Snoring’s no joke when it disrupts your sleep night after night. Here are five ways you can help.
If snoring is preventing you getting a good night’s sleep, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that by the time we reach middle age, up to 50% of us will snore, so the chances are that if you don’t snore, your partner will!
Here are some suggestions for simple ways to help.
Maintain a healthy weight
Being even a little overweight, and having excess fatty tissue around your neck, makes it much more likely that you’ll snore. Maintaining a healthy weight really helps. Losing just a little weight can help improve your overall sleep quality; a healthier diet and lots of exercise is the best way to go. Little changes can make a big difference.
Sleep on your side
Back sleepers are likelier to snore than side sleepers. If you’re not naturally a sleep-on-your-side person, try stitching a cotton reel into your pyjama top, so that if you do drift onto your back, you won’t stay there.
Dust mites love your pillows, so change them regularly and wash bedding once a week in hot water. Try experimenting with the amount of pillows you use – you may find a different level of elevation helps. And anti-snore pillows could be worth a try.
Cut out – or cut down – on cigarettes
Did you know smoking can contribute to snoring? Cigarette smoke irritates your nose and throat lining. As well as causing swelling and catarrh, this decreases airflow, making it more likely that you’ll snore.
Avoid alcohol before bed
For an undisturbed night’s sleep, say no to a nightcap. Alcohol relaxes the muscles, and that can mean obstructed airways, which leads to snoring.
Some sleeping medications can also have this effect, so it could be worth looking at other ways to get a happy night’s sleep.
Keep your airways clear
It’s important to keep your nose unblocked, so you can breathe through it clearly, rather than breathing in and out through your mouth.
If you have any allergies, such as hay fever, try to keep these under control. Your pharmacist and GP can advise on whether perhaps antihistamines or a nasal spray might help. And it’s worth trying a switch to a hypoallergenic pillow – two of my children have asthma and we found this made a huge difference. If you have dust mite allergy, a zipped mattress protector could help.
If snoring’s still a problem
A hot shower or bath before bed can help keep nasal passages clear.
Limit exposure to allergens. If you have pets, don’t let them sleep on your bed. Animal dander, the tiny flakes of skin shed by pets with fur or feathers, can act as an irritant.
Ask your pharmacist – anti-snoring chin straps, which work by keeping your mouth closed overnight, are available inexpensively, and ear plugs could be helpful.