Do you know why you snore – and what will best prevent it?

Do you find that your partner is often telling you that you woke him or her up with your snoring? For some people it just happens when they have a cold or a blocked nose but others will find that it happens on a regular basis.

Why do I snore?

Snoring happens for all sorts of reasons, and is closely linked to other serious health problems such as diabetes, heart attack and stroke. The good news is that you can eliminate the problem, or at least minimise it, and you will both benefit. So it’s not something that your partner needs to have to learn to deal with and as a result you’ll both get a good night’s sleep and feel rested in the mornings, and you’ll be able to do that without either of you having to sleep in separate rooms. If you live alone you may not be aware that you snore although snoring often wakes you without you realising why. Even if it your snoring doesn’t wake you up, you will still get a poor night’s sleep because your body fails to get all the oxygen it needs.

The first thing to do is understand why you snore and often there’s not just one reason. Snoring occurs when the air can’t move through the throat and nose freely during sleep. The air makes the tissues around these areas vibrate, and the ‘snoring’ sound results.  Some people are just more prone to snoring than others because of their build. For example, the passages in a man are much smaller than those in a woman and can mean men are more likely to snore because of it.

Being overweight is one of the most common reasons for snoring. When you carry excess weight in your body, it is usually everywhere and even internal. This means your nose and throat end up with fatty tissue blocking the pathway for the air. Also, if you’re on medication, or you smoke or drink, you may find that snoring is more of an issue. These three factors all lead to muscles in the body relaxing and as they do so, they are more likely to vibrate when air passes through.

Your sleep position can also have a lot to do with your snoring. When you sleep on your back, your tongue relaxes to the back of your throat, causing the airways to become blocked.

Your age will also cause an issue for snoring as when you get older; your throat becomes narrower. There’s not much you can do about aging, but you can help to prevent snoring becoming a major issue over the years. It’s all about working on your lifestyle and changing your bedtime routines to help ease the air passing through and you can also get medically approved help in the meantime or alongside these changes happening.

It may be a more serious issue if it’s something called obstructive sleep apnoea – often called OSA. Sleep apnoea and snoring sound similar but are two very different problems. OSA can be extremely dangerous, and may need medical attention. If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night because of your snoring, it could be that apnoea is really the issue.

OSA occurs when the nose and throat are obstructed. The body wakes itself up time after time during the night so that you can breathe again, and you may also make choking sounds as you do so. If you do suffer from extreme fatigue during the day, it is likely that it is sleep apnoea more than snoring. The good news is you can do something about this, too.

There are three quite different medically recognised types of snorer and the solution for each of these is equally different:

  • Those who snore nasally due to weak nostrils (nasal snorer) and for this it’s important to keep the nostrils open using a nasal dilator, a small cone-like item that will keep the nasal air passages open at night.
  • Those who snore with their mouth open (mouth snorer) will benefit from using a Chin Support Strap which helps the mouth stay closed and do so in a comfortable way that brings instant results. This is the most widely used method and is medically recommended.
  • Those who snore because of weakness in the tongue and surrounding tissues (tongue snorer) have a requirement to use a mouthpiece, or oral appliance, which looks like a sports mouth guard. These mould to the shape of your dental profile and bring the jaw forward slightly which opens the airway and stops you snoring. SleepPro offer a wide choice of mouthpieces that, unlike others, are fully NHS Approved. Specialist mouthpieces are available for those with mild to moderate sleep apnoea and these are custom-fitted.

There’s no need to snore and damage your health irrevocably and permanently. For a very small price you’ll save yourself from paying a much bigger price in the longer term.

John Redfern