New research shows that people who play wind instruments display less signs of snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). So if you’re worried about your snoring, and a flute doesn’t appeal to you – don’t panic. You can always try a saxophone or the clarinet instead.
A study in sound
A new study split participants into two categories: people who played high resistance wind instruments (like an oboe or a trumpet) and people who didn’t play any form of wind instrument. The participants were also given a questionnaire to fill in. This was designed to assess their risk of snoring, daytime sleepiness and high blood pressure – all symptoms of sleep apnoea. All players and non-players then had their lung functions evaluated.
Interestingly, the study revealed that there was no link between improved lung functions and a lower risk of developing sleep apnoea. But there was evidence of sleep apnoea being reduced in wind instrument musicians. This is because the players tended to have increased muscle tone in their upper airways.
Why do we need good muscle tension?
We need good muscle tone to keep the upper airway open properly during the night. This stops the vibration of the soft tissue in the throat – the sound we hear as snoring.
When wind musicians play their instruments, they exercise the throat muscles that usually collapse or narrow when a person snores. Because of this strengthened muscle tone, they are less likely to develop OSA.
Reduce your risk of sleep apnoea
If you’re keeping your partner awake all night, it might be the perfect time to learn a new skill. However odd it sounds, a flute or a trumpet could be the answer to a good night’s sleep – and studies have shown that even didgeridoos can improve the symptoms of sleep apnoea.
But if picking up a new instrument seems like a little too much work, an oral device could provide you with effective relief. It works by gently holding your jaw in the right position while you sleep; this works on those muscles, opens your airway and helps you breathe easily. Another option is to use a CPAP machine. It supplies a constant stream of air through a face mask, helping to prevent your airway from collapsing.
If you suspect you might be suffering from sleep apnoea, we recommend that you visit your doctor as soon as possible. Don’t leave it to chance - your sleep and your health are worth it.
Researchers at Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities have found that high levels of magnesium in dark chocolate can help people maintain healthy biological rhythms. In human cells, magnesium levels rise and fall in a daily cycle, and the mineral has been shown to help support a healthy 24-hour clock. It also affects the cells’ rate of metabolism throughout the day.
So, treating yourself to a few pieces of dark chocolate could help you stay adapted to the rhythms of day and night – and this leads to better-quality sleep. But more often than not, snoring can still be an obstacle for people trying to achieve a full night’s sleep.
The good news
Luckily, snoring can be prevented. There are many options available to help restore peace to your bedroom. Nasal Sprays and Nasal Strips provide relief from snoring caused by congestion, and Throat Sprays and Oral Strips target the main cause of snoring – they work by lubricating the soft tissues at the back of the throat.
Even more good news
Do you want to say sorry to a partner you’ve kept awake for months? Do you want to treat yourself to chocolate and great sleep? Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and we have five tote bags packed with Choccywoccydoodah treats to give away. Each bag includes a selection of dark chocolate goodies, and a Snoreeze Throat Spray, Nasal Spray, Nasal Strips and Oral Strips.
To be in with a chance of winning, simply follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Like and share our competition post, and leave a comment telling us why you’d love to win a Snoreeze/Choccywoccydoodah goody bag. (Terms and conditions apply. This competition is open across multiple social media channels. Entries close at midday 12th February.)
Christmas can be a stressful time. There’s an endless mountain of presents to wrap, a mad rush around the supermarket for the last turkey, frantic cleaning before the whole family crowds into the house on Christmas day. And if you’re tired? It makes everything much more stressful.
When you’re kept awake by snoring, you become irritable and sleepy. Those rasping gasps can last all night, making Christmas feel like a difficult chore instead of a fun holiday. But you don’t have to kick the culprit out of the house. Instead, embrace the spirit of Christmas and buy a gift for the snorer in your life.
What kind of snoring relief do they need?
Make sure you know what’s causing their snoring first. That way, your gift of a snoring solution will be at its most effective (and appreciated!)
1) Are they snoring because of a blocked nose/cold?
Having a blocked nose restricts airflow through the nasal passages. This forces the sufferer to breathe through their mouth whilst sleeping, which can lead to snoring.
A great anti-snoring gift in this case would be a Snoreeze nasal product. The Snoreeze Nasal Spray and Snoreeze Nasal Strips target snoring caused by a cold, allergies or a blocked nose by opening the nasal passages to provide effective snoring relief.
