The irritating noise known as snoring is usually caused by vibrating tissue in the jaw and sinuses, and there are perhaps a dozen different factors that can cause snoring. However, one of the most overlooked causes is food allergies.
The logic is simple: snoring is often caused by blockage of the nasal passages and/or improper jaw positioning while sleeping, and some allergy symptoms can cause these two factors. Sinus problems are most commonly associated with airborne allergens like dust and pollen, but food allergies can also cause sinus issues and other problems that lead to snoring. The biggest culprit is mucus production since many allergy sufferers experience subtle mucus increases that cause snoring.
One of the most common allergy triggers for snoring is lactose. Like many other allergens, cow’s milk can cause an increase in mucus, making it harder for you to breathe through your nose. This snoring may be manageable with special stop snoring products like mouthpieces, but it may be more easily and comfortably remedied by removing cow’s milk from your diet.
Luckily, butter contains such low levels of lactose you may not have to eliminate it from your diet. Certain natural, aged cheese are also very low in lactose and may pose no problem. If you’re allergic to milk proteins and not just lactose intolerant, though, you may have to eliminate milk products altogether from your diet in order to stop snoring.
Wheat can be another sneaky allergy. There have been some anecdotal reports of gluten-free diets helping with snoring, thanks to the reduction of nasal mucous and swelling. Most people conflate wheat allergies as gluten intolerance, which causes fatigue and digestive issues, but you can be allergic to wheat without being allergic to gluten. A wheat-free diet can still contain barley and other whole grains. If you experience sneezing and congestion every time you eat bread, switching to a wheat-free diet may help significantly.
Believe it or not, soy is notorious for causing mucus production, which can easily cause snoring. Even if you don’t have any other food allergy symptoms with soy, cutting it from your diet can dramatically reduce mucus.
Also, watch for soy ingredients in cosmetics. In an attempt to be better for the planet, more cosmetic lines have started using soy products when possible, but this has the unwanted side effect of triggering soy allergies. If you’ve eliminated soy from your diet but still have mild allergy symptoms, check for soy ingredients in your cosmetics.
Yes, it’s true – meat can trigger mucus production that causes snoring. However, some cases aren’t caused by meat itself but caused by additives added to the non-organic meat. If you’ve ruled out other food allergies, a switch to organic meat may solve the problem without having to go completely vegetarian. It’s also possible that only certain meats, like beef or pork, are causing your stuffy nose. Meat allergies can require significant trial and error and can be difficult to manage in meat-heavy Western diets, but it can be well worth it for getting a good night’s rest in the end.
Some food intolerances also cause gas, which can cause tossing and turning that puts you in uncomfortable sleep positions. The resulting misalignment of the jaw and throat can cause snoring. In these cases, special pillows that support proper neck positioning or anti-snoring mouthpieces can help but diagnosing and eliminating the food intolerance problem may be a better long-term solution.
If you can’t remove foods from your diet entirely, try avoiding them several hours before bed. Giving your airways a chance to clear out can go a long way for reducing snoring. A wheat bagel first thing in the morning probably won’t irritate your nose enough to still be a problem by bedtime.
Always seek a doctor’s input when trying to identify allergies and eliminate foods from your diet. Dairy, wheat and other major allergens often tend to be critical sources of nutrients, and simply removing them from your diet without figuring out proper substitutes may lead to other health problems. An allergy specialist can be a great addition to your healthcare team if your doctor or sleep specialist needs more insight.
There are numerous other risk factors for snoring, including obesity and mouth-breathing, so make sure to consider all options before assuming that food allergies are the culprit. If you and your doctor do identify allergies as a cause of your snoring, keep in mind that a stop snoring device may be an easier choice than eliminating certain foods from your diet. It all comes down to how severe your allergies are, how effective snoring aids are for you, and how difficult it would be to remove allergens from your diet. It may not be worth going vegetarian if snoring is your only meat allergy symptom, after all!
Chief editor here at Snore Nation and a proud father of two cool boys. I am a reformed snorer, a reformed smoker, a reformed overeater, a reformed city dweller and a reformed workaholic stress monster on the mission to share my insider tips to restore that quality sleep for you and your partner!