When it comes to snoring, men are the worst offenders, but not by much, says the Australian Sleep Health Foundation.
On average, 40 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women snore moderately every night. The likelihood of snoring increases when people get to middle age, and/or are moderately overweight. Drinking four or fewer hours before bedtime will also relax throat muscles and increase snoring, something many have worked out by experience!
If you have a partner that meets the above criteria and would like to try some snoring solutions (without paying for expensive medications or surgery), here’s some of the best tricks to try:
1. Wear flight socks
Flight socks are special pressure socks that are usually worn on planes. They reduce fluid build-up at the bottom of the legs that’s caused by the lower atmospheric pressure within the plane’s cabin. These socks also help to reduce the chance of developing blood clots, and can be bought from pharmacies.
The connection between flight socks and their effectiveness against obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) comes from research out of the University of Toronto. The study found that men who wore flight socks in the daytime had an average of half the OSA-related sleep disruptions at night than the men who didn’t. That’s because at night the fluid built up during the day moves upward when you’re lying down, settling around the neck, and helping worsening OSA. Less fluid-build up equals less snoring!
2. Meal time
There is evidence to suggest that your dinner can affect your snoring.
Aside from smoking, which is another snoring risk factor, having a big meal two hours before you hit the hay can put pressure on the back of your lungs, making each breath shallower. You’ll breath in and out faster than usual, resulting in more air going in and out of your mouth, making snoring more likely.
3. Singing lessons
A theory exists that by taking special singing lessons, unused muscles at the top of your throat can be trained, tightening them up and cutting down on snoring.
A program called Singing for Snorers was designed to “reduce snoring by toning lax muscles in the upper throat” and the program’s creator claims to have received positive feedback. It may sound silly to some, but if you or your partner’s snoring is really bad, this could be a cheaper alternative then going under the knife!
4. Buy new pillows
Allergies are a big cause of snoring – with your nasal passages obstructed, you’re forced to breathe through your mouth, making you snore. One of the most common allergies is to dust mites, so if that’s you, then it may be time to change your pillow.
Dust mites thrive in old pillows and the mouth-breathing your allergy forces you to do in your sleep means you’re sucking in even more of the allergen every night, causing a vicious circle of allergy-snoring-allergy.
5. Tennis ball
Sleeping on your back is one of the main causes of snoring. Your tongue has nowhere else to go except the back of your throat as you sleep, which disrupts the airways and increases the volume of your snoring significantly.
One solution people have come up with is to attach a tennis ball to the back of a T-shirt, making it uncomfortable to sleep on your back which forces you to sleep on your side. Doing this for a number of weeks should eventually make sleeping on your side feel more natural.