Snoring is something that many of us suffer from occasionally but it can be problematic if you’re doing it on a regular basis. Not only can you end up waking yourself up as a result of snoring but you might also disturb those that you live with too. Excessive snoring can be the result of your lifestyle or the way that you’re built. It’s always important to establish whether this is a problem that you can solve yourself or whether it’s something that may require expert help or have a more serious cause behind it.
What makes us snore?
Snoring is the sound that is made when air can’t move freely through your nose and throat while you’re sleeping. The noise is caused by the vibration of the tissue in this part of your body as a result of the lack of free movement of air. There could be any number of reasons why you’re snoring at night, including:
- Being overweight, especially if you’re carrying this around your neck.
- Getting older – as we age the muscle tone in our throats decreases and the throat becomes narrower, making us more prone to snoring.
- Physical make up e.g. men have narrower throats, which can make them more likely to snore. Other factors could include enlarged adenoids or a cleft palette.
- Being unwell, for example if you have sinusitis or a cold the blockages this causes can mean that you snore for as long as you’re unwell.
- Sleeping on your back, which means that the tissue in your throat relaxes and can cause a blockage that leads to snoring.
- Consuming alcohol or smoking. Some prescription drugs can also make snoring worse, especially anything that is designed to relax the muscles.
You could also be snoring due to a physical issue – for example if you snore when your mouth is closed then you may have a problem with your tongue. If you’re also very tired during the day, falling asleep at inappropriate times or your snoring is making you choke then you may have sleep apnoea.
How can you help yourself?
Snoring is a problem that can have quite a simple fix – these solutions have worked for many people:
- Sleep differently. For example, if you elevate your head by four inches this can change whether your snore or not. Ensuring that you sleep on your side and not your back can be useful too – try sewing a tennis ball into the back of your pyjamas to achieve this.
- Change your lifestyle. Smoking, for example, irritates your throat membranes and is more likely to make you snore so you can reduce the chances of this by giving it up. Losing weight and drinking less can also help to improve your sleep and minimise the noise you make.
- Use anti-snoring tools. For example, an anti-snoring mouth guard can help to keep your jaws in a position where snoring is less likely and if you use a sinus rinse before bed you could unblock nasal passages that may cause snoring when you’re trying to sleep.
Snoring is a very common problem and there are some simple ways to help you deal with it so that it doesn’t become a big issue.