Please Your Partner With The Sound of Silence For National Stop Snoring Week
Tempur sleep experts share tips on how to shush the snoring and ensure a good night’s sleep ahead of National Stop Snoring Week (22-28 April).
22-28 April is National Stop Snoring Week, an annual event promoting general awareness of a condition that, in the majority of cases, can be easily treated.
Snoring is a medical condition caused by a relaxation of the muscles in your neck. As the neck muscles relax, the upper airways narrow, meaning less air travelling into your lungs. The partial closing of the airways causes the walls and soft tissue of the nose, tongue, or throat to vibrate – leading to the snoring sound.
Snoring is a very common condition, affecting around four in 10 people, with men more likely to snore than women. It also generally occurs in middle-aged and older people, as muscle tone decreases. For women, the menopause can also lead to snoring as the hormone levels change.
Tobin James, MD at Tempur, says: “We all snore occasionally for various reasons, and although this is not usually related to any serious health problems, it can be a nuisance. However, at its most serious, ongoing poor-quality sleep caused by snoring can affect a person’s physical and mental health.
“Continual tiredness leads to headaches and a lack of concentration, making it harder to function during the day. It can also lead to irritability, change of mood and other health issues – not to mention major relationship issues if a partner is continually kept awake.
“Snoring is an easily treatable condition and there are a number of lifestyle changes that can reduce snoring and lead to a much better night’s sleep.”
Here, sleep experts at Tempur, advise on ways to stop snoring getting in the way of a good night’s kip.
- Smoking and drinking
Smoking irritates the nostril and throat lining, causing inflammation and a build of catarrh. This reduces air flow, meaning snoring is more likely. Similarly, regularly drinking alcohol, or drinking too much, causes the muscles to relax more than usual, making your palate and tongue more likely to vibrate. Reducing the amount you smoke and drink, or stopping both completely, can greatly reduce snoring.
- Sleep position
Sleeping on your back increases the likelihood of snoring, as your tongue blocks your throat and restricts the airways more. To prevent sleeping on your back, lie on your side and tuck a hard tennis-ball sized object behind your back, if you roll in the night the object should prevent you from settling to sleep on your back.
Being overweight, particularly around the neck, can put pressure on airways and restrict the amount of air breathed in and out. Losing weight will improve your sleep as well as your overall health. Incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine can help massively; a simple brisk walk at lunchtime or a 20-minute jog each day has been shown to reduce snoring.
- Illness and medication
Enlarged tonsils, a deviated septum, a common cold, or allergies can all lead to snoring, as the airways are reduced or infected. Most infectious illnesses and common allergies can be treated with over-the-counter medication. Try to avoid sleeping pills and sedation medicines as these tend to relax muscles and lead to snoring as a result. Those that suffer from sleep apnoea – a complete closing of the airways during sleep or from other conditions that cause extreme snoring – should seek help from a GP.
There are a number of sleep aid gadgets designed to help snorers get a better night’s sleep. A chin strap or Snore Stopper mouthpiece can help to reduce snoring, and it’s advisable for partners to wear earplugs to lessen disturbance in the night.
Snorers should avoid large meals or consuming a lot of dairy before bed, as this can make snoring worse. Try not to snack before bed as ideally food should be digested 1-2 hours prior to sleep, for the best possible night’s sleep.
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