You’re either sleep-deprived because your partner is a relentless snorer, or you have unexplained bruises on your shins because YOU are the culprit.
Either way, snoring leads to poor quality sleep and other health problems, because it reduces your ability to get oxygen in to your body, which stresses your circulatory system.
What is snoring anyway?
Snoring happens when air is constricted through your nose and mouth during sleep, mainly from the narrowing of your airways, poor sleep posture and/or abnormalities to the soft tissues in your throat.
Can we actually prevent snoring?
In many cases you can, so no need to permanently set up residence in that spare bedroom just yet. Here they are:
Sleep on your back
While sleeping on your back is the healthiest position for your spine and joints, it’s actually the position most likely to cause snoring. The tongue falls backwards into the throat and partially restricts the air passages, so the soft tissue is more likely to vibrate as air passes through. Sleeping on your side will have a positive effect on most snorers. Make sure you have a good pillow, such as a Tempur memory foam pillow, which molds to your sleeping position while still supporting your neck and head, since anything that affects the alignment of your air passages may increase your snoring.
If you’re overweight, extra fatty tissue around the throat can cause the surrounding tissue to sag, preventing air flowing smoothly through. This seems to be more prevalent in men who are more likely to store extra fat around the neck.
Ease up on the alcohol and other relaxants
Anything that sedates the central nervous system and increases the relaxation of muscles in the throat, will contribute to snoring, as the muscle tone in the upper airways decreases during sleep. Try to avoid drinking 3-4 hours prior to sleep.
Clear your nose
Sometimes snoring is caused by blocked nasal passages due to allergies or sinusitis. Inflammation in the nasal passages will definitely contribute to snoring, not to mention poor quality breathing in general. Check with your doctor if this is the case as you could benefit from antihistamines or nasal sprays.
Smoking dries out nasal mucus and irritates the membranes in the nose and throat. Those membranes get enlarged and can partially block your airways. Yet another reason to quit!
When all else fails…
Make sure your snoring isn’t the result of a more serious condition, such as enlarged adenoids or other structural problems in the nose, which can be corrected via surgery. Persistent snoring can also be a sign of sleep apnoea, when breathing is disrupted for seconds or minutes, and starts again with a loud snort or choke. It’s potentially life-threatening and requires medical treatment so be sure to check with your doctor.