Imagine that you are in a light sleep when suddenly a loud noise interrupts your sleep, and you are forced to wake up to investigate. After looking around, you gather that someone is snoring and that the sound is so loud that it woke you up. Sounds familiar? Or maybe when you wake up in the morning after a relaxing deep sleep, only to find that your partner did not sleep for most part of the night because you were snoring. Snoring has many a times soured relations between people because everyone prefers an uninterrupted sleep. Waking up in the middle of the night to your partner or parent’s loud snores can be a real trigger for many. Snorers are often advised by their doctors to stop smoking, avoid alcohol, lose weight, and make a habit of sleeping on their sides. And although many remedies like using a tennis ball, practicing yoga, changing your pillow, or using essential oils for snoring are available and proven to help reduce snoring, but there is no targeted treatment to cure snoring.
There are several Over The Counter (OTC) aids available to stop snoring, like nasal strips and nose clips, but there is no scientific confirmation that can substantiate their claims. So far, the most effective treatment that one can adopt is to relax the muscles that cause snoring, and the best option at that is the use of essential oils.
But what causes snoring?
We all know that we breathe through our nose and mouth. But when the path of the air flow through these is blocked or congested, then the throat and tongue relax, causing the blockage and vibrations, hence, giving out a loud noise. This is what we call snoring. The narrower the passage is, snoring will get louder. The following reasons may cause the blockage-
- Anatomy of mouth- A low, thick, or soft palate can cause congestion. Also if your weight is too high, or your Uvula gets elongated, it can cause obstruction.
- Alcohol- Alcohol relaxes the muscles, causing the tongue to relax more. This can cause congestion too.
- Nasal problems- Chronic nasal congestion or an unusual nostril partition can contribute to snoring.
- Sleep deprivation- Getting less sleep than usual can also lead to snoring.
- Sleeping position- Chances of snoring are highest when sleeping on the back.
Excessive snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, which is a disorder in which the breathing gets shallow in some cases, or pauses for seconds or even minutes. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the complete or partial blocking of airway, and is the most common form of apnea. The airways open again with a choking sound, and this causes snoring in people suffering from OSA because of the obstruction. (1, 2, 3)
Essential Oils For Snoring
So, to relax the muscles that cause snoring, like the upper palate, tongue, throat muscles, and others, we can make use of essential oils. Essential oils are the aromatic compounds obtained from various parts of a wide variety of plants. These are called essential because they pack the essence or the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which they are extracted. Essential oils are all naturally occurring in the seeds, fruits bark, leaves, flowers, roots, and other parts of a plant. For centuries, they have been used in the making of fragrances like perfumes, body sprays, room fresheners, and many aromatic products. But there lies another secret in the essential oils.
Clove, peppermint, eucalyptus, and many other oils have found vast applications in ancient or medieval medicine and still, are used in various treatments as well as in health-care. The benefits are numerous in number, and that is why the modern society is finding remedies for just about every problem in the essential oils. And it may sound a little absurd, but yes, essential oils can be used to give relief to people by stopping their snoring. So what essential oils are good for snoring? Here is a list.
