Although some might deny it, almost everyone snores at least sometimes. It’s not something to be concerned about for the most part. However, the rattling sound can be extremely annoying and disrupt you (and your partner’s) sleep, leading to daytime fatigue, irritability and health problems…

How common is snoring?

Snoring is relatively common. As many as 1 in 10 women and 1 in 5 men make the annoying rattling, harsh and abrasive sounds while sleeping. But what causes it and what can be done to prevent it?

What causes snoring?

Snoring occurs when the air cannot pass through the nose and throat freely. The obstruction causes the air to vibrate against the soft tissues, resulting in the common snoring sounds. The following are the most common causes of snoring

  • Being overweight: People, who are on the heavier side tend to have larger necks. This excess mass presses on the airways and obstructs the air from passing through the airway freely.
  • Smoking: Smoking causes the throat to dry out, which in turn makes the tissues swell, due to irritation. This causes an obstruction, which ultimately leads to the rattling sounds.
  • Alcohol consumption: Alcohol has a sedative effect on the muscles. The muscles in the throat relax as you sleep and the tongue in particular tends to fall back into the throat, blocking air from passing through smoothly.
  • Sleeping position: You are more likely to snore if you sleep on your back. When you sleep in this position the muscles and soft tissues fall back, causing an obstruction.

Health effects of snoring

Although snoring is a fairly common problem and tends to be harmless, if your snoring persists, you might be putting yourself at risk of developing more serious health issues. Snoring can lead to irritability, daytime sleepiness and mood swings, as it often disrupts sleep. In serious cases, it might even be a sign of sleep apnea. If you snore more often than not, you should consult your doctor.

How do you stop snoring?

Although there is no cure for snoring, you can change your sleeping position and try sleeping on your side, if you tend to snore when you sleep on your back. You can also avoid alcohol and try to control your weight. Propping your head up at night should also help reduce snoring. You could also try anti-snoring strips.

Tips to help you stop snoring

If you tend to snore at night, you could try the following tips:

  • Avoid sleeping pills. Sleeping pills might make you fall asleep faster, but it will also make you relax too much, which leads to snoring.
  • Practice good sleep hygiene. Many people complain they snore more when they are tired. If you practise good sleep hygiene you should be able to sleep better, making you feel less tired and less likely to snore.
  • Drink lots of water. When you’re dehydrated the secretions in your nose and soft palate become stickier. This can make snoring worse. Drinking lots of water should help or taking a hot shower before bed should keep this area moist.

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