How Humidifiers Help Snoring Problems (Science Explained)

Ile Kauppila

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Ile Kauppila

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Josh Mitchell

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I confess — I snore. The noise often wakes both me and my wife through the night, seriously impacting our sleep quality.

My issue only gets worse during months with dry air, like in winter. Due to that, we asked ourselves: can a humidifier help with snoring?

It can, and we now sleep much more peacefully. If you or your loved one snores, my guide will tell you how a humidifier can improve the quality of your sleep and life.

Key Takeaways

  • Humidifiers can help ease snoring by lubricating the dry and congested nasal passages.
  • Ultrasonic humidifiers used with distilled water are recommended for those suffering from snoring episodes.
  • Consider the humidifier’s water tank capacity and runtime for a good night’s snore-free sleep.

How Can A Humidifier Help With Snoring?

Humidifiers can indeed help with snoring. My wife loves our unit because it keeps me from waking her up constantly.

However, a humidifier’s effectiveness depends on why you snore. Many people — like me — snore due to allergies, dry membranes, or sinus issues.

They can benefit from using a humidifier to stop snoring. It can also help with sleep apnea. (1)

Why?

Nasal congestion, dryness, and allergies can make it difficult to breathe.

Humidifiers add moisture to your bedroom’s dry air, which moisturizes and lubricates dry airways.

As a result, you can draw breath more easily and avoid snoring.

Can humidifiers help with snoring

What Causes People To Snore In The First Place?

Snoring is generally caused by nose and throat tissues obstructing your airway and vibrating against each other as your lungs force air past them. (2)

Imagine blinds rattling in the wind. The same thing happens in your throat when you snore.

A person’s tissues could block their airway for many reasons.

Some of the most common causes of snoring include:

  • Age: Older people are more likely to snore due to looser throat muscles.
  • Alcohol or Medications: Alcohol, medications, or drugs can relax the throat muscles and block breathing.
  • Anatomy: Many anatomical features can cause snoring, like a long uvula, thick soft palate, large tonsils, or a big tongue.
  • Dry Air: Dry air can dry your membranes and increase mucus production, which could lead to congestion and snoring.
  • Illness: Colds, allergies, asthma, or sinus infections can lead to irritation and a clogged airway, which causes snoring. My asthma is a big contributor to my snoring problem.
  • Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea is a health condition where the patient’s breath gets repeatedly blocked during sleep, leading to snoring.
  • Sleep Deprivation: Being very tired can cause your throat muscles to relax excessively once you finally fall asleep.
  • Sleeping Position: Sleeping on your back is more likely to make you snore as gravity pulls your tissues down.
  • Weight: Overweight people are more likely to snore due to bulkier tissues.

If you’re like me and snore because of nasal or throat dryness, allergies, colds, or other similar conditions, a humidifier can be your key to a peaceful night’s sleep.

Important Note:

A humidifier can’t resolve every snoring problem, though. For example, alcohol or weight-induced snoring is beyond a humidifier’s capabilities.

Considerations When Choosing A Humidifier To Help With Snoring

Cool Or Warm Mist Humidifiers?

Types of humidifiers

People suffering from allergies, sleep apnea, or dry sinuses can benefit from both a cool mist humidifier and a warm mist humidifier. Choose a machine according to your needs.

Cool mist humidifiers are best for people like me with young children or pets, as they can’t cause burns.
A warm mist humidifier tends to be quieter and more soothing, but its heat could create a fire risk if placed too close to your bed.

How Long Can It Run?

Consider how long the humidifier can operate before its reservoir runs out of water.

Most people sleep 7-9 hours per night, so ensure the tank lasts through your sleep cycle.

Consider The Size Of Your Room

humidifier sqft coverage

A warm mist humidifier will cover a smaller area than a cool mist humidifier, but it may be enough for your bedroom. Compare different types of humidifiers to your bedroom’s square footage.

Extra Features

A humidifier with a built-in air filter can remove some pollutants from your home’s air and make your throat and nose less irritated.

If you like to have a night light, try to find a machine with a small light unit.

TL;DR: Both cool mist and warm mist humidifiers can be great for snoring, but you have to size it properly for your room.

