New research shows the impact of mouth breathing as a cause of snoring

If you sleep on your back, then you are more likely to snore than if you sleep on your side because of the effects of gravity on the upper airway. Basically, the tongue and soft palate fall back into the throat, narrowing the airway.

Alternatively if you usually sleep through the night with your mouth open, you probably snore just as much – but for different reasons.

Overweight Man Asleep In Bed Snoring

If this is the case a stop snoring oral appliance is the most beneficial way to prevent the problem. These are mouthpieces that are worn at night to hold the lower jaw and tongue forward, making more space to breathe.

However if you’ve been a heavy snorer for some time, there may have been damage to the nerves and muscles of the upper airway meaning that they’re more prone to collapse. This restricts the airway and vibrates the tissue of the tongue, causing it to block the airway and preventing you from breathing. This is called obstructive sleep apnoea, a condition that leads to interrupted breathing during sleep, and ­literally means “without breath”.

It affects around 4% of middle-aged men and 2% of middle-aged women, and studies indicate that 60% of those over 65 have OSA. Those affected stop breathing for periods of 10 seconds or more before waking with a loud snore or snort as the brain registers a lack of oxygen. Special oral appliances can be used to prevent this, or even to reverse it, and can be used by the majority of sufferers who have it in mild or moderate form. Chronic sufferers need special medical help. However, if it is left untreated, it can increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and even heart attack or stroke.

When we breathe in through the nose, air passes over the curved part of the soft palate in a gentle flow into the throat without creating unnecessary turbulence. When we breathe in through the mouth however, air hits the back of the throat ‘full on’ creating ­enormous vibrations in the soft tissue.

The most effective and reliable solution is a Chin Support Strap which, when worn at night, will help you to breathe through your nose.

A new online survey of American adults in February 2015 showed that a massive 61% of respondents identify themselves as mouth breathers, and when partners are taken into account it shows that 71% of beds are host to at least one mouth breather.

The most common signs of mouth breathing reported were being awoken by nasal congestion (75%) waking up dry-mouthed (61%) and snoring (37%).

The survey found that mouth breathing impacts the quality of sleep (64%) nearly as much as stress (69%). Mouth breathing impacts sleep more than a partner’s snoring (53%), noise (52%), and an irregular sleep schedule (51%).

Poor sleep can have a dramatic impact on energy, concentration and mood the next day and often can affect the sleep of a bed partner. The majority of respondents believe their (76%) or their partner’s (63%) mouth breathing has had a significant negative impact on how well they slept and according to the survey, more than 6 in 10 discussed the mouth-breathing problem with their partner.

Additional survey findings include:

  • Of mouth breathers surveyed, 54% reported they did not get a good night’s sleep the night before.
  • 56% reported they wake up at least two times each night due to mouth breathing.
  • Nearly three-quarters of participants who share a bed with a mouth breather said they are woken up at least once per night by their partner’s mouth breathing.
  • 59% of respondents sleep next to a mouth breather and 47% believe it impacts their ability to get a good night’s sleep.

If it’s you, or your sleep partner, try out a comfortable and problem-solving Chin Support Strap and wake up as fresh as a daisy after undisturbed sleep.

John Redfern