Snoring happens when the flow of air through the mouth or nasal airway is obstructed which results in vibrations in the soft palate, nose or mouth.
A snore is a rattling or snorting sound when inhaling and exhaling air whilst asleep. This sleep condition is more common in men and overweight people. During the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of the sleep cycle snoring becomes louder thus can be so disturbing.
Implications of Snoring
Normally, most people will not be aware that they snore unless they are told by a (usually disgruntled) partner.
Often when a person first begins to snore it is not too loud, however, if left unchecked snoring tends to get louder over time until it is causing a real problem.
This problem not only results in interrupted sleep and daytime tiredness for the long suffering partners, but in severe cases, the snorer can actually wake themselves up!
Tips to Stop Snoring
Sleeping posture: Snoring may occur as a result of one’s sleeping position. Sleeping on your back may increase the volume and rate of snoring and turning on your side can reduce or stop snoring.
However, it is usually the sleep partner who has been woken up who gently rolls you over. There are a range of devices available that help you to sleep on your side and not your back. There are also mouth guards available that prevent the vibrations of the soft palate and mouth and nasal tissues.
Maintain Healthy weight and Diet: It is true that overweight people are more likely to snore due to having more fatty tissues (especially around the neck) coupled with poor muscle tone around the nasal area.
Following a safe weight loss programme that includes regular exercise will help immensely with snoring problems. Remember, to take it slowly but surely to ensure that the weight stays off.
Avoid or cut down on alcohol: Anybody who has suffered sharing a bed with a snorer is only too aware that alcohol seems to make the problem worse – much worse. Alcohol makes the muscles of the body more relaxed which in turn encourages the muscles at the back of the throat to collapse resulting in increased frequency and loudness of snoring.
Studies have now shown that even after a small amount of alcohol, the resulting relaxation affect raises the level of inspiratory resistance by 4 times. This means that an average person, or a snorer is four times more likely to snore after alcohol. The obvious solution is to avoid alcohol before going to bed and/or significantly cut down on alcohol. This will bring other health benefits too.
Avoid or cut down on Smoking. The lining of the nasal cavity and throat is very delicate and cigarette smoking can irritate this tissue leading to inflammation and an increased likelihood of snoring.
Stopping smoking is one of the biggest steps you can take to improve your health. Most people are aware now of the many health implications of smoking including an increased likelihood of all cancers including lung cancer and breast cancer.
A good night’s sleep for you and your loved ones is another good reason to stop smoking for good.