Why Do We Snore and How to Stop Snoring?
Over the years you are bound to have come across somebody who snores of a night-time or maybe you are the snorer but what we don’t really know is why we snore and how to stop snoring? We may blame our snoring on family genes or because we were really tired but the truth of it is that many of us just don’t know the reason behind snoring.
Snoring can be a fairly embarrassing condition to have but it turns out that around 40% of us suffer from it so you are not alone! Snoring usually causes for no concern but there may be an underlying problem which snoring is covering up such as sleep apnoea. If your snoring is affecting you or your partner on a regular basis and you often wake up feeling tired or with headaches then contact your doctor and they will be able to assess you to see if there is a more serious underlying condition.
Why Do We Snore?
Snoring can cause a lot of problems within work and home relationships. Because it is such a frustrating condition, especially for those who have to sleep next to someone who does snore, understanding the reasons behind why we snore is vital to acknowledge what might be causing it.
In layman’s terms, snoring is caused by the muscles in the airways relaxing too much or becoming obstructed. This causes the roof of your mouth to vibrate and thus you snore. What makes our airways become too relaxed or blocked when we sleep? Reasons why you may be snoring include:
- Being overweight
- Alcohol consumption before bedtime or considerable amounts of alcohol consumption
- Taking sedating medications such as sleeping pills or antihistamines
- Sleeping on your back
Tips to Stop Snoring
Now that we’ve established what could be causing the problem we can now come up with some quick solutions to stop snoring. Many people think that snoring is a lifelong condition which has no cure, this is incorrect and thankfully for some, it can be easily resolved. Here’s our top tips to stop snoring.
Lose a Little Weight
Snoring is probably worst for those who are overweight. The muscles in the airways can become blocked with a build-up of fatty tissue causing the loud and persistent snoring. Snoring is often significantly more dangerous for those who are overweight.
The blocked airways can lead to other sleep conditions such as sleep apnoea which can make the snorer stop breathing for anywhere up to two minutes. Sleep apnoea is a serious and dangerous sleep condition which can leave you feeling very tired throughout the day, waking up during the night because your airways are blocked and choking.
All of this can be avoided by trimming down a little. The NHS advise that adults aged between 19-64 should spend at least 2 hours 30 minutes exercising each week which works out at just over 20 minutes a day. You don’t need to start running marathons straight away, begin with simple exercising such as walking the dog or swimming and build yourself up until you are at a comfortable level. Over time you’ll notice that your quality of sleep is improving and your snoring is reducing and you may even stop snoring!
Reduce Alcohol Intake
The current Drink Aware guidelines advise that an adult should consume no more than 14 units of alcohol every week. If you find that you are drinking more than this may lead to snoring. Snoring is often brought on after a big day or night of excessive drinking. Cutting down on alcohol is often associated with no longer partaking in social events however this doesn’t have to be the case.
Drink Aware have a very informative website which details ways in which you can begin to cut down on your alcohol intake. Instead of cancelling your weekend plans, try these easy alternatives reduce your drinking in social and home situations. Try an alcohol free night out by switching your wine for a soft drink. Many bars now have a mocktail list (non-alcoholic cocktails) for those who choose not to drink.
If you find yourself indulging in a couple of glasses of wine every evening then try designating a couple of alcohol free days. After a stressful day of work, a glass of wine may feel better in the short run but in the longer scheme of things, that glass could end up interrupting your sleep causing you to feel tired and even more stressed the next day. Other easy alternatives include low alcohol drinks and dinner only drinking. For the full list of easy alternatives and advice on drinking, visit the Drink Aware website.
Create a Healthy Sleep Environment
Your sleeping surface including you mattress, pillows and even your bedroom could be causing you to snore during the night. Allergies are one of the biggest causes for snoring. People may be affected by allergens in the bedroom due to pets sleeping in the same room, pet hairs on bedding and dust mites within your mattress.
To create a healthy sleeping environment there are a couple of things which you can do including removing pets from the bedroom. Pets should not be kept in the bedroom if you are prone to allergies, simply place your pets in the hall or another area of your house and you’ll notice that your sleeping improves dramatically straight away.
Dust mites are another leading problem which can cause snoring. Regular washing of bedding will stop snoring. Alternatively, if you’ve had your mattress for a long time then simply washing your bedding may not be enough. A mattress should only last you 7 to 8 years so if your mattress has expired then opt for a Memory Foam Mattress. The unique construction of Memory Foam Mattresses makes it impossible for dust mites to live and breed within.
A pillow which is too soft or large can also cause snoring. Switching a traditional pillow for a Contour Memory Foam Pillow will protect you from allergens from dust mites as all Memory Foam products are 100% hypo-allergenic and have anti-bacterial properties. A Contour Memory Foam Pillow contours to support and cradle your head and neck. This is fantastic to use as an aid to stop snoring as your neck and head remains supports which reduces your airways from becoming blocked during the night.
If you or your partner is trying to stop snoring and none of these solutions have seemed to help then contact your local GP and ask for some professional advice as there may be a more serious underlying condition.