National Stop Snoring Week is upon us! The focus this year is on snoring noise and sleep disturbance, and how it affects our health.
We know that the sound of our partner snoring can be irritating and lead to a lack of sleep, but that lack of sleep over a prolonged period can lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
The sound of snoring
The British Snoring Association states that the noise level that starts to affect sleep is around 40dB. Snoring can range from 50dB to anywhere above 100dB. So if you or your partner snore, it is definitely affecting your slumber.
Evidence has shown that the louder the noise, the worse we sleep. Couple this with the fact that the sound of snoring is one of the most annoying rackets we have to endure and your chances of a good night’s sleep go out the window.
If you’ve managed to accustom yourself to the sound of your partners’ snoring, you may think that it’s not impacting your sleep quality, but you’re wrong. Although you may manage to sleep through the night, you will not feel as refreshed in the morning as you should.
The noise disturbance reduces our deep slumber to more shallow sleep, which means we are less likely to dream. As we know, we need both REM and NREM sleep in order for our bodies and minds to rest and repair as well as store information in our short and long-term memories. Another, more serious issue is the risk of hearing loss or impairment due to the constant exposure to the noise of snoring.
How to stop snoring
Firstly, you or your partner must recognise that there is an issue with snoring. If it’s not addressed, it will not go away on its own so it’s important to seek help and resolve it if you want to improve your chances of a good night’s sleep.
Here’s 6 ways to avoid snoring:
1. Avoid alcohol in the evenings
Alcohol acts as a sedative causing our muscles to relax. It also swells the tissues in the throat causing airway passages to get thinner and resulting in snoring.
2. Avoid sleeping pills
Similar to alcohol, if a sleeping pill makes you drowsy it will relax the muscles in the throat and cause snoring.
3. Lose weight and exercise
Losing just 10% of your body weight can help prevent snoring. Exercise also tones the muscles and keeps your heart fit.
4. Avoid back sleeping
Sleeping on your back causes your tongue to fall back in to your throat, blocking the airway. Try to sleep on your side or stomach instead.
5. Quit smoking
Smoking limits the oxygen intake in to the lungs and can cause blockage in the nose and throat.
6. Change your mattress
Your posture when in bed can determine whether or not you snore. If your old mattress dips in the middle, it will be causing your chin to drop towards your chest which increases your chances of snoring.