What causes snoring and what can I do about it?

Most people are likely to snore at certain times in their lives but it’s still important to understand why it’s happening and what treatments are available. Even if your snoring doesn’t keep you awake personally every night, your sleeping partner is likely to end up less than impressed – and feeling pretty tired.

Snoring can be due to a range of factors, such as whether the snorer is overweight, has a cold, sleeps on their back or has been drinking alcohol (all of which increase the likelihood of a noisy night). The good news is there are many things you can do to minimise snoring, many of which are very simple, quick and effective.

Lose a few pounds

Not money – weight! If your BMI is too high, losing weight through good diet and exercise is likely to reduce snoring significantly. This is because snoring happens due to a narrowing of your airways whilst you’re asleep. When you carry too many extra pounds, the weight around your neck and throat presses down on your airway which leads to this narrowing.

Change your sleeping position

If you regularly sleep on your back, it might be time to switch to your side or your front. This is because when you sleep on your back, your tongue flops backwards and can partially block your throat. This in turn restricts air flow. As an alternative, if your mattress is adjustable, try elevating the head of your bed to a semi-seated position to position your head and neck higher. Whatever you do, always make sure your airways are totally clear. Read about the different sleeping positions here.

Avoid alcohol before bed

Whilst alcohol can make you feel drowsy, it actually reduces your sleep quality plus it relaxes your throat muscles which will make snoring worse. You may also find you wake up needing the bathroom a lot in the night due to excess fluid, leaving you exhausted the next day.

Watch your medication

Certain over the counter and prescription drugs can cause snoring as well as have other side effects that affect the quality of your sleep. Sedatives and some sleeping pills in particular can relax the muscles in your throat in the same way as alcohol does, so making snoring worse.

Get some exercise

Exercise can help with weight loss but even if you’re not overweight, exercising regularly aids restful sleep and reduces snoring. Exercise also boosts muscle tone, helping your throat and soft palate to retain their shape as you sleep.

Stop smoking

Everyone knows smoking is bad for you, but did you know it’s actually bad for your sleep too? Smoking can lead to insomnia, snoring and sleep apnea, and the more you smoke, the louder and deeper your snoring will be.

Change your eating habits

Stay away from large meals eaten later at night, particularly if they are very sugary or fatty. These can play havoc with your digestion and make it very hard to nod off.

If you are a snorer, it’s recommended you steer clear of dairy in particular. This is because products containing milk, cheese and cream can leave a layer of mucus which coats your airways making snoring worse.

Stay hydrated

The recommended amount of fluid an adult should drink every day is two litres, and drinking plenty of water brings numerous benefits for both mind and body. If you’re dehydrated, mucus is more likely to collect in your throat and mouth which in turn can block your airways and make you snore.

Have a warm shower or bath before bed

Warmth is brilliant for opening up your airways which helps reduce snoring. As the water evaporates off your skin, the temperature of it will decrease and tell your brain it’s time for bed.

A humidifier in your room can also boost the amount of moisture in the air, helping to reduce congestion in your airway and making breathing easier.

Try some anti-snoring pillows

Anti-snoring pillows are specially designed to keep your airways open as you rest. They aid peaceful sleep without snoring by aligning your neck, jaw and throat, as well as your spine.

The Kally Anti-Snore Pillow in particular has been found to reduce the volume and frequency of snoring by around 60%. Its ergonomic S-shape design and hollowfibre inner supports your head and neck for a peaceful night’s rest.

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