A long day spent at work or home with the kids can leave you desperately longing for a good night’s rest. For chronic snorers and their bedfellows, though, falling and staying asleep isn’t so simple. In fact, what could seem like a harmless annoyance can have surprising consequences that extend beyond bedtime. Luckily, sleep experts like SleepPro know what causes snoring and how to put an end to it.
Read on for the key facts on the connection of snoring to our everyday life – and how to get rid of it from yours.
1. It can complicate a couple’s relationship
That recent argument with your spouse could be a result of sleep deprivation from his or perhaps your snoring. The National Sleep Foundation found that more than one-third of respondents felt their partner’s sleep disorder caused relationship problems. “Severe snoring markedly disturbs the partner’s sleep, causing irritability, anger and depression.”
Talk to the guy keeping you awake at night. Calmly express concern not just for your wellbeing but also his. And if you’re the culprit, don’t write off your loved one’s worries.
2. It may signal other health problems
Do you or your hubby make loud gasping sounds while you sleep? It could be sleep apnoea, a disorder in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly at night, which is connected to heart disease, hypertension and diabetes, especially when undiagnosed. Even without sleep apnoea, a snorer could have an elevated stroke risk, according to new research from the USA.
If you snore and experience daytime sleepiness and memory problems make sure that you see a doctor.
3. Being overweight has been tied to increased snoring
As you gain weight, the muscles inside your neck get thicker, narrowing the airway, As the airway closes, the tissues become more likely to vibrate against one another, causing that dreaded sound.
Shedding 10% of your body weight could drastically improve the situation, and losing just 10 pounds can really help you.
4. What you consume before bed can make snoring worse
Head home from happy hour at least four hours before you hit the hay. Alcohol relaxes the central nervous system, forcing our bodies to work harder to breathe during sleep. When all the tissue and muscle around a throat relaxes, there’s a greater chance for airway collapse.
More things to avoid at bedtime: sleeping pills and other medications that are known to cause muscle relaxation – and either heavy or very spicy meals, particularly if you have acid reflux, since they can flare up irritating fluid in the throat.
5. Your allergies may be a trigger
Breathing in allergens, like pollen and pet dander, sets off swelling in your nose and throat tissues. As the tissues come under increased contact, the airway is likely to close, especially at bedtime. Our body’s ability to compensate for allergens while we’re sleeping is not the same as when we’re awake.
Thankfully, clearing up allergies is easy, from using a prescribed steroid nasal spray to non-sedating antihistamines to allergy shots.
6. Smoking can make matters worse
Yet another reason to kick butt: a study found that past and current smokers are more likely to snore regularly than non-smokers. Cigarette smoke is a hot irritant, which causes swelling of the soft tissues. Because smokers are prone to a raised level of throat inflammation and dryness, their chances are higher for tissue vibration and eventual airway collapse at night.
It’s smart to avoid smoking before bed, but it’s best to quit altogether.
7. Simple sleep tricks could make a difference
Try sleeping on your side or instead raising the head of your bed by from four to eight inches. This can counteract gravity, which causes the tongue and other tissues to fall backward and block your airway when you lie flat on your back.
Roll up several tea towels and place them in the middle of your back to keep you off it – comfortably – unlike the tennis ball technique.
8. Over-the-counter products aren’t that effective
After testing popular store-bought snoring aids, including an oral spray, nasal strips and head-positioning pillows, a study from Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery found that none significantly reduce snoring’s frequency or volume. That’s because snoring causes differ from person to person.
Ask your GP or Dentist for advice and make sure that you get help from a professional company. Look for NHS endorsed products.
9. There’s a comfortable alternative to cumbersome sleep masks
New compact oral appliances are worthy adversaries to the bulky, airblowing Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) masks, which are the traditional treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea. Instead of uncomfortable and claustrophobic air pressure masks, high quality oral appliances thrust the bottom jaw forward to prevent airway blockage during sleep, just like CPR. These devices are more portable and comfortable, making patients more likely to stick with them.
Although snoring will end quickly with a mouthpiece, severe apnoea patients should continue to track their other symptoms.
By John Redfern