Last updated on August 16th, 2023 at 12:48 pm
Snoring – it’s probably one of the most annoying things to contend with as you try to drift off at night. Sleeping next to somebody who snores can prevent you from actually falling asleep, leading to frustration and tiredness. In order to try and combat some of that frustration, we’re sharing everything you need to know about snoring: being informed on the matter might help!
What is snoring?
This is a rumbling or snorting sound that occurs when somebody is asleep; it happens because the soft tissue in your nose and throat flutters as you breathe, vibrating with the air that flows through it. Most people will snore from time to time, especially if they have a cold or have been drinking alcohol in the evening. However, for some people, it’s much more of a chronic problem – and it’s not just the snorer themselves that suffers.
What causes snoring?
As mentioned, being drunk or full of cold can cause you to snore intermittently. There are various other common causes, though. Some of these include:
- Being overweight: Excessive weight can contribute to snoring by increasing the amount of fatty tissue around the neck and throat. This can put pressure on the airway, causing it to narrow and resulting in snoring.
- Taking sedatives or heavy sleeping medication: The consumption of sedatives can relax the muscles in the throat and tongue, leading to increased snoring. These substances can contribute to further airway obstruction during sleep.
- Sleeping position: Sleeping on your back can increase the likelihood of snoring. In this position, the tongue and soft tissues in the throat may collapse backwards, partially blocking the airway and causing snoring.
- Old age: As individuals age, the throat muscles may become weaker and lose their tone. This can increase the likelihood of snoring. Additionally, genetic factors can influence the anatomy of the airway, making some individuals more prone to snoring.
- Sleep Apnea: Snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea is often accompanied by loud snoring and can have serious health implications if left untreated.
- Smoking: Smoking irritates the airways and causes inflammation, which can lead to snoring. The toxins in cigarette smoke can also damage the respiratory system and contribute to the development of various breathing disorders, including snoring.
What are the risks associated with snoring?
While snoring in itself is an issue, it can also lead to problems further down the line. The annoying habit has actually been found to have increased the risk of health problems such as a stroke; snoring increases the risk of carotid atherosclerosis, which is where arteries in the neck narrow due to a fatty deposit known as plaque. This can then cause you to have a stroke.
The issue can also cause an irregular heartbeat, known as an arrhythmia. Further down the line, arrhythmias can lead to a lack of blood flow to other organs – this impacts the way you’re able to function.
How does snoring impact your partner?
If you share a bed with somebody and you snore, you’re likely used to them nudging you or trying to roll you over – and complaining in the morning about you keeping them up all night! While you might feel a bit put out by this, because it technically isn’t your fault, it really is worth remembering how much snoring can impact your partner.
Research suggests that those who share a bed with a snorer wake up on average 21 times during the night. This frequent interruption means they are not getting a good night’s sleep, meaning they are tired the following day and are unable to reap the benefits of a full night of slumber. It can also lead to depression, increased blood pressure, and a lack of focus.
Snoring also has a big impact on the happiness of your relationship. From arguments to deciding to sleep in separate rooms, this problematic noise can really take a toll on you and your partner. In the US, snoring is actually the third most common cause of divorce after infidelity and financial issues!
How can you prevent or stop snoring?
From being mildly annoying to downright harmful, snoring affects people differently. There are a variety of ways in which you can help prevent the issue, leading to a better night’s sleep for you and whoever you share your bed with.
The first way to help yourself stop snoring is to make small lifestyle changes and see if this improves matters. Some things to try are:
- Quit smoking
- Cut down on alcohol
- Avoid sedatives or heavy sleeping medication
- Try to sleep on your side
- Lose weight
There is also a range of products you can buy over the counter to help prevent the problem. These include:
- Nasal strips
- Mouth pieces
- Nose clips
- Purifying nose plugs
- Chin straps
They are designed to be comfortable and help you stop snoring without causing pain or discomfort. You should also ensure you have a comfortable mattress which limits motion transfer, such as the Panda London Bamboo Hybrid Mattress – with 1,500 springs to isolate movements and ensure your body is aligned, it is the perfect option to encourage a comfortable night’s sleep with less disturbance! Pair this with a pillow that properly supports your neck and head, and you should be able to breathe much easier as you snooze.
If your chronic snoring doesn’t go away with lifestyle changes and over the counter purchases, then it might be time to consider medical help. While not particularly common or accessible, there are a few different surgeries which can be done to help you…
- A reconstructive surgery to stabilise the structure of the back of your throat
- Nerve implantation surgery which stimulates the tongue to contract and move to help you breathe easier
- Nasal obstruction removal surgery, which increases airflow through the nose
Of course these surgeries are a last resort, and should be thoroughly researched and considered.
Some more reading
If you want to know even more about snoring, here are a few things you might find interesting!