2) Are they snoring because of interrupted breathing whilst sleeping?
Is your snorer generally tired and sometimes falls asleep during the day? Do they sometimes wake themselves (or you) during the night with a loud snore or snort? They’re likely to have sleep apnoea - a respiratory condition related to snoring that causes interrupted breathing during sleep.
When an apnoea occurs, airflow during sleep is prevented from entering the lungs by a temporary obstruction. The obstruction is because of a lack of muscle in the upper airway which causes the airway to collapse. Sometimes the soft palate at the back of the throat may partially or fully close the airway.
If your snorer experiences any of these symptoms, we recommend that they consult their doctor straightaway. An option to treat sleep disordered breathing is the Snoreeze Oral Device. Its adjustable design gently positions the jaw in a forward position to clear the obstructed airway and provide effective relief.
3) Are they snoring loudly every night?
Does your partner regularly snore? Does it not make much difference whether they’re sleeping on their back or their side?
Your snorer is suffering from the main cause of snoring: when relaxed muscle tension at the back of the throat causes the upper airway to narrow. This then causes the soft tissue to vibrate.
A great anti-snoring solution would be a Snoreeze oral product, like the Throat Spray, Oral Strips or Lozenges. The dual action technology targets the main cause of snoring by toning and lubricating the soft tissues at the back of the throat to provide effective snoring relief.
Buying an anti-snoring gift isn’t just a present for your partner – it’s a gift for you too! Get the sleep you deserve this Christmas with Snoreeze.
Reasons why pregnancy is making you snore
If you’re pregnant, there are many reasons why you could have started snoring.
1) Swollen nasal passages. During pregnancy, the amount of blood in your body increases, causing your blood vessels to expand. This can lead to swollen nasal passages, forcing you to breathe through your mouth. This can lead to snoring.
2) Weight gain. Weight gained through pregnancy can lead to increased tissue in the neck and throat. This narrows your upper airway, and restricts your ability to breathe freely.
3) Colds and allergies. Congestion from other causes, like a cold or the flu, can also result in snoring. Nasal irritation often increases at night when snoring is most likely to be a problem.
4) Sleep apnoea. Loud snoring can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). Sufferers experience a blockage in their airway that causes them to briefly stop breathing in their sleep. This can happen hundreds of times a night! Look out for these warning signs: gasping/choking noises, loud snoring and daytime sleepiness.
How to treat your snoring
Make sure you’re still making healthy lifestyle choices during your pregnancy. This means avoiding alcohol and tobacco – and trying not to gain more than the recommended amount of weight (you can find more information about that here).
If you suspect you have sleep apnoea, or you’re worried about your snoring, visit your doctor as soon as possible. Loud snoring can lead to high blood pressure, and this can put both you and your pregnancy at risk.
You can treat snoring caused by obstructions of the nasal passages by using a Nasal Spray or Nasal Strips. For more information about finding a snoring solution during pregnancy, click here.
As with anybody who is sleep deprived, they become irritated with their partner, but also with other family, friends, and colleagues. Blaming the snorer is the only option for someone who is exhausted – and this heaps even more tension onto the relationship.
Poor sleep caused by snoring damages several aspects of a relationship, such as:
And it isn’t just the non-snorer that suffers. It's easy to simply criticise your partner for their snoring - but snoring can lead to more serious health issues like sleep apnoea, which causes shallow breathing or a lack of breath during periods of sleep. The condition links to a range of health problems like heart attacks and strokes, and affects around 6% of adults. If you suspect you or your partner have sleep apnoea, visit your doctor as soon as possible. For more information on sleep apnoea, click here.
Making a Difference
It’s clear that snoring can ruin relationships; it’s cited as a reason for divorce thousands of times a year in Britain. When snoring is such a problem in a relationship that you’re considering separation - even just sleeping in separate beds - you know you need to act. Although encouraging a partner to treat their snoring can seem impossible at times, the benefits will flood through when they decide to make a difference. Getting a good night’s sleep not only benefits your mental and physical health, but it will also benefit your relationship.
For help treating your partner’s snoring, click here.
Many people don’t realize that colds and flu can cause snoring, or make snoring even worse. When your nasal tissue swells during a cold, the airflow through your nose becomes blocked or restricted. This congestion may force you to breathe through your mouth, which can lead to snoring.
So how do I get a good night’s sleep?
