Does your snoring raise the roof? sound like a freight train?, or is it loud enough to wake the dead? Perhaps it’s your beloved bed partner, not you, sawing logs all night?; either way, snoring is not merely a night-time nuisance, or the source of merriment among friends - snoring is a health threat.
Snoring not only increases your risk of stroke, it may be the cause of chronic daily headaches, is associated with Type 2 Diabetes, definitely affects sleep quality, increasing daytime fatigue. Additionally, while not everyone who snores suffers from sleep apnoea, the majority of people with sleep apnoea also snore.
1. Breathe Small, not Big
Snoring is caused by big breathing or rather ‘over’ breathing. The sound of snoring is created when a large volume of air travels through a narrow space – your upper airway - causing vibrations in the tissues of the nose and throat. If your breathing is soft and gentle, the air will quietly descend towards your lungs, eliminating the vibrations that cause the night time noise. The Buteyko Breathing technique helps retrain your breathing to be gentle and quiet, day and night.
2. Tongue Up, not Down
Your tongue should naturally rest at the roof of your mouth, just behind the front teeth. This is the tongues 'happy spot'. However, when your tongue is lying on the bottom of your mouth, particularly in sleep, it will partially block the airway, increasing the chances of snoring and sleep apnoea. As you are not in conscious control during sleep, practice placing your tongue on its happy spot during the day, and especially as you are drifting off to sleep. Practice makes permanent.
3. Unblock your Schnoz
There is a strong link between a blocked nose and snoring. If membranes lining the nose are inflamed and swollen, the passage to the airways becomes narrow, increasing air pressure and vibration of the upper airways, leading to snoring. It is important you use a sinus rinse each night before bed. Additionally, finding out the cause of your blocked nose will hopefully sort the issue. Click here to access my naturopathic recommendations for sinusitis and blocked nose.
4. Lose Weight
Very often, people can pinpoint the time they started snoring to when they put on weight. There is a strong link to neck circumference and increased risk of snoring and sleep apnoea. If your neck is bigger than 43.2cm (17") for men, and 40.6cm (16") for women, you have a greater chance of snoring. Again, it's the issue with the enlarged tissue reducing the size of the airway. Don't start swinging a Hoola Hoop around your throat, it's impossible to spot reduce whether tummy, thighs or neck. Losing weight all over will result in losing weight around your neck and tongue. Click here for my successful Low Starch Eating Plan.
5. Sleep on your side
Do you sleep on your tummy, back or on your side? Snoring, and sleep apnoea, is usually worse when people sleep on their backs. Sleeping on your back makes it easier for the tongue to fall backwards, partially closing the upper airways. Sleeping on your side is best if you want to stop snoring. Some people are able to train themselves naturally to sleep on their side, others sew tennis balls to the back of their pyjamas (not my recommendation), or there are body pillows available for this very purpose.