1. Thyme Oil
Thyme is an herb that is used widely in cooking and medicine. The oil of thyme is an essential oil that contains thymol, which is widely used as an antiseptic agent in mouthwashes. But researchers show that thyme oil can also be used to curb the snoring problem in people. Rubbing a few drops on the feet before you go to bed at night will help to stop snoring while sleeping. Also, thyme can be used in a diffuser while you sleep. The diffuser spreads the oil in the air as a scent, and thyme oil can also help in cases of Sinusitis. (4)
2. Lavender Oil
Lavender is a flowering plant and can be easily identified with a calming scent and purple-colored flowers that grow on it. Lavender oil is extracted from the flowers of the plant and has a really strong smell. Historically, the use of lavender oil dates back to the ancient Egyptians who used it in the mummification process. But the most widespread use for lavender oil is because of its fragrance. The lavender oil, when inhaled in small quantities, is proven to decrease restlessness by soothing the senses. And a person who is properly rested will not snore. But you cannot ingest the oil directly. You can apply the oil on your feet and chest for quick results, and it can also be inhaled with a diffuser as a form of aromatherapy. Also, lavender is used in cases of patients suffering from asthma as a single oil cure. (5, 6, 7, 8)
3. Marjoram Oil
Marjoram is another flowering herb used widely in cooking and aromatherapy. The herb is used as a mild seasoning, and you will find a taste of it mainly in the French, Turkish, and Italian cuisines. It is widely researched as a cure for arthritis, muscle pains, headaches, etc. but it is a proven aromatherapy oil for the reduction of snoring. Marjoram in your diffuser will open the airways, helping you not to snore during the night. (9)
Chamomile flowers look like flowers of plants like daisy and are used to make several mixtures. One such mixture is the famous chamomile tea. Chamomile tea is advised to people suffering from multiple sclerosis as a remedy to restlessness during sleep. And hence, it is a good remedy to provide a good and calm night’s sleep. Medicines that provide temporary relief from problems causing snoring also use chamomile as an active ingredient. (10, 11)
5. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is extracted from the leaves and flowers of peppermint, which is a hybrid plant and is probably the most strongly-scented essential oil. However, peppermint oil is widely used in various products because of its antibacterial properties, like in toothpastes and mouthwashes. Peppermint also finds use in cooking. But a less known remedy to people is the use of peppermint to curb snoring. Peppermint oil is recommended as a way to treat allergies and an agent to open airways. Also, nasal sprays use peppermint oil as an ingredient. (12, 13)
6. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus is one of the tallest flowering plants on this earth. Eucalyptus oil is extracted from the leaves of the plant and finds use in several walks of life. But, it is most widely used in treating respiratory problems like bronchitis, asthma, congestion, et cetera. Bronchitis has snoring as a symptom, and eucalyptus oil, in the form of essential oil monoterpenes, can be used for both acute and chronic bronchitis, along with many other respiratory diseases. It can also be used in a diffuser with water. Eucalyptus is also proven to be effective against asthma and displays decongestant properties. You can mix about 2-3 drops of eucalyptus oil in hot water, and using a towel as a shed, take in the steam coming from the water through your nose and mouth. (14, 15, 16)
Geraniums are a group of flowering plants, in which the buds have 5 petals of colors white, pink, blue, or purple. They are found in the temperate regions. From these flowers, the essential oil named after the same plant is obtained. Now, certain species of these flowers, found in the country of South Africa, show positive effects on acute bronchitis without any side effects. Also, the oil is proven to be effective in children for the cure of sore throat, which is another reason for congestion and snoring. (17, 18)
8. Sage Oil
Sage oil is made from the herb used in cooking, called the sage or Salvia Officinalis. Sage has a calming effect on people and can be used as an anti-inflammatory agent. Salvia Officinalis is used an active ingredient in drugs that are created for the cure of sinus congestions, and can be really effective in fighting snoring caused by sinusitis. (19)
Cedar oil is extracted from the plant family called conifers. An example of the trees of this type are the pines. The oil is obtained from the wood, bark, and roots. One of the two major components of cedar oil is cedrol. Cedrol is very widely used in aromatherapy. This is because research shows that cedrol fights difficulty of maintaining sleep in healthy young adults as well as in elderly people suffering from dementia. And there is no need of a diffuser, as you can just put a towel and pour a few drops onto it for performing aromatherapy. (20)
10. Pine Oil
The needles, twigs, and cones of various pine trees are used in the making of pine oil. Pine oil is commonly used as a bath oil because of its strong scent. It is also a part of the alternative treatment procedures of aromatherapy. Although, the exact constituent of the pine, which induces the feeling of relaxation, has not been identified, but it is proven that pine oil can increase sleep durations, and the closest analogy of the effect created by the aroma of pine oil is given by the word hypnotic. The Chinese have seen significantly positive results on mice and claim that they work on humans too. (21)
11. Lemon Oil
Lemons are fruits of the citrus family, and there is no way we can imagine our food without the tangy twist of a few drops of lemon juice. And apart from the pulp of lemon, other parts of the lemon fruit are also very useful. The lemon essential oil is made by the lemon peels and has many beneficial uses like skin care, stress relief, hair care, etc. It is very easy to extract lemon oil from the peels; so much so that you can make it at home. Lemon oil is proven to give relief from fatigue and increases concentration. Also, lemon oil is an antidepressant, and the use of it will ensure a good night’s sleep. (22, 23)
12. Olive Oil
Olive oil is obtained from crushing whole olives. We have used it for cooking and seasoning very frequently, but it is also used in cosmetics, medicines, and the soap industry. The reason olive oil is used in cooking is because it has several health benefits, the most effective being its weight loss properties. People suffering from sleep apnea are advised to consume olive oil because it comes under the category of healthy fats and can help in reducing one’s weight. Also, olive oil is a good source of MUFA, which decreases depression and improves mood. (24, 25)
Major Oil Blends
Every essential oil is effective in the purpose that it is meant for. But some of them share some qualities and are very much compatible with each other. This is why there exist several blends of essential oils that are considered to be much more effective than their constituents alone. And a couple of these blends are effectively used for giving relief from snoring problems in people.