5 Well-Documented Sleep Benefits Of A Humidifier

1. Can Promote Faster Sleep

Dry air can irritate your airway and make it hard to fall asleep. Increasing your home’s humidity can ease itchiness in the throat and relieve asthma symptoms and sinus problems.

Without these nuisances, you can fall asleep faster. The quiet hum of the device can also provide calming white noise (which I really appreciate).

2. Humidified Air Is Easier To Breathe

A humidifier continually adds moisture to the air, preventing your airways from drying and making it easier to breathe.

Thus, you’ll have less difficulty falling and staying asleep.

3. Helps Combat Against Illnesses

Humidifiers increase relative and absolute humidity levels, which makes it harder for the influenza virus to survive.

By avoiding illness, you can also reduce snoring and sleep better. (3)

4. Humidity Keeps Skin Moisturized

Humidifier can keep your skin moisturized

If you suffer from dry skin, psoriasis, or other skin conditions, your itchy skin may keep you awake.

A humidifier can help maintain proper moisture levels and eliminate that dry, itchy feeling.

5. Reduce Snoring Episodes

A humidifier can reduce snoring by adding moisture to dry air and keeping your mouth, nose, and throat moisturized. Moist tissues are less likely to get irritated, which is a common reason for snoring.

TL;DR: In addition to reducing snoring episodes, humidifiers can help promote better sleep quality and better health. 

General Tips For Using A Humidifier To Get A Better Night’s Sleep

A humidifier can help you get a better night’s sleep and minimize snoring — if you use it correctly. 

Here are my best tips for getting the best sleep with your humidifier.

  • Fill the tank with enough water to last through the night. If the reservoir runs dry and your humidifier doesn’t have an automatic shut-off feature, it may overheat.
  • Place the humidifier on a stable nightstand or table at least three feet away from the bed so you, your child, or pets won’t knock it over at night.
  • Clean your humidifier regularly and thoroughly. A dirty humidifier is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi that can cause irritation and make you snore — or even make you seriously ill.
  • Never put essential oils into a humidifier water tank as they can corrode the tank’s plastic. Check the user manual to see whether your device has an oil pad for essential oils.
  • Refrain from activities that can hinder the humidifier’s effectiveness, such as smoking and drinking alcohol before bedtime.
  • Blow your nose, drink water, and use a nasal spray before bedtime to clear your nasal passages and help your humidifier keep your airway moisturized.

TL;DR: For best results, fill the humidifier up with enough water, choose the right placement, perform regular maintenance and avoid smoking or alcohol consumption before bedtime.

FAQs

Does A Humidifier Help With Mouth Breathing?

Yes, a humidifier can help with mouth breathing. If you experience dry mouth or live in a dry environment, a humidifier can help you to breathe through your nose.

Does Drinking Water Help Stop Snoring?

Yes, drinking water can help stop snoring because it keeps your throat membranes moisturized. However, it does not effectively moisturize your sinuses like a humidifier.

Is Snoring A Sign Of Bad Health?

Snoring isn’t always a sign of bad health. It can indicate obesity or other medical problems, but it can also occur due to dry membranes, sinus congestion, allergies, or simply because of your unique body structure.

Do Humidifiers Clean The Air?

Humidifiers do not clean the air. They only add moisture to dry air. You can use a humidifier and air purifier together to remove dust and boost humidity levels.

So, Can Humidifier Reduce Your Snoring?

A good night’s sleep is vital for your health. With a humidifier in our bedroom, I snore a lot less, which has greatly improved the quality of life for both me and my wife.

If your home has dry air, you may find yourself up all night coughing, snoring, and sneezing.

A warm or cool mist humidifier will help you maintain an optimal humidity level so that you can sleep comfortably.

References: 

  1. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-sleepapnea-treatment/humidifier-may-help-sleep-apnea-patients-stick-with-treatment-idUSKBN1KU2N4
  2. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15580-snoring
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2940868/
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Ile Kauppila

MA Multimedia Journalism / BA English Philology

Ile Kauppila
Ile Kauppila is a globetrotting writer and editor living in Virginia. Ile holds an MA degree in Multimedia Journalism and a BA in English Philology. Ile has written for a variety of home, HVAC, and energy-related websites and publications. He has covered HVAC solutions, insulation, and energy-efficient construction, automotive AC systems for multiple auto dealerships and garages.

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