Last Updated on: 3rd October 2023, 10:18 am
Snoring is a significant concern, especially for people who share a bed. Sleep Medicine Reviews stated that up to 40% of the world’s population struggles with loud snoring at night.
Snoring is caused by vibrations in the throat or nasal airways while we sleep. People who snore seldom realize they have a problem because they can’t hear their snoring.
Many snoring remedies are available, but simple lifestyle changes can play a sizable role in controlling and even ceasing snoring, including changing our diet and when we eat.
While eating anything late at night can lead to snoring, meals high in salt or sugar are prime offenders. Red meat, saturated fats, and refined carbohydrates are common snoring triggers.
Alcohol and caffeinated drinks should be avoided at night due to a direct correlation to snoring. Milk, and the common substitute soy, can also agitate the throat at night and cause snoring.
Why Do I Snore After Eating?
Snoring has various triggers, from the wrong sleeping position to an unsuitable pillow. You’re also more likely to snore as you age due to reduced muscle tone in the mouth and throat.
Food or drink that’s high in inflammatory compounds will irritate and inflame the throat, mouth, and nasal passages. Unfortunately, loud, disruptive snoring will inevitably follow.
Foods that lead to higher mucus generation can also lead to snoring.
While sleeping at night, you won’t consciously clear mucus by swallowing or blowing your nose. Mucus levels can build up, preventing breathing through the nose and agitating the throat.
Eating too late can lead to snoring because the body is still digesting while you sleep. Eating around 4 hours before retiring for the night is recommended. Also, moderate your food consumption.
What Foods Trigger Snoring?
Any food can make you snore if you eat too late at night or sleep before you’ve adequately digested what you’ve eaten and cleared your throat and air passages.
Some foods are linked more closely to snoring if you eat them at night, including:
The body releases more fluid when we consume a meal seasoned with salt. This is an instinctive reaction as the organs seek to balance water and sodium.
This outcome leads to what is commonly called water retention or edema.
Edema often leads to swelling in the extremities while upright because fluid needs to pool somewhere. While we sleep and lie horizontally, the fluid moves to the neck.
The water buildup in the neck narrows the upper airways. At best, this causes irritation that leads to snoring. Often, it prevents breathing for a few seconds, resulting in sleep apnea.
According to The Laryngoscope, dairy products like cheese and yogurt are linked to mucus production. This starts in the chest and moves to the airways, inhibiting our ability to breathe freely through the nose.
If you can’t breathe through your nose, you’ll do so through your mouth. Unfortunately, excess mucus doesn’t stop at the nasal passages because it travels down the throat, causing snoring.
All dairy products made from cows’ or goats’ milk will have this impact, so choosing a lactose-free option won’t change the outcome. Avoid dairy consumption for about 6 hours before bed.
The consumption of eggs can cause swelling in the adenoids. These are lymphatic nodes found at the back of the nose, just above the top of the mouth.
Swollen adenoids are often connected to mild allergic reactions, as they block the Eustachian tubes. If the Eustachian tubes are restricted, clearing mucus accumulating while you sleep is difficult.
Processed sugar increases phlegm, which blocks the nasal passages while we sleep.
Unfortunately, the same is also true of natural sugar. Where snoring is concerned, an apple is no better than a donut or ice cream cone.
Another connection between sugar and snoring is the production and release of cytokines. According to International Anesthesiology Clinics, some of these proteins are naturally inflammatory.
Red meat is the most commonly discussed of all foods linked to inflammation and snoring.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition stated that the consumption of red meat is linked to higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), insulin, ferritin (iron protein), and hemoglobin A1c.
Red meat is high in saturated fat, which can also be linked to inflammation and snoring. Consider reducing consumption or exchanging red meat for white meat or fish.
Wheat and Bread
Wheat and bread products are often referred to as refined carbohydrates. Foods high in carbs leave us feeling sluggish and sated, leading to an energy crash in the afternoon.
Refined carbs impact the body almost identically to sugar. Consuming wheat or bread will spike our blood sugar levels and lead to inflammation.
Pasta and white bread are problem foods, so avoid consuming them before bed, especially if pairing them with red meat. Consider eating brown rice and vegetables instead.
What Drinks Trigger Snoring?
It’s not just eating the wrong foods before bed that causes snoring. What we drink is also vital to keeping the airways clear and preventing a noisy, disruptive night of sleep. Avoid these drinks:
A glass of warm milk or a mug of hot cocoa have long been considered bedtime staples. Unfortunately, dairy products can aggravate the nose and throat.
If you have a hot drink before bed, you may use a milk substitute, believing it won’t make you snore. As we are about to discuss, some popular choices are just as likely to make you snore as milk.
Soy is a popular alternative to cow’s milk for vegetarians, vegans, and lactose-intolerant individuals. Unfortunately, soy is as likely to lead to a mucus buildup as dairy.
Other milk alternatives won’t have the same impact. Almond, coconut, and oat milk have antioxidant properties that reduce inflammation and snoring.
Alcohol and snoring are linked primarily due to alcoholic drinks’ physical impact on the body. While you may feel that an alcoholic nightcap helps you nod off at night, it’s unlikely to be a restful sleep.
When we drink alcohol, the muscles in the throat relax, resulting in blockages to the airways. The more forcefully the body inhales and exhales, the more the throat will vibrate.
Most people know to avoid caffeine before bed because the purpose is to keep us awake.
Experts have long decried the connection between caffeine and snoring, but this study shows a correlation to sleep-disordered breathing. The outcome isn’t as serious as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Switch from caffeinated soda to water at night. Remember that your fluid intake should be limited in the evening to prevent the need to urinate during the night.
What to Eat and Drink to Avoid Snoring
Introducing the following foods will often lead to a quieter, more restful night:
Onions And Garlic
While we may not care for the taste or scent of onions and garlic, these foods can reduce snoring.
According to Nutrition and Food Science, onions and garlic inhibit the oxidation of fats and act as antibacterial agents, clearing the throat overnight.
Decaf Green Tea
Green tea is a natural decongestant that helps clear the airways before bed. Thankfully, green tea is also rich in antioxidants and other ingredients that benefit the body.
Switching from coffee or black tea to decaffeinated green tea will help you breathe at night. Also, consider herbal tea if you want a beverage to help you fall asleep.
Honey and Lemon Water
If you can’t tolerate the taste of green tea or like to hydrate at night before bed, consider adding lemon and honey to a glass of water.
Honey and lemon water are natural remedies for head colds and upper respiratory infections, as both ingredients have naturally decongestant and antiseptic properties.
Thyme and Turmeric
If you like a herbal taste in your water, sprinkle thyme or turmeric into the mix. These herbs combine well with honey and lemon, reducing the likelihood of snoring.
As per Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy, thyme reduces mucus buildup in the nose and throat, improving breathing. Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Snoring may not be life-threatening, but it can severely impact your sleep quality and those around you. You can block out snoring if you don’t want to change your diet.