Snoring is a common condition that can affect anyone. Just about everyone snores occasionally. It’s usually not something to worry about.
However, if you regularly snore at night,it could disrupt the quality of your sleep, leading to daytime fatigue, irritability, and increased health problems.
If your snoring keeps your partner awake, it could create major relationship problems too. Thankfully, sleeping in separate bedrooms isn’t the only remedy for snoring.
There are many effective solutions that can help both you and your partner sleep better at night.This is important for overcoming the relationship problems caused when one person snores.
What causes snoring?
Snoring occurs when the flow of air through the mouth and nose is physically obstructed.This makes the surrounding tissues vibrate which produces the familiar snoring sound.
People who snore often have too much throat and nasal tissue that is more prone to vibrate. The position of your tongue can also get in the way of smooth breathing.
Since people snore for different reasons, it’s important to understand the causes behind your snoring. Once you understand why you snore, you can find the right solutions to a quieter sleep for both you and your partner.
Let’s take a look at the common causes of snoring
Poor muscle tone in the throat and tongue: Throat and tongue muscles can be too relaxed. This allows them to collapse and fall back into the airway.
The most common causes of snoring are:
- Nasal problems. Blocked airways or a stuffy nose make inhalation difficult and create a vacuum in the throat leading to snoring.
- Sleep posture. Sleeping flat on your back causes the flesh of your throat to relax and block the airway. Changing your sleep position can help.
- Alcohol, smoking, and medications. Alcohol intake, smoking, and certain medication such as tranquillizers like lorazepam and diazepamcan increase muscle relaxation leading to more snoring.
- Being overweight. Fatty tissue and poor muscle tone contribute to snoring. Even if you’re not overweight in general, carrying excess weight just around your neck or throat can cause snoring. Exercising and losing weight can sometimes be all it takes to end your snoring.
- As you reach middle age and beyond, your throat becomes narrower, and the muscle tone in your throat decreases. While you can’t do anything about growing older, lifestyle changes, new bedtime routines, and throat exercises can all help to prevent snoring.
- Narrow passages. Men have narrower air passages than women and are more likely to snore. A narrow throat, a cleft palate, enlarged adenoids, and other physical attributes that contribute to snoring are often hereditary.
While you have no control over your build or gender, you can control your snoring with the right lifestyle changes, bedtime routines, and throat exercises.
Health risks associated with snoring
Habitual snoring can be a sign of a serious health problem including obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea creates several problems including:
- Interruptions of breathing (lasting from a few seconds to minutes) during sleep caused by partial or total obstruction or blockage of the airway.
- Frequent waking from sleep; even though you may not realize it
- Light sleeping. Waking up so many times a night interferes with the normal pattern of sleep causing more time to be spent in light sleep than in more restorative deeper sleep.
- A strain on the heart. Prolonged suffering from obstructive sleep apnea often results in higher blood pressure and may cause enlargement of the heart with higher risks of heart attack and stroke.
- Poor night’s sleep. This leads to drowsiness during the day and can interfere with your quality of life which increases the risk of car accidents.
How to stop snoring
There are plenty of proven techniques that can help eliminate snoring. Not every remedy is right for every person, though. So, putting a stop to your snoring may require patience, lifestyle changes, and a willingness to experiment with different solutions.
a. Bedtime remedies
Clear nasal passages. If you have a stuffy nose, rinse sinuses with saline before bed. Using a nasal decongestant or nasal strips can also help you breathe more easily while sleeping.
- Keep the bedroom air moist. Dry air can irritate membranes in the nose and throat. If swollen nasal tissues are the problem, a humidifier may help.
- Change your sleeping position. Elevating your head four inches may ease breathing and encourage your tongue and jaw to move forward.
- There are specifically designed pillows available to help prevent snoring by making sure your neck muscles are not crimped. Check out my pillow reviews.
- Sleep on your side instead of your back. This might help reduce the problem.
- Alternatively, wedge a pillow. After a while, sleeping on your side will become a habit.
b. Lifestyle remedies
- Lose weight. Losing even a little bit of weight can reduce fatty tissue in the back of the throat and decrease or even stop snoring.
- Be careful what you eat before bed. Research shows that eating large meals or consuming certain foods such as dairy or soymilk right before bedtime can make snoring worse.
- Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills, and sedatives because they relax the muscles in the throat and interfere with breathing. Also, talk to your doctor about any prescription medications you’re taking as some encourage a deeper level of sleep which can make snoring worse.
- Quit smoking. If you smoke, your chances of snoring are high. Smoking irritates the membranes in the nose and throat which can block the airwaves and cause snoring.
While quitting is easier said than done, it can bring quick snoring relief.
How snoring can affect your relationship
No matter how much you love each other, snoring can put a strain on your relationship. If you’re the one lying awake at night as your partner snores away, it’s easy to start feeling resentful.
When snoring is a problem, relationship tension can grow in the following ways:
- Sleeping in separate rooms. While this may be a solution for some couples, it can also take a toll on emotional and physical intimacy. If you’re the one snoring, you might feel lonely, isolated, and unfairly punished.
- Irritability due to sleep loss. Disrupted sleep isn’t just a problem for the non-snorer. Snoring is caused by disordered breathing, which means the snorer’s sleep quality also suffers.
- Poor sleep takes a toll on mood, thinking skills, judgment, and your ability to manage stress and conflict. This can explain why communication often breaks down when you and your partner try talking about the problem.
- Partner resentment. When a non-snorer feels he or she has done everything possible to sleep through the night (ear plugs, sound machines) but the snorer doesn’t take any action to combat the snoring, it can lead to resentment. Working as a team to find a snoring cure can prevent future fights.