Snoring is something that affects a lot of people – up to 50% of us, in fact. It’s harmless enough, but can lead to sleepless nights and restlessness for many – well, those who have to listen to it, anyway! If you’ve been suffering here are some ways that may well help you to stop snoring, hopefully for good.
What is snoring?
Snoring is a vibration of the soft palate and other tissue in the mouth, nose and throat, caused by turbulence in the airway due to a partial blockage of some kind. The sound you make when snoring actually changes depending on the type of soft tissue that’s vibrating – the tissue at the back of your nose produces a quieter, pinched nasal sound, whilst the soft tissue at the back of your throat produces the louder volumes of snoring. Most people who snore do so after about 90 minutes, during the deeper stages of sleep, and it’s most common in those who sleep on their back.
So, how can you stop snoring? Well, it can’t be cured in the vast majority of cases – only managed – but there are some ways to reduce the chances of it happening.
Maintain a healthy weight and diet
Health and lifestyle can have a big impact on snoring, and those who are overweight tend to snore more often. This is because fatty tissue around the neck can squeeze the airway and disrupt the air flow, leading to the turbulence that makes the soft tissue vibrate.
Quit smoking to stop snoring
It’s no secret that stopping smoking will help improve your general health in a number of ways, but it could also help you stop snoring. Cigarette smoke can irritate the lining of the throat, causing swelling and the build-up of catarrh, which can hinder the passage of air through your throat and nasal cavity.
Avoid alcohol before bed
Many of us have probably noticed that we tend to snore more when we’ve had a drink or two before bed. This is because alcohol causes the muscles in the throat to relax more than normal, and this reduced rigidity in the muscles means the air flow is more likely to be disrupted, and the soft palate is more likely to vibrate.
Here are some other reasons why alcohol before bed is a bad idea.
Sleep on your side rather than your back
Those who sleep on their back are more prone to snoring. Therefore, sleeping on your side instead could help reduce the chance of it happening. Sleeping on your back can make you snore because your chin, tongue and any fatty neck tissue can press down on your airway, disrupting airflow.
As with most health ailments, technology can play a part in managing them. For example, the Good Morning Snore Solution is a mouth guard that you wear whilst you sleep. It aims to pull the tongue gently forward, allowing air to pass through the throat more easily. You may also want to try nasal strips that are stuck over the bridge of the nose and can apparently help to widen the nasal passages to improve airflow.
Change your pillow
Pillows, much like any of your bedding, can easily gather dust and pathogens if they’re old, which can lead to throat irritation and swelling, again reducing the capacity to breathe effectively. Therefore you should think about changing your pillows every two years to ensure they’re kept fresh. You could also try shaking them outside and washing them every now and again to clean them and rid them of potential irritants.
This might sound drastic, but some people suffer from severe bouts of snoring due to medical reasons, in which case surgery may be necessary to correct it. For example, those who have enlarged adenoids at the back of the nose may need surgery to remove them or reduce their size, in order to improve air flow through their throat and nasal passages. For many, this would probably be a last resort.
Do you or someone in your household snore? If so, then hopefully these tips can help you all get a more peaceful night’s sleep.