Ahead of National Stop Snoring Week – which begins on 23 April 2012 perhaps it’s probably time to dispel some of the myths surrounding snoring and look at how to get to the bottom of a real problem which affects around 40% of the UK population at one time or another.
Firstly you should try out the basic ways to stop Snoring
It’s true that shedding some of that excess weight, ditching cigarettes and alcohol and reducing the consumption of spicy foods and dairy products can all lower the likelihood of a person snoring. Investing in a good pillow that is not too large, not too soft and getting rid of any second pillow may also help, as will trying to sleep on your side rather than on your back. However, just how far these simple diet and lifestyle changes will go will really depend on the seriousness of the problem, and without getting to the real root of the problem, you will never banish snoring for good.
You also need to rule out sleep apnoea.
Sleep apnoea is a disorder where people stop breathing periodically when they sleep; a condition that affects around three million people in Britain, with many more undiagnosed cases. In the most severe cases the sufferer can stop breathing 30 times or more in an hour, with each pause lasting several seconds or even a few minutes.
Research released this week revealed that people with snoring-related apnoea are more likely to develop deep vein thrombosis. While there is no known cure for sleep apnoea, it should always be brought to the attention of your GP as the condition can be managed and controlled. It might be as simple as wearing a simple mouthpiece to help your breathing at night. There is then the more complex treatment using a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device that the NHS is able to provide. This latter method doesn’t suit everyone as they find it really dries the throat.
Dig a little deeper and take good advice
Making sure that you consult your GP if you have a problem with snoring is a good first step. The reason why snoring occurs varies and until you know and understand the ‘category’ of snorer that you are, any treatment you invest in may prove to be simply a waste of money.
They will advise you to try simple, cost-effective, and medically recommended routes first. They’re simple to obtain and inexpensive to try. A good mouthpiece, or mandibular splint such as the sleepPro Standard will only cost you around £30 – and that could be the end of the snoring problem – and for many people it is.
If you need more specialist advice, an ENT specialist will be able to tell you whether you fall into the nose, throat, palate or a ‘combination’ snoring category. You will then be in a better position to manage and treat the symptoms. Effective diagnosis will also stop you from investing money in the vast range of over-the-counter products that are probably quite inappropriate for your condition.
Keep it simple and stay with the proven and medically approved route. Take advice from your GP or Dentist and adjust your lifestyle. Try the type of mouthpiece recommended by the NHS. If all that fails then there are the more complex and expensive solutions of CPAP or Surgery.
By John Redfern
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