1) Elevate your head. Sleeping flat on your back is not a good idea. Use an extra pillow to help drain your sinuses, and reduce congestion.
2) Steer clear of antihistamines that contain sedatives. These relax your upper airways, causing more air resistance in your nose and throat which can lead to snoring. The same applies to alcohol and sleeping pills.
3) Use a humidifier if you can. If you have a humidifier, try and use it while you have a cold. This will help keep the air in your bedroom moist.
4) Have a hot shower before bed. The warm water can help open your nasal pages.
5) Try using Snoreeze Nasal Strips or Snoreeze Nasal Spray, available at Boots. Both products work by opening the airways in your nose to provide snoring relief. The nasal spray contains a unique blend of natural active ingredients, while the nasal strips are both hypoallergenic and latex-free. You could experience up to 8 hours of peaceful, snore-free sleep.
Get healthy faster
Snoring stops you from getting a good night’s sleep. Achieving an uninterrupted 7-9 hours of sleep per night is very important for your health, especially when your immune system is fighting a cold. The act of snoring can also make a sore throat feel worse; the vibrations in the back of your throat can result in a dry, scratchy feeling.
Getting enough sleep means you can get healthy faster. Try to go to bed earlier than usual, and rest when you need to. By looking after yourself, and using a good snoring relief product, you’ll be over your cold in no time at all.
Look out for the special Snoreeze display in-store at Boots now.
It’s a well-known fact that depression can cause sleep problems. But there is also evidence of sleep problems contributing to depressive disorders. A study found that men with sleep apnoea and insomnia had a much higher rate of depressive symptoms compared with the control population. Of the 700 men examined, 43% of those with both conditions had depression.
What’s the connection?
Sleep-disordered breathing has been linked with depression for some time. Among depressed patients, insomnia is very common. The forms of insomnia can be varied, but mostly include:
Research indicates that the risk of developing depression is highest among people who have trouble staying asleep (sleep maintenance insomnia) and people with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). Sleep apnoea occurs when the muscles in the throat relax too much. The walls of the airway start to stick together, and breathing can then completely stop for around 10-30 seconds at a time.
One study assessed the quality of life in patients who had severe sleep apnoea. The results showed that compared to the normal control subjects, patients with sleep apnoea had a decreased quality of life. They tended to display symptoms that strongly correlated with depression.
Can it be treated?
Both insomnia and sleep apnoea are strongly associated with poor mental health outcomes. And depression is often misdiagnosed because many of its symptoms overlap with those of sleep apnoea. But the good news is that by treating sleep apnoea, the symptoms of depression can be improved.
Doctors often recommend a CPAP machine to treat sleep apnoea. (This works by using air pressure to force air through the breathing obstruction). However, if you find you are unable to use CPAP every night due to discomfort, another option is to wear an oral device in conjuction with it – these appliances gently move your jaw into the right position to open up your airways while you sleep.
If you suspect you’re suffering from either condition, visit your doctor as soon as possible. They’ll be able to recommend the best treatment option for you, and to confirm you are able to use an oral device. Dealing with your sleep disorder can help you feel like a new person – you’ll improve your sleep and your health.
Sleep deprivation and bad quality sleep have been linked to weight gain for years. But new research gives us much clearer reasons for why that is. Here are the five most common explanations for why you might have put on a few pounds...
1) Poor sleep is interfering with your appetite. A lack of sleep messes with the hormones that trigger and put a dampener on your appetite. A bad night’s sleep could dull the effectiveness of peptide 1, a hormone produced in your intestine that encourages you to feel full. Similarly, it could also promote the production of ghrelin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry. This leaves you with an appetite that can be hard to satisfy, even when you’ve eaten enough food.
2) Being tired makes eating feel extra pleasurable. When you’re sleep deprived, levels of endocannabinoids in your brain increase. These compounds are linked directly to your appetite, and they work on the reward system of your brain – meaning you get feelings of pleasure when you eat. (THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, also turns on these compounds. That’s why people tend to “get the munchies”.)
3) Lack of sleep messes with your gut bacteria. Changes to your gut bacteria can mess with your ability to process nutrients. During the Swedish study, scientists noticed that after just two days of sleep loss, the volunteers’ bacteria mirrored those seen in the guts of obese people.
