34 per cent of Brits have a snoring problem
For many couples snoring can make nights a major challenge. Lying next to a heavy snorer can have a devastating impact on your sleep, your wellbeing and even your relationship, with many couples resorting to sleeping apart.
According to research from Casper, the global sleep company, men are twice as likely as women to be snoring offenders, with 52 per cent of females surveyed claiming to have been kept awake by their male partners.
Snoring can cause severe sleep deprivation for the bed partner, impacting their energy levels, mental alertness, performance at work and mood and can potentially even lead to more serious health issues like cardiovascular disease.
Snorers can also find their sleep disrupted by their own snoring, resulting in fatigue the next day.
It may even be a sign of a more serious sleep disorder.
What makes us snore Snoring occurs when your airflow is restricted during sleep, making the inside of your mouth vibrate – and we all know what that sounds like. For some, snoring can be blamed on a floppy soft palate that vibrates when the snorer breathes through the mouth.
But other common causes include obstructive sleep apnoea, an enlarged tongue base or tonsils, medications, neck circumference or even allergies.
ENT consultant surgeon Vik Veer (consultant-surgeon.co.uk) says, “If snoring is an issue see your GP to rule out other problems and assess if you have obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), and to get treatment advice.
“A few rare diseases may cause snoring so examination of the nose and throat and checking for things like thyroid problems are the first step.”
You may also find the Interactive Snore Tests at britishsnoring.co.uk useful to get an indication of what might be at the root of the problem or attend one of its twice-weekly clinics.
How to stop snoring Marianne Davey, director of the British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association says, “There is no panacea for snoring. You have to find the cause before you find the treatment.”
Many snorers sleep with their mouth open due to nasal congestion and/or lack of muscle tone to keep the mouth from dropping open.
If you have nasal congestion use a nasal dilator and nasal wash and ask your GP for a nasal spray suitable for long-term use.
There is no panacea for snoring. You have to find the cause before you find the treatment
“Snoring won’t go away on its own, so seek help as soon as possible,” she urges.
“After all, the snorer is not the only one who suffers at night.”
And if one of you snores so loudly it can be heard through a shut door?
Mr Veer says, “Patients who snore very loudly almost certainly have a form of ‘sleep disordered breathing’, a spectrum of problems with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) at the extreme end.
“This is why many over-the-counter treatments don’t work until the breathing has also been dealt with.”
52 per cent of females surveyed claimed to have been kept awake by their male partners
Look at lifestyle A few lifestyle changes can make all the difference.
If you’re overweight, just losing a couple of pounds could stop the snoring. And exercise can help strengthen the neck muscles.
“Before bedtime avoid smoking, which blocks the nose, and alcohol which relaxes the pharyngeal muscles,” Mr Veer adds.
Sleeping on your side helps you keep your mouth closed at night so that is another option, although it can be hard to change your sleep habits.
“Generally you need a bigger pillow so you don’t strain your neck at night.”