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Snoring, and how it affects your sleep

Posted on by Kathryn O'Hara

The Elephant in the room.

Snoring and how it affects your sleep

Let's face it, snoring is not good for anyone. As a snorer you’re likely not to know about it directly, but you’ve probably kept your partner awake on many occasions. For some the resulting effect of snoring leads to separate bedrooms, ear plugs and a grouchy relationship. For many, snoring is simply not taken seriously. Some see it as an age thing, while others put it down to genetics and blame their parents. While the industrial snoring of serious sufferers is rare, snoring in general should come with a health warning. Poor cognitive function during the day and heart disease are likely scenarios for snorers and it doesn’t get better.

So what is snoring?

First let’s look at the physical reasons for snoring:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Alcohol and over-eating
  • Allergies
  • Sleeping position
  • Smoking
  • Congested nasal passages
  • Poor physical tone of mouth and tongue muscle

And many many more…

As you can see above, there’s no single factor for snoring. In fact, some sufferers actually have multiple factors, which can become life threatening as sleep apnea kicks in causing lack of oxygen and in some cases stopping breathing completely.

Women are snorers too.

While general consensus is that men are the biggest culprits, snoring affects just as many women. There are differences though and unfortunately due to snoring being seen as ‘unladylike’, not as many women seek treatment. There are additional factors which may complicate a clinicians decision making. Women may present wider issues such as daytime fatigue, headaches, tension and other conditions. All these muddy the waters when snoring could the prime culprit for all these symptoms.

My pharynx is bigger than your pharynx

Yes it is true. Men and woman are made differently. Men have larger airways (designed to get more oxygen to convert to energy to make us run faster after our food..) yet the airways can collapse easier compared to women. There are also hormonal differences and some female only hormones actually protect the upper airways from obstruction too. So, far from being simply annoying, snoring has some profound medical reasons and issues too.

If you are in any doubt about your breathing while sleeping, then seek further medical advice and intervention. It could make the difference between leading a normal healthy life or suffering from longer term illnesses such as diabetes, strokes and mental illness.

But how do I know if I snore?

The British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association has devised a useful test which can help provide some insights and solutions (not to be confused with medical advice) to snoring issues.

Take the test here: http://www.britishsnoring.co.uk/itests/

There are some simple things you can do to try and improve the symptoms..

  1. Improve your physique, lose weight - too much fatty tissue around your airways can cause them to restrict and interrupt your air flows.
  2. Improve your sleep hygiene by setting a regular bed-time schedule and stick to it. Don’t over sleep though as this will create a vicious cycle and you’ll end up with insomnia.
  3. Not too hot, not too cold. Just like Goldilocks, keep everything an even temperature - pass up on wearing those thermals just yet, as your body gets too hot it will wake you up.
  4. No night caps - leave the alcohol alone long before you head to bed.
  5. Let there be darkness - get the maximum daylight you can. If you work indoors, take time out during the day to capture some quality vitamin D, then at night make it as dark as possible (keeping safety in mind). That means abandoning the TV, smartphones and tablet devices too
  6. Read our guide to making your bedroom a sanctuary for sleep
  7. The drugs don’t work (in the long term). With medical approval, ditch the sleeping pills and try more natural ways of relaxation such as a warm bath and use sleep enhancing scents in the room.
  8. Get comfortable. Have you got the right pillows, sheets and ultimately the right mattress support? If not look at improving all three. Get the comfort you need for you and your partner.

Are you sleeping comfortably?

As well as addressing the issues relating to your snoring, having the correct levels of support are equally as important. We all have our own individual sleeping positions. From being a side sleeper to flat on your back, your body needs sufficient levels of support. The Tweak Mattress provides couples with the option of individual comfort support layers, so each of you can sleep the way you need. Discover how you can trial the Tweak Mattress for 100 Days at less than £1.00 a night by clicking here.

Here’s to better sleep,

The Sleep Enthusiasts.

Good Sleep Guide

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