You might be one of almost half the adult population that snores, and if you don’t snore then changes are you know someone who does.
That snorting and rattling sound made by the vibration of the airway tissue at the back of your mouth, nose and throat during sleep is enough to send you (and your fellow sleepers) mad. It can cause sleep disturbances through the night and lead to excessive sleepiness during the day, reduced mental function, emotional upset and relationship issues.
Severe snoring can be an early warning sign to obstructive sleep apnoea, so it’s important to understand the type of snorer.
Before you head off for medical intervention there are some natural solutions and lifestyle changes that might help stop the snoring.
If the air around you is overly dry it can cause you to snore because it makes the throat and nasal membranes dry, which generates congestion. A humidifier can help because it increases the level of moisture in the air and creates better conditions for your body and allows for better breathing.
When you have a big meal late in the evening, the process of having to digest that food causes your throat and tongue muscles to relax. Also, food in your stomach can push against your diaphragm and this can affect your breathing rhythm, which can lead to snoring.
If for some reason you do end up eating late, maybe steer clear of dairy products. Milk, cheese and other dairy products are known to trigger the production of mucus in the throat and excess mucus will restrict your nasal airways.
Easier said than done — we know — but being overweight (or having a large neck circumference, greater than 16 inches) increases the risk of fat pushing down on the throat and worsening snoring. By starting an exercise program and losing some weight you might find your snoring might reduce significantly.
Alcohol relaxes the muscles at the back of your throat, making it more likely that you’ll snore. If you drink booze before bedtime, even four or five hours before, you could make that snoring a whole lot worse!
When you drink water, you are keeping the secretions in your nose and soft palate firm, which can reduce the amount of snoring. If you aren’t hitting the daily recommended number of glasses (between eight and 10) you might want to look at upping your intake.
In addition to being a major health risk and a cause of cancer, smoking causes the walls of your airways to retain fluid and swell. When the airways narrow, your snoring gets worse. Snore Australia says that smokers are four to five times more likely than non-smokers to suffer from snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea.
A hot shower before bed is one way of helping to open your nasal passages.
However, if you know you suffer from some form of nasal collapse, you might want to use an adhesive nasal dilator strip that is placed over the outside of your nose to help keep the airways open and limit the amount of snoring you do.