease breathing during sleep.

If you don’t mind a permanently raised bed, you can invest in an adjustable bed that raises the top side of the bed. The bed should be raised by six to nine inches (15 to 23 cm) to ease snoring. Start at a lower elevation and slowly advance till you get to nine inches to ensure that you still sleep comfortably. 

NB: Elevating your head can also help relieve sleep apnea, acid reflux, and supine hypertension or orthostatic hypotension.

Bumper belts

Bumper belts are positional therapy devices designed to help you maintain a side-sleeping position all through the night, to reduce the symptoms of snoring.

These belts can also help remedy sleep apnea as well as other sleep-disordered breathing.


Your sleep position can be a huge trigger for snoring. Sleeping on your side is the best remedy for snoring that is related to sleeping on your back. While kicking the habit of sleeping on your back may be easier said than done, there are simple solutions you can use to maintain side-sleeping throughout the night. If the snoring does not subside after eliminate sleeping on your back, consult your doctor for other more aggressive solutions for your snoring.

Remember sleep apnea is a severe disorder for which you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

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