DoTerra Essential Oil
The first one, of the blends of essential oils for snoring, is made by doTerra. DoTerra makes essential oils and home products, and one of their products, called doTerra Breathe, is a blend of many oils. It maintains the airways, so there is no blocking or congestion while you are sleeping. It is also marketed as the oil that provides you with a relaxing night’s sleep. It also saves you from threats like sore throats, cold, and other seasonal ailments that cause your air passages to block or contract, causing you to snore in the night.
The doTerra Breathe is made with the following essential oils
- Laurel leaf essential oil
- Eucalyptus leaf essential oil
- Peppermint plant essential oil
- Melaleuca leaf essential oil
- Lemon peel essential oil
- Cardamom seed essential oil
- Ravintsara leaf essential oil (Camphor tree essential oil from Madagascar)
- Ravensara leaf essential oil
The doTerra essential oil can be used in either a diffuser or directly on the affected area, coupled with a carrier oil for relief from snoring.
Another such blend is the Valor Oil. It is a unique blend of Spruce, Blue Tansy, Camphor Wood, Geranium, and Frankincense. The Valor oil is great for massages and aromatherapy, whether used in the day or in the night. It can be used topically, by directly applying a small amount on the affected area. Small amount is used because the high presence of so many essential oils might cause burn issues on sensitive skin. That is why, it should be diluted with a simpler carrier oil before use.
Although it is a little expensive, as an alternative, you can also make Valor essential oil for snoring relief at home. Just add
- 15 parts of spruce
- 7 parts of frankincense
- 6 parts blue tansy
- 2 parts balsam fir
- Carrier oil (about 20% of the whole mix)
Also Read: Natural Treatment for Sleep Apnea
Some Other Essential Oil Recipes
Single essential oils are very effective in nature, but if they are blended with other oils, their powers are increased. Also, by adding a carrier oil, we make it easy for the oils to be applied directly on the skin, which is otherwise a doubtful act because of the fear of skin burns. Before divulging into the recipes of these oils, it will better to remember that these oils do not cure your snoring. These are merely agents to slow or cease snoring by expansion of the affected muscles and reducing vibrations. To use essential oils for relief from snoring, here are a bunch of recipes.
1. Easy Sleeping Mist Spray
You can make a spray for your room by mixing small amounts of essential oils with an emulsifier.
- Pine needle- 6 drops
- Myrtle- 5 drops
- Eucalyptus- 3 drops
- Bay Laurel- 3 drops
- Grape fruit- 2drops
- Marjoram- 2 drops
- Emulsifier- 5 ml
- Room spray base- 226 grams
Mix the oils with an emulsifier and add the spray base into the mix. Spray into your room 15-30 minutes before going to bed. And do not forget to shake the spray before using, otherwise, all you will get out of it will be just spray base. You can also use this mixture in your diffuser if you have one.
Recipe from Birch Hill Happenings Aromatherapy
2. Cedar Oil Blend
The cedar wood oil is well-known around the world because of its wood-like scent, which gives you the sense of being very close to nature. Cedar oil helps in maintaining the breathing patterns, which are essential for a deep and lengthy slumber. Here is how you can use cedar wood oil to make an oil mixture.
- Cedar wood essential oil- 2 drops
- Thyme essential oil- 2 drops
- Lavender essential oil- 2 drops
- Olive oil- 4 drops
Mix these oils in an equal ratio with a carrier oil and apply on the bottom side of your feet, mostly on the big toe. Also, for storing this oil, you will need a dark bottle.
Recipe from Medlicker
3. Gargling Oil Blend
Most of the essential oils are not meant to be ingested as that can prove to be harmful, for they possess very strong characteristics in terms of smell, taste, and effect. Some of them are so strong that topical usage of them is always advised against. But there are a few oils that you can mix with water for making an anti snore gargle. It is made by just using 4 simple essential oils.
