It's so frustrating and disturbing to your wellbeing when your partner is loudly snoring while you’re trying to drop off to sleep. You know there are multiple valid reasons for snoring, from Covid side effects to alcohol, allergies and more, but it's still so annoying. Whether you’re the guilty party and need a quick solution, or you're someone suffering through the noise, let's explore why we snore and offer some easy and effective methods to help put an end to your sleep disruption.
Read on to see if there's a way to help you get your full, undisturbed forty winks…
What is snoring?
Snoring is the harsh sound that comes from a person's throat or nose when their airways are somewhat obstructed. It could be your tongue and soft tissue blocking things and vibrating when the air passes, or your throat could be inflamed, or your nose could be blocked. It could even be down to a medical condition like Sleep Apnea. There are lots of reasons, but also lots of potential solutions.
Is it common to start snoring after having COVID-19?
There are reports of people that have recovered from COVID-19 and are now experiencing changed sleeping habits. For example, they've developed insomnia or wake up gasping for breath. Unfortunately, there are no conclusive explanations for this at the moment. Studies surrounding the long-term effects of the virus are still ongoing, though snoring has not been conclusively identified as a long-covid symptom.
Here are some methods that may be able to help reduce your snoring and improve sleep for you and your partner's wellbeing:
1. Ditch tech before bed
Did you know that using technology too close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep cycle, leading to restless sleep and snoring? Phones, laptops, tablets, and TV all emit blue light that tricks your brain into thinking it is still daytime.
Your circadian rhythm uses external signals to know when to release the chemicals that help you drift off into a restful sleep. Then daylight disrupts your sleep cycle and wakes you up. Blue light can have the same effect.
Many of us snore during the lighter levels of sleep or periods of restlessness - so if this applies to you, try ditching the tech at least 2 hours before bedtime to see if things improve.
2. Check your mattress & pillows
Pillows and mattresses build up dirt and dust over time, along with sweat and mites. Large amounts of these can lead to throat and airway irritation, causing snoring, restlessness and even triggering allergic reactions.
Your pillows should be deep-cleaned every six months to keep them in tip-top condition and from obstructing your sleep. You should probably replace them every two years for the best, most restful sleep.
On the other hand, mattresses only need changing every eight years or so, but they still need attention when it comes to preventing allergen build-up that might affect your sleep. Mattress care is a bit involved, so be careful and thorough as you go:
Remove the sheets and check your mattress, looking out for any areas of dirt or stains.
Give it a vacuum to remove surface debris.
Remove any stains using baking soda.
Steam-clean it to kill any bacteria.
Let it sit in the sun and dry for several hours or overnight.
You can prolong the life of your mattress and therefore reduce any snoring by rotating the mattress, investing in some protectors, and even looking into anti-snoring pillows!
3. Change your sleeping position
People that sleep on their backs are more likely to snore because it causes the back of the tongue and soft palate to relax. This causes them to slip further down against the back of your throat and vibrate - causing you to snore.
If you sleep next to your partner, you may have noticed that they are disturbed by your snoring when you are asleep on your back, if this is the case, you should experiment with your sleeping position.
Try to fall asleep whilst laying on your side.
Sew a tennis ball to the back of your pyjamas to prevent you from rolling over.
Consider investing in a body pillow to make it easier to stay in position.
As this cause of snoring is mainly due to the position of your tongue, you could also try sleeping on a firm, high pillow to elevate your head and allow your head and throat to retain a more natural position.
4. Drink more water
Did you know that dehydration alone can cause snoring? This is because your body needs to be adequately hydrated to keep any mucus in the nose and throat moving and flowing. When you are dehydrated, this mucus can become far more sticky with a viscosity that can prevent lubrication and cause blockages in the throat. This all leads to narrowed airways and vibrations that can contribute to snoring.
Signs of dehydration include a dry mouth, dark yellow urine, and frequently feeling tired. To combat this and improve everyone's rest, drink enough water that your urine becomes a light, pale colour. As a general rule, you should try to consume around two litres of water or liquid a day.
5. Lose weight
Those who are overweight or technically obese have a far higher chance of snoring during the night as excess fat around the neck and chest areas can cause obstruction. Fat around your belly can also affect your sleep quality, as it can push up the diaphragm and compress the ribcage, reducing lung capacity.
If you are overweight and snoring is a problem, try to bring your weight down to see if it can help improve your rest. In the interim, refrain from eating too soon before bed and take the time to slowly chew your meals to prevent any disruptive indigestion.
You could also try a method called ‘frontloading’. This is where you eat your largest meal earlier in the day, with your evening meal being the lightest.
6. Quit smoking
The various chemicals and smoke from tobacco and cigarettes can irritate the throat and lungs. It can also cause inflammation and swelling of the tissues that line the airways. This swelling can cause an overproduction of mucus which, when combined with irritation, inflammation and swelling, can lead to the narrowing of the airways and increased snoring.
So, not only is smoking bad for your overall health, but it is also particularly bad when it comes to breathing issues and snoring. Quitting smoking is difficult, but the pros outweigh the cons.
For help quitting, visit your doctor, join a local group, or search online for further advice.
It's clear that with a few lifestyle changes and some simple bedtime modifications, you can work towards stopping snoring for good.
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