Is your partner’s snoring keeping you awake or sending you into another room at night?

Snoring can seriously harm relationships.  Read on to find out why people snore and how snoring can be stopped.

Why do we snore?

We can inhale air into our lungs through either our nose or our mouth.  Ideally we want to breathe in through the nose. The nose acts a filter on the air as well as warming it before it reaches the lungs. If the nose is blocked from a cold or allergies then the body will automatically breathe through the mouth instead.

 

When we sleep, if the nose is blocked or if the mouth falls open, we also breathe through the mouth.  Mouth breathing when we sleep is what leads to snoring.  During sleep our muscles are relaxed, including muscles in the throat.  This causes the airway to narrow creating disruption to the air flowing down the airway which results in the surrounding soft tissue of the soft palate and uvula to vibrate.   These vibrations are the snores that are keeping you awake.

This cutaway diagram shows the air flowing in through the nose and mouth as we inhale past the soft tissue and down the airway towards the lungs.

Some Simple Solutions to Try

Sleep position –  you are more likely to snore if you sleep on your back. This is because gravity causes the jaw and tongue to fall back compressing the airway and disrupting airflow.   Sleeping on your side can be a simple and effective treatment for snoring.    If you find you move onto your back, try putting a hard pillow or cushion behind you to prevent rolling.

Allergies – If you nose seems to be regularly blocked you might be suffering from allergies. A partially blocked nose can also lead to nose snoring with its tell-tale whistling sound.  A good spring clean of your bedroom (and sheets!) to remove dust is in order.     If this doesn’t clear the nose then wash the  salt water before going to bed. 

Why some people are more likely to snore 

Overweight – The weight of excess fat on the neck narrows the airways when lying down, especially if you are lying on your back.  If you are overweight, the best way to reduce neck fat is to lose some weight.    There are numerous guides on how to lose weight but the concept, if not the practice, is simple. Reduce the calories coming in from your food and drink while increase the calories burned from activity. Make sure you eat well and stay hydrated. No crash diets.  

A simple step you can take is to phase out sugary soft drinks. Do yourself a favour and replace them with water.   

Running is one of the best ways for shedding weight. Build up slowly, start with going for a walk if necessary, the important thing is to get active and stay active.   If you have knee or other problems that making walking difficult then try an exercise bike or swimming. The local gym can give you a joint friendly programme so don’t be deterred.   

Alcohol – It relaxes the muscles in the body, including the muscles in your throat.  This further narrows the airways disrupting airflow and creating snoring.   Try cutting down on alcohol before bedtime.

Some bodies JUST MORE made for snoring!

People bodies are different and those of us that have a large soft palate or long tonsils are more prone to snoring. Some people also have a blocked nasal passage as result of a deviated septum, the bone and cartilage that divides the nostrils in the nose.     If this is the case for you then ear plugs for your partner is definately worth a try.