What exactly is snoring, and how can you put a stop to it?
Snoring is more common than you might think. In fact, around 45% of adults snore at least occasionally. Yet despite this, there still remains a lot of mystery around the subject of snoring. Many people aren’t sure what it is, how it starts, or whether it’s something we need to be concerned about in terms of our wider health.
Luckily, we’re here to help. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common questions about snoring.
What is snoring?
Snoring is, to put it simply, a vibration. To be more specific, it’s the sound of the soft palate and other soft tissue in the upper airway vibrating, including the uvula, tonsils, nasal turbinates and adenoids.
These vibrations occur when air cannot move freely through your airway, making the soft tissue flap and create noise.
Why do people snore?
Snoring can be caused by a combination of different factors, and these vary from person to person. However, the most common reasons for snoring include being overweight and smoking or alcohol consumption.
Your sleep position can also impact how likely you are to snore. Sleeping on your back and sleeping with your mouth open can both result in snoring, as can having a blocked nose.
Is snoring something to worry about?
There is limited evidence to suggest that normal, habitual snoring is physically harmful or anything to be concerned about. However, if your snoring is disturbing your sleep or the sleep of others in your household, then it may be an issue you want to address.
Likewise, if your snoring has the potential to become obstructive sleep apnoea, then it will need to be dealt with.
What can you do to stop snoring?
Snoring doesn’t have a miracle cure, and there’s no solution that works for everyone. Stopping snoring involves uncovering what is at the root of your snoring, but some of the most common snoring remedies can be challenging – particularly when it involves changing from your preferred sleeping position or even losing significant weight.
There are also many different products you can try to discourage your snoring habit, including tongue retainers, mouthpieces, specialist pillows, nasal sprays and chin straps among others.
What’s the link between snoring and sleep apnoea?
Apnoea translates directly to “no breathing”. Unlike snoring, sleep apnoea is confirmed to be a serious health condition. It involves your airway repeatedly closing during sleep, depriving you of oxygen until you gasp awake.
While snoring is a key symptom of sleep apnoea, it doesn’t mean that you definitely have sleep apnoea if you snore. Statistically, 95% of people with sleep apnoea do snore; but not all snorers suffer from sleep apnoea.
Some of the key symptoms of sleep apnoea include sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, frequent mood changes, headaches and acid reflux. People with sleep apnoea may also have a dry mouth, chapped lips and a sore throat upon waking in the morning. They also frequently wake twice or more during the night.
What to do when your partner snores
For many couples, snoring can be a contentious subject. If your partner’s snoring is keeping you awake, there are certain steps you can take. This starts with letting them know they snore, in order to begin the discussion about resolving the issue. You can share lifestyle solutions, such as dietary changes, or try different sleeping positions. Sometimes sleeping propped up can reduce the severity of snoring.
In the meantime, going to bed before your partner, sleeping separately, or sleeping with earplugs can stop your partner’s snoring from keeping you awake.