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  • Writer's pictureCamille Forbes

Snoring - Facts, Prevention and Cure

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

If you snore yourself or share a bed with someone who does, it can be very disruptive. 

In this blog, Camille explores what snoring is, why it happens and some suggestions to help its prevention. 

What is snoring? 

Snoring is the sound that occurs when air flows past a relaxed tissue in your throat, which then vibrates as the air passes it. 

Snoring is more likely when there is a partial blockage of the airway (i.e. the vibrating tissue is partially blocking the airway). 

What causes snoring? 

There are a number of causes which could be temporary, such as when you have nasal congestion from a cold or hayfever, or they could be more permanent, such as the size of your tonsils or shape of your mouth and throat. 

When someone is overweight, they are more likely to snore because the weight of their neck and throat will be greater and, as someone lies down to sleep, the extra weight from the skin and neck will close up the airway. 

Why is some snoring so loud? 

As air passes a vibrating tissue in your throat, the narrower the airway it passes through or the more blocked the airway, the more forceful the airflow will become. In turn, the more the tissue will vibrate and the louder the snoring will be. 

Is snoring a health issue? 

If you know that you snore and that your snoring is broken by pauses in breathing during the night, then this is indicative of obstructive sleep apnoea.

Sleep apnoea is where your throat closes up, during the night, so much that the airway is completely blocked and air cannot flow at all. After a little while of not breathing, your brain will realise and send a surge of adrenaline to wake you up, in order for you to breathe again. You will likely, then, fall straight back to sleep. Often, people will fall back to sleep again so quickly that they will not realise they woke up at all, but their sleep quality will have been damaged by this disruption. 

With sleep apnoea, these awakenings can happen repeatedly through the night, causing you to have significantly disrupted sleep. 

Unless you have a bed partner to tell you that you stop breathing during the night, you may be unaware that it is happening. 

Other signs of sleep apnoea are that you may wake with a choking sensation. You may also feel chronically tired during the daytime, despite the fact that you believe you have been getting sufficient sleep at night. 

If you suspect you may have sleep apnoea, then it is very important to speak to a GP about your snoring, because there are significant health implications caused by untreated sleep apnoea. 

Can snoring be prevented or stopped? 

Often snoring is worse when somebody sleeps on their back. Therefore, sleeping on your side can help to minimize snoring. 

Also, snoring is often worse when someone has drunk a lot of alcohol or if they are overweight. Reducing alcohol consumption and/or losing some weight can reduce or even stop snoring all together. 

If you have nighttime congestion for a prolonged period, it may be that you are allergic to the feathers or materials in your pillow or duvet. Try changing your pillows. 

If you sleep with a dog or cat in your room, you may be having an allergic reaction to them, causing congestion and, consequently, snoring. Try getting your dog or cat to sleep on the floor or in another room.

You could also consider taking an antihistamine to reduce any congestion due to an allergic reaction, and you may find this helps to reduce or stop your snoring. 

If you have hayfever, then sleeping with the windows shut in the summertime can also reduce nasal congestion caused by pollen entering your room at night. 

Snoring and sleep 

Snoring can be just one of a number issues affecting your energy levels and causing an individual to feel tired despite having a good bedtime routine and sleep habits.

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