This month, MacMillan launches their annual ‘Go Sober for October’ campaign. People from all over the country will be sponsored to give up drinking – and the money raised will help MacMillan support millions currently living with cancer in the UK.
While taking part is a great way to fundraise, cutting down on alcohol has a range of health benefits too. These benefits include improving the quality of your sleep, and reducing how much you snore.
Why does alcohol make you snore?
Alcohol is a sedative that relaxes the muscles in your body. If you enjoy a nightcap, or even an evening glass of wine, the muscles in your jaw and the back of your throat can relax – sometimes a little too much. This muscle relaxation restricts airflow in your throat. The noise this turbulent air makes as it passes over the soft tissue in your throat is what we hear as snoring.
It may also come as no surprise that alcohol can make you gain weight (a glass of wine contains the same calories as a piece of chocolate). But this weight gain is often a contributing factor to snoring. Being overweight by just a few pounds can create extra mass around your neck. This mass put pressure on your airway, restricting how freely you breathe. Your narrowed airway causes the soft tissue in your throat to vibrate, and creates the snoring sound.
The benefits of drinking less alcohol
Cutting down on alcohol will noticeably improve the quality of your sleep. Regularly drinking alcohol can disrupt your sleep pattern – it causes you to spend less time in REM sleep which is when your body carries out important restorative activities. This leaves you feeling sluggish and tired the next day. Drinking less allows you to get better quality sleep, and better sleep means more energy and a better mood the following morning.
Reducing your alcohol intake can also help you lose weight (something that might be contributing to your snoring). If you drink often throughout the week, cutting alcohol out of your diet will significantly reduce the calories you consume. This weight loss can relieve some pressure put on your throat by extra body fat.
Making changes to your lifestyle is always the first port of call when it comes to improving sleep and snoring. By trying to lose weight, or cutting down on drinking or smoking, you can discover what might be a factor in your snoring.
Downloading the SoundSleep app is a great way to take control of your lifestyle and improve your sleep. The app records and tracks your snoring, producing daily reports that will help you discover causes, factors and solutions. If you think that alcohol might be one of the reasons you snore, you can log the amount you drink in the app to see if it affects your snoring report.
If you find that lifestyle changes aren’t enough to reduce snoring, a snoring relief product might help instead. Different products are suited to different types of snoring, such as nasal strips for snoring with congestion, or oral devices for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). For more information about Snoreeze products and which is right for you, click here.
Go Sober for October will be running throughout October. If you’d like to get involved, or want to learn more, visit the campaign website here.