Have you ever laid awake all night in bed, kept up by the relentless snoring of your partner? Or perhaps you’ve woken up to have your partner complain about your loud snoring – while you were completely unaware it was taking place?
You’re not alone. It turns out 24% of men and 14% of women snore regularly.
In most cases, snoring is not dangerous – just incredibly irritating for the partner of the snorer and for those sleeping nearby. Usually, the snoring person has no idea they’re being so noisy, especially if their sleep is not disturbed. Their partners, on the other hand, are more likely to be kept awake – and are at risk of serious sleep deprivation.
Snoring occurs when the muscles in the airway relax too much that the airway becomes narrow, causing passing air to cause vibrations. According to research, most of us snore at some stage or other in our lives. Snoring can often be a sign of a more serious health problem, like sleep apnoea, having respiratory issues, or being overweight. Our chances of snoring increase with age.
What causes snoring?
- Being overweight: carrying excess weight around your neck can contribute to snoring, as too much fat around the airways causes them to compress.
- Drinking alcohol: some people only snore when they fall asleep after drinking alcohol. The sedative effect of alcohol can depress the jaw – in other words, causing it to relax so much that the airway becomes blocked.
- Taking muscle relaxants: in a similar nature to the point above, medications that relax the muscles often leave your airways at risk of compressing, making it more likely that you will snore.
- Smoking: smoking irritates the membranes and tissues in the nose and mouth, which can contribute to snoring.
- Having a blocked nose or the flu.
- Sleeping on your back: sleeping on your back can cause blockage of the airways, which causes snoring in many people.
- Having a broken nose reduces your ability to breathe through your nose, likely causing you to snore.
What can be done to stop snoring?
When it comes to how to stop someone from snoring, there is no perfect answer. However, many things can be done to help with snoring.
Here are some things that will increase your chances of being able to stop snoring (or at least reduce it)
- Losing weight
- Decreasing your alcohol intake
- Quitting smoking
- Exercising more frequently to strengthen your respiratory system and aid weight loss.
- Change your sleeping position (if you are a back sleeper, consider sleeping on your side instead, to open up the airways!)
- Don’t eat right before bed. It is recommended you leave 2 to 3 hours before your last meal and bedtime, to allow enough time for digestion, and to lessen the chances of heartburn.
Sleep apnoea and snoring
In some cases, snoring is the sign of something dangerous like sleep apnoea. Obstructive sleep apnoea is a condition where a person’s airways become blocked in their sleep, leading them to stops breathing for periods of time. It is very dangerous. If you or your partner’s snores are accompanied by episodes of non-breathing and gasping, make sure you seek help from a medical professional.
Tips for sleeping next to a snorer
Quality sleep is essential to your physical and mental wellbeing, and sleep deprivation can have disastrous effects on your mental health. For these reasons, it is important to have some backup tactics for those nights when you are being kept awake by the sound of snoring.
- Invest in a good set of earplugs
- Use a fan, or white noise machine, to drown out the noise
Have you tried an adjustable bed base?
A.H. Beard offers a range of adjustable beds that can be customised to the individual sleeper to help alleviate snoring. For example, the top half of the bed can be raised independently of the rest of the bed. Lifting your head slightly helps open the airways, which can help reduce snoring and ease symptoms of acid reflux.
It’s also important to create a peaceful sleeping environment that will encourage you to fall asleep and stay asleep (possibly even through your partner’s snoring!)