As anybody who shares a bed knows, when it comes to snoring, often it’s the person who isn’t afflicted with the condition that actually suffers most.
It’s believed a quarter of us are snorers – which leaves three-quarters of us struggling to get a good night’s sleep, and having to put up with the frustration of being kept awake by our bedfellow’s grunts and growls.
When someone else’s sleeping habits are basically inducing your insomnia, it’s not comforting, it’s relationship-ruining – indeed. So, in the name of love, sleep and sanity, what can snoring sufferers do to stop snoring (and, for sufferees, where exactly should you aim your elbow)?
Don’t sleep on your back
Try not to sleep on your back, as this often means your tongue falls back and increases airway resistance. Try and use pillows as bolsters to keep you on your side, Some experts even suggest sewing a tennis ball into a pocketed T-shirt, wearing it back-to-front. A lot of snoring is caused either by nasal congestion or by allergies, so sleeping in cleaner air, ie – with a humidifier – should help ease this.
Give up SMOKING
It’s bad for most things, so it’s not surprising smoking is bad for snoring too. Basically, cigarette smoke will irritate and inflame the linings of your nose and throat, making it more difficult to breathe – especially when you’re lying down at night. Even if you can’t give up the fags entirely, experts do recommend at least holding off for four hours before you go to bed.
Again, as with many health issues, losing excess weight can really benefit snorers. People who are overweight tend to snore more. Losing weight can reduce fatty tissue in the back of the throat and decrease or even stop snoring. The size of your neck has a lot of bearing on if you snore, and if you have been snoring for a long time then it’s possible that the blood vessels that supply the muscles that maintain neck and throat tone during the night have been damaged by the excess weight. Similarly, the nerves that also prevent snoring may also have been affected so muscle tone is impaired.
So how do you know how big is too big? If your collar size is greater than 17 inches AND you habitually snore AND have high blood pressure AND your partner tells you that you stop breathing, then you need to seek medical help!
Be careful with dinner
We know about foods that increase snoring but not those that decrease it.
Avoid caffeine, heavy meals and dairy two hours before bed. Some snoring is caused by allergic reactions that inflame the throat, or increase mucus production, and milk and dairy products may increase mucus production – but the evidence is quite poor.
All exercising, including abdominal exercises, actually tones your muscles around the throat area which can lead to less snoring.
When all else fails, do everything you can to block out the drone!