4) Poor quality sleep makes you burn fewer calories. While studying a volunteer group, the research team found that the men burned 5-20% fewer calories after a night of no sleep. This calorie-burning was included in tasks as basic as breathing and digesting food.
5) Skimping on sleep makes you an impulsive eater. Being sleep deprived doesn’t just affect your body – it affects your eating habits too. The research team found that when people were tired, they bought food higher in calories and quantity than when they were well-rested. This is probably because sleep deprivation impairs your higher-level thinking – it boosts your chances of being impulsive.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that most adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Make sure nothing is disturbing your sleep; you could see big changes in your weight and your health.
Having a dry mouth is the main reason why people wake up with bad breath. When we go to sleep, our saliva production decreases. But many people who snore or have sleep apnoea experience severe drying of the mouth because they tend to breathe through their mouths instead of their noses. Saliva is a natural antibiotic, and a dry mouth means that bacteria are able to flourish.
When someone snores, their airway is narrowing far too much. Fast-travelling air is pulled through it when they breathe, dehydrating the tissue at the back of their throat, and causing it to vibrate. This sound is what we know as snoring. If the person’s body feels like it isn’t getting enough oxygen, it might open their mouth to try and increase the air flow. But breathing through your mouth speeds up the drying process, and it results in bad breath come morning.
How can you fix bad breath caused by snoring?
There are several options to choose from when it comes to fixing your bad breath. Using a snore guard is one method – a sort of mouldable mouth guard that encourages you to breathe through your nose by blocking your mouth. Nasal dilators can also be used: small devices that you insert up your nostrils to reduce any resistance to incoming air. However, some people can find these uncomfortable to sleep in.
Another option is to use a nasal spray, or nasal strips. If you’re breathing through your mouth because your nose is blocked, then anti-snoring nasal products will help open up your airways again. Many people with colds start to snore when they become ill – using a nasal spray or nasal strips helps them sleep peacefully through the night.
Remember: mouth-breathing isn’t normal
Breathing through your mouth is abnormal, and if you already snore, it could be a sign of a more serious condition like sleep apnoea. Visit your doctor if you’re worried about your mouth-breathing – ignoring it could lead to high blood pressure and even coronary heart disease. Dealing with your bad breath now means that you’ll reap other health benefits in years to come.
Despite the National Sleep Foundation recommending that teens get 8-10 hours of sleep per night, many are sleep deprived, and get far less. With schools and universities starting lessons early, some young people only manage 5 or 6 hours of rest before they have to wake up.
However, this has nothing to do with bad self-organisation. When puberty kicks in, new circadian rhythms do too. Teenagers experience a “delayed sleep phase”: this means that while their adolescent brains are shifting into their final developments, their circadian rhythms are reset.
Before this change, they might have felt sleepy at around 9pm or 10pm. But this shift in hormones means that they are more likely to start feeling tired from 11pm onwards, with some rhythms fluctuating as late as 1am. Even if you encouraged your teenager to go to bed early, they’d only lie awake until their own sleeping pattern kicked in.
Research has shown that nearly two thirds of young people are sleep deprived. Helping your teenager achieve a good amount of sleep is important; if a person is regularly starved of sleep, it can cause a variety of health problems like obesity, hypertension and depressive disorders. If your teen also suffers from snoring or sleep apnoea, the risk of developing these health problems increases. If you suspect your child might be waking in the night because of sleep apnoea*, you should take them to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Tips for helping your teen get a good night’s sleep include:
1) Creating a comfortable sleeping environment for them, by making sure their bedroom is cool and quiet.
2) Encouraging them to spend time outside, as natural light produces melatonin, a hormone that tells our bodies when to sleep and when to wake up.
3) Creating a routine where they can get used to going to bed and waking up at a similar time each day.
For more information on sleep deprivation and sleep apnoea, see the tab above entitled Do I Have Sleep Apnoea?
*When we sleep, our airways relax and narrow. If the airway narrows too much, fast-travelling air is pulled through the airway, causing the soft tissue in the back of our throats to become dehydrated and vibrate. This sound is called snoring. In some cases, the airway becomes so narrow that the walls of the airway stick together and close up. This usually happens for 10-30 seconds, but can occur for longer. When the airway finally opens up again, the sleeper will emit a loud, violent snore. This is known as an apnoea.If it's left untreated, sleep apnoea can become a serious condition. If you suspect that you or your child suffer from sleep apnoea, we recommend that you see your doctor as soon as possible.