According to a recent estimate, a quarter of the UK population snores, with twice as many men as women affected. Although it is so common, snoring can cause real problems, making you feel tired and irritable and affecting your relationship with your partner.
There are many strange anti-snoring devices on the market, but many of these are unproven. Deciding what is right for you can be very complicated, but it is important to resolve the problem if it is preventing a good night’s sleep. According to NHS Choices, excessive sleepiness causes a fifth of road traffic accidents. There are a number of self-help solutions that are worth trying to remedy the situation.
Losing weight can often help by reducing the fatty tissue at the back of the throat, and exercise is also important because it can lead to more toned throat muscles.
If you are a smoker, you may find a definite improvement when you quit. This is because smoking irritates the mucous membranes in the throat and nose, causing blockages.
Anything that makes you sleepy, such as sleeping pills, alcohol and sedatives, can relax your throat muscles and make snoring worse, so avoid these if possible.
Dry air irritates the nose and throat membranes, so use a humidifier to moisten the air in your bedroom.
Clear your nasal passages by using nasal strips or nasal decongestants so that you breathe more easily when you are asleep. If you are able to inhale easily, you are less likely to snore.
Avoid heavy meals, especially dairy products and soy milk within two hours of bedtime, and avoid caffeine in the evening too.
Sleeping on your side may help to minimize snoring. When you sleep on your back, gravity tends to encourage your soft tissues and tongue to flop and obstruct the airway.
If your snoring is severe and your partner notices that you stop breathing or choke whilst asleep, see your GP as you may need a referral to julianhamann.com or another ENT surgeon in Kent or your home county. According to the British Lung Foundation, about 2% of women and 4% of men suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea.
Many people can be helped to reduce their snoring, if not stop it altogether, so do not despair if your first attempts are unsuccessful.