- Thyme oil- 2 drops
- Lavender oil- 2 drops
- Lemon oil- 2 drops
- Peppermint oil- 2 drops
Mix 2 drops of each essential oil in about 8 ounces or approximately 226 grams of water, and gargle for a full 3 minutes before you go to sleep. This gargle does not cure your snoring problems, but simply reduces the snoring by lubricating the airways and passages of tissues.
Recipe from Healthy Focus.
4. Marjoram Massage Oil Blend
This is an oil blend made with Marjoram oil, and it meant specifically as a massage oil for anti-snoring purposes. It’s also very simple to make. Marjoram is used for pain relief and opening the airways through aromatherapy. This makes this oil a “two in one” blend and gives it an extra utility factor. Here’s how to make this oil.
- Lavender essential oil- 8 drops
- Marjoram essential oil- 4 drops
- Lemon essential oil- 3 drops
- One fourth of a cup of a carrier oil, preferably Jojoba.
Combine all essential oils with Jojoba oil and let it sit for 24 hours. To use it, simply rub the blend on your chest, neck, and behind the ears before bed to relax your muscles and stop snoring.
Recipe from The Hearty Soul.
5. Lavender Blend For Snoring
Lavender is probably everyone’s favorite because of the sweet flowery smell that comes with it. It’s like a whole meadow is sitting in your room, ready to greet everyone’s senses with something very pleasing. And apart from this, lavender has many benefits. You can make a chest rub using lavender oil to counter the reasons of snoring.
- Lavender essential oil- 5 drops
- Eucalyptus essential oil- 4 drops
- Cinnamon bark essential oil- 4 drops
- Cedar wood essential oil- 4 to 5 drops
- thyme essential oil- 2 to 3 drops
- Carrier oil (preferably olive oil)- 1 ounce (28 grams)
Recipe from Medlicker
6. Chest And Foot Rub
Another recipe for an essential oil blend for a chest rub to stop snoring is this simple one. It just requires three types of essential oils, and is very easy to make and execute. You can rub it onto your chest, and in some cases, it has worked on the feet too. Dilute the oil with a carrier oil of your choosing to make it easy to absorb by the skin and to reduce the effect of the smell.
- Lavender essential oil- 8 drops
- Marjoram essential oil- 4 drops
- Lemon oil- 3 drops
- Carrier oil- 2 ounce (56 grams)
Do’s And Don’ts Of Essential Oils
Essential oils are becoming a favorite of the current generation because of the endless list of their benefits. Be it the field of medicine, cosmetics, or culinary, essential oils are gaining popularity, with demands increasing almost exponentially. But amidst all this, there should also be a word of advice regarding safety around essential oils.
- Essential oils are very strong in their nature, and they are made with the essence of the plant that they are obtained from. Therefore, most of them are not meant to be ingested. It might pose a health hazard to you, and so, you should not ingest an essential oil unless it is meant for that purpose. So if you have gargled with an essential oil, you should exercise caution with the amount of essential oil that will go inside your body because of it.
- Some essential oils are stronger than others in their properties. That is why we use carrier oils when we are to use the essential oils topically, or directly on our bare skin. Carrier oils help the skin in absorbing the essential oils at a rate that is agreeable with the body. If we do not use a carrier oil, we run the risk of getting a skin burn in cases of extremely strong oils like peppermint and eucalyptus.
- Lastly, do not opt for self-treatment. Remedies could be researched, but treatment is something that only a professional should do. Do not take matters into your own hands unless you are qualified for them. Essential oils are only a way to relieve you of the pain and problems. They are not the cure. Therefore, before using an essential oil, but it will not hurt to consult a doctor for your own safety and to get a second opinion.
In the end, you are the one to take care of your body. High weight, alcohol, sleep deprivation, sleeping position, and some more reasons are the main ones to induce snoring. If you notice, most of these factors are related to lifestyle choices and are controllable at your end. You should adopt a healthy lifestyle if you don’t want this small problem of snoring to turn into something big and uncontrollable. A healthy lifestyle will not only reduce your snoring, but it will also help you in many other ways. For example, reducing weight will also help you reduce the chances of cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, back pain, and much more.