ALMOST 15 million of us snore – and millions more say a snoring partner disrupts their sleep.
The sound caused by vibrations in your mouth, throat, or nasal airways relaxing and constricting while you doze can rob you of the calm that is vital to mental and physical health.
It’s also the most common sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that causes your breathing to pause and resume during sleep and can increase your risk of high blood pressure, depression and heart disease.
dr Michelle Miller, associate professor and head of the University of Warwick’s Sleep, Health and Society programme, told the Sun on Sunday Health: “Snoring is caused by the vibration of the airways and the obstruction of airflow during sleep.
“It can be very disruptive to both the bed partner’s sleep and the person themselves.
“In OSA, it is accompanied by changes in oxygen levels when breathing is impaired or stops, and an increase in heart rate.
“Over time, this can lead to cardiovascular complications such as high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks.”
According to the British Snoring and Sleep Apnea Association, more than 10 million men and almost five million women snore.
And surveys have shown that men snore even louder than women.
According to bedding experts Silentnight and researchers from the University of Leeds, 57 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women snore.
The team found that another 40 percent of people struggled to sleep because of their partner’s snoring.
The NHS describes the noise as “very common” and not usually caused by anything serious.
People with a cold or flu are more likely to snore, and light, occasional snoring is usually not a cause for concern.
Simple lifestyle changes can also help stop or reduce snoring, and doctors recommend trying to lose weight, sleeping on your side, or buying a special pillow to limit the problem, as well as earplugs for your partner to get to ensure a healthy sleep.
Alcohol, smoking, and sleeping pills can increase the likelihood of snoring.
But if lifestyle changes haven’t made a difference, The Sleep Foundation recommends that you see your GP if you have any of the following conditions:
- Snoring three or more times a week
- Very loud or annoying snoring
- Snoring accompanied by wheezing, choking, or snorting
- Daytime sleepiness, lack of concentration or mental acuity.
- Morning headache and constipation
- high blood pressure
- Nocturnal teeth grinding
- Frequent toilet visits
Some of these symptoms are signs of OSA, which is particularly common in overweight men over the age of 50 with a large neck.
dr Miller says requesting a sleep test from your doctor can help diagnose and treat the condition.
Often a remedy can be found by using a small mask at night that pumps air into the mouth while you sleep.
dr Miller adds, “OSA has important health and societal implications, particularly when it is associated with excessive daytime sleepiness.
“It’s important that you get referred to a sleep clinic if the snoring is loud, accompanied by periods of silence when the person doesn’t seem to be breathing, or if the person is snorting or choking.”
– Visit sleepfoundation.org for more information.
5 ways to beat it
HERE are Silentnight’s expert tips for fighting snoring. . .
1) Assume a new sleeping position: Changing position can help break the psychological association between snoring and the way you usually sleep.
Falling asleep on your side rather than your back is more likely to reduce snoring as it can weaken the body’s physical ability to snore.
2) Avoid alcohol: When you consume alcohol, the muscles in your body, including those in your throat and mouth, relax.
During sleep, this makes it harder for oxygen to reach your lungs, leading to more vibration and an increased chance of snoring.
3) Invest in an anti snoring pillow: What you sleep on can have a huge impact on the quality of your sleep.
Silentnight’s luxury anti-snoring pillow, £19.99, has been tested by the British Snoring and Sleep Apnea Association, who found it reduces the frequency and volume of snoring by around 50 per cent by positioning your head this way that breathing is improved.
4) Practice healthy sleep habits: Going to bed at the same time every day, getting eight hours of sleep, and making sure you stay hydrated throughout the day all help reduce the risk of snoring and improve the quality of your sleep.
5) Try mouth exercises: Just as going to the gym improves your arm or leg muscles, repeatedly moving your tongue and parts of your mouth for ten minutes every day has been found to reduce snoring by almost 60 percent.
The Sleep Foundation has information on the best mouth stretches.