According to a sleep study, around 54% of British men snore. Snoring is typically can be a real nuisance especially for anyone who happens to be sleeping next to you. Here we look at what happens when you snore, the reasons for snoring and some tips to prevent snoring.
Snoring can be hugely embarrassing and affect the sleep and health of anyone sleeping close to you. Snoring can also be an indication of a more serious health problem such as high blood pressure, heart disease or sleep apnea so it is important to understand your reasons for snoring so that you can do something about it. If you suspect that you may have sleep apnea then it is important to seek medical advice from a medical expert or snoring specialist as they can assess you and carry out the relevant sleep apnea test.
What causes snoring?
Snoring occurs when your airways do not allow air to flow through the passageways around your mouth, nose and throat. Restricted airflow causes the soft palate in your mouth or uvula (part of the palate in your throat) to vibrate behind the base of your tongue or against the back of your throat. These vibrations cause the air passageways to open and close at a higher frequency than usual making inhaling more difficult.
Despite having larger airways, men are more than twice as likely to snore as women. In part this is due to the fact that male voice boxes are lower down in their neck leaving space in their throat for their tongue to fall back into.
What are the common snoring symptoms?
Besides being kicked, hit or woken up repeatedly by anyone who is happening to be sleeping next to you or nearby, common symptoms of snoring include:
- Waking up with a dry mouth or headache
- Waking up tired or feeling tired during the day even after a full night’s sleep
- Waking up suddenly during the night for no apparent reason
- Gasping, choking or coughing during sleep
- Increase in dental cavities, tooth wear and inflamed or receding gums due to grinding
12 tips to stop snoring
Here are our 12 top tips to stop snoring today which you can implement right away.
1. Maintain a healthy weight
Firstly, one of our most important tips to prevent snoring is to maintain a healthy weight by exercising regularly and eating a healthy balanced diet. Being slightly overweight - even by just a few kilograms - can cause snoring. Excess weight increases the bulkiness of the fatty tissues around your neck and throat, restricting the flow of air. For help on shedding excessive weight you could consider arranging an appointment with a dietician.
2. Sleep on your side
The second of our tips to prevent snoring is to avoid sleeping on your back as this can restrict airflow by causing your tongue to roll down backwards, and your chin or any excess tissue to relax. Making the simple decision to sleep on your side instead of your back can prevent this. To keep your airways open it is also advisable to use a pillow which keeps your neck and spine aligned.
3. Quit smoking
Cigarette smoke causes irritation to the lining of your mouth, nose and throat. This may lead to swelling and catarrh which is essentially the build up of mucus. Both of these decrease the flow of air and increase the chances of you snoring.
4. Avoid alcohol before bed
Don’t drink alcohol in the two to three hour period before you sleep. Alcohol works as a relaxant and causes the muscles around your throat and neck to relax, obstructing your airway.
5. Avoid eating before bed
Eating anything substantial too close to bed can cause snoring because digestion relaxes the tissues around your mouth and throat to relax. If you simply have to eat, avoid foods rich in tyrosine such as cheese, red wine, yogurt, milk, cream, processed meats, potatoes, spinach and aubergine. Tyrosine stimulates the release of dopamine and adrenaline which may boost your mind and alertness.
6. Increase humidity in your room
A humidifier can help keep the air in your room moist preventing your mucous membranes from becoming dry and swollen. This is often linked to causing the characteristic rattling snoring sound associated with loud snoring.
7. Stay hydrated
Another great trick to stop snoring is to stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This reduces the chances of having a dry mouth and making your snoring even louder.
8. Avoid certain medications before bed
Avoid taking medications before sleep which have a sedative effect. These may cause the muscles around your neck and throat to relax too, restricting air flow.
9. Keep your nose clear
By keeping your nose clear you should be able to breathe through your nostrils instead of your mouth. There are several ways in which this can be done but the most common are using nasal strips, nasal dilators, nasal rinses or nasal decongestants. All of these help increase the size of your nasal passage enabling more air to be breathed through your nose.
10. Treat allergies
Allergies can force you to breathe through your mouth instead of your nose, increasing the chances of you snoring. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you feel that you have any allergies that may be affecting your sleep. They may be able to suggest a non-medical solution such as an air filter or alternatively prescribe a medication which can help to reduce the effects.
11. Avoid spicy foods
Spicy foods are acidic and the resulting acid reflux or indigestion may cause undigested food particles to travel back up through your airway. This is more pronounced when you are lying down sleeping and it may cause blockages to your airways making you snore.
12. Elevate your head
Our final tip to prevent snoring is elevating your head by raising the head of your bed or having an extra pillow which can take pressure off your airways. This will keep them open and increase the airflow.
Sleep studies have shown that snoring is a very common problem in adults especially amongst men. There are various reasons for snoring and many ways and tricks to stop snoring without having to necessarily see a doctor.
If you have tried all of these tips to stop snoring and your problem still persists then it is recommended that you seek medical advice. Your doctor or snoring specialist can do further investigations to understand what causes snoring when you sleep. They should then be able to carry out further tests including a sleep apnea test if necessary and provide advice on how to not snore when sleeping.
Getting seen is especially important because excessive snoring may be the sign of a more serious problem such as sleep apnea which can lead to several negative health consequences if not treated in a timely manner.
This article was created for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the views of For Chaps Ltd. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.