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Like a Trooper No More: How to Stop Snoring
The supermarket chain Lidl has made it into the news recently with some good news both for noisy sleepers and for the people who live with them: they’re now selling an anti-snore pillow.
The pillow has received the nod from the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association, who found the item reduced snoring frequency and volume by approximately 50%. The ergonomically shaped core of the pillow supports the head and neck during the night and helps to improve the sleeper’s breathing while they hammer home the Zs.
You don’t have to buy a pillow there, however, to stop snoring. And if you’d rather look elsewhere for your bedding than in the supermarket, you can search for quality beds and bedding at Bedstar online. Meanwhile, though, here is a look at some of the causes of snoring and some non-medical approaches to dealing with the problem.
Why do we snore?
Essentially, snoring is a breathing issue. The air has trouble moving freely through your nose and throat. The surrounding tissues vibrate and cause you to let out the snores. If you snore each night, the chances are you have too much throat and nasal tissue, tissue which is prone to vibrating. Sometimes, the position of your tongue can also disturb your breathing while you sleep.
That doesn’t mean you should dash out to the nearest hospital and have all your throat or nasal tissue removed, of course! There are numerous causes for snoring and they could call for simple changes in lifestyle or how you sleep, rather than having an unnecessary (and potentially frightening) conversation with a surgeon or a doctor. These causes include:
How are you snoring?
You can make a rough judgment of what the right cure might be by making a note of how you snore. You’ll probably have to ask your partner to do this (unless you can somehow sense how you snore, which is highly unlikely!). Different types of snoring suggest different issues.
Closed-mouth snoring, for instance, suggests that your tongue could be the root of the problem, whereas open-mouthed snoring may be a sign that throat tissues are causing all the trouble. If you snore when you sleep on your back, a few little tweaks to your lifestyle or your sleeping habits could sort it all out.
Note that if you snore no matter what position you sleep in, this is a sign your snoring could be more severe. You’ll require a more comprehensive approach to stopping the snoring.
Changing your sleep habits
Stopping the snoring will require patience and trying a few different things. Some methods will prove more successful for some than for others. You could try the following if you’ve decided to change your sleeping habits:
Raising your head by four inches can help you to breathe more easily and persuade your tongue and jaw to move forward. If you sleep on your back, try sleeping on your side. You can coax yourself into the habit of doing this by attaching a tennis ball to the back of your pyjama top or T-shirt. Then whenever you revert to sleeping on your back, the discomfort from the tennis ball will cause you to roll back onto your side. After a while, you’ll do this naturally and won’t need the tennis ball anymore.
Don’t go to bed with your nose blocked up if you can avoid it. Rinse your sinuses with saline before you go to bed. Use a nasal decongestant or nasal strips to help you breathe more easily while you sleep. Anything that triggers allergies, such as pet hair or dust hair, won’t do your breathing any favours, either, so make sure you keep your room clean by hoovering and dusting regularly.
Moisture is important when it comes to stopping snoring. Dry air may irritate membranes in the nose and throat. Incorporate a humidifier into your bedroom.
Adapting your lifestyle
It could make all the difference to make some simple changes to your lifestyle. Sure, you might need to apply a little discipline, but it’s got to be better than waking up and facing a sleep-deprived, angry partner, right?
You do have to be careful with this. It’s worth checking whether you’re a healthy weight or not already before you do this. If you’re overweight, losing weight could decrease the snoring or even go one better and stop it altogether. This is because the weight loss would see off some of the fatty tissue at the back of the throat.
The exercise doesn’t have to strip off the pounds to stop you snoring. By exercising and toning muscles in your arms, legs and stomach, you also help to tone muscles in the throat. As a result of this, you snore less.
The benefits of quitting smoking are many: more energy, more money, less stress and, generally, better health. You’ll also snore less, if at all. Smoking is a major irritation to the membranes in the nose and throat, and it can cause the airways to become blocked. Giving up the tobacco is a tough task in itself, but knuckle down and try, and you can breathe easier at night.
All these things relax your throat muscles and interfere with breathing. If you’re taking any medication, speak to your doctor about it. Medication can encourage a deeper sleep and may cause you to snore.
Giving your mouth a workout
Whether you’re implementing sleep habit changes and/or lifestyle ones, it won’t hurt either to give your mouth the workout below, which targets the soft palate, tongue and lower throat. It’s short, consisting of just three sets of three easy exercises, and is designed to prevent the muscles from losing their toning. It goes as follows:
Curl your tongue backwards towards the roof of your mouth. Then bring it forward and touch the back of your front teeth. Repeat the process.
What could be more straightforward than this? Open your mouth as wide as you can and say ‘aaah’ for 20 seconds.
You might feel daft doing this, but remember why you’re doing it. Poke your tongue out as far as it will go; take a deep breath; and then make a high-pitched noise for 30 seconds. It should sound as if you’re gargling with air.
Other exercises you could try include closing your mouth and pursing your lips for 30 seconds or saying the vowels of the alphabet out aloud for three minutes several times a day. If none of these exercises appeals to you, feel free to sing, which can increase muscle control in the throat and soft palate.
Note that if you decide to look at medical ways to tackle your snoring or if you suspect there is a medical problem that could be causing you to snore, you should consult your doctor. Try the steps above and see what happens, and if the problem persists, seek medical advice.